We are going to talk about the minimum time you need to devote to the study of the guitar, about the position for holding the guitar, and finally about some techniques, exercises and pieces.
Timetable for players of a year's experience:
In order to progress, you need a little time each day for 6 days of the week. Here is the minimum necessary for players of this level :
3 days when you can devote 15 minutes to repeating each difficult passage 6 to 12 times. I'll indicate these difficult passages to you by highlighting them in yellow.
3 days when you can devote 40 minutes to studying the guitar, made up of
- 15 minutes practicing the difficult passages (highlighted in yellow),
- 15 minutes repeating the individual phrases (indicated by phrase marks) several times in succession (3 to 6 times)
- and finally 10 minutes playing the piece or pieces in full.
Note that you must play for 6 days of the week. If you combine all this time into one day, that is to say, 2 hours in a single day, you will not make progress and furthermore you will risk injuring yourself by making demands on certain muscles for too long. Divide up your practice and play a little each day.
Spend most of your practice time on the parts you have trouble playing: difficult passages, difficult phrases. Only play pieces the whole way through once or twice a week.
So we understand one another properly, here is an example of a timetable where sessions alternate between 15 and 40 minutes:
Monday 40 minutes
Tuesday 15 minutes
Wednesday 40 minutes
Thursday 15 minutes
Friday 40 minutes
Saturday 15 minutes
The position for the classical guitar is the product of past experience. The classical position enables us to reduce effort to a minimum, and has arisen from a compromise between the needs for stability, comfort and the efficient use of both hands.
The principles of this position are:
sitting position, back straight, shoulders level,
the guitar rests on whichever thigh is on the neck side.
We raise the head of the guitar level with our head, with the aid of a footstool or of a support placed on the thigh.
The hand which plays the strings is placed over the sound hole, the elbow rests on the edge of the body of the guitar, level with the bridge.
The arm on the neck side is bent to bring the hand up to the height of the shoulder, the thumb is placed behind the neck, beneath the second fret and behind the third string, the fingers are over the strings.
Try to achieve relaxation, from the shoulders right down to the hands.
Finally, choose a chair of a height that allows your thights to be horizontal, like this your guitar will rest in a stable manner. If your thigh is angled in one direction or the other, your guitar will slip and interfere with your playing.
To begin the course we will firstly look at, or relook at, pages 26 and 58 of volume D01.
- page 26 of volume D01 : Jean-François DELCAMP (1956) POLYPHONIE
- page 58 of volume D01 : Jean-François DELCAMP (1956) REST STROKE - APOYANDO
These exercises will work upon the technique of simultaneous rest strokes (apoyando) with the thumb and index finger, and also with the thumb and middle finger.
The rest stoke is a way to play the string with a finger movement which plucks the string and then continues to move until it comes to rest on the adjacent string. The work on this technique will allow you to discover the best position for your plucking hand (the right hand if you are right-handed).
If you are already used to plucking the strings with free strokes, the simultaneous rest strokes with the thumb and a finger will seem difficult to you, even impossible. But be assured, with patience and consistence, this difficulty will be resolved in 30 minutes. I know from experience that the first tries are truly discouraging, particularly for adults. It is for this reason that I wish to reassure you in advance, take heart, you will be able to do it.
D01 p26 n1 - Delcamp Polyphonie
D01 p26 n2 - Delcamp Polyphonie
D01 p58 n15 Buté - Apoyando - Rest stroke
D01 p58 n16 Buté - Apoyando - Rest stroke
Then we will study three pieces, the easiest of volume D02. These three pieces are to be played either with rest stroke or free stroke, both for the melody and for the bass.
- page 6 ANONYME (1750) DANSE D'AVILA with rest strokes (apoyando).
- page 8 Stephen Collins FOSTER (1826-1864) OH! SUSANNA with rest strokes (apoyando). This piece will serve to work on rhythm. To keep time, count out loud the beats as indicated above the stave.
- page 19 ANONYME (1750) QUE NE SUIS-JE LA FOUGÈRE with free strokes (tirando),
D02 p6 - Anonyme - Danse d'Avila
D02 p8 – Stephen Collins FOSTER (1826-1864) – Oh Susanna
D02 p19 – Anonyme - Que ne suis-je la fougère
I ask you first to work on all these exercises and pieces for one week and then to post your recordings on the forum for:
- page 26 du volume D01 : Jean-François DELCAMP (1956) POLYPHONIE
- page 6 ANONYME (1750) DANSE D'AVILA en butant (apoyando).
- page 8 Stephen Collins FOSTER (1826-1864) OH! SUSANNA en butant (apoyando).
:( + ♫ = :)