There’s something about the life of a beginner that is comforting. Steps are steady, building blocks are easily seen and the musical rewards progressively increase. Taking the tunnel vision approach, where it’s simply a case of learning a few chords or knowing the notes in the first position, ignoring scales and ear training, can still mean being introduced to a wide range of interesting and enjoyable songs/pieces. But after that, what then?
Often in completing a Book 1, I’ll with enthusiasm move onto Book 2 only to discover I’m learning things that don’t have that same linear progressive approach. It becomes, here’s a technique to practise followed by the next chapter on, say, learning notes in second position. While in itself this isn’t without it’s uses, there isn’t really a sense that I can see my repertoire building.
Lately, I’ve decided to take on Trinity and ABRSM graded books as a way of establishing for myself my own proficiency. Even though for me Trinity Grade 2 is very easy the dynamic markings, slurs, harmonics and even counting the note values has been a challenge. Again, all things that haven’t been covered in my Book 1. So, my approach has now become to build a repertoire that includes a greater range of guitar techniques and also require increasing theory knowledge. So, the theory I learn, again using these same organisations, links to the pieces. I’m strengthening everything and making progress. I’m not just learning pieces but feel I’m becoming better as a serious guitarist. Just because I’m teaching myself or have no intention of performing in front of others, doesn’t mean I don’t want to take it seriously. I have in mind the idea of being a ‘professional guitarist’. This idea is important to me. It gives me focus and makes me question what I do and why.
Self-teaching is tough. My blog for classical guitar will be tracking my progress but with a specific focus on how I’m tackling and, hopefully, overcoming difficulties.
Next post: issues involving counting note value and how I’ll try to overcome them.