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Watch the Take 5: Beginner Classical online guitar lesson by Andrew Leonard from Take 5: Beginner Classical

Take 5: Beginner Classical is designed to allow you to "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. Just follow Andrew as he teaches you five well known classical guitar pieces from the Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic eras.

If you already play classical guitar or have taken any of Andrew's other TrueFire classical guitar courses, you'll be able to quickly learn these pieces. By combining the technique and interpretive skills you have already developed, and the concepts taught while learning these pieces, you will gain a deeper understanding of classical guitar playing.

While guiding you through how to play these five pieces, Andrew will help you bring classical guitar music to life. He'll discuss details on phrasing, the use of dynamics and separating the melody and the accompaniment. These concepts will help you develop your own "classical style" and add depth to your playing, no matter what style you apply them to.

After an introductory primer, explaining the basics of classical guitar playing, we dive right into the five classical guitar pieces. Along the way, you'll learn some classical music history including some of the funny and not-so-funny stories behind these pieces.

The pieces are ordered so that each is a little more challenging than the previous one. Each piece has three video segments: an introduction, a performance and a detailed breakdown explain how to play the piece.

Below, Andrew shares some information on each of the classical guitar pieces covered in this Take 5 course:
  • Greensleeves: I decided to start with this piece because, people always ask classical guitarists to play "Greensleeves". So, you better be prepared! My arrangement of this Elizabethan Renaissance classic has minimal bass and accompaniment, leaving plenty of space for the melody to shine.
  • Largo from the lute concerto in D major by Vivaldi: Vivaldi's Baroque era concertos influenced generations of composers. This beautiful slow movement from his lute concerto in D major is one of his most well-known. It's amazing how much music Vivaldi creates using a simple D major scale.
  • "Kemp's Jig" is another Elizabethan Renaissance classic. "Kemp's Jig" is a great feel good piece with a funny, possibly ridiculous story behind it. It has a great groove and a little Renaissance improvisation.
  • Minuet in G by Bach: This well-known Baroque keyboard piece is easily played on the guitar and gives us an opportunity to play contrapuntal music. Did J.S. Bach actually write it? All is discussed in the video and description.
  • "Lágrima" by Tárrega: 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.
Extensive About pages accompany each piece. The information on each page complements the material covered in the related video. You'll find with additional details, practice suggestions and further listening suggestions. In the About pages for each of the 5 performance videos, Andrew gives suggestions for what to listen and look for in his playing. These suggesting will teach you to listen critically to a classical performer and help you appreciate all the subtleties in classical guitar playing.

Using TrueFire's highly interactive approach, you can easily pause, loop and slow down the playback of any passage, allowing you to learn at your own pace. Guitar tab and standard notation are included for all pieces as is every right and left hand fingering.

So, grab your guitar and let's get started. If it doesn't have nylon strings, set the amp to low and turn off the distortion - it's time to play classical guitar!