First thing to learn as a guitarist

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
MDevon

First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby MDevon » Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:24 am

If I wanted to become a classical guitar teacher, what would be the first thing (or few things) to show my students? After of course, showing them of to hold the guitar and sit properly. I ask this because I know there is more than a few experienced teachers on this forum and I wanted to see what their opinion is on what helped there students the most. And also kept the student motivated and excited for the next lesson.
Love to hear your thoughts.
Devon

tbon
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby tbon » Tue Sep 10, 2013 5:02 am

1. Take it slow.
2. Don't memorize, read from the score.
3. Don't watch the left hand.

Disclaimer: I am a student, not a teacher.

Jim Thompson

Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby Jim Thompson » Tue Sep 10, 2013 5:15 am

Devon, assuming you are talking about beginning students, I'd recommend basic first position chords from early Mel Bay or similar. They're easy to learn, satisfying and can be a confidence builder. It may not be very 'classical', but all those chord patterns show up over and over in the etudes.

Luis_Br
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby Luis_Br » Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:17 pm

Choose a good guitar method and follow it. A good method was already well thought by the writter, normally an experienced teacher. Start with first exercises and go on, probably will start playing open strings with RH alone.

Bill B
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby Bill B » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:35 pm

tbon wrote:1. Take it slow.
2. Don't memorize, read from the score.
3. Don't watch the left hand.

Disclaimer: I am a student, not a teacher.

I teach, and I find myself at some point every week teaching the opposite of each of these. Interesting.
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

MDevon

Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby MDevon » Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:46 pm

Bill B wrote:
tbon wrote:1. Take it slow.
2. Don't memorize, read from the score.
3. Don't watch the left hand.

Disclaimer: I am a student, not a teacher.

I teach, and I find myself at some point every week teaching the opposite of each of these. Interesting.


Well, I think it is good to take it slow. I wouldn't teach the opposite of that.

MDevon

Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby MDevon » Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:52 pm

tbon wrote:1. Take it slow.
2. Don't memorize, read from the score.
3. Don't watch the left hand.

Disclaimer: I am a student, not a teacher.


Why wouldn't you want to memorize a score? And I find no disadvantage to watching the left hand while playing (as long as you are not sight reading, then maybe watching the hands would be a problem). I do not want to start an argument but I am curious why you think these suggestions help you as a student.

MDevon

Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby MDevon » Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:53 pm

Bill B wrote:
tbon wrote:1. Take it slow.
2. Don't memorize, read from the score.
3. Don't watch the left hand.

Disclaimer: I am a student, not a teacher.

I teach, and I find myself at some point every week teaching the opposite of each of these. Interesting.


Then, what do you teach?

tbon
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Location: Paris, France

Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby tbon » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:21 pm

MDevon wrote:
tbon wrote:1. Take it slow.
2. Don't memorize, read from the score.
3. Don't watch the left hand.

Disclaimer: I am a student, not a teacher.


Why wouldn't you want to memorize a score? And I find no disadvantage to watching the left hand while playing (as long as you are not sight reading, then maybe watching the hands would be a problem). I do not want to start an argument but I am curious why you think these suggestions help you as a student.


During my first months of classical guitar, I used to memorize the score and watch my left hand while playing. While I made reasonable progress, I feel I relied too much on my eye coordination to find the notes visually on the fretboard. This was an impediment for reading the score, even more so because after memorizing the pieces it was more about muscle memory and not about creating a connection between notes on the score and position on the fretboard. I remember being so slow at deciphering a new partition, so I just stop looking at my left hand and tried to build a non visual physical intuition of where to place my fingers. It also helped a lot my ear, because I would use my hearing to correct the notes that sounded wrong.

After stopping memorizing, I had to read each time the music from the score, and I started slowly finding my way without looking at my left hand. It works even for shifting positions, although it's even slower to build confidence and precision in the movements. Now, after a while I end up knowing the partition by heart, but I still need to read it to be able to play. I know this is not sight reading, because I read many times the same partition. I would call this playing from a partition. My teacher encouraged me to do this, saying that It will be slower in the beginning, but it will pay off later, by learning thoroughly the connection between the notes on the fretboard and in the partition.

I had 14 months of guitar playing when I started doing this, so perhaps it is not something to try on someone just starting the guitar. But I think it changed my playing for better; it's not the fastest way to learn new pieces, but it helped me build confidence like nothing else. Now, I still look at my left hand, but only rarely, for example when doing a long shift, but it is a sort of instinctive short glance, and after that my eyes are back to the partition.

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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby Erik Zurcher » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:33 pm

The first thing my teacher taught was ear training: how to produce a good tone. He filed and polished my nails first and taught me to produce tone on open strings without 'nail clicks'.
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"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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Nylonstringer
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby Nylonstringer » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:26 pm

Don't press too hard with your left hand. Its wasted energy. I'm still trying to undo this bad habit.

Jim Thompson

Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby Jim Thompson » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:51 pm

I'm getting back to playing guitar after 20 some years, it's a lot like learning from scratch. And at first I absolutely could not, *not* look at my left hand -- or the right for that matter. Even though for most of my playing in the old days I've played from the score. On this new day, I'd look at the score but the fingers cannot find the strings or the frets. I have to look -- there's no point in guessing or fumbling around. That is how uncoordinated I've become for lack of playing. But little by little having looked with my eyes to my fingers, I need to look less and less often.

And having said that, like tbon, once you get past the lookiness of things -- and your fingers can find their own way -- and can concentrate on the written page, then you can start playing for real. And the easier it is for you to read, the faster it is for you to learn new tunes.

As to the original post -- think the trouble is that the learning curve is complex -- it involves learning the notes on the page, *and* learning the notes on the fretboard, *and* technique. It's hard to do 'em all at the same time. And once in a while you gotta look.

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"I know she is coming
I know she will look
And that is the longing
And this is the book "

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dng
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby dng » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:58 pm

I only agree with #1

not #2 and #3
"Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, save perhaps two.”
-Frederic Chopin

MDevon

Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby MDevon » Sat Sep 21, 2013 4:20 pm

tbon wrote:
MDevon wrote:
tbon wrote:1. Take it slow.
2. Don't memorize, read from the score.
3. Don't watch the left hand.

Disclaimer: I am a student, not a teacher.


Why wouldn't you want to memorize a score? And I find no disadvantage to watching the left hand while playing (as long as you are not sight reading, then maybe watching the hands would be a problem). I do not want to start an argument but I am curious why you think these suggestions help you as a student.


During my first months of classical guitar, I used to memorize the score and watch my left hand while playing. While I made reasonable progress, I feel I relied too much on my eye coordination to find the notes visually on the fretboard. This was an impediment for reading the score, even more so because after memorizing the pieces it was more about muscle memory and not about creating a connection between notes on the score and position on the fretboard. I remember being so slow at deciphering a new partition, so I just stop looking at my left hand and tried to build a non visual physical intuition of where to place my fingers. It also helped a lot my ear, because I would use my hearing to correct the notes that sounded wrong.

After stopping memorizing, I had to read each time the music from the score, and I started slowly finding my way without looking at my left hand. It works even for shifting positions, although it's even slower to build confidence and precision in the movements. Now, after a while I end up knowing the partition by heart, but I still need to read it to be able to play. I know this is not sight reading, because I read many times the same partition. I would call this playing from a partition. My teacher encouraged me to do this, saying that It will be slower in the beginning, but it will pay off later, by learning thoroughly the connection between the notes on the fretboard and in the partition.

I had 14 months of guitar playing when I started doing this, so perhaps it is not something to try on someone just starting the guitar. But I think it changed my playing for better; it's not the fastest way to learn new pieces, but it helped me build confidence like nothing else. Now, I still look at my left hand, but only rarely, for example when doing a long shift, but it is a sort of instinctive short glance, and after that my eyes are back to the partition.


Thank you for explaining yourself. I can see your why that would help you out. So, I assume that you wanted to know the rhythm of a piece rather than just learning how the piece felt and then just learning by memory. Although, I still believe memorizing a piece should always be the end goal of learning a song. As long as you still know the rhythm of the piece and not going off muscle memory, if I understand what you said.

MDevon

Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Postby MDevon » Sat Sep 21, 2013 4:24 pm

Nylonstringer wrote:Don't press too hard with your left hand. Its wasted energy. I'm still trying to undo this bad habit.


Same with me. A good tip is to play a full peice and press down the strings so lightly that you here a buzz (just remember to be close to the fret when you play.) and after doing that you realize how lightly you would really need to press the strings.


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