Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

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Jack Douglas
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Jack Douglas » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:47 pm

kmurdick wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:59 pm
It doesn't sound like your teacher understands the Shearer method. Also, this method has evolved since Shearer reached his intellectual peak (he has since passed away). My set of videos shows how Shearer taught at his peak with some new additions. You might take a look at these. BTW, I studied with Shearer for seven years.

It was a previous teacher. He taught an exaggerated wrist bend (how I picture Segovia and some of his devotees). I’m current way of holding my arm/hand is like you demostrare in your video. Afer I stopped lessons with the gentleman I had a single lesson with a performance artist who knew about Shearer’s change of hand position in his later years. I would say that what I’m being taught now is essentially what you demonstrate. It makes perfect sense that Julian Gray was likely at Peabody when Shearer was there and likely influenced by him.

Thanks for your informative post.
Richard Brune 'Artist' Cedar/Brazilian 1996

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Tom Poore
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Tom Poore » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:20 am

Just stumbled across this thread. I spent four and a half years helping Aaron Shearer write his three volume Mel Bay method (published 1990), and another four years earning my bachelor’s degree studying with Shearer. I’m flabbergasted at some of the things passed off here as the Shearer method. The mere lumping together of Shearer and Presti as though they’re the same thing is astonishing.

One should be cautious about accepting the words of former students as accurate portrayals of Shearer’s teaching. Some former students are careful and accurate in what they say—some are not. Further, Shearer’s ideas are thoroughly documented in his published methods. They’re the best sources of what he advocated.

It may help to recall Segovia’s quip about former students: “I have students I’ve never met.”

Tom Poore
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jmaulz
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by jmaulz » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:40 pm

I studied with a student of Shearer's for a year or so, can't say if he was representative of the "Shearer method", but every movement had to be accompanied by another movement: one finger flexes, another extends. This focus on complementary and opposite finger movements contributed to loss of independence in the fingers and a susceptibility towards the development of focal dystonia. Just my experience.

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Tom Poore
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Tom Poore » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:15 am

jmaulz wrote:I studied with a student of Shearer's for a year or so, can't say if he was representative of the "Shearer method", but every movement had to be accompanied by another movement: one finger flexes, another extends. This focus on complementary and opposite finger movements contributed to loss of independence in the fingers and a susceptibility towards the development of focal dystonia. Just my experience.
As one who worked closely with Shearer over eight years—as editor of his three part published method, and as a student—I have an informed perspective when someone talks or writes about the Shearer method. Sometimes I encounter people who know what they’re talking about. Other times I encounter people who say things that have little or no relation to what Shearer actually wrote and taught.

Based on what you wrote above, I’ve no idea what you’re talking about. Your statement that “every movement had to be accompanied by another movement: one finger flexes, another extends” makes no sense. And I would say that whether you’re talking about Carlevaro, Duncan, Glise, Iznaola, Käppel, Parkening, Romero, Ryan, Shearer, Tennant, or any other method. I’ve never seen any guitar teacher claim that every movement must be accompanied with another movement.

And since you’re portraying “one finger flexes, another extends” as a potentially damaging movement, please explain how to do rapid i and m alternation without having the two fingers move in opposite directions?

You might reconsider whether hit and run attacks on a method are in any way illuminating. I’ve no problem with someone disagreeing with something a teacher has written. (I’ve often done so myself.) But one should exercise a certain minimum of care in doing so. There’s nothing useful about vaguely worded claims devoid of evidence that the teacher said what you claim he said. If you want to accuse someone of advocating potentially harmful ideas, then take the time to frame your accusation in a clear and documented way.

Tom Poore
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Lawler
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Lawler » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:57 am

Tom Poore wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:15 am
...As one who worked closely with Shearer over eight years—as editor of his three part published method, and as a student—I have an informed perspective...
I’m flabbergasted at some of the things passed off here as the Shearer method... One should be cautious about accepting the words of former students as accurate portrayals of Shearer’s teaching... It may help to recall Segovia’s quip about former students: “I have students I’ve never met.”
Good posts!

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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by jmaulz » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:49 pm

Tom Poore wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:15 am
jmaulz wrote:I studied with a student of Shearer's for a year or so, can't say if he was representative of the "Shearer method", but every movement had to be accompanied by another movement: one finger flexes, another extends. This focus on complementary and opposite finger movements contributed to loss of independence in the fingers and a susceptibility towards the development of focal dystonia. Just my experience.
As one who worked closely with Shearer over eight years—as editor of his three part published method, and as a student—I have an informed perspective when someone talks or writes about the Shearer method. Sometimes I encounter people who know what they’re talking about. Other times I encounter people who say things that have little or no relation to what Shearer actually wrote and taught.

And I would say that whether you’re talking about Carlevaro, Duncan, Glise, Iznaola, Käppel, Parkening, Romero, Ryan, Shearer, Tennant, or any other method. I’ve never seen any guitar teacher claim that every movement must be accompanied with another movement.

And since you’re portraying “one finger flexes, another extends” as a potentially damaging movement, please explain how to do rapid i and m alternation without having the two fingers move in opposite directions?

You might reconsider whether hit and run attacks on a method are in any way illuminating. I’ve no problem with someone disagreeing with something a teacher has written. (I’ve often done so myself.) But one should exercise a certain minimum of care in doing so. There’s nothing useful about vaguely worded claims devoid of evidence that the teacher said what you claim he said. If you want to accuse someone of advocating potentially harmful ideas, then take the time to frame your accusation in a clear and documented way.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA
Tom, this was not an attack, accusation, or uninformed opinion regarding the Shearer method. This was my experience, which I needn't defend.

Crofty
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Crofty » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:40 pm

jmaulz wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:40 pm
I studied with a student of Shearer's for a year or so, can't say if he was representative of the "Shearer method...
Must say that read like a pretty easy to understand caveat to me.

As e very general rule I must say that I found just letting one's fingers do what was natural and logical worked for me. I largely was able to let them figure it out for themselves but was perhaps a bit lucky with that.

I guess it's different for everybody though - I'm often surprised by the odd and inefficient way in which some people hold knives or screwdrivers, chop wood etc. It just looks like the opposite of "natural".

Paul

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Tom Poore
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Tom Poore » Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:52 am

jmaulz wrote:Tom, this was not an attack, accusation, or uninformed opinion regarding the Shearer method. This was my experience, which I needn't defend.
You claim a method gives potentially harmful advice, yet admit you don’t know if your secondhand source was reliable. You vaguely describe an odd technical concept found nowhere in any method. When challenged to defend your claim, you get huffy and refuse to explain yourself further.

Those are defining characteristics of an uninformed opinion.

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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Carey » Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:10 am

'Mastering Guitar Technique: Process and Essence' by C Berg

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Alexander Kalil
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Alexander Kalil » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:54 am

Tom, if you happen to have above mentioned book by Berg take a look at Lesson 14 about 'Arpeggio Movements'. Therein Berg goes on to describe the execution of every possible right hand formula as a sequence of flexion movements accompanied with extension movements. For example, the aimi pattern's execution is described as follows: a flexes and i extends; i flexes and a extends; m flexes and i extends (a flexes with m); i flexes and ma extends. And similarly for the remaining rh patterns.

I think that's what jmaulz is referring to - though I cannot comment on the connection with Shearer as I don't know his method.

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Tom Poore
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Tom Poore » Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:43 pm

Alexander Kalil wrote:Tom, if you happen to have above mentioned book by Berg take a look at Lesson 14 about 'Arpeggio Movements'. Therein Berg goes on to describe the execution of every possible right hand formula as a sequence of flexion movements accompanied with extension movements. For example, the aimi pattern's execution is described as follows: a flexes and i extends; i flexes and a extends; m flexes and i extends (a flexes with m); i flexes and ma extends. And similarly for the remaining rh patterns.

I think that's what jmaulz is referring to - though I cannot comment on the connection with Shearer as I don't know his method.
Of course there are movements in which one finger extends as another flexes—it’s impossible to play the guitar without such movements. I was responding to the claim that “every movement had to be accompanied by another movement: one finger flexes, another extends.” I challenge jmaulz to cite any method—by Shearer or anyone else—that makes this assertion.

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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by c.rispoli » Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:56 pm

I think they're a great foundation and tradition to build upon! But, we have learned a lot in the fields of biology and physiology since their heyday and I prefer to make some minor adjustments that will set up my students for a long career of playing free from the shackles of carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis.

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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by jmaulz » Wed Oct 17, 2018 6:40 pm

Mr. Poore, while I’m resistant to addressing your response in this public forum, your insistence leads me to indulge you.

“I’ve never seen any guitar teacher claim that every movement must be accompanied with another movement.”
That is your experience, but not mine. We practiced both on and off the guitar, when one finger flexed, the next finger (or fingers) extended, with emphasis on maximum range of motion. In your words: “Of course there are movements in which one finger extends as another flexes—it’s impossible to play the guitar without such movements.” This fosters interdependence between the fingers, the foundation of focal dystonia.

“And since you’re portraying “one finger flexes, another extends” as a potentially damaging movement, please explain how to do rapid i and m alternation without having the two fingers move in opposite directions?”
I believe good technique involves flexing, and then returning to the natural resting position of the finger. In rapid succession I don’t believe the fingers actually reach the resting position.

The problem occurs when the rapid I and m alternation becomes ingrained in the brain as a single movement, blurring the differentiation between the mapping in the brain between two fingers. This can cause m to extend involuntarily when i flexes, ie focal dystonia. In most cases, fortunately for most guitarists, this doesn’t happen, and the fingers retain their independence.

“You might reconsider whether hit and run attacks on a method are in any way illuminating”
I’ve been a member of this forum on and off for 12+ years, and it’s been rare in my experience to witness, much less experience, the hostile, accusatory, off point, and personally hurtful tone of your responses. This was not a hit and I’m not running.

“There’s nothing useful about vaguely worded claims devoid of evidence that the teacher said what you claim he said”
What I said was, in fact, my experience. I can offer no proof that he said what I report. It is what was the guidance, advice, direction shared with me by my instructor, and was the focus of my dedicated practice during that time.

“If you want to accuse someone of advocating potentially harmful ideas, then take the time to frame your accusation in a clear and documented way.”
While I think my instructor’s advice on technique was misguided, I accuse him of nothing I know he was teaching with the best intentions and integrity, and with the full depth of knowledge he possessed at the time.

“I challenge jmaulz to cite any method—by Shearer or anyone else—that makes this assertion.”
This is odd (and more than a little offensive), but since you’re insistent, I'll respond: I am unable to cite any method -by Shearer or anyone else -that makes this assertion. As I made clear in my post, my experience wasn't necessarily a reflection of the Shearer method, though the teacher I worked with was a current student with Aaron at Peabody at the time, 1975-1976: “I studied with a student of Shearer's for a year or so, can't say if he was representative of the "Shearer method.”

Respectfully,
Mike Maulsby.

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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by soltirefa » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:07 pm

I’ve been a member of this forum on and off for 12+ years, and it’s been rare in my experience to witness, much less experience, the hostile, accusatory, off point, and personally hurtful tone of your responses.

In my opinion his posts are often lacking a sense of humility and come across as very pedantic and lecturing. It's very off-putting to me.
Last edited by soltirefa on Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by guitarrista » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:56 am

jmaulz wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 6:40 pm
This fosters interdependence between the fingers, the foundation of focal dystonia.
I think you have it backwards - if one develops focal dystonia, then, due to the overlapping in the brain of the mental model for two fingers, they, as a result, are not independent of one another anymore. Performing normal, if coordinated, motions with multiple fingers at the same time does not by itself lead to focal dystonia, however.
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1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

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