A year in review at CGC, a gift for members, and a preview of 2018

//A year in review at CGC, a gift for members, and a preview of 2018

A year in review at CGC, a gift for members, and a preview of 2018

Let’s start with the gift.

It has been another outstanding year at Classical Guitar Corner, and to celebrate with our members we will be offering free live coaching to members throughout the month of December all the way up to Christmas. With 8 hours of free live lessons each week, spread across various time zones, it will be an opportunity for all members to get more one-on-one time with the teachers, and receive personalized feedback.

If you are not already a member, you can take advantage of this opportunity by signing up here

CGC has grown so much it split in two!



Until recently, Classical Guitar Corner has housed its public resources and member resources all under the same roof. In October, we announced the CGC Academy. The Academy is a dedicated site just for the members and it gives a permanent home for all of our students. Not only is the site faster, it is more customized to suit the learning materials available to members.

All Levels Firing!

The curriculum at CGC is robust, and like I always say: There is no easy path to anywhere worth going. We took our time to do things right, and after the publication of our first book over seven years ago, CGC now has a full five levels of study that takes the student from the very beginning, all the way to advanced repertoire.

The level 4 recital book was released in November and has pieces such as Bach’s Cello Prelude from Suite BWV 1007, Legnani’s second Caprice, and two Scarlatti Sonata’s in A Major.

Along with the filling out of the levels has been additional materials added to Level 1, 2, and 3 including more repertoire lessons, duets, and sight reading challenges.

Certificate Courses 1 – 3 and preliminaries

There are hundreds of lessons, and years of study to be found in the curriculum. To help you navigate the clearest path to progress, we created the Certificate Courses. Over one hundred CGC students have passed their certificates in 2017 and they have all remarked how much it helped them structure their practice and set goals. In September, we launched the Level 3, which is suited for the intermediate player.

If you would like to read the Academy requirements for each certificate you can download them here.

As each Level covers a substantial amount of material, it sometimes left students with longer periods of time between level submissions, and their personal feedback. In order to make these more manageable the Preliminary Certificates were created. These provide valuable check-ins half way through each level, and allow the students to set shorter term goals. So far, the response has been fantastic with 40 submissions in October alone.

Advanced Repertoire

To cater for our advanced students we have a range of challenging courses that were launched in 2017. These included:

  • Capricho Árabe by Francisco Tarrega
  • Prelude 1 by Heitor Villa Lobos
  • Romanian Dances by Bela Bartok
  • Julia Florida by Agustin Barrios
  • Lesley’s Song by Fred Hand
  • Rasgueado and Sevillanas by Gohar Vardanyan
  • Theory through improvisation by Simon Powis

General Knowledge Masterclasses

Two very popular courses that were launched this year include Performing Under Pressure by Dr. Noa Kageyama and Guitar Mechanics by luthier Garret Lee.

These courses offer general skills and knowledge that apply to players of all levels and have been a great addition to the Academy.

The Inaugural Summer School

It is quite likely that you have already heard about the 2017 Summer School, so I will keep it short. It was brilliant. Great performances, lectures, classes, workshops, ensembles, and lessons. Not to mention the late night gatherings, BBQ, open mic night and mealtime conversations! We are already looking forward to 2018.

The Usual Suspects

In addition to all of the additions listed above, we had our regular assortment of live member sessions, forum conversations, and video postings. While I can’t tell you exactly how many posts were created this year, I can tell you that there are 1,865 posts in the forum with 15,625 replies. Now that is quite a conversation going on!


What’s coming in 2018?

Well, if 2017 is any indication… a lot!

As the curriculum is coming to completion, I will be re-visiting certain materials to make them better. As I have grown as an instructor online I have refined my own teaching skills and look forward to improving on what is already there. This might mean adding some extra supplemental work, or simply recording new lessons to cater for questions that have come up along the way.

My general approach here is more quality than quantity.

Level 4 and 5 Certificate Courses

A certificate course becomes available when all modules of a level are complete (theory, musicianship, repertoire, sight reading, analysis, technique). Level 4 and 5 already have substantial amounts of material but have yet to form the full certificate course.

These levels represent advanced classical guitar technique and repertoire and the certificate requirements will be substantial. Level 4 will be building on the theory and technique concepts that we encountered in Level 3 but it will also be leaning more towards a small recital in terms of performance requirements.

At CGC I can only create materials that are either original, or in the pubic domain. As this can be limiting, there will be an expansion list of repertoire that is eligible for the certificate courses in different levels.

Member Challenges

Dave and I have been working on short term challenges that members can undertake in various “themed” months. This will offer short term goals, and extra diversity in your learning roadmap.


We have already been adding a number of duets into the membership this year, but in 2018 we will make an even more robust collection of duets and ensemble music available. These will all include play along tracks for practice and enjoyment.

Advanced Repertoire

Some repertoire on the production schedule includes:

  • La Catedral – Agustin Barrios
  • Fugue BWV 1001 – J.S. Bach
  • Variations on a theme by Mozart – F. Sor
  • Asturias – Issac Albeniz

2018 Summer School

Almost at capacity right now, the 2018 Summer School will feature a line up of world class teachers and performers. I am counting down the days already!


What was your favorite part of 2017?

If you are an Academy member, tell us in the comments below what you enjoyed most about Classical Guitar Corner in 2017 and what you are looking forward to in 2018!

If you are not a member, perhaps you can share some of your accomplishments and successes over the last year.

2017-12-10T17:22:10+00:0011 Comments


  1. Linda Tsardakas November 20, 2017 at 12:02 am - Reply

    There is so much I enjoyed about Classical Guitar Corner in 2017 – the new lesson materials, the interaction on the forum, the live sessions, actually meeting Simon and Dave in person at the Summer School together with the other wonderful teachers and all CGC players who participated. I am definitely looking forward to more of the same in 2018. I know the Summer School will be a great success again.

    Thank you for the above mentioned gift of live coaching during December. I can highly recommend to anyone to take the plunge and play online for Simon or Dave’s direct feedback. It is the next best thing to playing one on one in a so-called “normal” private lesson.

    Thank you, Simon, for your dedication to teaching and for the kind and personal touch you bring to Classical Gutiar Corner.

  2. Caryl November 20, 2017 at 12:16 am - Reply

    I am still getting used to this cyber-medium for instruction. When I first became a member I mentioned that I am not a social media user (or rather I am a lurker – I tune in occasionally on FB, but almost never contribute) – so getting comfortable with this FB type of medium for guitar instruction has been a challenge for me, but frankly, a welcome one. I am in the process of transitioning from a face to face teacher (who is two hours away) to using the website exclusively for instruction. This will require that I engage with the CGC website more deliberately and meaningfully, which will be my challenge for 2018. Thanks again to both Linda T. and Vaughan E. for their encouragement and assurance that the CGC community is supportive and instructive. And yes, Linda, I’m looking forward to Simon’s and Dave’s “office hours”.

  3. Michael C November 20, 2017 at 2:25 am - Reply

    2017 was booming with changes for this site, and for me as a guitarist! I really learned how to buckle down and develope a structured practice session for myself. As I do not have a lot of free time available, my sessions need to be productive or it’s completely wasted time. This course provided the right material, at the right time, that allowed enough challenges, but also let me see where I needed to put in the work. I really feel like I grew from the material, recordings I posted and feedback from them, and from feeling confident enough to find outside pieces to work on. I was stagnating before I came to CGC, but now I’m growing!

  4. Louis Wilberger November 20, 2017 at 3:14 am - Reply

    Still working through materials i received during my membership. Found a video by Ana Vidovic on two finger tremelo which works for me. Still waiting for a summer seminar on the West Coast. Will probably rejoin next spring.

  5. Donna Zitzelberger November 20, 2017 at 5:05 am - Reply

    I am working through the levels slowly. My goal is to fill in holes in my knowledge base. I have a pretty busy ukulele and guitar teaching business with little ones – pop/rock/country/folk/classical – so I can’t get to my own lessons as often as I want. I tend to hop around a lot to get my questions answered on a need-to-know basis. And, I get those questions answered. The quality of lessons here is fabulous; and I really like Simon’s teaching style. I still smile at the way I found it: I changed my business name to “Kids Guitar Corner” and found a goldmine at “Classical Guitar Corner”. Thanks so much Simon and Dave for your expertise and guidance!

  6. Bruce Donehower November 20, 2017 at 6:41 am - Reply

    Without a doubt, my favorite part of the year was the summer camp and what followed from it. Needless to say, I find the site top notch. I was very skeptical of the internet as a learning medium, but I have become a true believer, especially in regard to CGS. There is plenty here to keep me on task and on progress — not to mention the great community. I had the good fortune to connect with folks after the camp concluded, and this has led to more personal interactions as we meet up in various locations and collaborate. Simon has launched a brilliant enterprise here, in my opinion. I eagerly await the next installments. Thanks, Simon.

  7. Brett Torgrimson November 20, 2017 at 7:50 am - Reply

    My favorite part of this year has simply been the process of actually learning classical guitar. While I have not contributed much to the community I am excited to still be practicing throughout the week. When I joined I was a little doubtful that I would stay with it. With so many other priorities (family, work, chores), making time to practice seemed a dubious task. But I am happy to report progress; callouses forming on my left hand; and a greater awareness of my right hand’s finger nails. Oh, and the music…what a treat. I have video taped a few simple pieces and look back at where I was and the few baby steps I have made since. Looking forward to 2018.

  8. Kari Conroy November 20, 2017 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Wow! What an impressive list of accomplishments above. I have really enjoyed watching this site develop. My favorite part of CGCA is the process of learning the skills required to pass a level. It felt like school exams again when I submitted for my Level 1 certificate! I can look back over this year and celebrate a stronger left hand and actually keeping nails on my right.
    I’m really looking forward to how my playing develops in 2018. I also can’t wait to see Dr. Simon and Dave post more Level 4 and 5 course work that will ultimately become Certificate Levels. It may be years before I even begin the material myself, but knowing it is something that I am working toward is inspiring.
    Congratulations on a wonderful learning community you have created! Now back to practicing…

  9. David Barnard November 20, 2017 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    My favorite: the duets. I love them. Challenging and fun to play along, helps me greatly with sight reading and working out fingerings/positions (for those where it isn’t provided) and other essential skills. I also really like when you provide more than one tempo to play along with for the two parts. Looking forward to more of them in 2018.
    Thank you!

  10. Bonnie Patterson November 20, 2017 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    This program is so unbelievable. It shows just what can be accomplished in an online teaching and learning environment with such talented, creative people in charge of it.

    Now, this year got a bit messy for me, and I got pulled way-away from my goals and ambitions for this 2017 year.

    That said, I’m starting to focus again on all of this and I truly appropriate the super content and the great learning environment provided in this program. I feel very fortunate in having stumbled upon it online in 2016.

    Thanks Simon and Dave for this December bonus. If you offer it next year I just might be in a position to play something for someone.




  11. Lissa December 5, 2017 at 12:09 am - Reply

    I’m really pleased with my growth at Classical Guitar Academy over the past year. It’s rewarding to hear my progress as well as see the progress of other students. The time I spend here at CGA is always richly rewarded. The quality of the instruction, the dedication Simon and Dave have for us, the absolutely wonderfully rich community experiences have topped every experience I’ve had in private lessons.
    As a new member recently noted, practicing was always a solitary affair. Now, I’m surrounded by other classical guitar players who are as dedicated and in love with the classical guitar and its music as I am. Many times over this past year I have turned to CGA and been rejuvenated and inspired by the work of other students, and its a pleasure to share with them their joy and accomplishments.
    This year’s highlights should include the many wonderful composers I’ve been introduced to by the CGA community.
    Thanks Simon, Dave, and all the members.
    Here’s to another great year!

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