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Teaching Blog Posts

How to Play Classical Guitar without Dysfunctional Tension

——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 friggin’ go away — see an appropriate professional. ASAP!——Jay   Excess Tension comes from Good...

Learning Music Theory on the Guitar is Just Crazy

I'm reading a book called Guitar Zero, by Gary Marcus, a cognitive scientist who decided he was going to fulfill his dream of playing guitar at the age of 40, no matter how scary that seemed and no matter how humiliating his previous attempts had been. He's someone...

Music Theory? Why Should I Care?

I was never much of a music theory whiz. Music theory was required for music majors---lots of music theory---and it always felt like I was cramming a toolkit into my brain that my brain didn't quite see the need for----the tools were for fixing airplane engines and...

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...

Learning Classical Guitar: Why Do You Play Classical Guitar Anyways?

There are thousands of ways to play guitar, and most of them aren't "classical," by any stretch of the imagination. Why would anyone choose to play classical guitar in specific, when there are so many other options? I don't know about you; for me there's only one real...

Why are Classical Guitarists so OBSESSED with their Left Hand

This is really a post about chasing windmills....and conquering the universe. I want to start of this post with a disclaimer. I have a theory about why classical guitarists are always watching their left hand, and it's just a theory. It may be true, it may be...

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

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 something specific....how to play a bar chord, how to interpret a piece of music, how to finger...

Breaking Through The Technical Obsession Barrier

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 tendency for many players—and for many teachers—is to focus on technique, and leave everything...

What Do Bedbugs Have to Do With How You Learn Classical Guitar?

Summer has just ended here in New York city but the mosquitoes are still around, along with plenty of other critters whose natural inclination it is to deliver little distractions to us humans as we go through our day….a tiny bite, maybe on one’s ankle, or...

Picking (or Picking On) Your Classical Guitar Teacher

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 teach, and no-one is perfect. But here are some possible teaching styles or situations that can...

The Learning Zone

Here's a little piece for anyone who practices but doesn't seem to improve much. I suggest you take a look at a book called "Talent is Overrated," by Geoff Colvin. The book is not written primarily to musicians but to a general audience of business, organizational and...