Do your classical guitar skills never seem to develop past a certain point, no matter how much time you spend practicing–fixing mistakes, trying get a cleaner sound, trying to play faster or more accurately? Have you been playing the same pieces for years, only to have them barely improve? Do you have trouble memorising your music with confidence, or get lost too often in the middle of a piece? Do you want your playing to really move and impress people? Is there a frustrating gap between what you hear in your head and what your hands can actually do?
Announcing a new online course:
Become Positively Dangerous on the Classical Guitar
This 6-part interactive pilot course is designed to help you break through limitations and master the best, fastest, and most musical ways to learn the pieces you most want to play. By joining the course and doing the work seriously, you will be getting two-plus months of carefully designed coursework on the most powerful ways I’ve found to transform your playing, including an unusual amount of direct feedback and help from me in conquering your technical and musical hurdles. At the same time you’ll be helping me to create the best course possible for future enrollees.
Every two weeks we will be focusing together on a different core skill. The course will culminate in an online concert/showcase of what we learned.
By the end of the course you will either have either
- learned and performed a new piece of repertoire you’ve been itching to get your fingers on, in a positively dangerous manner.
- or you will have brought to life and fully revamped and improved a piece that you’ve been long struggling with.
- Or both, if you have enough time and energy!I will be working through all of the material alongside you, and demoing it. And by the end of the course—just like you–I’ll have some new or transformed repertoire to show for it!
Each live session will be recorded for viewing if you can’t make it. The exact time for each session will be set depending on the most convenient time zones for those who sign up.
What will it include?
- 5 time-unlimited online sessions (recorded) and a final concert/masterclass
- 2 individual 45-minute coaching sessions
- An online course portal with sequential instructional videos, exercises, and assignments.
- An online discussion portal within which course members can interact.
- The materials on the course portal will be available to you permanently.
- Permanent access to all instructional videos in the course “Basic Classical Guitar Mastery” which I created in 2011.
- Optional additional private online lessons at a generous package-discount price.
What is the Curriculum?
Sunday, March 26th
Introduction and Expectations: Becoming Positively Dangerous
Get started with an overview of the main skills, mindsets and goals for transforming your playing. Choose your repertoire for the course. Dig into an arsenal of the most important and effective high-reward exercises for mastering repertoire.
Sunday, April 9th
Making Technique Natural.
Learn the essence and essentials of good classical guitar technique. Identify and start to address the specific technical issues you can work on that will make the most difference to your playing.
Sunday, April 23rd
Slow Practicing and the Practice Cycle.
Learn the many specific and powerful ways you can centre your guitar practice in a state of flow that fosters both accuracy and creativity. This is how practice miracles happen.
Sunday, May 7th
Natural Interpretation and Engaging Performance.
Get to the expressive heart of every piece you learn. Apply these essential principles and techniques to cultivate and develop your unique natural musicianship to the fullest.
Sunday, May 21st
Fixing Mistakes, Repairing, Revamping and Refining your Technique and your Repertoire
Get a jump on all the tricky, trippy, and frustrating issues associated with mistakes, blind-spots, technical hurdles, performance mind-games, memory gaps, and bad habits. Refine, fix and pull your piece into shape for performing it. This is where we get the airplane off the ground.
Week of June 4th
Final Concert and Wrap-up session,
Share what we’ve learned with each other in the form of a concert or a prepared recording. Party time.
Why am I qualified to teach this to you?
I’ve been playing classical guitar for over 40 years, and have performed around the world and in most of New York’s top venues, where I lived for 30 years. I’ve been a teacher at Western Connecticut State University, Bowdoin Summer Music Festival in Maine, and Marymount Catholic School in Manhattan. I’ve studied technique, musicianship, interpretation, performance and repertoire preparation with some of the best performers and pedagogues in the classical guitar field: Sharon Isbin at Juilliard School (where I got an Advanced Performance Certificate), David Leisner at Bowdoin Summer Music Festival (where I also taught and performed for two summers), Eliot Fisk at Yale Summer Music Festival, and Clare Callahan at Cincinnati Conservatory (where I got my MA in Classical Guitar.)
After my years of formal education, I’ve also spent years working out my own more relaxed and self-aware approach to playing/teaching guitar. This became necessary after suffering some diabetes-related injuries and conditions that threatened my ability to play at all. Two rounds of trigger finger operations plus a broken back took me on a journey into the nitty-gritty details of dealing with injury and physical limitations, the more intangible aspects of mastery, and the importance of playing with more awareness of my whole body, not just my fingers and brain.
The combination of these two major influences on my current teaching have added up to a unique and creative approach that has students feeling highly inspired to practice and excited with the continual progress they make in their playing.
What have students said about my teaching?
Jay’s gotten me even more enthusiastic about classical guitar and classical music in general. I’ve become motivated to practice more. He’s very conscious of every aspect of what he’s doing and can teach that clearly. He gives me reference points in my mind when I practice. He also uses good analogies and thought pictures in his teaching, so the guitar becomes more alive. He teaches how you can look at it from a bigger perspective– you get deeper into playing that way. I’ve also become more emotionally engaged when I play. I’ve started listening more, I’ve started feeling more, and I’m more connected to the music. This is something I’ve been looking for, and and is hard to find.
Magnus Gautestad Guitarist, Musician and Performer (Norsecode), Teacher, Kristiansand, Norway
Jay is a gifted teacher who works with the student and engages them. He develops students as musicians and also develops their confidence in playing in front of an audience. He’s a fantastic teacher.
Matthew Solum Guitar Student Parent, New York
Jay is one of the few mentors I have worked with who made me feel truly seen and validated as an artist. He saw talent in me and helped me grow it in the most earnest and lovely way. His contribution to my confidence is invaluable, and I will take it with me throughout my career and my life. Thanks Jay.
Jess Mastro Filmmaker, Songwriter, Playwright, New York
Jay’s pedagogy is clear and accessible. He takes into account all levels of students, so the beginner doesn’t run away discouraged or the advanced turn off because they’re not challenged.
Mark Scott. Guitarist, guitar student,Ohio
With Jay’s advice… I feel like I’ve gone from 1 and 1/2 pistons to a V8. And I’m not talking about tomato juice.
Mai Mollman Student, Guitarist, Writer,Iowa
Jay’s approach to teaching is distracting me TO the music and away from the usual din in my head which disconnects me from both my hands and the guitar. The second thing is coming naturally from the first: I am feeling a direct connect between my mind, hands and back and shoulders and what sounds are happening. So I feel in control.
Rachel M Guitarist, Guitar Student, New York
What will it cost?
The course will be $197.
This is less than the price of 3 lessons from me. You will be learning many of the things that I only get to teach indirectly in lessons, and the principles behind them.
Sincerely, Jay Kauffman