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How To Practice Guitar: The Magic of Quality over Quantity

How To Practice Guitar: The Magic of Quality over Quantity

At the core of learning to play the guitar well is the quality of time you spend with it. A lot has been said about quantity–about the 10,000 hours of practice you need in order to reach mastery. And about how to organise each of those 10,000 hours. These are both important. But the quality of that time is more important. 

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The Learning Zone

The Learning Zone

The book “Talent is Overrated” makes the claim that a specific manner of practicing, called “deliberate practice” is what separates the W.A. Mozarts or Tiger Woods of the world from everyone else is something he calls “deliberate practice.”
Here are the elements of Deliberate Practice:
1. It’s designed specifically to improve performance—designed very specifically, for exactly what needs improvement at the specific stage of development.

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The Classical Guitarist With No Bad Habits

The Classical Guitarist With No Bad Habits

Have you heard the legend of the guitarist with no bad habits?

It goes like this: “there was this guy, who my friend used to go to school with, a monster guitarist, who’d been taught so well as a child that he never developed any bad habits!”

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Picking (or Picking On) Your Classical Guitar Teacher

10th Year Anniversary Edition:I'm revisiting some of my best old posts on playing guitar. Enjoy! What should you look for when considering classical guitar lessons? What should you hope for? What might you have to settle for? Every teacher has something valuable to...

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The Yin and Yang of Classical Guitar Mastery

10th Year Anniversary Edition: I'm revisiting some of my best old posts on playing guitar. Enjoy! I've been thinking a lot lately about some of my most recent discoveries in guitar playing and teaching. My work with polarities, going deeper into how they effect life...

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Music Theory? Why Should I Care?

Music Theory? Why Should I Care?

I still mumble and stumble a bit with music theory terminology, but that’s because my inclination has always been towards the feeling side of things. I think in the language of feelings, not jargon. I always ask myself, in a very visceral sense, what does this bit of theory mean, in terms of how the music sounds, in terms of how it feels? So why should you care about music theory? What does it do for you? And what does it not do for you?

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Learning Music Theory on the Guitar is Just Crazy

Learning Music Theory on the Guitar is Just Crazy

When you panic at the complexity of the fingerboard, you may think that what you have to memorize are a bunch of individual notes and chords, so you can jump to the right one at the right time. That’s true, but on a deeper level, what you really need to learn is the deeper musical shapes those notes follow. And these shapes have a lot more humanity to them, they are what we respond to emotionally, and thus they tend to be easier to learn. They have their full power because of the musical scale from which they spring.

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How to Play Classical Guitar without Dysfunctional Tension

How to Play Classical Guitar without Dysfunctional Tension

10th Year Anniversary Edition: I'm revisiting some of my best old posts on playing guitar. Enjoy! ——Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor! I’m not a tendinitis expert! If you have lingering pain or some other issue with your hands that really concerns you , and just doesn’t...

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Breaking Through The Technical Obsession Barrier

Breaking Through The Technical Obsession Barrier

10th Year Anniversary Edition:I'm revisiting some of my best old posts on playing guitar. Enjoy! Playing classical guitar is technically demanding. There are a lot of hurdles even if you want to play a relatively simple piece well enough for it to be satisfying.  The...

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The Tao of Technique

The Tao of Technique

The Tao of Technique Free videos from the Basic Classical Guitar Mastery Series     These free videos are all excerpted from a course that you can find at my teaching site, Artofguitar.net.If these videos make you curious, check out these links:Basic...

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Classical Guitar Tips

Classical Guitar Tips

Classical Guitar Tips This is the collection of videos that got me started on youtube. Everything on here still holds true, and is often really helpful and entertaining as well. I’ve had many requests to go back to this format for my teaching videos—-short,...

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Knocking “eye-to-hand coordination” Off Its Pedestal.

Knocking “eye-to-hand coordination” Off Its Pedestal.

10th Year Anniversary Edition:I'm revisiting some of my best old posts on playing guitar. Enjoy! I've been thinking about about the difference between what I say here on this blog, and how I actually teach most of the time. In a guitar lesson, we're working on...

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Archipelago for Guitar

Archipelago for Guitar

Not too long ago, I had the idea to weave a storyline into the performance of a series of guitar pieces. Each piece I wrote seemed to have its own musical ecosystem, so  I called them "islands." Narrating a tale while tuning the guitar between "islands" would draw the...

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Bookmark Shop

Bookmark Shop

The many benefits of bookmarks for all your books: Bookmarks are Beautiful. Bookmarks are Fun. Bookmarks are Elegant. Bookmarks inspire you to read more good books and keep your place in them with pleasure, for years at a time. Bookmarks never run out of batteries....

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A Tour of the Island of Milonga

A Tour of the Island of Milonga

I love using video to wander around within a painting. In this painting of the island of Milonga I wanted to create the sense of being in a guitarist's paradise, a world where the music I grew up listening to and playing is magically alive in the architecture and even...

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Milonga for Solo Guitar

Milonga for Solo Guitar

This is a live performance of Milonga, the first “island” in my Archipelago for Guitar, performed at the “Piano Lunch” concert at Christ & St. Stephen’s Church, New York, NY.

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Island Three (Live)

Island Three (Live)

This is the third movement of Archipelago for Guitar., recorded live at the MakeMusic Harlem Festival          

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Listen to Paganini’s Romanze in A Minor

Listen to Paganini’s Romanze in A Minor

This has always been one of my favorite classical guitar pieces. It's the middle movement of Paganini's Grand Sonata in A Major, which was originally written for guitar and violin. Most of his works for guitar and violin had virtuosic violin parts, and relatively...

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Eine Kleine Nachtmusik for Solo Guitar

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik for Solo Guitar

All 4 movements of Serenade No. 13 for Strings, K. 525, transcribed for the advanced classical guitar, from G Major into D Major. If you're a bit burned out on Sor and Giuliani and their ilk, it's a lot of fun to play a great composer such as Mozart on the guitar. A...

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Five Preludes

Five Preludes

Prelude 1: Lullaby from a Paper Boat / Prelude 2: With Variation / Prelude 3: Brookrolick / Prelude 4: Like a Passacaglia / Prelude 5: Moto Perpetuo

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Ordering a Signed Print

Ordering a Signed Print

Below is an unsigned print of Island Two, Bossa Paraiso. The prints are done at Tribeca Printworks. It's a small, friendly business in downtown Manhattan. I work with them on getting things just right. When correcting colors and levels and adjusting these to the paper...

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Valentine Sunday Concert at Bartow-Pell Mansion

Valentine Sunday Concert at Bartow-Pell Mansion

I will be playing some romances, romanzas, capriccios, valses, zambas, chacareras, carnavalitos, and a Beatles set. Plus a dramatic & romantic story-set-vignette from my own piece, Archipelago for Guitar!* Please note: Valentine's day is a Wednesday,...

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Pics from an Exhibition (Music too!)

Pics from an Exhibition (Music too!)

This concert, put on by Composer's Concordance, happened a while ago (in April), but I wanted to share it with you because now I have some videos! I've included pics of the art show as well, which was very well-recieved. I will add a few more videos of ensemble works...

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Island at the Edge of the Sea

Island at the Edge of the Sea

A bit of piano-tickling from Glenn Gould never hurt anyone.... I am trying to keep somewhat mum about the narrative content of the Archipelago story, but it's hard to hide some things if they are in the paintings, which are visible to all. The third island in this...

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Dream Lullaby

Dream Lullaby

Here's the video from my performance of the 8th Island in my Archipelago for Solo Guitar. It was done at the Composer's Concordance 8th Annual Composers Play Composers Marathon. It's a lullaby that takes place in a dream, hence the title, Dream Lullaby. Most of the...

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Performance on May 4, 2017–Island 8 (Dream Lullaby)

Performance on May 4, 2017–Island 8 (Dream Lullaby)

I'm honored to be playing at the Composers-Play-Composers marathon this Saturday. The program is from 7 PM to 10 PM. There will be a plethora of great musicians and really cool music! Hope you can make it! I'm second on the program, so come early or at least on time...

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How To Make A Guitar-Powered Boat

How To Make A Guitar-Powered Boat

First you have to design it. What does it need? Definitely a treble clef or two, a guitar, a guitar player....perhaps a mast made out of an eighth-note? Or....you could try building the mast out of a guitar fretboard instead! And definitely add a sail! Maybe the sail...

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The 997 Siren Islands of Bossa Paraiso

The 997 Siren Islands of Bossa Paraiso

This is the second adventure of our guitar hero, in which he passes through the 997 islands of Bossa Paraiso. He's left his home, the Island of Milonga. He's on his way to the Last Island before he launches his tiny boat into the unknown of the Sea of Song. I wrote a...

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Mastering Left Hand Technique: Left Hand Leverage

Mastering Left Hand Technique: Left Hand Leverage

This is a video excerpted from my online technique course, Basic Classical Guitar Mastery. Video Number Two gives you one of the hidden keys to Left Hand leverage and a powerful left hand technique The course is over 40 videos long, It's designed to rebuild and refine...

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Video Course: How To Conquer Technical Hurdles

Video Course: How To Conquer Technical Hurdles

This course is jam-packed with creatively filmed and entertainingly edited demonstrations of all the fundamentals of basic classical guitar technique. I present them in a way that is intended to upload as much knowledge as I can—knowledge that I’ve struggled for...

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Allegro from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Revised 2015 Version)

Allegro from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Revised 2015 Version)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyKOgWtBwsY This Allegro has still been flying off the virtual shelves at $7. This edition features a revised version of the Allegro  that includes a few changes that elegantly eliminate some tricky tempo bottlenecks. (I still include...

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Jay Kauffman Classical Guitar Recital at Bartow-Pell Mansion

Click here for maps and transportation info to the mansion September 20 at 4:30 PM Tickets $20  895 Shore Road Pelham Bay Park Bronx, New York 10464 718.885.1461 [mashshare] The recital takes place in a lovely period room with great acoustics. It fits about 50 people,...

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Rondo from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

This is a full arrangement of the Rondo for advanced players. This is perhaps the most difficult movement to perform on the classical guitar. But it does sound fantastic and is worth the effort needed to learn, memorize---and then work it up to a decent...

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Menuet from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

This is a full arrangement of the Menuet, for intermediate to advanced players. This is the easiest movement to transcribe for classical guitar, but I've been careful to create a lively and nuanced arrangement that would be welcome on any concert stage in the hands of...

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Romanze from Eine Kleine Nachmusik

This is a full arrangement of the Romanze, for advanced players. It's quite amenable to the classical guitar...but the third section was a special challenge to transcribe, with it's call/answer figurations between the high and low voices while at the same time...

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Archipelago

I'm exploring an extended group of Islands that have been hidden from Google Maps due to their aural nature. The musical ecology I have found so far in this journey seems to draw its inspiration from many parts of the globe. And yet each island in this hitherto hidden...

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Mini Classical Guitar Lesson: Right Hand Technique

I have been getting some really interesting questions in response to my poll from those who've joined my list recently. Right now I'm in Amish Country for my Kauffman family reunion, driving past quilt shops and horse-and-buggies, but wanted to answer a question or...

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