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Old 01-08-2017, 09:12 PM
Nailpicker Nailpicker is offline
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I started formal guitar lessons when I was 9 and stayed with that teacher for 6 or 7 years. In retrospect he did a wonderful job of drilling me in the basics and foundation every serious guitar player should, in my opinion, receive. Eventually however I outgrew him or simply was wanting a change. I decided I wanted to learn classical guitar.

When I was quite young (16 or 17) I auditioned and was accepted as a beginner student at the conservatory in the city I lived. I took only a few lessons before quitting. The professor had only one opening; at 6 p.m. I had to miss my evening dinner, drive 25 miles in the dark during freeway rush hour as a relatively new driver, park blocks away and walk to the building through a neighborhood that was questionably safe; somewhat frightening. Then I had to face the professor. A severe, scowling man with black bushy hair, bushy eye brows and deep, dark eyes that looked through me. He made sure that I became fully aware that he had studied under the great Andre Segovia. It all was too much for a young boy to endure. Did I mention, he had studied under the great Andre Segovia?

I went off into another direction. I felt driven to advance my guitar playing even if in another direction. In reverse fashion I auditioned and "hired" one of the region's best known jazz guitarists who would become my teacher for several years. I learned a fair bit over the years he taught me. I enjoyed it greatly and appreciated his pleasant, light-spirited personality. We meshed.

Years later I took lessons from another bright young(er than me) guitar player. I learned more.

But my one regret is never having had extended, focused classical guitar lessons. And at my age and where I live in the boondocks it most likely will never happen anymore. My loss.

It is my strong belief that those taught and immersed with a strong classical training have skills and knowledge and approach even the best of non-classic players lack. And it has always seemed that classical players can, if they desire, apply their playing skills to virtually the full array of guitar music...jazz, pop, rock. However few if any rock players (just for example) can hope to approach any sort of credibility as classical players. It's not too unusual for classical trained guitarists to branch off into jazz.

One might suggest some online classes. I don't learn well unless in a face to face environment. And my slow "backwoods" internet connection precludes that as well.

Anyway, just my thoughts and my regret at not getting in depth classical guitar training. Perhaps in another life.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:27 AM
Paultergeist Paultergeist is offline
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Naaaahhhhhhh......

Dude (or dude-ette)....you way over-processing this....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nailpicker View Post
...Then I had to face the professor. A severe, scowling man with black bushy hair, bushy eye brows and deep, dark eyes that looked through me. He made sure that I became fully aware that he had studied under the great Andre Segovia. It all was too much for a young boy to endure. Did I mention, he had studied under the great Andre Segovia?.
The stereo-typical image of the stern, disapproving classical music instructor is almost as old as music itself. I find it largely counter-productive. I could also tell you stories about some "big name" classical players and their teaching styles as well as conduct with their students which would shatter your romanticized notions, but this thread is not the place for such dialog. Segovia had a number of significant accomplishments, but I find much of his teaching style -- as evidenced by some existing YouTube videos of his master classes -- to be generally un-helpful to the student. (There is a lot more to say on this subject, but again, this is not the place). My point is that you probably *think* you missed a lot more than you really did.

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Originally Posted by Nailpicker View Post
I went off into another direction.......and "hired" one of the region's best known jazz guitarists who would become my teacher for several years. I learned a fair bit over the years he taught me. I enjoyed it greatly and appreciated his pleasant, light-spirited personality. We meshed.
....
Wait? You found a teacher who you liked, learned from, and enjoyed lessons with? Then you won! While lessons should have an element of challenge, of being pushed to grow etc., they should also be satisfying and enjoyable. This sounds like you had a great experience with this instructor.

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Originally Posted by Nailpicker View Post
But my one regret is never having had extended, focused classical guitar lessons.......
......It is my strong belief that those taught and immersed with a strong classical training have skills and knowledge and approach even the best of non-classic players lack.....
I really think you are making a big generalization, and I have had the sort of classical guitar instruction which you seem to crave.
Skills? Yes, classical guitarists tend to develop very strong physical playing skills. This comes from time and dedicated practice, but it isn't magical fairy dust. Dedicated practice is key, just like most challenging things in life.
Knowledge? Whoa there. In my experience, most classical guitarists possess very little music theory knowledge. I have known players who could execute very impressive classical pieces, but were unclear as to even the key of the song. God help them if they had to transpose to a different key. Most advanced classical players are extraordinary note-readers, but many cannot improvise very well. As a general rule, "classical playing" emphasizes the playing of the notes on the page exactly as they are written (i.e. "correctly"), but not so much about improvisation.
Approach? Competent classical players are pretty self-disciplined. It simply takes a lot of time and commitment to practice pieces and to build a repertoire if one wants to play by memory.

I just don't think you should dwell on some vast missed opportunity as though it is no longer available to you. Pathways for improvement -- even improvement through self-study (did you know that Segovia considered himself to be largely self-taught?) are available. I especially do not think you should delude yourself in believing that there is some arcane mystical knowledge that classical-trained guitarists uniquely possess; it ain't so. End of sermon.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:41 AM
Tahitijack Tahitijack is offline
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Everyone has "if only" thoughts. If only I had started playing earlier, married Linda, change jobs, finished college or the reverse of these. Just accept that the past can't be made into a do over. Count your blessings.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:47 AM
Gitarre Gitarre is offline
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I understand where you're coming from but I would consider you lucky for having pursued the guitar in any capacity. I waited until 55 to finally take up the guitar, after one failed attempt 25 years ago, and have big regrets about not starting young as my brother did. So, as the says no goes, consider yourself lucky, in my eyes. And despite your location difficulties, if you're truly driven to learn something, you'll make it happen.
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:18 AM
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A few things of typical things about studying classical guitar:
it is more often well organized
it stresses completing pieces to a certain level of competence
it stresses clean playing
it stresses tone production

Most other approaches towards fingerstyle guitar tend to be more haphazardly organized.
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:39 PM
ceciltguitar ceciltguitar is offline
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If you still want to study classical guitar one option is to study via Skype or online instruction. There are a lot of talented teachers offering lessons via Skype.

For example, check out:

http://douglasniedt.com/videolessonsnew.html

https://www.guitarprinciples.com/sho...35081389c36531

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zls9n-W80HU

http://sevenweekguitar.blogspot.com

Best wishes!
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:48 PM
Nailpicker Nailpicker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paultergeist View Post

The stereo-typical image of the stern, disapproving classical music instructor is almost as old as music itself. I find it largely counter-productive. I could also tell you stories about some "big name" classical players and their teaching styles as well as conduct with their students which would shatter your romanticized notions, but this thread is not the place for such dialog.
I really don't have any stereotype image or romantic notions. My description truly describes the professor I had. He was a fairly arrogant, self-impressed person. Not an enjoyable learning atmosphere for me. I really have no problem veering off in the conversation either in person or on the internet. That's makes conversations interesting in my view.
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Wait? You found a teacher who you liked, learned from, and enjoyed lessons with? Then you won! While lessons should have an element of challenge, of being pushed to grow etc., they should also be satisfying and enjoyable. This sounds like you had a great experience with this instructor.
I really did win with my jazz teacher. A really nice man and good teacher. And thankfully my third long term teacher, the young guy, was a great experience as well. After all my years of playing he still taught me new stuff which is why I periodically like to take lessons with different people. If they are good teachers, each teaches something, emphasizes something a little different. That keeps things interesting.

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I just don't think you should dwell on some vast missed opportunity as though it is no longer available to you. Pathways for improvement -- even improvement through self-study...
I'm not really dwelling on it. I don't lose sleep over it or anything. It's simply a regret. Indeed I have started to do some self study through the magic of books But I can see that will be a slower process than if I had a good teacher of whom I could ask questions when I run into roadblocks. I have noticed that some of the fingering of classical pieces are often not how I'd do it if I was simply reading and playing the notation. I'd ask a good teacher, why this fingering rather than this other one....or maybe this one?

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Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
A few things of typical things about studying classical guitar:
it is more often well organized
it stresses completing pieces to a certain level of competence
it stresses clean playing
it stresses tone production

Most other approaches towards fingerstyle guitar tend to be more haphazardly organized.
I think this sums it up fairly well. I've worked on clean playing and tone production all my playing life, but I think classical players take it to a higher level yet. And as I mentioned earlier, it seems classical players often use a different fingering than I, or perhaps most non-classical players might use for a particular song. For example: I'm currently working on Recuerdos de la Alhambra as published in a book by a fairly well known classical guitarist and teacher. The fingering is not what I would intuitively do by just reading the music and playing what I saw. There seems to be a different approach that ultimately I see makes sense, and I can see the flow, but is not intuitively how I'd play it as a non classical player. But as I'M working through it it sure makes sense. I think that's where a good teacher could help speed things along.
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:53 PM
Nailpicker Nailpicker is offline
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If you still want to study classical guitar one option is to study via Skype or online instruction. There are a lot of talented teachers offering lessons via Skype.
Thanks. I appreciate you sharing those links, but as I said in my OP:

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Originally Posted by Nailpicker View Post
One might suggest some online classes. I don't learn well unless in a face to face environment. And my slow "backwoods" internet connection precludes that as well.
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Old 01-10-2017, 07:09 AM
AndreF AndreF is offline
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Originally Posted by Nailpicker View Post
For example: I'm currently working on Recuerdos de la Alhambra as published in a book by a fairly well known classical guitarist and teacher. The fingering is not what I would intuitively do by just reading the music and playing what I saw. There seems to be a different approach that ultimately I see makes sense, and I can see the flow, but is not intuitively how I'd play it as a non classical player. But as I'M working through it it sure makes sense. I think that's where a good teacher could help speed things along.
Hmmm....
I regret not having climbed Mt. Everest too as a kid....
Seriously though, I apologize in advance if it's not the case, but there doesn't seem to be anything in your background description that would suggest you have had the opportunity in your life to master that technique. So, I'll go out on a limb and speculate that this piece may be at the root cause of your current state of mind.
That's a very difficult piece of music to pull off, and it has nothing to do with fretboard fingering. The tremolo technique, unless it's mastered, will always be a roadblock to advancing any further whenever it's required. It's one of those things, unfortunately, that looks a lot easier than it is when it's done well. Conversely, when it's not, it sounds awful, and nothing like Tarrega's intent. I'm guessing that, even if you had the best teacher sitting in front of you in your remote location, he or she wouldn't even be looking at your left hand. They would be focusing on right hand dexterity and evenness of tone production needed for that technique. And give you technical exercises to work on to develop it. Only when it starts to work would/should you be allowed to advance.
In the meantime, there is so much beautiful music to be played and worked on to keep you challenged and rewarded, and that is a lot more accessible technically. In Tarrega's catalog alone, if you're into romantic style classical.
So, if I were your teacher I would give you right hand tremolo technique exercises to work on slowly every day for 15 to 30 minutes. At the most. Steady as she goes.
And have you working on other material of your choosing that is in accordance with your current skill set.
Again, it's not my intent to disparage your abilities. Just the opposite. I'm trying to get you kick started the right way, given your current circumstances out in the backwoods of WI. (Not a bad place to be, as far as I'm concerned.)
In this day and age, there is so much more you can do on your own to develop, and so much free instruction (some of it really good) available on the internet. Your connection can't be bad all the time. (For tremolo, check out Pepe Romero, for example, or get hold of Scott Tennant's Pumping Nylon DVD, for non-internet guidance.) You won't be working on RDLA right away, but eventually you will be.

So, it's fine to have regrets. We all have them. I fully understand your position. But, you can really do something about it. it just takes time, discipline, and going about it the right way.
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Old 01-10-2017, 08:08 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nailpicker View Post
For example: I'm currently working on Recuerdos de la Alhambra as published in a book by a fairly well known classical guitarist and teacher. The fingering is not what I would intuitively do by just reading the music and playing what I saw. There seems to be a different approach that ultimately I see makes sense, and I can see the flow, but is not intuitively how I'd play it as a non classical player. But as I'M working through it it sure makes sense. I think that's where a good teacher could help speed things along.

A good point: a teacher can help with these types of things, sharing his or her experience.

As an aside, once one gets beyond "basic" approaches to left hand fingering, most guitarists add their own preferences based on the sound they want, what they find easier for them or what suits their particular physical attributes. For example, Parkening has fingerings that work with his long fingers but are nearly physically impossible for someone of average finger length, no matter how well you play or how much you can stretch your average-length fingers. One simply adapts his fingerings, where necessary, or choses one's own. As you encounter the fingering options presented in each piece, you learn from that things you might employ in your own fingerings on other pieces.

One option not yet mentioned is the occasional travel to study at master classes or "camps". You then learn things to work on, then go work on them for months - or longer - before obtaining further input. With a skilled instructor, one can learn a lot to work on in a very short time: you have to do the work.
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Old 01-10-2017, 10:27 AM
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There are a lot of skilled players and instructors out there. But not all of them are good teachers. There's a lot of disgruntled really great players out there that are now teaching.

Some of those teachers are disgruntled, because their career never materialized into the fame and fortune they expected would come their way.

There's also a lot of so called "Classical or Jazz" guitar teachers out there that are inflexible in their teaching styles. They have a set of methods / requirements that they follow and refuse to change it for each particular students needs or personalities.

Over my 40+ years of playing, I've kicked quite a few of those bad teachers to the curb after 1-2 lessons. LOL

My humble opinion is that you need to screen any potential teachers via interviews.

You need to find a teacher that you can easily communicate with & is in lock-step with your desires & musical tastes.

The last thing you need is to be paying $$ to someone, who's focus isn't 100% aligned with your desires.
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Old 01-10-2017, 10:52 AM
Nailpicker Nailpicker is offline
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Originally Posted by AndreF View Post
... there doesn't seem to be anything in your background description that would suggest you have had the opportunity in your life to master that technique. So, I'll go out on a limb and speculate that this piece may be at the root cause of your current state of mind.
That's a very difficult piece of music to pull off, and it has nothing to do with fretboard fingering. The tremolo technique, unless it's mastered, will always be a roadblock to advancing any further whenever it's required. It's one of those things, unfortunately, that looks a lot easier than it is when it's done well. Conversely, when it's not, it sounds awful, and nothing like Tarrega's intent. I'm guessing that, even if you had the best teacher sitting in front of you in your remote location, he or she wouldn't even be looking at your left hand. They would be focusing on right hand dexterity and evenness of tone production needed for that technique. And give you technical exercises to work on to develop it. Only when it starts to work would/should you be allowed to advance...So, if I were your teacher I would give you right hand tremolo technique exercises to work on slowly every day for 15 to 30 minutes. At the most. Steady as she goes.
My background is that I've been playing (non classical) for over 55 years. I've had formal lessons for over 12 of those years in a variety of styles, but not classical. I've played and have utilized tremolo fingerstyle for quite a while, but I must confess that Recuerdos is a challenge and taxes me. That is why the book I mentioned does focus heavily on exercises to further advance right hand tremolo technique. I chose Recuerdos for exactly the reason that it is a challenge for me, but also because I think it is a beautiful "ditty." When I start work on a piece it must contain the two points of being a beautiful piece that truly interests me (or I'll get bored) and challenges me. I suspect I'll be working on it for many months to come.

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In the meantime, there is so much beautiful music to be played and worked on.
In this day and age, there is so much more you can do on your own to develop, and so much free instruction (some of it really good) available on the internet. Your connection can't be bad all the time. (For tremolo, check out Pepe Romero, for example, or get hold of Scott Tennant's Pumping Nylon DVD, for non-internet guidance.) You won't be working on RDLA right away, but eventually you will be.
I agree. I do play some more simplistic pieces including one I wrote myself, "Sonatina Libertas." And I do have Scott Tennant's book that covers Recuerdos, music and right hand exercises. I'll look to get his Pumping Nylon.
It should be a great help if his Recuerdos book is any indication. BTW, one thing you are wrong about, where I live the internet connection is never good, only some days not completely bad Where I live--by choice--cell phones don't work either
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So, it's fine to have regrets. We all have them. I fully understand your position. But, you can really do something about it. it just takes time, discipline, and going about it the right way.
Indeed I am trying to do something about it, but my regret is that I'm a little old I think to really dive head first into it like I'd like to to really even get anywhere close to master class level. Part of where the regret comes from. Texts books and internet (if it would work where I live) are fine to a point, but in my learning style nothing comes close to a good face to face teacher. Each of the 3 long term teachers I've had have really contributed greatly, each something different, something unique and valuable to me. I'm sure there are no classical teachers in less than 100 miles, maybe 200+ of where I live. Your point of "going about it the right way" is one of the flies in the ointment. For me the right way would be a good teacher within a 50 mile radius of where I live

Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
A good point: a teacher can help with these types of things, sharing his or her experience.

As an aside, once one gets beyond "basic" approaches to left hand fingering, most guitarists add their own preferences based on the sound they want, what they find easier for them or what suits their particular physical attributes. For example, Parkening has fingerings that work with his long fingers but are nearly physically impossible for someone of average finger length, no matter how well you play or how much you can stretch your average-length fingers. One simply adapts his fingerings, where necessary, or choses one's own. As you encounter the fingering options presented in each piece, you learn from that things you might employ in your own fingerings on other pieces.

One option not yet mentioned is the occasional travel to study at master classes or "camps". You then learn things to work on, then go work on them for months - or longer - before obtaining further input. With a skilled instructor, one can learn a lot to work on in a very short time: you have to do the work.
And thank you Charles. All of your posts that I've read on a variety of subjects have always seemed down to earth and in this case reassuring.
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:39 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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An additional though on fingerings that you might find helpful.

Play the open high E string. Play the same pitch on the second string (5th fret). Play the same pitch on the third string (9th fret). Note that although all three are the same pitch, their timbre changes considerably. Which one do you want?

That depends upon your preference and your interpretation for the piece of music you are playing. If you want "sweet and mellow" with some vibrato, you might want the 9th fret version. If you want harpsichordish, you might want the open string.

But, getting there is half the fun. What do you have to do before and after that note - fingering wise - to be able to play that note? You might be able to use a "guide finger" to slide your finger up to that fret (not glissando) by playing a preceding note of the music on the 3rd string. Might be you can play an entire phrase up in that region of the neck, making the entire phrase "more mellow". Might be that you want a repeat of the same phrase to have a different timbre and you can play it using the open E string and other open strings and notes near the nut.

Might be that you don't want the open string to ring beyond its intended duration. In that case, either you stop it from ringing with either right or left hand techniques or you avoid playing that note on the open string, instead opting, say, for the 5th fret second string.

And so on. All of these interpretive and "practical" things go into the decision of what left hand fingerings to use. There is no right or wrong answer, beyond the "basics", simply how you want the music to sound.

Unlike, say, the piano or flute, where a single pitch can be created in only a single way, on the guitar, a single pitch, depending on the pitch, can be created in a multiplicity of ways and locations on the fingerboard. That this is so is both the joy and the frustration of playing the instrument. It is one of the important tools in the classical guitar player's toolbox for expressing the music one plays.
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:50 AM
dkstott dkstott is offline
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Pumping Nylon is a great book for all guitar players. While the title refers to Nylon, the practice routine for left and rights work great for anyone

I also bought the DVD. There are a few things covered in the book that the DVD does a better job of explaining via the visual aspect.

highly recommended book
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:37 PM
dwalton dwalton is offline
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http://artistworks.com/guitar-lessons-jason-vieaux

... and adjust your limitations of internet speed and preference for face-to-face instruction. Otherwise, you'll just languish.
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