Please feel free to suggest further items for the list. You can do so in reply to this post, and I'll incorporate suitable additions in due course.
About the lessons:
- What does the course consist of?
- Are the lessons available in any other languages?
- Are the lessons available only in standard notation or is there also tablature?
- Will I be directly tutored by M Delcamp?
- Can I use just any guitar?
- Do I need to be able to read sheet music in order to take lessons?
- How long, on average, does it take to complete each of the lessons, assuming 30-45 min/day practice?
- How long does it usually take to learn classical guitar? Am I too old to start now?
- Why is it that there are scores for levels D08-D12 but no lessons to go with them?
- Are the lessons repeated each year?
- How do I register for the lessons?
- Do I have to use my real name and surname to register? I'd like to keep my privacy.
- I was in the students group last year, do I need to register again this year?
- Can I register in advance for next September?
- Do I need to register for the lessons just to access the sheet music?
- Is it possible to follow the lessons as an observer?
- Is it still possible to register even though the course started some time ago?
- Does it matter that I will not have time to meet the conditions for the exam?
- What is meant by levels (D01, D02, etc.)?
- Do I need to register for a specific level?
- Can I change levels once I've started?
- Can I follow more than one level at the same time?
- Which level would be the most suitable to start at?
- What is meant by the 20 messages I have to post to access the higher score levels, and where do I post them?
What to do in the lesson:
- How do I take part in the lessons?
- How should I tune my guitar?
- How do I record myself for the lessons?
- Do the recordings of the required pieces have to be video, or may they be audio-only?
- Where and how do I post recordings of lesson pieces?
- How do I make my Youtube videos viewable on the forum?
- Can I repost the recordings I made for the same lesson last year?
- What recordings can I post in lesson topics?
- What recordings can I post in Students' Corner?
- How is the final exam conducted and what exactly is tested?
- How do I join the Spanish forum in order to sit the end of year exam?
- I did the exam last year. Do I need to re-register to do this year's exam?
- What is the benefit of the exam? Is it just to give you a way to gauge your own progress?
- Can I print the collection of scores or there will be any problem with the copyrights?
- Would it be useful to print out the complete scores and create an index?
- Is there a quick way of finding out when the scores have been updated?
- Do the score collections contain any music theory, or just musical pieces?
Symbols used in the scores:
- Why are some pieces marked with a tick in the top left corner and some not?
- What is that long curving line over the top of the staff?
- What is the pinwheel/flower symbol that appears in some of the scores?
- What is meant by the rectangular outlines around some passages?
- What does the 8 under the G clef symbol mean?
ABOUT THE LESSONS:
What does the course consist of?
The course is made up of ten lessons at each of several different levels. The first lesson of each level appears in September, and subsequent lessons at monthly intervals. Students who join at the beginning of the course are encouraged to follow the lessons as they come out. Students who join later will find more than one lesson already out, and should start with the first and work through them sequentially.
Each lesson covers a number of exercises and practice pieces, for which the sheet music is provided, as well as demonstration videos and instructional notes by M. Delcamp. Students work on the pieces and post recordings of their progress for feedback by other students, before moving on to the next lesson.
Are the lessons available in any other languages?
Yes, they are also available in French, Spanish and Italian. To follow those, you first need to register on the French, Spanish or Italian Delcamp forum, which you can access by clicking on the relevant link at the top left of the forum page. Note that you cannot log in there until you have registered, since they have different membership databases from our English-language forum, but you can use the same name and password when registering there. Once you have registered on the forum and introduced yourself there, you can go to their online lessons section and register for the lessons there in the same way as you would here.
Are the lessons available only in standard notation or is there also tablature?
So far, the scores do not normally contain tab, except for a few which include facsimiles of the original lute tab, but they probably wouldn't help you much! Generally it is a good idea to learn standard notation, as that gives more information than tab, and being able to read it will open up a huge world of sheet music to you. Since they are graded by difficulty, the Delcamp scores are a useful way to practise reading notation. The only tabs elsewhere on the forum are found in the Our tablatures for classical guitar section.
Will I be directly tutored by M. Delcamp?
No. M. Delcamp provides the lessons which have been carefully tailored to systematically bring a guitar student through the complex process of learning to play classical guitar. Your fellow students and active forum members, especially instructors, are encouraged to participate in offering suggestions, positive criticism, and encouragement to the students participating in the classes.
Can I use just any guitar?
You will need to use a classical guitar (or at least an acoustic guitar with no internal pickups or amplification).
Do I need to be able to read sheet music in order to take lessons?
No. Although the lessons are based on sheet music, not tabs, in the very first exercise M. Delcamp introduces the notes on the open strings and where they are on the staff. After that, he starts introducing notes that need to be fretted with left hand fingers. He shows you where they are on the staff and which left hand fingers to use, and demonstrates all of this on his videos. If anything is not clear, the other students will be there to help you, so feel free to ask questions, and if you come across symbols you are unfamiliar with, there are sites such as http://www.dolmetsch.com/musicalsymbols.htm which may help.
How long, on average, does it take to complete each of the lessons, assuming 30-45 min/day practice?
The intention is that students will work on each lesson for approximately 4 weeks. After the first week, they are encouraged to upload a recording for feedback by the other students, and then to continue working on the pieces taking any such feedback into account, and possibly post another version of the recording towards the end of the 4-week period showing any improvements. Obviously students who are starting the course later and catching up with the others may wish to get through the earlier lessons more quickly if they can.
How long does it usually take to learn classical guitar? Am I too old to start now?
It has been suggested that 10,000 hours of practice are needed if you want to take it seriously! However, for the amateur it's possible to achieve a satisfactory result much earlier. Even if you are several years away from playing the more difficult pieces, it can be just as enjoyable to play a simple piece really well, concentrating on tone, phrasing, etc. Each of the Delcamp levels relates to a year of study, so looking at the pieces there will give you an idea of how long it might take you to to play them, with reasonably diligent practice. We have quite a few members just taking up the guitar in their 70s, and thoroughly enjoying it.
Why is it that there are scores for levels D08-D12 but no lessons to go with them?
The Delcamp scores were here long before the lessons in fact, and can be used independently of them. Then a few years ago M. Delcamp started producing lessons based on the scores, but they take a lot of work to prepare, so he has only got as far as level D05 so far (plus a video-only course for levels D06 and D07 on the Spanish forum). How much further he feels able to go will depend on how much time he has, but the forum keeps him pretty busy already, bearing in mind that he has a full-time job during the day too.
Are the lessons repeated each year?
Broadly speaking, yes. At the beginning of each new session (in September each year), all the previous year's lessons are moved to the archives here, where you can still see them, but won't be able to post in them. Then the new lessons are posted, one per month for each level. They are mostly the same in their content as the corresponding lessons last year, although there may be some small updates, and the required pieces for students to post may be different.
How do I register for the lessons?
To register for the lessons, read carefully the first post in the topic Conditions for participating in the lessons, and ensure that you can satisfy the conditions there. In particular:
- You will need a classical guitar, or at least an acoustic guitar, and some way of recording yourself.
- Your username needs to be your full real name. If it isn't already, you can request a username change to your real name by posting a message in Your messages to the site administrator. When your username has been changed, you will use the new one (your full name) to log in (keeping the same password).
- If you haven't already done so, you need introduce yourself here. (There are some ideas on things to say, if you need any, here).
- You need to advertise the lessons in some way as suggested in the conditions, by posting on Facebook or some other website, putting up posters, or telling your friends about them.
Do I have to use my real name and surname to register? I'd like to keep my privacy.
Yes, I'm afraid that the use of your real name is an absolute requirement if you want to join in the lessons. If you really don't want to provide it, you might consider following the lessons as an observer and working on the pieces by yourself.
I was in the students group last year, do I need to register again this year?
Yes, registrations only last for one session, and need to be renewed from September. This means re-reading the conditions in case of any updates, advertising the new session (using the updated posters or wording if required), and registering in the same way as before.
Can I register in advance for next September?
Advance registration for a future session is not possible, because each year all the current registrations will get cancelled just before the new session starts in September, and the list of students is then rebuilt from new registrations, both from completely new students and from current students wishing to re-register for another year. There will also be updated conditions and posters available nearer the time. So students should wait until September before attempting to register for the new session.
Do I need to register for the lessons just to access the sheet music?
No. The sheet music is available to all forum members who have posted the required number of messages and subscribed to the appropriate usergroups. You can subscribe to group 002 after you have posted two messages on the forum and this gives you access to the scores at levels D01 to D03. For access to levels D04 and above, you need to subscribe to group 020 after you have posted at least 20 messages (see guidance here).
Registering for the lessons is only necessary if you wish to take part actively in the lessons, posting your recordings in the lessons topics and discussing them with other students.
Is it possible to follow the lessons as an observer?
Yes, you can access the lessons and related sheet music without having to register, assuming you are working on them on your own and don't need to join in actively in the classes. The advantages are that you can go more easily at your own speed if time is a problem, and that you are not bound by the various conditions; the disadvantage is that you don't get feedback from the other students. It can be a useful option if you have discovered the lessons very late in the year, when it is not practical to join up, and want to prepare yourself to join up in the next session.
Is it still possible to register even though the course started some time ago?
You can join up at any time during the year. Lessons start in September and appear at monthly intervals until April. The best time to start is with the initial group in September, but new members are joining the forum all the time and some of those will join the lessons some weeks or months later than the main group. The lessons rely on feedback from other students, and as long as there are a reasonable number of students working on the same lesson at the same time, there should be enough opportunity for reciprocal feedback, though if you join very late in the course you may find most students have moved on and there is hardly anyone to give feedback.
The lessons remain available until the end of August, and late-starters have until then to continue working through them. After that, the lessons are archived and the new session begins with the repeat of lesson 1. So if you start very late in the session, you may not have time to get right through the course. If you wish to continue at the same level in the new session, you will need to start again from lesson 1. So if, for instance, you only had time to get to lesson 4 in the old session, you can't just wait and pick up from lesson 5 in the new session, but need to follow the whole course again from lesson 1. That's something you may wish to take into account if deciding whether to start very late.
Rather than start very late in the session when it is too late to catch up, you may prefer to wait until September and join with the new session, and to use the remaining time until then to look through the existing lessons, learn from the discussions of the previous students, and practise by yourself, so that you will have a head start when the new session starts.
Does it matter that I will not have time to meet the conditions for the exam?
No. The exam, held in May, is entirely optional, and if you wish to sit it then you will need to have submitted your recordings of the required pieces for at least 7 of the lessons before the exam date. However, you can derive full benefit from the lessons without sitting the exam. The lessons remain available until the end of August, long after the exam has finished, so even if you are too late to sit the exam you can still continue working on the lessons.
What is meant by levels (D01, D02, etc.)?
The levels D01, D02, etc., represent the level of difficulty of the music and the lessons. They are based on the syllabus at the music school where M. Delcamp teaches. The "D" just means that they are part of the Delcamp numbering and don't necessarily correspond exactly to other grading systems, and the numbers represent the year group following that stage of the syllabus, D01 for first-year students, D02 for second-years, etc. Within the Delcamp score collections, each level is progressive, so the D01 volume, for instance, starts with exercises for total beginners and gradually works up to material suitable for those approaching the end of their first year.
Do I need to register for a specific level?
No, you just register for the course, and it's then up to you which level you follow. Just be aware that in order to access the scores for levels D03 and above you need to have posted at least 20 messages and subscribed to the 020 usergroup (see details here).
Can I change levels once I've started?
Yes, students may start or leave a course at any time, so there is no problem if you find after a while that the level you chose was too hard or too easy and decide to switch to a different level. The only thing to bear in mind is that you would need to go back and start the new level from the first lesson of that level and catch up.
Can I follow more than one level at the same time?
Yes, you can follow more than one level at the same time, if you have the time to complete the required monthly tasks for both.
Which level would be the most suitable to start at?
The levels are based on music school classes, where D01 is for absolute beginners, D02 for the second year, etc. Students can choose which level to follow, and don't have to start with D01 if they are more advanced than that. If you've never had any formal lessons it's possible you may have picked up some bad habits from self-tuition, so starting at D01 is not a bad idea. Conversely if you are already quite advanced, you may find fellow students at the higher levels better able to offer constructive criticism on your technique.
If unsure which level is best for you, the best thing is probably to have a look through some of the previous lessons at various levels and the videos being posted there, and see which level seems sufficiently challenging without being too difficult. If the current session has only just started and there aren't many lessons to look through, you can see last year's course in full in the archives section of the online lessons here. When comparing levels, it's easier if you sort the lessons first by going to the bottom of the lessons forum page (or lessons archive page) and setting the drop-down menus to read "Sort by: Subject, Ascending", then click on Go just to the right of them.
And whichever level you follow, you can of course read through the other lessons in slower time to pick up any points there that may not be covered in your level.
What is meant by the 20 messages I have to post to access the higher score levels, and where do I post them?
These messages are just the questions, replies, or comments that you post anywhere on forum discussion topics. So you just need to look at some of the discussion topics on the forum and join in. Also, for instance, if you hear a recording you like, you can make a comment, or you can help to welcome other new members to the forum. Don't be tempted to post a lot of short, similar messages in succession, though, because they will not be counted towards group membership. It is better if you give some thought to them. It won't take long, once you start browsing the forum. (To subscribe to the group once you qualify, see the guidance here).
FAQs continued in next post ...