Using Skype for guitar lessons 

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…

Read more

Great Guitar Exercises You'll Never Do! 

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 

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…

Read more

Recording your practice 

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…

Read more

Pumping Nylon 

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…

Read more

The Thousand-Hour Challenge 

Join this challenge and commit to practicing for one thousand hours on your instrument before the end of the year.

Sign up by leaving a comment. But more importantly, leave comments as you go, with updates on your progress, support to others, and helpful practice hints.

Making the most of you guitar lessons 

These are guidelines for music majors. If you play as an amateur, you have more freedom, although some of my amateur students have been very inspiring to me over the years regarding their dedication.  Remember - devotion to your music looks like discipline...


First, the basic stuff – things that will get you fired in the real world if you forget them:

Show up. Sober, alert, and focused.

Have all your materials: music, instrument, practice sheet, pencil, etc.

Be prepared. Your lessons aren't random…

Read more

Review of Segovia's debut in New York, 1928, Olin Downes, New York Times‏ 

Thanks to Guilherme Vincenz for finding this!

What can we learn from it?

"The fame of Andrés Segovia, the Spanish guitarist whose name has been a prominent one of late years in capitals of Europe, had preceded him. An audience including many Spaniards and many more of the musical connoisseurs of the city greeted him when he made his first appearance yesterday afternoon in Town Hall.
But the appearance of Mr. Segovia is not that of the trumpeted virtuoso. He is rather the dreamer or scholar in bearing…

Read more

Seven Habits of Excellence 

Try keeping these seven qualities in mind as you practice.  I borrowed these from Gerald Klickstein's 'Musician's Way"

He has a short article about them at:

1) Ease

2) Expressiveness

3) Accuracy

4) Rhythmic vitality

5) Beautiful tone

6) Focused attention

7) Positive attitude

I like thinking of these as "improvable" rather than having a pass/fail attitude.  This means a practice session can be fulfilling and successful if you end up playing more accurately than before -…

Read more