Technique or Repertoire ?

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

Post by klassikathi » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:57 pm

I agree with some others here: Motivation comes first. Especially for those of us who play CG "only" as a hobby. We're doing this for the pleasure it gives us, not to add to the pressure that we're already getting abundantly in other parts of our lives ...

In that sense, I'm not sure there's a repertoire that suits everyone. Technically perhaps yes, but in terms of our musical preferences and our motivation?

My "repertoire" (meaning: what I regularly play and practice) consists exclusively of pieces I like. This includes studies, of course - in fact, I mostly play studies, but only those that are "music to my ears". Some of them are well-known, others completely unknown; some may seem technically easy (but actually tricky to play beautifully), others more challenging. And this "repertoire" obviously changes with the development of my abilities.

Technical exercises come in when I struggle with specific parts of a piece that I'm trying to learn or improve. And that's when I actually enjoy those tech exercises, no matter how "boring" they seem to be. Because doing them helps me improve the piece, after a while I can feel and hear the difference - and that in turn nurtures my motivation.

So yes, it's both repertoire and technique - and yes, both go hand in hand.

Just my humble 2 cents ... ;-)

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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by georgemarousi » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:52 pm

I also agree that these 2 go together.
Where I'm settling is to try to do some "preparation" before a session ( nails, hand stretching, some warm up with exercises ) .
If not, my play will be less accurate, injuries more possible to occure - and the worse part is that this play will be "recorded" in the muscle memory.
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by robin loops » Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:31 pm

Technique facilitates repertoire and repertoire reenforces technique.
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by hilm3g » Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:31 pm

LipeB wrote:
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!
Agree whole heartedly with this. At my age and the sad state of my hands and fingers, I warm up using a couple of easy pieces I've been playing forever, always with the aim of improving the interpretation and the sound. As I learn new pieces that I love, I work on whatever technique I need to learn the piece. Since my hands give up after an hour or maybe two on a good day, I no longer work technical exercises or scales. Just on the music.

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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Scott_Kritzer » Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:18 pm

If you've got an hour to practice I'd recommend 10 be devoted to technique, (maybe another 5 minutes to a simple study piece as well). Alternate days between scales and arpeggios (and study pieces). Technique is great not only for keeping the fingers in shape, (scales are excellent for synchronization of the hands for instance), but also for building foundation. If I'm working out some flaw in my playing, (let's say I'm having trouble bringing the C finger in with the A finger), I work this out first in my technical exercises, where the demand is low. Then I work that same solution into a few easy study pieces. I find once I've done that the flaw is already corrected in my repertoire.

If, on the other hand, I try to implement that same solution into a piece in my repertoire, where the demand is high, I find it usually takes longer and is less effective.

If you're consistent you'll gain a lot from a 10 (to 15) minute technique session each day.
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by barcod » Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:20 pm

I go and learn a piece that I love, mediocre first. Then try to go back and improve the really bad parts, which usually involves some technically difficult feat. If I can improve it beyond mediocre, good. If not, I might return back to it. In the end, I don't think I can play a piece error free (I mean a concert piece). And for me that's OK.

I don't think this is how virtuoso do their learning/practicing, though. They'll take no shortcuts and perfect every technical hurdle and analyze each passage. I have no aspiration to become one. I think it would be extremely self-satisfying to become one, but I don't have the time or energy to try and likely fail. So I do what's fun for me and fail the way I like.

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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Scott_Kritzer » Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:57 pm


I get that - nothing more exciting than playing something you love; finding and learning those passages that drew you to the piece. If technique ruins that for you then yeah, you’re on the right track. For me it’s golf - I like hitting the ball, not all that concerned where it goes. My friends tell me I should take lessons (like I need another obsession). I'm happy where I am.
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by claudiabarton » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:47 pm

I absolutely love the repertoire as well as the technical exercises I've been attempting since joining this forum and being able to access pdfs. It is so much fun balancing out learning a new piece, alongside, focussing on technique. So far the balance of both has been about 60/40 (spending a bit more time practicing pieces at the moment).
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Crofty » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:56 pm

Scott_Kritzer wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:57 pm

..... For me it’s golf - I like hitting the ball, not all that concerned where it goes.
It's a long time since I played golf Scott but, from memory, where the ball goes seemed to be pretty much the whole point of it.

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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Scott_Kritzer » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:32 pm

But when you remove that objective the game gets so much easier. :)
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Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Juan del Bosque » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:05 pm

I make a distinction between building muscle and perfecting the music. For building muscle I choose exercises where the only thing you need to concentrate on is the repetitive notes. It takes time to build new muscle, especially as you age. The muscles are like children on a mountain hike: they don't want to go uphill! It takes all your patience to move them up the mountain. If you try to play music and the muscle isn't there, your hands tense up, you get frustrated...

Once the muscle tissue is there--and there needs to be a lot for decent stamina--then I move to pieces of music.

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