Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Classical Guitar Update

I really shouldn't differentiate between "classical guitar practice" and "acoustic guitar practice" because classical is pretty much all I care about these days. Though, if you'd been watching my life for the past few weeks, you'd think I didn't care about music at all. I sliced the fingertip of my left hand while chopping vegetables a few weeks ago, and that took some time to heal. And then I had a bit of life stress and chewed up my fingernails on both hands until my poor fingers were bleeding, literally. So any kind of pressure to the fingers was pain for a couple of weeks. And I couldn't get a manicure with fake nails (my usual solution to nub-bitten nails) because of the open wounds.

Finally, finally, I got some fake nails this past Saturday. I had to drive to Asheville for a couple of days after that so no time to practice guitar. At my in-person guitar lesson on Monday, my teacher restrung my guitar since (1) I hadn't practiced in three weeks and (2) the guitar needed it.

So now I have a nice, recently restrung Alvarez Yairi, and I'm ready to start practicing again.

This morning's goal: To reacquaint myself. At my request, I backed up to start Suzuki Book 1, and it's been good for me for several reasons. One of the biggest reasons is the repetition of notes with different fingers. As a pianist, I've had such a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of (1) playing the same string with different fingers and (2) having that string make the same sound, or different sounds. It's hard to explain. When you repeat the same note on piano in quick succession, you always use alternating fingers, so that's nothing new. But with guitar, I've hit a block. The Suzuki "Twinkle" variations have been good exercise because I'm playing the same string with different fingers (i and m, or my index and middle fingers). I can't explain why it's been such a good exercise, but it has.

I downloaded the Suzuki Book 1 mp3 to help me get a mental representation of just how my playing should sound. After listening, I played it myself and noticed a couple of things I can improve:
  • Sometimes I don't pull my fingertip away after plucking a string, and I end up half-plucking the string above it.
  • The volume, tone, and clarity of the notes aren't consistent.
So I slowed down and worked on playing a single note at a time. And on achieving greater consistency. That took a good 30 minutes.

My guitar teacher was concerned that I'd be bored by these super-simple pieces, but I'm not. Working to achieve good technique is never boring, though it is slow work and probably not so exciting to a bystander. But I love it.

Tomorrow's practice goals: Work on technique some more, but branch out to the other simple songs I've started: "Lightly Row," "Go Tell Aunt Rhody," and "Song of the Wind."

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