Do you want to learn to play the classical guitar? Maybe you are an experienced musician and want to learn a new instrument, or maybe you have been playing guitar for a while and are looking for a new challenge to take you to the next level. Learning to play the classical guitar is a unique opportunity that will enhance your other skills as a musician while offering enough challenges to keep you learning for years to come.
Learning to play the classical guitar doesn’t necessarily mean that you will only be working on ‘classical’ music the entire time. Two of the biggest composers for classical guitar, Leo Brower and Villa-Lobos, offer interesting and entertaining music that is both challenging and a joy to learn. Even better, I find that audiences find these relatively modern works digestible and fun to listen to. Sure, classical guitar has a rich history and many amazing classical pieces, but that doesn’t mean that you will only be learning music from hundreds of years ago.
Finger picking technique
A popular technique on the acoustic guitar is fingerpicking. As a teacher myself, I find that many students come in and can do some form of fingerpicking that works for them but haven’t had any formal training. Its great that they have been able to figure this out but often they feel stuck or don’t know where to go from their basic picking forms. Right hand fingerpicking technique on the classical guitar offers a new challenge to in a way that will protect your wrist from injury, speed up your playing, enhance your tone, and give you the creative tools to discover new patterns.
In many ways the chords you will be playing on classical guitar will be more challenging then acoustic and electric guitar. Because of the nature of classical guitar, you will be required to play full chords, melodies, and bass lines; often all at the same time. This will cause you to explore new ways to play chords and find fragments of chords to lighten the load so you can allocate fingers to a different part of the guitar. Furthermore, when you switch back to electric or acoustic guitar these shapes will be even easier to play and increase your knowledge of the fretboard overall.
Not many guitarists are fluent when it comes to reading music on the staff and that’s because guitar is one of the hardest instruments to learn music on. Every note can be played in several different places, and it can start to become overwhelming. The trick is to start small, learn a few new notes every day with a new piece until it starts to feel like you are reading a book. Being able to read music isn’t a requirement to being a great guitar player but it does set you apart from the majority who haven’t taken the time to learn.
Learning classical guitar technique is one of the most rewarding aspects of playing guitar but it can be easy to let it slide in place of learning a new song. Learning flawless (or as close to flawless) classical guitar technique will open a new world of music that you can perform because you will just be better when pushing yourself to your skill limits. You wont only be able to play those big rich chords or use that cool new picking pattern, you will learn to push your playing speed to the absolute limit that will open doors in genres like jazz and shred metal.
by Austin Netherton – Composer and Guitarist
Our Classical Instructors: