On Practicing Guitar and Getting Better

From two brilliant people.

 

Posted in Lesson Assignments, Student Tools

Renaissance Guitar Duets – Fun!

Big thanks to my colleague Bradford Werner for the opportunity to play beautiful music from the Renaissance era!

There is sheet music available through a link in the video description.

 

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Celino Romero of Los Romeros is coming to town

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Guitarist Celino Romero, a younger branch of the legendary Romero family tree, is coming to play in Victoria at the end of March 2018. If you know of Pepe Romero, who has been an honored guest in Victoria many times in the past two decades, – Celino is his nephew.

Celino will perform at the First Church of Christ, Scientist on Pandora Ave, a most acoustically rewarding space for unamplified guitar music. The auditorium has some pleasantly surprising acoustical effects – come and find out for yourself! Soft padded pews add to the personal comfort of the experience.

A rich Spanish program of solos and duos is being cooked up for the listeners as March is approaching. You will hear pieces by Spain’s most beloved composers such as Gaspar Sanz, Domenico Scarlatti, Enrique Granados, Isaac Albeniz, Manuel de Falla, and Celedonio Romero – to name a few. Local guitar virtuoso Alexander Dunn will be joining Celino for duos.

Celedonio Romero (1913 – 1996) was a guitarist, a composer and a poet, and his input in the guitar world has been invaluable. He was the one to establish the famous Los Romeros quartet with his sons Pepe, Celin, and Angel, after moving to the United States from Spain in 1957. The family tradition of musical and artistic excellence has been proudly upheld ever since; the Royal Family of the Guitar grew and replenished generation after generation.

The above said, this is a must-experience event.

Victoria Guitar Society presents:
Special Event – Celino Romero
March 24th, 2018, 7:30 PM,
First Church of Christ, Scientist (1205 Pandora Ave)
All tickets $30

Tickets for this concert can be obtained on the Victoria Guitar Society website as well as at the following locations: Long & McQuadeIvy’s BookshopGood Earth Cafe (Oak Bay).

Celino Romero plays Fantasia by Celedonio Romero

Los Romeros Quartet

 

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Suzuki Groups January 27th, 2018

Suzuki Group 1 (6-7 y.o.)
1. Told a scary story each, some true some made up (no reason)
2. Played Batman – of course!
3. Focus on rhythms: clapping, tapping, playing on open strings, reading off the board, writing on the board. After a rhythm was conquered, it was erased off the board. When the board was completely clean, the kids came up and wrote rhythms for each other to play/clap.

Types of note durations: ta (quarter), ti-ti (eighth), ta-a (half), ta-a-a (dotted half)

From Let’s Play Music

The car race game:
The kids took turns with reading/tapping/speaking/playing/writing rhythms. Each turn allowed them to move their car one space ahead. Everyone won a sticker!
Each turn, someone was the doer and someone was the listener.

Suzuki Group 2 (10 y.0)
1. Each talked about something cool that happened this past week.
2. Participants played for each other (there was lots of enthusiasm, so we did it first)
3. Reviewed one octave G scale, added C and G scales in lower register I position. Found the tonic (1st note of scale) and dominant(5th note) in each of them.
4. Talked about technique, what it is and why we need it. Learned/reviewed three exercises:
– RH walking on open strings
– LH walking on frets
– Chromatic 4-finger scale on one string
5. Reviewed intervals from 2nd to 5th: reading, playing, writing.
6. Watched the following guitar performances and tried to guess the composer’s country and time period:

Ana Vidovic plays Vals Venezolano No. 2 by Antonio Lauro
Rachel Schiff plays Sonate K 322 by Domenico Scarlatti
Grisha Goryachev plays Almoraima by Paco de Lucia
Marcin Dylla plays Prelude no.1 by H. Villa-Lobos

 

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Guitar Method by Bradford Werner

My colleague Bradford Werner has recently issued a Classical Guitar Method for Beginners. I invite everyone to check it out: it is clear, accessible, extremely well thought through, and fun to learn from. Every piece and exercise has a very specific purpose to facilitate learning, achieve ease and comfort at the instrument, and help develop the right habits from the start.

The Method includes:

  • lots of enjoyable teacher-student duets
  • carefully chosen solo pieces
  • note-spelling and note-finding exercises
  • an introduction to chords and multiple music styles on guitar
  • an introduction to scales

I use it in addition to the Suzuki Repertoire as reading and playing material for young children as well as an essential learning resource for adult students. It works for all ages!

Volume 1 can be downloaded for free here.
Volume 2 of the Method can be found here.

Brad’s website www.thisisclassicalguitar.com has an abundance of information on classical guitar: video lessons, sheet music, a newsletter, a blog, and much more.

 

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Suzuki Group June 24th & Field Trip to Dominelli Guitars

Two participants, 6 y.o.

Review
Basics: bow, 4 steps, rest position, play position for different songs, finger names
Starting together: beginnings on Batman and Twinkle
G pentascale together, naming the notes.

Activity-coded cards on the board (in various order):
– Monkey song with body reference/solfege scale do to sol with hand symbols
– Conducting different songs with feathers, in duple meter: Twinkle, Cuckoo, Hot Cross Buns, Row Your Boat.
– Testing each other on notes from G pentascale
– Learning Hot Cross Buns on the spot, each participant has their own phrase.
Student 1: B A G          Student 2: B A G
Student 1: G G G G      Student 2: A A A A
Together: B A G
– Playback of simple 2 or 3-note melodies
– Making an original song: G G the Frog
SONG
MELODY TUTORIAL

GG the Frog lyrics and melody
GG the frog – G G A B
Sat on a log – A G A D
There was another frog – B C A D B G

Trip to Marcus Dominelli‘s guitar making shop! We learned about the different woods and wood working tools. We learnt how guitars are put together and how they are made to be so shiny. We looked at tiny pieces of coloured wood from which all the different rosettes are made. We even got to turn the red mystery crank. And after all that, we got delicious ice cream.

Trip to Marcus Guitar Shop 1Trip to Marcus Guitar Shop

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Helpful and inspiring videos

How to Practice Effectively
How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain

The transformative power of classical music | Benjamin Zander

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Suzuki Group April 29th

Group: 2 children, age 6

Videos
Catcerto by Nora the Cat and Orchestra
Kittens listening to guitar
Puppy listening to guitar

Listened to Irina Kulikova play Kramskoy’s Folk Variations and guessed what the piece was about. Got some accurate answers: farm, forest, cows…!

Activities:
A game of tic-tac-toe with a guitar activity in between each turn.

Played Cuckoo together and then learned See-Saw (D-B DD-B DD-BB DD-B). One child made a see-saw with his arms, and the other played, then the kids switched. Everyone sang along: See-saw, up and down, in the sky and on the ground.

Spelled the word CABBAGE with guitar sounds. Parents named the letters, the kids played. So, this is what C-A-B-B-A-G-E sounds like!

Put on our performance gear (a music cape and a music scarf) and played the following pieces:
Batman (focused on watching the nods) 3 times
Mississippi Hotdog on open G-B-E-B (Aka “Smoothie Stop” by MaryLou Roberts)
Twinkle Variation A (focused on playing along no matter what, tapped the beat, stopping the sound, bowing to the applause)

Came up with a band name! Tiger Bandits.

 

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Videos to Watch

Talented composer and guitarist from Vancouver Michael Bemmels writes Confectionary Sonata inspired by three nursery rhymes: “The Muffin Man,” “Hot Cross Buns,” and “Pat-a-Cake.” Watch here! Can you recognize the songs?

Or here:

 

 

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Student Tools

To start off, here is a tool for note learning called Note Houses, that I began using a few months ago, after watching some videos of the (highly regarded by me) piano teacher Valeri Pyasetski. I have been drawing these with my students aged 5-10, and so far the results have been pretty good. My 6-year-old returned the week after we did the drawings, and proudly announced, “I learned a new piece from the book all by myself, because I had my houses! I didn’t need you!” Doesn’t every teacher live to hear that…

You tell them that the notes are windows in the house and that the houses are on the same street (treble clef). Of course, it works to place all the notes on the staff in one house – there are many variations. It’s the relatable context that I like in this concept. It’s easy to talk about houses and windows and neighbours and friends.

Once you have the treble notes down, you flip the paper and draw the Bass Clef houses (or whatever other clef you are learning.

Here are a couple of versions, with and without note heads. 

Note Houses V1 Note Houses V2

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