What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

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

Post by rikroberts » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:31 pm

Is it okay to revive an old thread? I'd like to try to answer the OP in a very definitive way.

From my 25 years teaching experience, these are the main bad habits you can develop learning without a teacher:

1. Playing with the guitar away at an angle to the body, so you can see the strings more easily.(Should be against your stomach).
2. High left hand thumb
3. Left hand thumb at too much of an angle, so you are not reaching around to your fingertips but instead playing on the flats of your fingers.
4. Palm of LH not parallel to the guitar neck, playing at an angle limits the LH 4th finger.
5. Playing with a flat RH wrist, not arched.
6. Anchoring the RH little finger onto the soundboard.
7. Not placing LH fingers well into the fret (1/2 or 2/3s across)
8. Letting your RH bounce
9. Playing with the guitar bout tucked into the right arm elbow
10. No free movement back and forth with right forearm, so your RH keeps changing its arched position, resulting in missing strings.
11. Playing with a raised right shoulder.
12. Playing with an arched back. Keep straight.
13. Playing transfixed to the music and not developing quick glances between Music-Left hand-Right hand when you first learn a piece.
14. Connected to the above - playing by feel and not by sight - not looking at LH/RH movements.
15. Not developing a good RH plucking technique where you push down slightly onto the string (trampoline effect)
16. Anchoring RH a/m fingers on top two strings. (Although, some modern players now do this).
17. No practise technique, not learning to slowly train the fingers in the pieces you play, but to instead 'chance it' and stumble through.
18. Not developing the ability to identify tricky passages which need 500% more work in pieces.
19. Playing with no concept of phrasing.
20. Playing with no vision or personal opinion about how the piece should sound.
22. Playing with too much LH pressure.
23. Playing with too much body, LH and RH tension.
24. Playing without projection - point 15 relevant here.
25. Not practising making pure notes, without buzzes. Lot's of technique needed here.
26. Playing with the RH too square on against the strings, not diagonally, which helps tone with most people.
27. Playing with way too much rest stroke, not developing a good strong freestroke. See points 15 and 24.
28. Not muting bass strings during passages when they need to be stopped, needs technique.
29. Playing with acoustic guitar style pull-offs in slurs - needs technique. Don't pull off the string literally, let finger drop.
30. Finally.................practising and playing without LISTENING to the sound you make.

You need a good teacher to avoid all of the above in my opinion. (I should also point out that you can develop these bad habits with a teacher too!)

There could be many more....but I teach CG day in day out as a full time job, these are the top ones. Nos 2 & 3 are real biggies with self taught guitarists, they don't usually understand that you need to play with your wrist forward to gain good assess to the strings with your fingertips.
Last edited by rikroberts on Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by dtoh » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:19 pm

rikroberts wrote:
Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:31 pm
Is it okay to revive an old thread? I'd like to try to answer the OP in a very definitive way.

From my 25 years teaching experience, these are the main bad habits you can develop learning without a teacher:

1. Playing with the guitar away at an angle to the body, so you can see the strings more easily.(Should be against your stomach).
2. High left hand thumb
3. Left hand thumb at too much of an angle, so you are not reaching around to your fingertips but instead playing on the flats of your fingers.
4. Palm of LH not parallel to the guitar neck, playing at an angle limits the LH 4th finger.
5. Playing with a flat RH wrist, not arched.
6. Anchoring the RH little finger onto the soundboard.
7. Not placing LH fingers well into the fret (1/2 or 2/3s across)
8. Letting your RH bounce
9. Playing with the guitar bout tucked into the right arm elbow
10. No free movement back and forth with right forearm, so your RH keeps changing its arched position, resulting in missing strings.
11. Playing with a raised right shoulder.
12. Playing with an arched back. Keep straight.
13. Playing transfixed to the music and not developing quick glances between Music-Left hand-Right hand when you first learn a piece.
14. Connected to the above - playing by feel and not by sight - not looking at LH/RH movements.
15. Not developing a good RH plucking technique where you push down slightly onto the string (trampoline effect)
16. Anchoring RH a/m fingers on top two strings. (Although, some modern players now do this).
17. No practise technique, not learning to slowly train the fingers in the pieces you play, but to instead 'chance it' and stumble through.
18. Not developing the ability to identify tricky passages which need 500% more work in pieces.
19. Playing with no concept of phrasing.
20. Playing with no vision or personal opinion about how the piece should sound.
22. Playing with too much LH pressure.
23. Playing with too much body, LH and RH tension.
24. Playing without projection - point 15 relevant here.
25. Not practising making pure notes, without buzzes. Lot's of technique needed here.
26. Playing with the RH to square on against the strings, not diagonally, which helps tone with most people.
27. Playing with way too much rest stroke, not developing a good strong freestroke. See points 15 and 24.
28. Not muting bass strings during passages when they need to be stopped, needs technique.
29. Playing with acoustic guitar style pull-offs in slurs - needs technique. Don't pull off the string literally, let finger drop.
30. Finally.................practising and playing without LISTENING to the sound you make.

You need a good teacher to avoid all of the above in my opinion. (I should also point out that you can develop these bad habits with a teacher too!)

There could be many more....but I teach CG day in day out as a full time job, these are the top ones. Nos 2 & 3 are real biggies with self taught guitarists, they don't usually understand that you need to play with your wrist forward to gain good assess to the strings with your fingertips.
Self taught here. Guilty of 12, 13 and 14. Seemed to have avoided the others without a teacher. Agree on 12, but years of poor sitting posture takes a while to overcome. Not sure I agree with 13 and 14. For me mentally visualizing my hands is very helpful and I have a theory that too much looking may cause focal dystonia.

rikroberts
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Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:22 pm

Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by rikroberts » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:47 pm

Interesting, the majority of international CG performers would agree with 13 and 14, but that doesn't mean they are right....so many of them get focal dystonia! You may have a good point there.

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

Post by Peskyendeavour » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:56 pm

6. Resting RH pinky on soundboard........ Do that all the time- Carles Trepat does it sometimes, so does Rob MacKillop and many others... Not that much of a crime is it? Booooo.... :P

Skype lessons - I think a lot of teachers offer them. You should consider that if no CG teachers are near you.

Good luck.

rikroberts
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:22 pm

Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by rikroberts » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:40 pm

Peskyendeavour wrote:
Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:56 pm
6. Resting RH pinky on soundboard........ Do that all the time- Carles Trepat does it sometimes, so does Rob MacKillop and many others... Not that much of a crime is it? Booooo.... :P
Well I would say it is, but you know, some people make different things work. One of the greatest English Guitarists in the 1990s was Simon Dinnigan, he played with his RH pinky constantly sticking right out. He was my teacher, when I asked him about it he just said "it's like that, it balances my hand". He later had to quit altogether due to an injury, I don't know if it was related to his RH technique. He never advocated any of his students copying that technique, as it was his own personal little glitch, but boy could he play!

Daniel Penalva
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Location: Brazil SP

Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by Daniel Penalva » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:30 am

Iam self-taught, but get alot of tips from friends, the things i most feel fault of:

1-) A teacher is also a present human being musician friend. If you have a good relation to your teacher you will get much more stimulated to learn difficult things.
2-) There must be a musician that knows what is needed to play that piece, a guy that already played, which techniques are needed ? how is the best schedule to the techniques and to the piece ?
3-) Which pieces would suit better your actual skills, which technique to play now ? alot of stuff online but little knowledge about the path solves nothing.
4-) Record yourself playing, but self-critique is alot harder to bestow than being watched.

Because of these 4, to me a master is irreplaceable.

By the way rikrobert list is very usefull, only that some teachers says that you must look LH as minimal as possible and develop your intuition. Is this really a bad habit ?

hugs

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

Post by kmurdick » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:05 pm

The right hand is nearly impossible to learn without a good teacher, and there are may other aspects that are difficult.

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Michael.N.
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:09 pm

rikroberts wrote:
Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:40 pm
Peskyendeavour wrote:
Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:56 pm
6. Resting RH pinky on soundboard........ Do that all the time- Carles Trepat does it sometimes, so does Rob MacKillop and many others... Not that much of a crime is it? Booooo.... :P
Well I would say it is, but you know, some people make different things work. One of the greatest English Guitarists in the 1990s was Simon Dinnigan, he played with his RH pinky constantly sticking right out. He was my teacher, when I asked him about it he just said "it's like that, it balances my hand". He later had to quit altogether due to an injury, I don't know if it was related to his RH technique. He never advocated any of his students copying that technique, as it was his own personal little glitch, but boy could he play!
Resting RH pinky on soundboard goes back to romantic guitar and lute technique. Strings are closer to the soundboard on those instruments and the RH ring finger was not used as much as it is in modern guitar technique. There's also a big difference between allowing the pinky to gently rest on the soundboard and pressing it down firmly. Most players who use the technique will frequently release the finger from the soundboard.
As for Dinnigan's pinky finger constantly sticking out. I had that habit. In fact I wasn't aware that I played like that until a friend pointed it out to me. It causes unnecessary tension in the hand, no doubt about it. It's surprising how some people can play with such facility despite having such a bad habit. I think it's true to say that it would impede progress for the vast majority of people though.
Historicalguitars.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:25 pm

Peskyendeavour wrote:
Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:56 pm
6. Resting RH pinky on soundboard........ Do that all the time- Carles Trepat does it sometimes, so does Rob MacKillop and many others... Not that much of a crime is it? Booooo.... :P
As Michael says its an early guitars and lute technique but I'd stress that its only relevant to those styles and when players like Rob et al do it its because they are either using that technique to play old pieces, or using 'old' technique (plus often, no nails) in more modern pieces. Which is of course fine if that's what you wish to do.
As with so many things, its about being able to choose one thing over another.
Btw I use little finger down when playing the baroque guitar, though not the Panormo.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

OldC1guy
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Re: What bad habits can I develop without a teacher

Post by OldC1guy » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:59 pm

As Vesa said, I'll summarize, All of them. But, keep playing.
I bought my classical guitar before my first marriage. That didn’t last, but the guitar did; one of the few things she didn't get...

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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 Aug 05, 2017 12:01 pm

6. Resting RH pinky on soundboard........ Do that all the time- Carles Trepat does it sometimes, so does Rob MacKillop and many others... Not that much of a crime is it? Booooo.... :P

Hi,
Search for the debilitating effects of the Quadridge Phenomenon. This happens when the pinky rests on the modern guitar.
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

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

Post by Robin » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:36 pm

Larry McDonald wrote:
Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:01 pm
6. Resting RH pinky on soundboard........ Do that all the time- Carles Trepat does it sometimes, so does Rob MacKillop and many others... Not that much of a crime is it? Booooo.... :P

Hi,
Search for the debilitating effects of the Quadridge Phenomenon. This happens when the pinky rests on the modern guitar.
Lare
This.

Developing a right hand technique that relies on the pinky resting on the face of the guitar is a poor basis for playing classical guitar. You may see people who play period instruments (such as lutes, vihuella, etc) playing this way as the instrument is much smaller; they often play off the right side of their nails with right arm coming more from the side of the instrument rather than the upper bout as we do in classical guitar. Most of the time, their pinky is laying on it's side, not at a right angle to the face of the instrument. Playing with the pinky anchored on the face of the guitar at a right angle leads to tension and impaired ability in the right hand. Stability for the right hand begins with a strong base of support (sitting position), guitar position with the right forearm stablized on the lower bout of the guitar and a functional default right hand position. There is no substitute for a solid, foundational technique. I don't believe that a quality right hand can be self taught. The training much more subtle than you might think.

Robin
So much music, so little time.

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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 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:16 pm

Robin wrote:
Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:36 pm
I don't believe that a quality right hand can be self taught. The training much more subtle than you might think.

Robin
No teacher ever taught me right-hand technique in much detail. It is only through careful study of Käppel, Stanley Yates, and Scott Tenant's technique books that I have clear notions about right-hand technique. This is a risky approach, I agree. Better to have a teacher with a solid background in kinesthetics. But such teachers are extremely rare. Second best is to study Käppel and Yates with great care. Teachers (that is to say, well-trained, erudite musicians) are essential for learning the musical aspects (interpretation and performance practice). I am not impressed with their value as teachers of technique. I have not tried all teachers, of course, and I cannot afford the ones that I know for sure are experts in technique. Käppel, Yates, and Tenant (you need all three for proper perspective) provide an affordable and reliable solution, even if there is a risk in the lack of supervision from an expert.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

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

Post by rikroberts » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:06 am

As a side point, I'm a CG teacher - and I just wanted to cite from where I feel I really draw my 'teaching from'. I believe it's from the years after I graduated Conservatoire and continued on my own...it's that post study insight I gained from really getting inside my own technique and being my own teacher with no one interfering as it were. Without that, I wouldn't be as good a teacher I think. But to get there, I first had to be taught. Paradoxical...

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