What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Larry McDonald
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by Larry McDonald » Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:41 pm

Kent Murdick once wrote...

"It takes a good instructor to teach the right hand. It takes a really bad one to screw-up the left."

I mostly agree with this. The left hand will eventually find it's way to self-corrected mediocrity just by playing the literature, although for some folks, even this will take decades. The right hand will likely stay poorly developed. I believe that the right hand needs careful and constant refinement in the earliest stages since it mostly operates automatically after the first 3 weeks of playing.

Both hands need to be framed in such a way so that the most efficient bio-mechanics are engaged. Failure to get this right means a lot of wasted time (years, in some cases) of practicing with the wrong muscle groups. And for some players, various poor bio-mechanics are never fully repaired even after vigorous remediation (think right-hand scale speed). Sorry, that's just the way it is.
All the best,
Lare
Dr. Lawrence A. McDonald, D.M.A., Art Kaplan Fellow
Author of The Conservatory Tutor for Guitar
2008 Michael Thames Cd/Br
Royal Conservatory Advanced Guitar Instructor
Royal Conservatory Advanced Theory Instructor

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rojarosguitar
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by rojarosguitar » Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:25 pm

:lol: Depends, but I would say as many as with a teacher, but different
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

Bill B
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by Bill B » Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:07 pm

I am a guitar teacher. I believe the thing to ask at this point is "what is your ultimate goal?" are you hoping to be performing, or teaching? Then a teacher can help you evaluate your practice routine so that you are working toward your goal in a reasonable manner. If you are playing just for fun, then take lessons if they sound like fun, and not if they don't.
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:36 am

I have been playing for 50 years, more seriously the last 7 years. I had a teacher briefly recently. But as Hubert Käppel points out, even if you have a teacher, you play alone the vast majority of time. A teacher is big help. But you must learn to be able to evaluate every detail of your technique yourself. Two months ago, I bought Käppel's book "The fundamentals and playing technique of 21st century guitar." This book opened my eyes to the smallest details of technique. For the first time in my life, I understood what I am supposed to achieve with shaping the fingernails, what arpeggio practice is for, how to practice arpeggios correctly, what to do with the left and right hand down to the small details, what to listen for in my playing. I do not say that this replaces a teacher, but for the minute details of correct technique, it is probably better than a teacher. Käppel is wonderful, the English translation is poor. However, it is worth struggling through the misuse of words, words incorrectly translated, spelling errors, and some just plain weird mistranslations to get the best exposition of the guitar technique that I have ever seen. If you are already a musician, familiar with Baroque, Classical, and Spanish performance practices (I consider these the main areas of the guitar repertoire), you may be able to advance without a teacher.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

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Hany Hayek
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by Hany Hayek » Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:54 am

Thanks Yisrael, I really hope I am able to advance without a teacher.
I hope I can rely on this forum as I relied on the Mandolin Cafe forum for years to learn the mandolin.
Larry my right hand is what I fear the most.
As for my left hand, I am just learning to keep my thumb lower (opposite to the violin and mandolin), that seems to be the only problem and I am sure I'll overcome it soon.
Have been playing for a week, Parkening, and got to study 19, where I find myself a little bit challenged.
Now the right hand issue raises a question, if I am getting a good volume, nice regular sound, doesn't that mean that I am probably doing something right.
Bill, I don't plan to teach the guitar, (maybe the mandolin). I play music because I really enjoy it. I just want to be able to play some Italian (classical) music. For the coming couple of months I am hoping to get to Carulli's andante. I think it's study 18 in his method (not sure).
Anyway, I'll soon upload something on youtube (and if I am permitted) I'll post it here and you'll be able to tell me if I am straying from the right path :)

Bill
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by Bill » Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:22 pm

You don't need a teacher to develop bad habits.

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markodarko
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by markodarko » Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:34 pm

Yisrael van Handel wrote:I have been playing for 50 years <snip> For the first time in my life, I understood what I am supposed to achieve with shaping the fingernails, what arpeggio practice is for, how to practice arpeggios correctly, what to do with the left and right hand down to the small details, what to listen for in my playing.
Whoa. 50 years without shaping your nails properly or arpeggio exercises? It must be a real revolution to your playing now, Yisreal. A breath of fresh air, I'm sure.
Negative, I am a meat popsicle.

Ramon Amira
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by Ramon Amira » Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:21 am

You're liable to start counting time in your head instead of just feeling the timing and rhythm . . .

Ramon
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Bill B
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by Bill B » Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:28 am

Ramon Amira wrote:You're liable to start counting time in your head instead of just feeling the timing and rhythm . . .

Ramon
:D
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

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Hany Hayek
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by Hany Hayek » Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:19 am

Ramon Amira wrote:You're liable to start counting time in your head instead of just feeling the timing and rhythm . . .

Ramon
I don't get it? Mostly I count time either with my foot :D or using a metronome when training. Musical feeling is something else. If I'll play something like czardas on the mandolin, I can't use the metronome.
Check my videos on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/user/dinaibrahi ... =0&sort=dd)
I am the small bold guy with the mandolin :(

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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:42 pm

markodarko wrote:
Whoa. 50 years without shaping your nails properly or arpeggio exercises? It must be a real revolution to your playing now, Yisreal. A breath of fresh air, I'm sure.
First of all, to keep myself honest, after university, I practically did not play for about 40 years. Second, my first teacher had shown me how to shape my nails, but I never understood what I was trying to achieve. So I was only copying what he showed me. Now, thanks to Käppel, I understand what I am supposed to achieve. I have not found the perfect solution yet, My tendency is to keep making the right ramp longer and longer. This is both improving my tone and reducing the tearing of my fingernails. As for arpeggio exercises, I decided that I first have to learn to memorize. I do not consider arpeggio exercises urgent at the moment, because I can play smooth, even arpeggios (I think; I might change my mind after I start doing arpeggio exercises). Some of Käppel's arpeggio exercises are ridiculously difficult. Try this one: p on 6 string, i on 3rd string, m on 2nd string and a on 1st string. i can imagine that if I master that, my arpeggio technique will improve substantially.
And finally, to answer your question, not just a breath of fresh air, but a whole new world of inspiration and new possibilities. I see the ceiling of my potential raised up about 20 stories.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

Andre
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by Andre » Tue Oct 18, 2016 9:12 pm

At least, get some quality learning material to guide you in the proper way. I would recommend the following:
- The Art Of Classical Guitar Playing, by Charles Duncan.
- Pumping Nylon DVD/book, by Scott Tennant.

But enjoy the journey, whatever path you choose.
Best regards,
Andre

dtoh
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by dtoh » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:56 am

IMHO the reason bad habits are developed are not so much a lack of teacher, but rather the fact that students practice the wrong things. Specifically,

1. It's almost always impossible for a beginner to play even simple pieces with the correct LH technique when they are starting. Their hands and fingers simply can't physically perform the necessary actions. That means the student has to use improper technique if they are trying to play any kind of actual music and this will lead to bad habits.

2. Until the movement of the RH is ingrained and becomes automatic, it will break down when the student has to concentrate on reading notation or the LH. Again this leads to the formation of bad habits.

So the real value of the teacher should be in making sure the student practices the right things first....but, in fact, when you look at a lot of the standard methods or listen to what teachers are assigning their students.... it seems like this is not happening. I understand the need to keep students happy and motivated... but I also think the OP could benefit from some advice on the best method. I notice the teachers who have responded have done so in generalities about the pitfalls of teaching one's self, but they have not really been responsive to the OPs request to try to identify the specific bad habits to avoid.

Not trying to be argumentative but I think some more specific help from the experts would really benefit the OP and others here.

jnbrown
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by jnbrown » Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:13 pm

While I agree the right hand has more things to learn to do right, I don't agree the left hand will automatically find its way.
Left hand position and finger independence are vitally important and it takes years to develop.
Doing pull offs and being able to stretch across many frets are some other things that need to be learned over time.

Luis_Br
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by Luis_Br » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:45 pm

I think mechanics of movements is just part of the problem.
1 - Poor sound
Due to lack of concert playing experience and not knowing the real sound from your guitar at a distance. Also due to mechanical sound player or computer reference rather than listenning to a real guitar from a real good player in a close and live situation at a regular basis.
2 - Wrong muscular tension
It is natural to us to tense ourselves too much when learning things new. We tend to play hard rather than to play right. After some repetitions tension becomes unconscious and you won't even notice. It seems a natural move. You will only realize them several years later, when you discover health problems or after you finally try to play the tremolo, but you discover you quickly hit a speed wall and you can't pass 120-140 bpm even after several months of daily repetitive boring practice. A good teacher can quickly point out tensions and bad positioning we don't even notice.
3 - Stylistic and interpretational restriction
Analog to bad tensions developed. We regularly end up copying our restricted view and perception of our favorite players. An advanced musician knows much more about music logic and posibilities, has a much more detailed perception, as well as historical stylistic information. So we normally become much more open minded under good guidance than working alone.

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