Technique or Repertoire ?

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Ausangate
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Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Ausangate » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:02 am

Board members;

Looking for some guidance....

Whenever I return to the classical guitar my first instinct is focus on technique and sacrifice repertoire. But now looking back, I feel that it is this approach that eventually tires me and I abandon the guitar once again.

Are there a sequence of repertoire pieces that offer some musical variety and at the same time progressively builds on your technique? I do not mind if a repertoire piece spells the technical prerequisites/exercises/skills.

Does anyone has a suggested repertoire for beginner to intermediate student?

Thanks for you input.
Ausangate.

prawnheed

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by prawnheed » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:53 am

The answer is a mix of both.

As to repertoire, I suggest choosing music you like.

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Petemayo
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Petemayo » Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:48 am

Yes, I listen first until I find something I must learn to play. I have to love a piece to learn it.

Ren Leblanc
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Ren Leblanc » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:09 am

Google this and download the pdf : rcm guitar syllabus 2018 pdf

It's the Royal Conservatory syllabus for guitar and has a ton of material sorted by difficulty ( grades). It's extremely thorough and has a ton of suggestions by skill level.

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:06 am

Take a look at the free guitar curriculum here on Delcamp. Free scores, diverse selection of great music, exercises, a monthly assignment to keep you moving forward, and great interaction with players at your level from around the world, self paced and you can start anytime. To find your level try what I did about 4 years ago: sight read through the lessons starting at D01. When it gets difficult to read start there. For me that was level D03. Working on D07 now.

Lessons start in September but you can jump in anytime. There are 10 lessons and a final exam. You have to complete at least 7 out of 10 to submit for the final. Certificates are offered to graduates. But none of that is mandatory. You can audit the course at your leisure. All in all a great way to keep your motivation. Lessons start at beginner level and go through advanced year 8. There’s another 4 years of advanced repertoire after that for self study after that.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

tejjy
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by tejjy » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:44 am

I have to play something I care about; this then drives me to find technique so I can do the piece justice. I suspect that this is not optimum - a technique-first player will likely be better than I after an equivalent time. I spend a fair bit of time unlearning stuff. But I would have given up if I had done it any differently. I was lucky to find a teacher who would let me negotiate my repertoire

Ren Leblanc
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Ren Leblanc » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:14 pm

Rick Beauregard wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:06 am
Take a look at the free guitar curriculum here on Delcamp. Free scores, diverse selection of great music, exercises, a monthly assignment to keep you moving forward, and great interaction with players at your level from around the world, self paced and you can start anytime. To find your level try what I did about 4 years ago: sight read through the lessons starting at D01. When it gets difficult to read start there. For me that was level D03. Working on D07 now.

Lessons start in September but you can jump in anytime. There are 10 lessons and a final exam. You have to complete at least 7 out of 10 to submit for the final. Certificates are offered to graduates. But none of that is mandatory. You can audit the course at your leisure. All in all a great way to keep your motivation. Lessons start at beginner level and go through advanced year 8. There’s another 4 years of advanced repertoire after that for self study after that.
Just looked through it - very impressive- what a great ressource!!!

Nikos_Greek
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Nikos_Greek » Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:16 pm

I think this is a false dilemma. You are saying if you devote time to technique this will inevitably force you to quit, but if you neglect technique you will stagnate sooner or later which will force you to quit. I think it is the way we do things that make a difference, not a choice between technique and repertoire. If doing technique drills are boring to you need to question how you approach technique exercises every day. we must have a rationale behind the execution of a technical drill and be quite observant of what is going on during it. Tennant has said we have two choices before playing a note, to play it and remain stagnant or to play it and improve. This requires tremendous amounts of energy, but it is tremendous rewarding as well, not so much because it accelerates progress (it does), but because it gives you this feeling of achievement the sense that you do not do everything in vain. To me this is the ultimate motivation push. I have come to recognise any tiny improvements that happen during technique drills and I am quite happy anytime this happens. It is not a waste of time, it is the most creative time of all.

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Hotsoup
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Hotsoup » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:56 pm

Great suggestions so far. I only spend about 25 minutes a practice session on technical work, but they are very concise exercises that I've pulled together to help me improve my own personal deficiencies, and to warm up my office/video game -wrecked hands.. They are multi-purpose, but in the end, if they don't sound good, how well does my musical playing actually sound? If a certain arpeggio pattern feels awkward and sounds halting, any musical passage with the same pattern will almost certainly suck just as bad.. Like Nikos said above about Tennant--I remember something he said in his old Pumping Nylon video about making every note sound as good as possible, even during all these drills. That stuck with me, because for a lot of hours I was hoping the improvement would come from repetition. That method of progress is too slow, and not engaging (you'll get bored). Try to always do your technique exercises with intellectual curiosity and musicality. You'll see better improvements and you won't get as bored. Heck, you might even enjoy it.

That said, sometimes I am too tired and I'll do my drills while passively watching television. We all have our shortcomings.

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oski79
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by oski79 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:11 pm

You've got to like, even love what you play, or you won't put your heart and soul into it. I think it's pointless to try to nail down a piece that doesn't resonate with you.

And the Scott Tennant quotes are spot on. Tough passage? Slow it down until each note sounds the way you want, and go from there. Maybe find or figure out a drill to work on what made it so challenging.
“People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.” --Florence Foster Jenkins

Todd Tipton
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Todd Tipton » Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:03 pm

I too highly recommend the RCM series of graded repertoire. As I've said so many times, it isn't so much WHAT you do, but rather HOW you do it. Like others are saying, we do need a good mix of both. Too much of one without the other will lead to less than optimal results. Having said that, the balance is unique to the individual. Some players get very exited over pure technical drills, while other players prefer musical drills and snippets of repertoire. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with either approach.
Dr. Todd Tipton, Noda Guitar Studio
Charlotte, NC, USA (available via Skype)

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:02 pm

I love what Pepe Romero said about rock guitar versus classical music. It could apply to playing repertoire or mind numbing exercises: “Rock really great. It’s like cupcakes. But you can’t live on just cupcakes.”
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

Ren Leblanc
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:54 am

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Ren Leblanc » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:31 pm

Ausangate wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:02 am
Board members;

Looking for some guidance....

Whenever I return to the classical guitar my first instinct is focus on technique and sacrifice repertoire. But now looking back, I feel that it is this approach that eventually tires me and I abandon the guitar once again.

Are there a sequence of repertoire pieces that offer some musical variety and at the same time progressively builds on your technique? I do not mind if a repertoire piece spells the technical prerequisites/exercises/skills.

Does anyone has a suggested repertoire for beginner to intermediate student?

Thanks for you input.
Ausangate.
If you have a history of abandoning the guitar, you need to focus on staying motivated first and foremost. I think it makes much more sense to focus on repertoire in this case because it's more likely to remain engaging. Exercises are boring, let's be honest. You can maybe use one or two as a warm up, but try and stay focused on practicing and learning engaging material for now. You need to pick your battles.

I suggest you put in some time researching the pieces suggested on this site or in the document I refer to in my previous post that match your "grade" level. With you tube and streaming sites you can basically find a version of every piece out there so it's worth the trouble to preview them and find the one's that you really like. I've assembled a playlist of all my favorites and it's growing by the day, it includes what I like to play and what I would like to play.

In my case I don't generally prefer anything that focuses on major or happy tones - I'm a sucker for tunes that revolve around minor or darker sounds. With a little time and effort I was able to find a ton of new material that I find very engaging, rather than bumble around in the dark like I used to learning things for the sake of learning them.

Ausangate
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Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:01 am

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Ausangate » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:56 am

Hello Ren;

Thank for you wisdom. Yes, I have a history of abandoning the guitar; now there is no excuses because there are plenty of resources to find the scores of the music that touches your core... I am on it.

thank you,
Ausangate

LipeB
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by LipeB » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:22 pm

My suggestion is that you try practicing your technique on your repertoire.

Try playing things that you like and are on your playing level, but also try playing pieces that have some challenging passages.

Being able to play something you couldn’t some time ago is very rewarding!

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