CGC 012 : David Russell

//CGC 012 : David Russell

CGC 012 : David Russell

David Russell is an inspiration to many and this conversation is a testament to his motivation and inspiring attitude. We talk about his masterclass experiences, approach to specific techniques, and his way of practicing new materials.

David and his wife María run a charity, which is mentioned in the conversation and if you would like to find out more, you can visit David’s site here:

Also mentioned in the podcast is David’s famous practice sheet which he uses to manage the large amounts or repertoire that in involved in touring and recording. Here is a link to that sheet:

2016-07-30T23:55:57+00:0010 Comments


  1. Adrian Hunter August 31, 2015 at 8:19 am - Reply

    Wonderful! A superlative musician, and an eloquent ambassador for our instrument.

  2. David Spiegelberg August 31, 2015 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Simon, for a very informative interview with David Russell.

    Of particular interest to me were his discussions about attitude, and how for some people learning to play is just more hard work than for others.

  3. Richard Macha August 31, 2015 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    I have been guilty of searching for the “Golden Key” I recently had the notion that in the US, Abel Carlevaro was not given the prominence other pedagogues are, and if I worked on his Caudermos I might break through the limits I have felt. Well, actually I am still in that phase :)

    The thing that has been on my mind from this and especially the John Williams interview was that at the heart of it all we all have to find our own individual paths. Success will be if 5 years from now I still wake up to practice in the morning.

  4. Judi Angus September 2, 2015 at 2:09 am - Reply

    Hi Simon,

    I listened to the David Russell podcast as I drove to work this morning. The part that really resonated with me was his discussion about needing to like the piece you’re playing. As a student that is quite an eye opener even though it is obvious. Perhaps naively, I had assumed that if a piece was suggested by a teacher, or by picking up a manuscript, that the piece would be good and whether you liked it or not, you worked at playing it. However, his comments provide some freedom to be selective about the pieces that one puts a lot of time and effort into practising.

    I also liked his comment about practising technique in the morning and playing for pleasure in the afternoon/evening.

    Another great podcast. Thanks.

    • Richard Macha September 2, 2015 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      As to learning pieces you like: I have had the experience several times where I was not interested in an assigned piece but came to love it through the process of learning it. I was recently assigned Sor’s Op 35 no 16. I listened to a recording of it. I didn’t even hear the phrases-it didn’t seem musical to me at all. By working on it while continuing to listen to others playing, and the guidance of my teacher I have come to love the study. Not incidentally, there are comments on YouTube to the effect that it is an easy piece. By researching the piece through the writing of David Tannenbaum, and Abel Carlevaro, and guidance by Peter Zita, I have come to appreciate how brilliant Sor’s composition is and that to do justice to the work is more challenging than those comments indicate. I would have missed that based on my initial reaction.

  5. TonyS September 2, 2015 at 11:39 am - Reply

    This was an excellent interview. His thoughts on teaching and learning were very interesting.

  6. Karen Allison September 6, 2015 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Simon. Another interesting and helpful interview for an amateur musician like myself.

    And p.s., I also enjoyed your podcast with Evita. Thank you and her for sharing your experiences as artists. And I hope you and your left arm are doing well! We are so fortunate to be able to use our bodies to produce art. Whether it be dancing, visual art or music, etc.

    • Simon September 6, 2015 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      I agree, Karen. If anything it has made me grateful and aware of being so fortunate.

  7. Vic April 17, 2016 at 5:50 am - Reply

    Very interesting to hear from David Russell when he admits he was not a child prodigy but rather a hard worker who loves playing the guitar!
    Good suggestion of applying oneself to practice in the morning as a daily discipline.
    Again, the advice to “love the playing” seems to run through the interview and to keep challenging oneself to ask questions.
    An illuminating interview. Thanks, Simon.

  8. James Crespo June 4, 2016 at 6:14 am - Reply

    Thank you Simon for this amazing Podcast!! So many wonderful things were covered I found myself sad to hear it end.

    David Russel a brilliant artist, and human being. It was so inspiring listening to this interview , it gave me inspiration to enjoy just playing the guitar, while still trying develop or I should say in my case overcome the hurdles, that are challenging me at this time.
    Thank you again Simon.


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