How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
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Mollbarre
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How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by Mollbarre » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:49 pm

Another discussion is revolving around which books are recommended for self-teaching. That made me go and take a closer look at which books I've purchased to date (full disclosure: I'm a book buyer - I like books. I use books. I keep books for reference).

One recommendation was was for Aaron Shearer (Classic Guitar Technique, Alfred) - so I had to look him up since I hadn't come across his material yet. It looks fine - yet there was a comment that it was outdated.

My current two main method books are:

1. Charles Duncan, Complete Classical Guitar series (Hal Leonard)
2. Will Schmid, Complete Guitar series (Hal Leonard)

I looked up both authors, and both are highly regarded guitarists. Both series are nicely laid out. Both tackle guitar basics - and then veer towards either classical or non-classical...

There are many other books out there. I also have a copy of Scott Tennant's Pumping Nylon (Alfred) - which I don't use (at least not at the moment, maybe it will come in handy down the road). I am also a fan of the RCM series (for any instrument) and have the Technique and Level 1 books out. I haven't looked at the Suzuki books yet.

I also see that there are also members in the process of writing method books.

So, my question is, how many do we need? Do they each have short-comings? Are things changing over time? Improvements? Bad teaching advice that needs to be dropped?

Or - are we just happily reinventing the wheel? And that's fine, nothing wrong with that either. Prevents stagnation... :mrgreen:
Last edited by Mollbarre on Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Alyamepi
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Re: How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by Alyamepi » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:01 pm

Most method books are fishing in the same pond: Carcassi, Sor, Aguado,... So as long as the pieces are correctly graded, it doesn't make a lot of difference what book you use. Also the Delcamp series is great. I love the RCM series, because they include some more recent music as well. I also like the Sagreras method. It has some lovely pieces, but doesn't cover all the technical challenges that you will find in Sor, Bach, or Aguado.

Catire
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Re: How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by Catire » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:30 pm

One more.
"Can it be there was only one summer when I was ten years old?"

VasquezBob
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Re: How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by VasquezBob » Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:04 pm

I like Alyamepi's posting; it's right on. A couple of added method books are Mauro Giuliani and Emilio Pujol. Moreover, I think that understanding music itself is what's important. Very much like you, Mollbarre, I have purchased many, many books on many subjects but, music is number one! I think that Pau Casals "Interpretation of Music" is excellent. Donald Francis Tovey has 7 small books on many aspects of music and he covers the water front on composers (Bach, Haydn, Verdi, etc., etc.) Most important, though, is where do you want to go with your music studies?

robert e
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Re: How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by robert e » Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:22 am

42

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Mollbarre
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Re: How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by Mollbarre » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:09 am

robert e wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:22 am
42
Catire wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:30 pm
One more.
Well that narrows it down...
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robert e
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Re: How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by robert e » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:56 pm

Mollbarre wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:09 am
robert e wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:22 am
42
Catire wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:30 pm
One more.
Well that narrows it down...
I'm sure Catire meant "one more than the 41 we already have", which means we agree. :wink:

More seriously, the modern "Spanish" guitar is relative young, and I think classical guitar technique is thus young and evolving. While it has always been somewhat informed by flamenco and lute technique, I think that today this is done more consciously and analytically, if that makes sense, even as we take what we need from the steel-string guitar world. The relatively recent phenomena of conservatories and academe opening up to the guitar, along with the internet, serve to bring guitar players and guitar teachers together and to make disparate methods more accessible to all. Plus there simply are more players and teachers worldwide, studying, learning, experimenting. We are a bigger community with more to share.

I also see a greater understanding of ergonomics informing instrument teaching, including guitar.

Meanwhile, as with other instruments, geniuses emerge and push the bar upward. I think this is true not just of performers, but teachers, scholars, researchers, and even writers and book designers.

So, contemporary refinements or approaches to technique and learning can take advantage of all this. I think the effects are only beginning to be seen in method books and I'm eager to see what's next.

I also want to note that Scott Tennant took pains to dispel the idea that "Pumping Nylon" is a method book, calling it more a handy reference for the exercises he used in teaching. One might say something similar about Iznaola's "Kitharologus" despite its progressive arrangement, and Lee Ryan introduces his "The Natural Classical Guitar" as a reference rather than a method. There are a number of other books that seek to fill in what method books tend to leave out, like Vardanyan's "Complete Warmup" and Martha Masters' "Reaching the Next Level".

Hey, I didn't realize that Masters wrote her own method for Alfred until I checked on that last title. Maybe there's room for more than 42... [Edit: one more.]

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dta721
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Re: How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by dta721 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:56 pm

I would start with either the 2-volume Shearer or 6-volume Sagreras (available on Delcamp)
https://www.guitarraclasicadelcamp.com/ ... reras.html

and then complement my self-training with the latest from Simon Powis - "Graded Repertoire for Classical Guitar: Progressive Pieces from Beginner to Advanced".

Would that be narrowed down enough for you?
:)

VasquezBob
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Re: How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by VasquezBob » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:45 am

Which method books do you have? Let's start there!!!

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Peter Frary
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Re: How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by Peter Frary » Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:24 am

Pedagogically speaking, there are a lot of great methods out there. The problem with most of them is the dead boring music inside. Thus, many students lose interest quickly even with the best teachers. So we supplement the hell out of these methods to keep students engaged. No wonder many teachers write their own methods and try to fill them with things students enjoy playing while building a technical and musical foundation. The alternative is to search endlessly for the Holy Grail of guitar methods...
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Frousse
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Re: How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by Frousse » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:13 am

I would also include the Frederick M. Noad books.

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Peter Lovett
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Re: How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by Peter Lovett » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:33 pm

I think method books are like recipe books - you buy them without any thought of trying to cook any of the recipes but they look so good on the bookshelf.

All method books have their good and not so good points; the trick is finding one that works for you - is easily understandable and doesn't try to push you too fast into repertoire that you are not ready for.
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chinese
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Re: How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by chinese » Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:03 pm

Most method books are the same. When we read it, we will find it illustrate skills clear enough to practice. However, once we play it following the instructions, we will always struggle. Here are many things can't be told by the books or recognized by ourselves. What makes that even worse is that we don't know the proper speed to learn it. If we learned with a teacher, even not very skillful, it will help a lot. So I recommend you to find a professional teacher.
Before I followed a teacher, I had been learning for 2 years. But my teacher said that was just pieces of **** and made me hard to improve. Even the basic positions were wrong.

SleepyheadRooster
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Re: How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by SleepyheadRooster » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:04 pm

Always more. Hopefully, they continue to evolve, get better, and include new music.

I don’t mean to ruffle feathers, but the assertion that “Noad is good enough for me, so it ought to be good enough for the next generation” is pretty lame. Not that anyone in this thread has said that, but I’ve heard that sentiment muttered way too often.

Music grows, evolves, and changes. We shouldn’t discard the best of the classics, but we should be open to the new as well. That keeps it interesting. It keeps it from becoming fodder for the dusty closet in some underfunded museum.

But that’s just my opinion. I don’t expect everyone to agree.
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Terpfan
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Re: How Many Guitar Method Books Do We Need?

Post by Terpfan » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:19 pm

robert e wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:56 pm
Martha Masters' "Reaching the Next Level".

Hey, I didn't realize that Masters wrote her own method for Alfred until I checked on that last title. Maybe there's room for more than 42... [Edit: one more.]
I went to Peabody with Martha Masters. She was one of the best young guitarist but at Peabody, she never shined. Then she went to USC and won GFA. I am sure there is a lot of insight in that book.

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