Back to Classical after 10 Years

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dave119
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Location: Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by dave119 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:11 am

Hi all,
Have come back to CG, after a 10 year break concentrating on recorder as now retired (studied at Sydney Conservatorium back in late 70's early 80's - classical guitar).
Anyway, have been playing again for the past 8 whole days! and even though the musical ability is there, my hands are rubbish. Can't stretch on left and right is just a mess - can't even alternate properly.
So any suggestions on exercises (playing not physical - or maybe physical even) that you would recommend to perhaps quicken up the flexibility aspect of my hands -and yes I've doing scales which is dead boring and just running all around the fingerboard with the left, and playing simple melodies with the right just to try to get the fingers working again.
And as a by the way, 'muscle memory' or just plain memory is fantastic - picked up some level 2, 3, and even 4 scores that I used to play regularly and it all comes back without even thinking about it too much - left fingers just want to go where they are supposed to - the frustrating bit is that they don't actually get there with any sort ease or stopping and basically forcing them to the right spot - oh well.
So, suggestions?

rayian
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Location: Calgary Canada

Re: Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by rayian » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:07 am

You probably need to take it slow. It'll all come back gradually. Pay close attention while practising scales. It may seem boring at first but the more attention you give it the more you'll get out of it. Try arpeggios over simple chord progressions. Different patterns. Maybe Giuliani studies. Stick with it. All the best.

Todd Tipton
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Re: Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by Todd Tipton » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:58 pm

A situation like this can be deceptive to the player. Almost immediately, there are remnants of what one was able to do at their highest point. I'd spend a little time playing the easiest of exercises accompanied by the easiest of repertoire at the beginner level. Focus on playing this material at a professional level. Especially with exercises, don't let the past trick you into playing too fast or with too much tension. Really focus on movements being as easy and comfortable as possible. Chances are if you are in no hurry to quickly move past this stage, you will quickly move past this stage. You can be back to where you were in a relatively short amount of time if you quit trying to get there.
Dr. Todd Tipton, Noda Guitar Studio
Charlotte, NC, USA (available via Skype)

dave119
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:05 pm
Location: Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Re: Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by dave119 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:06 pm

Thanks Todd and rayian. I'm in no great hurry and know that this is going to be a process to get it all back together, it's just a bit frustrating knowing what I used to be able to do. I am actually basically going back to grade 1 stuff with scales and exercises and I'll work my way up. I really need to get the fingers working again as a first and major step and I know this is just going to take time. I've got AMEB Grade 6 with the recorder (alto and soprano, which I love playing) but the fingers basically just go up and down with a set stretch for finger positioning, no actual (or very minimal) sideways stretching. My musical ability is very good - it's just the physical mechanics that are sorely lacking.
As you say Todd, it is so tempting to just start playing some harder stuff and I have been but with the finger limitations at the moment it just doesn't happen.
So I guess it's just back to hard work for the moment!
Thanks

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ameriken
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Re: Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by ameriken » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:30 pm

I like Todd Tipton's advice. About July/August 2017 I ended a 14 year hiatus from any guitar and I felt the same way, I just couldn't play anything I used to. I tried to push it and ended up with some of the tendonitis or carpal tunnel issues in my right hand/arm and then stopped for a few weeks to baby my hand. After that I went back to simpler exercises and basic skills and instead of trying play something like Asturias, I was going back to pieces like Lagrima.

In the past month things have started to come together and I am beginning to feel like I can actually play again. That would have happened much sooner had I not pushed it too early and too hard last year.

Good luck!
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dave119
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Location: Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Re: Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by dave119 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:46 am

Hi ameriken, it a bit sucky but I guess that's the way it is. If I over do it as far as left hand stretching goes, I can really feel it - outside of lower arm and even in lower thumb - probably (definitely) pressing too hard when trying to make stretches - nothing is really flowing at the moment, even left shoulder gets a bit sore quite quickly. Playing easy pieces flows nicely already - it's only been 10 days or so, but trying to get some stretches happening and left hand, particularly the thumb, ends up as stiff as a piece of wood. It will just be a time thing and perseverance with basic stuff first. Right hand is picking up quite quickly though which is good. Just got to try to not play anything with a reasonable degree of difficulty yet!

Todd Tipton
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Re: Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by Todd Tipton » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:28 pm

I believe it was Stanley Yates that I heard say something like, "One of the quickest ways to improve your playing is to play far easier music at a professional level." Regardless of exactly who said what, it is a great piece of advice.

I'll take it even further. It is always the most basic fundamentals I return to to improve my OWN playing. Coupled with that is the fact that life gets in the way. I've always considered myself a teacher and not a performer. As I've gotten older, I've chosen to not work so hard and enjoy my life outside of the practice chair. There have been times, save for an occasional demonstration in a lesson, that I've set the guitar aside for weeks at a time. Let's just say that I've become somewhat of an expert to coming back to the guitar with spaghetti hands and needing to quickly rebuild my chops...lol

Repeatedly, I've had the same experiences over and over. I return to the very beginning. Refining a single finger stroke on an open string, the most basic right hand arpeggios, introductory repertoire, slow easy scales, etc. Diving deep into that with no concern for moving forward is EXACTLY how I quickly move forward.
Dr. Todd Tipton, Noda Guitar Studio
Charlotte, NC, USA (available via Skype)

Philosopherguy
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Re: Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by Philosopherguy » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:48 am

I agree with the advice of everyone else. I have also taken frequent breaks from the guitar as life got in the way. I think it's important to realize that, at the moment, you aren't the guitarist you used to be. Go back and take it slow for a while and learn some of the easy pieces and slowly your hands will start to "remember" how to move and you will jump ahead quite quickly at some point. Before this, if you rush it you will just introduce too much tension in your playing and build up mistakes. If, as you say, you have to stop in pieces and force your fingers, this is creating bad habits that will be hard to break. You are better off going with easier material that you don't need to stop for and "correct" your movements. Let your hands figure out how to move again and then try harder material.

Since you used to be a guitarist, at some point things will rush back to you and then you will know that you can safely move ahead. Deep down I'm sure you know what playing "should" feel like. Right now you are frustrated because it doesn't feel like that. But, you don't want to compound more problems and bad habits on your playing that is hard to break. In the long run, this will set you back and cost you even more time.

Just my opinion!

Martin
*************************************************************
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dave119
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Location: Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Re: Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by dave119 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:19 pm

Hi Todd and Philosopherguy,
Thanks, I am doing that anyway - easy pieces etc. Just got to ease back into it. Two things - Todd that statement from (possibly) Yates is absolutely correct. I would much rather play simpler stuff really well so that I won't mind playing in public rather than try to play stuff that could make me look like an idiot - that's reserved for my wife when I'm learning a new piece! One of my pet hates at the moment is looking at youtube people - allegedly not beginners - trying to play harder stuff and it is just so obvious that they are playing pieces way above their ability and it just sounds like rubbish - why they put this stuff on youtube I'll never know, I cringe sometimes. (Not the genuine beginners - it's the ones who think they are good.) There's one particular guy that is a guitar teacher working out of a music shop and he actually says that this is how to play pieces properly - oh my, I really would not want to be a student of his.
Philospherguy - your last paragraph is dead on - it's the knowing how it used to be that's the frustrating bit.
So all in all I am just taking things slowly and in the back of my mind is a little voice that says it's OK and soon enough it will all be good again..

CathyCate
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Re: Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by CathyCate » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:07 pm

I agree with all of the previous responses. I will add just one thought.
Treat yourself!
Give yourself permission to study music that is completely new to you. That will help to keep you in a new learner's spirit and mind frame. Hopefully, it may help to keep frustration and potential injury at bay as well.
Welcome back to CG world and All the best!
Cathy
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Rognvald
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Re: Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by Rognvald » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:35 pm

Dave,
I've also returned to the CG after a 6-year layoff. I've been playing again for about 7 months. The most important advice I can give you based on my approach is to start slowly playing 2-15 minute sessions a day(morning/night) focusing on hand dynamics. After 2 weeks, increase your time to 20-30 minutes twice daily and SLOWLY increase your play time to avoid any damage to your hands. Let your hands be the judge when you move forward. It's not necessary to play a set piece since your goal is to safely awaken your hands. The last two months I've been playing 2-3 hours daily and at times 4 hours daily when time permits. I've had no problems with my hands but I'm still not where I used to be as far as fluidity, accuracy, and speed. This will take time. An interesting sidenote is that after my long absence from music, my craft/artistry has leaped many former obstacles and plateaus since I continued to be an avid listener during my hiatus. I hope this helps. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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fast eddie
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Re: Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by fast eddie » Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:34 am

I returned after a 40 year layoff and it was very miserable in the beginning. My journey began almost exactly one year ago and at first I could not do even the simplest things. Very gradually I worked up to Bach's Joy of Man, which is where I am now. I can almost able to play straight through. Being older I have to contend with the usual physical limitations, but since I will never play in public, it really doesn't matter. have kept my interest up by learning pieces I enjoy that are also not too difficult. The classical guitar is a wonderful instrument and I feel certain that your background will be a big help to you.
Fast Eddie
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Jstanley01
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Re: Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by Jstanley01 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:38 am

dave119 wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:11 am
Hi all,
Have come back to CG, after a 10 year break concentrating on recorder as now retired (studied at Sydney Conservatorium back in late 70's early 80's - classical guitar).
Anyway, have been playing again for the past 8 whole days! and even though the musical ability is there, my hands are rubbish. Can't stretch on left and right is just a mess - can't even alternate properly.
So any suggestions on exercises (playing not physical - or maybe physical even) that you would recommend to perhaps quicken up the flexibility aspect of my hands -and yes I've doing scales which is dead boring and just running all around the fingerboard with the left, and playing simple melodies with the right just to try to get the fingers working again.
And as a by the way, 'muscle memory' or just plain memory is fantastic - picked up some level 2, 3, and even 4 scores that I used to play regularly and it all comes back without even thinking about it too much - left fingers just want to go where they are supposed to - the frustrating bit is that they don't actually get there with any sort ease or stopping and basically forcing them to the right spot - oh well.
So, suggestions?
Get Tennant's Pumping Nylon, and perform the exercises therein systematically. You'll be right as rain in no time. :D
Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. -W.C. Fields

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dta721
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Re: Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by dta721 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:07 pm

Jstanley01 wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:38 am
...
Get Tennant's Pumping Nylon, and perform the exercises therein systematically. You'll be right as rain in no time. :D
+1

I am back to CG after almost 40 years, however as a student :)

My main issue for a while was commitment, as there are pluses (motivation, easier on $) and minuses (retention, stiffer fingers, other obligations of a sandwich generation, still working full time) to be a student again! I tried self-learning too, but self-discipline to read books and do exercises has been such a daunting task!

Yesterday I took the plunge to see local teacher about my goals. I felt very humble to realize my incorrect techniques and the challenges ahead to produce proper round tones, as the very first task!

Emulating an old Chinese saying, "the CG journey of 10,000 hours starts with the first", with this book and my teacher's help, I am pumped alright! :)

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Jstanley01
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Re: Back to Classical after 10 Years

Post by Jstanley01 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:04 am

dta721 wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:07 pm
Emulating an old Chinese saying, "the CG journey of 10,000 hours starts with the first", with this book and my teacher's help, I am pumped alright! :)
As we say in Texas, "Yee haw!" And have fun. Cheers!
Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. -W.C. Fields

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