First thing to learn as a guitarist

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

Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by LFP » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:23 am

And the second thing is:

Examine all tension: mental and physical. LFP

Lockie
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by Lockie » Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:41 am

When I went to a piano teacher for classical guitar music lessons grades etc. She always had the washing machine on. It really forced me to concentrate on what ever I was learning. I soon realised the benefits later on.

Fpad
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by Fpad » Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:47 pm

MDevon wrote:
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.

This is great advice for beginners, I used to squeeze the neck so tightly, that it really restricted my left hand movement. It became a bad habit that I had to spend a lot of time undoing.

Julian Ward
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by Julian Ward » Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:06 am

A very interesting thread. I have taught for 20 years now and much of my teaching has been peripatetic.

Whether you chose to learn rest stroke melodies and later adding open bass notes or whether you initially learn freestroke through your teacher - I have found this is not the most important factor.

The most important factor that I think truly sets off a classical guitarist is the left hand thumb. I have taught hundreds - maybe more - of beginners and those that really succeed have been able to correctly position the left hand thumb and almost glue it to the neck whilst playing early on in first position.

A lot is said about not looking at hands - yes we all look at our left hand as 'performers'.. But initially looking straight at the music encourages faster learning of the notes and in my experience, faster progress.

HoboJeff
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by HoboJeff » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:49 am

I neglected my right hand for years and still don't know how to properly use my nails. I was impatient and always focused on my left hand disproportionately. So my tip is, have your student realise the music is most satisfying when you make your guitar sound great!

Jim McCutcheon
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by Jim McCutcheon » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:40 am

Holding the guitar in an ergonomically advantageous position, and setting a capo on the neck so the student does not have to reach out too far.

Bill B
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by Bill B » Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:07 pm

MDevon wrote:
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?
Wow, I can't believe I didn't respond to this a long time ago. I just saw this thread come back up and was scrolling through.
for points 2 and 3 I find myself telling students to watch their hands when they are doing things in an awkward manner or missing the fret or string they are trying to play. To be able to watch their hand, they must have the passage memorized, obviously.
as far as point one. There are times slow practice is helpful, but it is not the only way. I find it is often good to take a smaller chunk but play it at (or near) tempo. If the piece is not beyond the student, they probably only struggle in parts, so if you break it down to isolate the trouble spot, make sure you understand it, sing the rhythm, be able to visualize the fingering, etc. you might get the piece up to snuff faster by just breaking it into small enough chunks. a couple beats, then a couple more, a bar or two, then put it together. It doesnt always work that way, but sometimes....
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

robert e
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by robert e » Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:45 pm

I'm not a teacher, and there's much good advice in this thread, but for what it's worth, something that I feel is important has been only mentioned in passing is that too many guitarists don't learn and practice singing and listening, to their detriment. I count myself among these unfortunates, and I'm trying to make up for much lost time.

This was touched on before, but I agree that it's best to wean the guitarist early off dependence on looking at the hands. Checking once in a while is one thing; dependence is something else.

A question for teachers: do you focus on the thumb first, or on a particular finger? And why (or why not)?

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robin loops
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by robin loops » Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:54 pm

MDevon wrote:
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.
I think it's also a good idea (for students) to not worry about buzzes when working on beginner pieces, but instead focus on placing the fingers in the correct spots and correct manner. If they focus on fixing buzzes, the natural tendency is to press harder. If they don't worry about buzzes and focus on fretting correctly instead (the actual method to avoid buzzing) the buzzing will sort itself by removing tension rather than adding more.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

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robin loops
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by robin loops » Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:05 pm

The very first and most important thing to learn as a guitarist is to always get enjoyment from it. That's not to say, to not put in the time and hard work, but to never forget to enjoy even the hard parts. Second thing, in my opinion, is to never try to progress too quickly or skip steps, as this was my greatest hinderance (for the first several years) as well as for many other players I have known, and in my experience is the number one reason people burn out and give it up.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

mark b

Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by mark b » Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:14 pm

MDevon wrote:
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.
After beginning to play a little over two months ago, I am glad to find this advice, because I am certainly feeling the effects of pressing too hard on the strings. I was wondering how much of this is due to lacking strength in the appropriate muscles. I am looking forward to trying this tip.

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robin loops
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by robin loops » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:35 pm

mark b wrote:
MDevon wrote:
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.
After beginning to play a little over two months ago, I am glad to find this advice, because I am certainly feeling the effects of pressing too hard on the strings. I was wondering how much of this is due to lacking strength in the appropriate muscles. I am looking forward to trying this tip.
It's a question of precision over strength (tiny Korean players are a good example of this). Buzzing notes (when not an issue with the guitar itself) are usually related to less precision. When the fingers are properly placed it does not take much strength to get good sounding notes wihtout buzzes. Also with barres it has a lot to do with having even tension across the barre finger but only for the strings it needs to fret (so for example with an A minor form barre chord you would only apply pressure to the outside strings and not the ones being fretted by 2nd-4th fingers). Focus on precision and technique and the buzzes will take care of themselves.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

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JohnyZuper
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by JohnyZuper » Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:02 am

Erik Zurcher wrote: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'.
Such a good idea!
I remember my amazement at the sound when I first filed my nails properly.
It's very encouraging for a student to hear beautiful sounds coming out of their playing.
―Michaël Samyn.

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JohnyZuper
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by JohnyZuper » Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:14 am

In my experience as a student, watching the left hand while playing slowly helps the learning process. I can correct mistakes when playing from a partition by playing slowly while watching. Just a few times. Then back to the score.

Knowing music by heart helps me focus on interpretation. But it's very important to know the music on an intellectual level. Pure muscle memory has caused me a lot of trouble (forgetfulness, mind drifting, etc).

But until I deeply understand the music, I play from the partition.

At least this is what I'm doing now, in my fourth year of classes.
―Michaël Samyn.

tcee
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Re: First thing to learn as a guitarist

Post by tcee » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:21 am

Something I struggled with for a long time and still do is setting up a proper learning schedule. Maybe that would be nice to know for new students.

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