Level 1 materials are aimed at the beginner guitarist who has no prior experience or knowledge of the classical style. They have also proven very valuable for those who want to re-visit fundamental techniques.
The level 1 materials interlink with one another and I encourage you to undertake multiple courses at the same time while still approaching the course lessons in the order they are presented.
The Notation and Technique Courses have extra materials that you can use for continued practice until you move on to level 2. This includes the 7 Progressive Technical Routines and the Extra Sight Reading Materials.
Course Order for Level 1
- Notation & Sight Reading
- Technique & Musicianship
- Theory & Analysis
Step 1. Fundamentals
This course covers the essentials that every classical guitarist needs to know. If you are starting out make sure you go through the Fundamentals course from beginning to end.
Step 2. Notation & Sight Reading
If you are new to reading standard notation (as opposed to TAB) you should focus on the Notation & Sight reading course as your second step. It is important to read basic notation so that you will understand the exercises to come in future lessons.
If you have experience reading notation already I would encourage you to start the notation course along with the other courses as it may cover a few points you didn’t know or you have forgotten. Even if it seems easy, I encourage you to complete the course in order.
Step 3. Technique & Musicianship
Once you are able to read some basic notation feel free to commence the Technique & Musicianship Course. Again, I encourage you to complete each section in order, even if you have prior knowledge of the topics. Many of the lessons have specific exercises, please complete these exercises before moving on.
At the end of the Technique & Musicianship Course you will find 7 progressive technical routines. These routines are intended to last you quite a while so don’t feel pressured to rush through them or tick them off the list. Learn each routine so that you can play them fluently and comfortably.
When you are in control of all the exercises in a routine you can progress to the next routine. These routines will overlap with your repertoire studies and they offer a balanced set of exercises to incorporate in each practice session.
Step 4. Theory & Analysis
This course is short and sweet but the ideas are very important. I encourage you to go through this course several times. Once before delving into the repertoire once during the repertoire and once after working on the pieces for some time. The lessons will mean different things to you at various stages of development.
Step 5. Repertoire
The repertoire, like the technical routines, are arranged in a progressive level of difficulty. Once again I encourage you to approach them in order and to complete all of the ten pieces if you can. They all have specific musical and technical benefits.
Building a practice session
At this point you can incorporate a technical routine, one or two pieces of repertoire and some sight reading from the extra exercises into your practice routine.
Re-visit your lessons
The beauty of online education is that you can constantly re-visit previous lessons and let the information soak in over time. Once you are into your repertoire I highly suggest you re-visit lessons that are appropriate to that piece of repertoire .Chords, free stroke, accents etc.
It is very common and easy for bad habits to creep in, so checkin in with the lessons on a regular basis will be very beneficial.
A final word…
A temptation that is common to all of us (I definitely include myself in this one) is to move on to the next shiny object as soon as we can.
Learning classical guitar takes time, and as with so many other pursuits in life, mastering the fundamentals is incredibly important. If you feel like you can successfully complete an exercise or a piece, challenge yourself to stick with it for one more day or one more week. By focusing in on an element you will have the opportunity to progress faster than if you skimmed across a lot of material quickly.
The pieces I have chosen for this level all have some beautiful music in them, it is up to you to bring that music to life.
Enjoy exploring your sound, enjoy making music, and enjoy the process of discovery.