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Teaching Blog Posts

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. 

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.

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...

Why are Classical Guitarists so OBSESSED with their Left Hand

10th Year Anniversary Edition:I'm revisiting some of my best old posts on playing guitar. Enjoy!   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...

Mini Classical Guitar Lesson: Finding the “seed” of your mistake

10th Year Anniversary Edition:I'm revisiting some of my best old posts on playing guitar. Enjoy! In this post, I'm elaborating on a useful metaphor I used in my last post. Simply put, it's this: "Practicing is Editing" FIlm editors, as far as I can surmise, put a lot...

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?

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.

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...

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

10th Year Anniversary Edition:I'm revisiting some of my best old posts on playing guitar. Enjoy! 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...

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...

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...

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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