Post by Lucy
I live in a rural area without a good classical teacher.
I would have to travel too much for lessons. There
are a few instructors that say they teach all types of
guitars but their qualifications are that they took a
class as part of their music program in college. I
would want an instructor that plays classical guitar
well. In my situation a video is very helpful but there
are a number of them and I posted to this group
because I felt it was the best place to get feedback.
I do better watching then just trying to following a
book. Again - I mean no disrespect for players who
have worked hard in lessons to perfect their talent.
I will only be a classical guitar hobbiest - not a con-
Your situation, of course, isn't ideal for learning to play the
classical guitar. And you're correct to be suspicious of studying with
someone who only dabbles in classical guitar. It's the last sentence in
the above excerpt, however, that concerns me. Let's see if I can
Over the years, I've often heard people say that, for them, the guitar
is just a hobby, and they've no desire to become a concert artist. The
unspoken assumption is that they've neither the time nor the
inclination to do the kind of arduous work needed to play on the level
of the concert artist.
But I wonder if people who talk this way have really though it through.
For example, most people who stay with the classical guitar long enough
will eventually try their hand at concert-level pieces. They're usually
unhappy with the initial results. I seldom see someone at this stage
hack through a concert-level piece and then look up with a satisfied
smile and say, "I know that sounded awful, but it's good enough for
me." Almost without exception, they're unhappy with how they sound, and
they want to sound better. Most of their unhappiness is the result of
fundamental flaws in their playing that might have been avoided with
better early training.
Further, many people mistakenly believe that only by practicing six to
eight hours a day can one reach a high level of playing. I've seen
enough to know this is false. For example, I know of a student who,
practicing less than an hour a day, reached the semi-finals of the GFA.
(Perhaps he'd have done better with more practice time, but the point
is that he played well enough to place ahead of about forty-five other
players, all of whom probably practiced more than he did.) Indeed, a
good many concert artists put in less practice time than many
conservatory students. The quality of practice is far more important
than the quantity.
A final thought. Students often try to cut corners on how they go about
learning the guitar. If asked why they do this, they might reply that
it's ridiculous for them to approach practice in the same exacting way
that a concert artist would. But think about this for a moment. If one
could cut corners and get good results, wouldn't concert artists be the
first to jump on that band wagon? The best concert artists can be
considered experts on how to get the best results in the least amount
of time. If they wasted time in unrewarding practice, they wouldn't be
One might object that concert artists are by definition more talented
than the rest of us. I would reply that if one is less talented, then
one should be more exacting in his or her practice--not less. In other
words, what a talented player might achieve innately, the rest of us
must achieve through good and disciplined practice.
I hope you'll re-think your decision to learn the classical guitar
through videos. At best, videos are only a supplement to good
instruction. Those who've advised you to find a good teacher are
speaking from long and hard-earned experience.
Cleveland Heights, OH