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Roberto Capocchi, guitarist: Blog

Using Skype for guitar lessons

Posted on April 27, 2015 with 0 comments
After using Skype for over a year, I'm pleasantly surprised at how well it works. The sound quality is a lot better than it used to be, and it offers some interesting advantages:
1) Recording the lessons is easy, both in audio and video. The student can later review the lesson, or practice with the recording if appropriate.
2) Zooming in on either hand is easy by moving the camera or the player around, both so the teacher can look at the student's hand, or vice-versa.
3) Re-scheduling due to traveling is reduced - students who are away can keep their regular lesson times, or find an alternate time for that week more easily.
4) Lessons are available to students who do not live in town.
5) The personal connection we expect to have in private lessons might take a little longer to set in, but after a couple of weeks things do feel great.
6) It saves travel time. A one-goutr lesson ends up taking a couple of hours out of the student's schedule. With Skype, they can take some of that time to [...]
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Here I'll be discussing some excellent exercises that can really help your playing, but look, sound, or feel weird. Many of them are familiar, or make sense.  We hear about them, and nod approvingly - and go on doing something else.  Others just don't seem like they would be helpful, no matter we hear about them from amazing players.
I'm posting each one as a comment.
Take the tittle as a dare, and try out these suckers.

Filming your practice

Posted on November 10, 2011 with 0 comments
For a while I have been asking my students to film the pieces they are playing and to send me those videos between lessons - specially when we don't meet every week.
It helps very much - in the same ways an audio recording helps, plus a few more:
1) If it's a new song, I can note-check their performance easily while it's stil slow, before any mis-readings become mechanized.  Also the rhythm.
2) Body tension is very clear - you can say "at 2 minutes and 13 seconds your right shoulder locks up in anticipation of the arpeggio section - practice getting there, stop, relax, and continue."
3) It keeps the student accountable between lessons, discouraging cramming.
4) It is a brutal reality check that can be done privately - it all but eliminates the tendency some students have to play material that is too difficult too soon.
What else? Any ideas?
I am just making the transition from recording to filming my own practice - I'll post my ideas as things work out.

Recording your practice

Posted on October 23, 2011 with 1 comment
A good audio recording of your playing is a great practice tool. Everton Gloeden, from the Brazilian Guitar Quartet, once told me he thought it helped him so much he believed practicing without recording was a waste of his time!
But how do we do it? It depends on what you want to get out of it.
A simple way of starting off is playing through the music once, and then listening until something catches your ear.  Pause the playback and work out that section, then move on.  Don't dismiss any problem as a mere accident.  If it really was just that, you won't spend much time working on it.  Also, don't worry about sections that sound good in the recording, but that you've labeled as difficult in your mind.  Use the recording as a reality check.  Play slowly enough that you won't dismiss problems because it's so fast, or miss hearing them because it's too fast to notice.  
What to listen for?
Hesitations
Wrong notes
Little loops - when you go back and play something [...]
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Pumping Nylon

Posted on May 10, 2011 with 1 comment
I'm brushing up on Scott Tennant's technique book for a couple of reasons:
First, it's good material and a great way to get back into top playing shape for the summer.
Second, Scott is coming to New Mexico to do a workshop and in case I can make it there, it would be great to be re-familiarized with his ideas.
My idea is to cover the whole book within the next few weeks, so I'll be posting the routines I'm doing.  Use them to cover this material too!  Take your time if this is your first time around this book - I've done this before a e times...
First set - I've been doing this for a couple of days and will continue with it for a little while:
1) Weight transfer chromatic scale - I also use easy diatonic scales fingerings for variety, keeping the same concepts
2) Hammer-ons and pull-offs, with neighbor fingers, repeated on the same string
3) Finger independence exercise 1 - three fingers "fixed" and one moving
4) Right hand "walking" with i, m, and a with rest- and free-strokes, [...]
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