good books

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Evelyn

Re: good books

Post by Evelyn » Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:30 pm

Great post, Steve!

I feel that way about my lessons, too. Sometimes it's like magic, isn't it? I look forward to my lessons all week long, and I do believe that just the fact of having a lesson and knowing that I'll be playing for my teacher encourages me to practice harder so that each lesson will be as amazing as the last one.

Evelyn

Timbo

Re: good books

Post by Timbo » Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:30 pm

Actually I beleive Noad states in his intro that he intended at least book one to be used for self teaching and was pleasantly surprised that many teachers were using it as a teaching guide also. He gives special advice for those that are self teaching.

I'm a beginner so I'm not sure I qualify to make a recommendation, I'm using Noad's book one and I've found it to be very good at explaining and leading me through each topic carefully. I would also recommend Christopher Parkening's book as well. I think it makes a very nice suppliment to Noad's book, Parkening's book has a really good selection of nice classical pieces that are arranged so that they sound pretty good but can be played by a beginner. I especially liked his version of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" and Grieg's "In the hall of the Mountain King", there also a nice Malguena and so forth.

If you buy Noad's book, definitely get the version that comes with the CD or if not order the CDs that contain all the lessons as well as the repetoire pieces from his web site.

Timbo

Re: good books

Post by Timbo » Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:35 pm

By the way, I should explain, that I definitely agree that having a teacher would be best. I just wanted to point out that Noad explicity mentions that the book was intended for self teaching in the intro.

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KevinCollins
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Re: good books

Post by KevinCollins » Thu Jul 10, 2008 10:56 pm

----

Hmmm... Wasn't Segovia "self-taught"?

And, gentlepeople, mightn't someone new to the forum reasonably hope for guidance in this matter? Self-teaching is one of the great traditions of the guitar. And, even with a teacher, we are, each and every one of us, self-taught. The teacher may present the material, they've been there before and can point out the traps, but, at the end of the day, it is up to me to teach me. That is why we have the practice mirror, because practice is when you give yourself a lesson. That person in the mirror, that's your teacher.

Sometimes, it is more than a week between lessons and that is when things get cloudy, cardamomo. That sounds like what you are experiencing. Get your mind back to the moment you left your last lesson and retrace your steps to the practice chair. Forget all the time in between. Take yourself back to that moment. Start with what you can play, the books will come.

When you are in that moment, retrace your steps back to the spot where you lost the path and look for it. It is still there, waiting for you. Close your eyes and feel the path with your feet. And walk, feeling the path with your feet as you go, to your chair. As you walk, feel the steps of others who are on the path with you. Feel how deep the path is, from those who went before you. Feel it with your feet. That is how you know where you are. Books won't tell you where the path is; you have to feel it in your body.

Then, do twenty seconds. Twenty seconds of focused, clear, drive-the-speed-limit kind of practice, no matter how slow, one thing at a time. Right-hand, left-hand, page. Rotate your attention: Right-Left-Page... Right-Left-Page... Right-Left-Page... Right-Left-Page... Then, do another twenty seconds, until you are up to five minutes. You may not get up to five minutes. But the goal is five minutes of focused practice, either all together or in pieces, that you feel good about. With children, you have to be "on" all the time, you can't take your eyes off them. If you can hang your guitar on the wall (where they can't get at it) and pull it down as you are walking by it sometimes, for just a minute or two (you will need a clock with a second hand to make this work) you increase the likelihood of not being abandoned by your first love. Five minutes is something that you can succeed at.

I tell my kids, make a date with yourself, show up and do your five. Then, no matter what else happens, you will have succeeded. The next day, when you have more time, you won't go, "Oh, I didn't practice yesterday, this is going to be terrible (i.e. I'm such a bad person.)" No. You did your five and today you can do ten. But if you can't finish ten, at least you did your five. And if you want to do more than five, keep going. But at least you did your five. The secret to success is success.

The fact is, no teacher uses "a book". First of all, if they published a book with the technique outlined in it, step-by-step, no teacher would buy the book: their own technique is their stock-in-trade. On top of that, the reason we are stuck with "When the Saints" and "Beautiful Brown Eyes" is teachers will only use books with songs they know, the ones they learned in their lessons. Everyone on this forum learned from one of five books and they will each defend it to the death. We don't necessarily get the best people in the guitar teaching profession, you know. The kindest, though, perhaps.

What most teachers do is they ask you to buy a book and then they supplement it from their library and original materials. Every book has something to offer. They don't publish "bad" books. The problem with books is they usually contain just one idea, everything else is leading up to the idea and away from the idea. You have to read the book to find the idea. It could be thought of as a way to sell the idea, to make you think it was valuable. If you bought a book and it only had one page, would you feel like you got your money's worth? Would you? If I get one song from a book, I got my money's worth because that song will last my entire life.

If you were lucky enough to find a teacher who is willing to mentor you, you might consider giving yourself an early Christmas present. I gather that your instinct is to put all of your resources into your children and that guitar lessons are hard to justify, especially in today's world. But your children are going to grow up, they always do, and you might want to have something to show for your years -- although it is hard for the guitar to compete with the prospect of grandchildren. Still, if you are lucky enough to find someone in your area who has risen above the lessons-in-the-back-of-the-music-store, who will share their love of the guitar with you, you might mention the words "Do you have a sliding-scale?" to them. I sometimes do what I call a "trade for practice" (plus a little cash, for overhead) -- if you practice and I don't have to bug you to practice; and I can teach you all my best stuff knowing you will love it, too; and when you come back, you will have gotten to the next step, I will support your playing, too. I can't be the only one like this.

The other possibility is to get the series, "Royal Conservatory of Music Guitar Series" and march yourself through the curriculum. Lots of teachers will just assign page after page and their students play and play and play, very happy. You don't sound like you need someone to turn the page for you. It will be a few years before you "get your arms back" (enough to carry a guitar along with the kids and their stuff), maybe it's time to check into "the academy"?

I had a student in your situation. She could only practice when her son was taking a bath. She went through a two-hours-a-day practicing phase and the little boy was very happy to play in the tub while she practiced. He developed a thing about sharks. But, be careful with this, your children will begin to look like little white prunes and the neighbors will talk.

My teacher, Richard Provost, has very generously posted the text portions of his first two books on scale and arpeggio technique. He is a gentle fellow, very clear in his thinking. Perhaps that would be worth looking at, too. He takes you from open strings to the professional repertoire, not just another guitar book:

http://www.goldspielprovostduo.com/gallerylessons.htm

And, lastly, there is "the intimate solitude of the guitar", as Segovia called it. If we were in any other profession, we would be in a building filled with other people who do what we do, to cue us, to direct us, to affirm us, to show us the next step on the path. The guitar is one of the hardest instruments, right up there with orchestra conductor and concert pianist, because of the the high level of "personal leadership" that is expected of us. If I were an orchestra player, I would have a conductor to start me and stop me and bring me back in if I got lost, to show me what tempo, where the beat is, to write in the bowings, breathing and articulations, to tell me what phrasing and dynamics are expected of me, and so on -- you know, the 130 things that the conductor does. And then I would have someone sitting next to me doing the same thing as me. Someone I can peek at to see what I'm supposed to be doing; if I play a wrong note, I can catch it before it becomes apparent to the world. And if I get lost, they can play a little louder to cover for me until I get back in. As guitarists, we are expected to do all those jobs: start yourself, stop yourself and bring yourself back in when you get lost before anyone notices; cue yourself for entrances. And everyone expects you to smile even though you wish you were at home with your loved ones. And you don't even have someone to complain to, a convenient ear, someone else who is stuck there, too. There is nothing worse that being trapped in an elevator -- alone. That's where the forum comes in. Don't be a stranger.

This is a good question; deserves a good answer.

Cheers, Kevin

PS Best wishes for good health and happiness to you and yours.
_____________________________________________________
Kevin Collins, Amherst, Mass, USA All rights reserved.

millroy
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Re: good books

Post by millroy » Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:23 am

What a lovely generous, patient and helpful reply. :D

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ramsnake
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Re: good books

Post by ramsnake » Sat Jul 12, 2008 5:56 am

Jason Waldron's ( a 3rd generation product of the London Spanish Guitar Centre and one of our most respected Australian guitarists) Classical Guitar method. I have long used and advocated this method and have just discovered that it has been radically updated and extended and is now called "Complete Learn To Play Classical Guitar Manual and comes with 2 cds.
CGM.jpg
It contains over 100 solos and duos and is key based and full of great images and explanations on the basics and:
Scales
Chords (open and movable barre chords)
Tambour
Pizzicato
Rasguedo
Artificial harmonics
Vibrato
Double and triple thumb rest strokes
tremolo - 3 studies and how to arrange simple pieces to practise tremolo before launching into the difficult works

It is well worth a look as it would be a fantastic resource for many of the people that come to this site for assistance and do not or cannot access a teacher. Probably a bit more technique specific that Fred Noad's book.
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fep

Re: good books

Post by fep » Sat Jul 12, 2008 2:03 pm

Timbo wrote:Actually I beleive Noad states in his intro that he intended at least book one to be used for self teaching and was pleasantly surprised that many teachers were using it as a teaching guide also. He gives special advice for those that are self teaching...

If you buy Noad's book, definitely get the version that comes with the CD or if not order the CDs that contain all the lessons as well as the repetoire pieces from his web site.
I have an old copy of Noad's book, before there where CDs. I think I'll take your suggestion and order the CD from his web site.

I can't find where Noad states that he intended the book be used for self teaching. In the 'How to Use This Book' section he starts with 'If you are beginning the formal study of the guitar with a teacher, you will have no particular problem ... If however you have decided to teach yourself..."

It appears that the book was intended to be used either way and Noad goes on to explain what a self-study student needs to do to fulfill the funtions of both teacher and pupil.

I self-studied and I took a certain amount of pride in getting through Noad's Solo Guitar Playing 1 without a teacher. I like working through things on my own.

However, now that I'm taking lessons I am having to go back to ground one. It's a bit frustrating working out proper planting technique for arpeggios and playing really really slow exercises when a month ago I was playing level 6 pieces and they sounded pretty decent to me. I'm finding to go forward I first have to go backward. I'm not playing pieces at all right now as I think that would be counterproductive to correcting my technique. All this because I didn't use a teacher.

The problem with self-study for me is I breezed through lesson 1 and lesson 2 of Noad's book as there where no musical exercises to play (other than plucking open strings which I completed in a few minutes). Those two chapters on hand position, body position, frees stroke, rest stroke, arpeggio technique,etc are extremely important and something that an instructor would mention and correct for over and over, lesson after lesson. A lot of material was covered in those two short chapters. I thought I had it correct, but somehow I missed the whole point on prepartion and planting of the right hand. It's easy to do as you can read Noad's explanation in less than a minute.

For those of you who do self-study Noad's book, I'd say really pay attention to Lesson One and Lesson Two and review those two chapters over and over as you're going through the other chapters of the book.

Even better yet, self-study but take a couple lessons every two or three months.

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GeoffB
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Re: good books

Post by GeoffB » Sat Jul 12, 2008 2:57 pm

fep wrote:
I self-studied and I took a certain amount of pride in getting through Noad's Solo Guitar Playing 1 without a teacher. I like working through things on my own.

However, now that I'm taking lessons I am having to go back to ground one. It's a bit frustrating working out proper planting technique for arpeggios and playing really really slow exercises when a month ago I was playing level 6 pieces and they sounded pretty decent to me. I'm finding to go forward I first have to go backward. I'm not playing pieces at all right now as I think that would be counterproductive to correcting my technique. All this because I didn't use a teacher.
...

Even better yet, self-study but take a couple lessons every two or three months.
Good points, fep, and something many people don't realise until they experience it for themselves. Books can be very useful (and I've got a whole heap of them) but the best book in the world doesn't give you critical feedback.

Geoff
Classical Guitar Forum.

"Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it." - Steven Wright

Timbo

Re: good books

Post by Timbo » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:18 pm

I'm sorry, I think I mentally merged Noad's comments in the beginning of book one with some comments he makes at the start of his video series -- at the start of the video series he addresses a question of whether its possible to self teach and basically says that self teaching is indeed possible if the student takes care -- I guess similar to the statement at the beginning of his book really. I think I chose to take those statements as encouragement that he sanctioned self-teaching which may not be totally true.

I'm pretty sure that I have problems relating to "planting" etc. But I have taken Noad's comments to heart -- for each lesson in his book I make sure that I can play the exercises up to speed (using a metronome) without errors before moving on. I also spend a lot of time trying to get the fullest tone from each note. In Parkening's biography he gives several rules that his father laid down for his practise, stuff like if you play it through seven times in sequence without errors you can move on etc.

But when I reached "Canary Jig" , a piece Noad claimed would be unlikely to be difficult I had to work on it for about three weeks because that particluar piece really brought home the fact that my pull-offs were really feeble. And my left thumb position seemed to be at the heart of the problem I had to go back through all the repetoire pieces paying attention to my thumb position. I guess I'm going to face similar pain when I finally make it to lessons with a teacher.

yus_adila

Re: good books

Post by yus_adila » Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:22 am

sagreras is a good choice. i also prefer pumping nylon and also parkening. try it!

flameproof

Re: good books

Post by flameproof » Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:25 am

It's funny. I've only just realised -- I've never owned nor used a method.

My first guitar book was Bert Weedon's Play In A Day. I don't know who Bert Weedon is, or if he can play guitar of any kind, but he can't write guitar books. i think PIAD contained half-a-dozen "pieces" the melody to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and some chords for Bobby Shaftoe and Molly Malone (Cockles and Mussels) being the first three. Molly Malone required a full-barre, first-position F.

I somehow inherited a collection of "popular" songs which had chord diagrams and suggested arpeggios, along with the bizarrest little booklet by Billy Tringham (I don't know who Billy Tringham is... etc.)

I liked arpeggios so I threw away my plectrum (which annoyingly lose themselves all too often anyway).

Then one day I heard Air on a G-string arranged for the guitar, and the rest is history. All that history, not a single method.

I thought I was going to have a moral to this post. Um. Never tie your shoelaces in a revolving door!
Last edited by flameproof on Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Don Kamikaze

Re: good books

Post by Don Kamikaze » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:30 pm

I have only used two books in my guitar career (which started a year ago :P)

The complete classical guitarist, Jerry Willard: I got a hold of this book when I could play grade 3/4 pieces, so I wasn't an absolute beginner. I didn't use it for learning as it doesn't include much in terms of instructions and I ended up using it to warm up or sight read.

Pumping Nylon, Scott Tennant: I have to be very honest I only skimmed through it and played a few of the exercises. From what I have seen it is amazing in teaching technique and I think every guitarist should have a copy.

Most of the time I learn from pieces, having an 11,000 pages collection. You must be able to gauge your level and be realistic in choosing your pieces. In my opinion learning technique only can get pretty tedious and boring.

That is what got me to my grade 8 so far.

Enjoy learning!

flameproof

Re: good books

Post by flameproof » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:45 pm

Don Kamikaze wrote: ...my guitar career (which started a year ago)...

...having an 11,000 pages collection...
That's (counts on fingers and toes,) around 30 pages acquired per day of your career!

In my "career" of 30 years I have probably amassed a mere couple of thousand pages, and some over the years have gone astray (for instance anything by Bert Wheedon). So let's say I've had 3 000 in total, which (counts on fingers, toes and nose (for the decimal point)) amounts to around 0.3 pages per day.

You are 100 times the music squirrel that I am. Well done!

Timbo

Re: good books

Post by Timbo » Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:21 pm

Ramsnake wrote:Jason Waldron's ( a 3rd generation product of the London Spanish Guitar Centre and one of our most respected Australian guitarists) Classical Guitar method. I have long used and advocated this method and have just discovered that it has been radically updated and extended and is now called "Complete Learn To Play Classical Guitar Manual and comes with 2 cds.
Hi Ramsnake,

I really value everything you post, your video clips of thumb position, arm positioning, nail filing etc. etc. are really invaluable and make a very strong case for finding a a good teacher -- it would take forever by trial and error to discover many of the little gems that you have posted. So when I saw you mention the above book, I was intrigued and right away went to look up more information about it, here's one of the summaries I found:

Progressive COMPLETE LEARN TO PLAY CLASSICAL GUITAR MANUAL is everything you wanted to know about Classical Guitar playing, contained within one book. Use of tablature makes this the ideal method for any guitarist wishing to develop Classical styles. Takes the student from beginner through to advanced level using over 100 solo and duet studies and pieces, along with numerous exercises - all of which are recorded on the accompanying CD's. All techniques are explained and recorded in detail. An essential guide for guitarists at any level.

The use of TAB puts me off a bit, is this really the book you intended to recommend, I found another by Jason Waldron that didn't use tab although it may cover less material than the one you mentioned:

Progressive Classical Guitar Method: For Beginner to Intermediate Students [Book 1].

Just curious on your opinion.

Many thanks for all your past posts.

JoeP

Re: good books

Post by JoeP » Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:51 am

I think the Shearer and Noad books have proven themselves over time.
The Shearer book is actually a series of books that includes elements of music.
The Noad books are unbeatable for the examples of music it offers.
JoeP

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