Can you teach yourself?

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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jpryan
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Re: Can you teach yourself?

Post by jpryan » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:01 pm

The short answer is, yes, you can teach yourself to play classical guitar, depending on how you define "playing classical guitar". You say you "mainly" want to play for your own enjoyment. That implies that you might also have other reasons. So it depends on what all of your reasons are and on your own temperament. You may derive just as much enjoyment from the process having yourself for your teacher.
If you're secretly seeking some standard recognized level of excellence or mastery then no, you won't achieve that. If that's not a factor, then you'll never know what you don't know, so it won't bother you. As far as challenges go, you'll have different ones if you try to play classical style on steel strings, but you may not care. Steel strings are harder on nails. The strings are closer together, so more crowded for your fingers. No show stoppers. I've seen and heard people play classical pieces on steel strings, and have done it myself on occasion.
Since you say you have no money or desire to buy a classical guitar then the question of buying one becomes a moot point. If someone gives you one you can try it and see if you like it. My advice is do what you want to do (since that's what you're going to do anyway), and if you ever decide you want a teacher then that's when you should get one.
This is of course different advice than I would give someone who asked, "What's the best way to learn to play Classical Guitar at a high level".
--John

riffmeister
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Re: Can you teach yourself?

Post by riffmeister » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:24 pm

I was a reasonably accomplished guitarist (electric, steel string acoustic) before picking up the classical guitar. I found a good CG teacher and took lessons for a few months to get me started, then self-taught after that. It worked out reasonably well, I think. And my advice would be to get a bona fide CG, is such a beautiful, tactile, rewarding instrument, very different than a steel string acoustic guitar.

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Erik Zurcher
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Re: Can you teach yourself?

Post by Erik Zurcher » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:38 pm

You can only teach yourself classical guitar technique to a certain level, to reach a higher, musical level is a different matter. Then you need a teacher who not only instructs and corrects, but gives you musical guidance. Watch some master classes on you tube and you will understand what I mean: they go into detail how to improve. Sometimes technical pointers, but mostly musical directions or different options. It's not about what you play, but how you play: "if you play as written in the score, you are doing it wrong!"
许理和·海牙·荷兰 Reedition Domingo Esteso by Conde Hermanos 2004; Kenny Hill, model Barcelona 2001
"While you try to master classical guitar, prepare for a slave's life: the guitar will forever be your master and you its slave".

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Larry McDonald
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Re: Can you teach yourself?

Post by Larry McDonald » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:33 pm

riffmeister wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:24 pm
I was a reasonably accomplished guitarist (electric, steel string acoustic) before picking up the classical guitar. I found a good CG teacher and took lessons for a few months to get me started, then self-taught after that. It worked out reasonably well, I think. And my advice would be to get a bona fide CG, is such a beautiful, tactile, rewarding instrument, very different than a steel string acoustic guitar.
Nominated for best post on the thread. The first 2 months are critical.
-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

Wuuthrad
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Re: Can you teach yourself?

Post by Wuuthrad » Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:19 am

Yes you can totally teach yourself! To start, I recommend the Parkening and Sagreras books.

Achieving "mastery" may in fact require a teacher, but as far as I can tell, that certainly didn't stop some of the Masters from teaching themselves. In many different genres.

By self study, one can learn a level or two (or three) below mastery and still be successful, excelling at your chosen craft. Especially with the amount of material available these days online, from the library and from this excellent website.

Not to discredit teachers in any way, as they too provide an excellent path to help achieve your goals.

Karen
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Re: Can you teach yourself?

Post by Karen » Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:48 pm

A teacher is helpful in so many ways that aren’t immediately obvious, not just the “do this or do that” most people think of. My teacher has forced me to slow down and keep working at the same things until I get them - I mean, really get them, not just think I do. I am a very slow learner and the guitar is anything but natural to me but thanks to this I am finally able to start playing better than ever before.
If you can’t get a teacher I also recommend the method book “The Conservatory Tutor” by Larry MacDonald, (the same guy posting above :) ). I am near the end of Shearer’s first book and bought it to supplement what I have already learned. It is a very different approach and is full of gems (like a large section on segment practice) that I have found very helpful. The pictures and explanations of basic technique are very clear and he also works on musicianship right from the beginning. The books are only available through his website and, for the price of a lesson, I think would give a very good overview and reference even for someone who already plays other types of guitar.

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mhjones12
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Re: Can you teach yourself?

Post by mhjones12 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:43 am

I'm entirely self taught, and while I can play some nice intermediate pieces, I expect I would be far more advanced if I had an instructor. I've been working hard this last year to correct sloppy technique that I'm sure an instructor would have beat out of me.
Matthew
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1977 Yamaha G-231 II
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Cephas
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Re: Can you teach yourself?

Post by Cephas » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:59 am

Hi, decided to follow the advice above and i just ordered The Conservatory Tutor now, as i cant find a teacher. Hope i get it soon, and it works for me. Some time next year i would like to order the Shearer Method book 1 as well. I know i obviously wont become a virtuoso but i'll be content learning as much as i can with whatever good resources i can get my hands on. Thanks!
If not now, when? And if not with all your might, how?

Karen
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Re: Can you teach yourself?

Post by Karen » Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:33 pm

If you are planning to buy the Shearer book be aware there are two different methods out there, very different, both written by him. I bought the newest “Method” Book first but my teacher informed me that was the wrong book - he wanted to use the older “Technique” book. That made me very happy as the book I had purchased made me shudder in its approach. It might work great but to me personally it felt condescending and the thoughts of playing air guitar and visualization was way beyond my comfort zone. The older book, “Classic Guitar Technique”, also tends to be a bit “thou shalt”, to put it lightly, but my teacher compensated for where the book got old fashioned. If you are working on your own I think the two books together would be very helpful- Shearer goes slower and gives more music practice for each aspect and Larry’s gives more modern technique and fills in a lot of blanks that are left out in Shearer’s book. (Eg musicianship) I have not seen the Noad books also recommended on this Forum so they also might be a good choice as people seem to like the music in it. Meantime I’m sure you will get a lot out of The Conservatory Tutor. Enjoy!

EricLobster
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Re: Can you teach yourself?

Post by EricLobster » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:26 am

You can always teach yourself but if you can get proper lessons, I highly recommend learning from an expert. The time that you will save and the tips and tricks you will learn will be priceless. Always learn from experts.

PeteJ
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Re: Can you teach yourself?

Post by PeteJ » Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:43 pm

EricLobster wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:26 am
You can always teach yourself but if you can get proper lessons, I highly recommend learning from an expert. The time that you will save and the tips and tricks you will learn will be priceless. Always learn from experts.
Very much agree. A teacher could save years of wasted work and give you the potential to be much better player than you might have been if self-taught. It is very easy to miss important issues and spend years practicing bad habits and ineffective techniques.

henders
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Re: Can you teach yourself?

Post by henders » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:03 am

I guess I’d say work with a method book and your steel string for a bit if you must to see if it really is something you want to pursue, and then, if so, buy a classical guitar and find a teacher. You stand at the base of a massive and towering mountain. I say that as someone who spent 20 years on steel string and the next 20 on classical. I am not sure it is something that one can get involved in and maintain a casual interest. It’s too demanding. And too rewarding.

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