Contrary to what most people think, you don’t need formal classical training to be able to learn, perform, and enjoy playing classical pieces for family and friends. Whatever style you play, it's easier than you think.
This Easy Classical edition of Take 5 from Andrew Leonard is an accelerated curriculum designed to help get your classical technique up and running quickly without having to struggle through a lot of tedious exercises and formal training. Work through the course and you’ll have a basic classical technique under your belt and five classical pieces in your repertoire!
”I’ve designed this course so you can "skip the conservatory" and head straight for the music. You can use whatever guitar you have and you don't have to read music. All you need to get started is some guitar playing experience (in any style) and a little bit of fingerpicking ability or the desire learn classical fingerpicking on the fly. I’ll teach you five well known classical guitar pieces from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Romantic eras.”
You’ll start the course with a quick primer during which Andrew will introduce you to PIMA, the fingering labels for classical guitar right-hand fingerings and then show you right-hand classical guitar techniques including rest strokes and free strokes. Next, you’ll work on left-hand classical guitar techniques and learn how to position the guitar for optimal playing. You will find the information here useful for any style of guitar playing.
Andrew will then guide you through 5 classical performance studies, progressing from basic to more advanced applications of the technique
Level 1: Greensleeves "The main focus in learning to play ""Greensleeves"" is the melody. The arrangement I made uses a very minimal amount of bass and accompaniment notes so the melody can be easily heard and played. This will also allow you to experiment with dynamics and apply some of the different ""classical guitar style"" suggestions made in the breakdown.”
Level 2: Largo in D "Largo from the Lute Concerto in D Major is part of the slow second movement. It's amazing how much music Vivaldi can create with so few notes! With a simple D scale, Vivaldi composes one of the most famous and beautiful melodies of the Baroque era. Fortunately for us, classical guitarists are the most frequent performers of this piece.”
Level 3: Kemp's Jig "Kemp's Jig has four sections. In the Renaissance, these were called strains. The first strain could be thought of as the "A section". The second strain is a repeat of the A section" with some added notes or "embellishments". We can think of these as written out improvisations. To extend the piece, you could repeat Strains 1 and 3 by adding further embellishments each time. Once you have learned the piece, you might want to experiment with adding some of your own embellishments.”
Level 4: Minuet in G "One thing to keep in mind as I perform the Bach/Petzold's "Minuet in G Major" is the rhythm. Minuets have three beats per measure. Count along with my playing so you can feel the slight accent on beat one and how beat three often is quieter. Also, can you hear the melody and the accompaniment notes? If this is not easy to do, the next video (the breakdown) will explain which notes are melody and accompaniment. Learning to "bring out" the melody is an essential skill that classical guitarists spend much of their practice time focusing on.”
Level 5: Lágrima "The final piece is a miniature masterpiece by one the classical guitar's greatest players and composers. This is also the most challenging piece to learn. It was written in the Romantic era and there is plenty of opportunity for expressive playing. As you listen and watch, notice we're using all of the fretboard with many left-hand fingers moving in many opposite directions. Notice the use of legato: Look at how I'm holding down the bass notes while playing the melody. Listen for the legato sound of notes from different voices sustaining.”
Andrew will explain and demonstrate all of the key concepts and approaches along the way. You’ll get standard notation and tabs for all of the Performance Studies. In addition, you’ll be able to loop or slow down any of the videos so that you can work with the lessons at your own pace.
Grab your guitar and let’s get classical with Andrew Leonard!
About the Take 5 Series
TrueFire’s Take 5 courses feature an accelerated curricular approach to help students get up to speed quickly on a particular style or technique. Each Take 5 course starts with a primer on the particular style or technique and then guides the student through 5 performance studies progressing from basic applications to more sophisticated approaches.