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  • Writer's pictureLIGHT PIERRE

My 8-Month Journey Studying the Classical Guitar, Peaks and Valleys

Updated: Oct 19, 2023


a guitarist holding a classical guitar in the studio
The author in the studio with her guitar

During my childhood, I would often find solace in listening to my brother play his acoustic guitar. Although I initially lacked interest in playing the instrument, a transformative moment occurred when my brother transitioned, and an internal voice urged me to pick up his guitar. This newfound desire, combined with my brother’s playing, led me to discover Francisco Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra on the classical guitar. Instantly, I recognized the instrument's ability to evoke deep, hidden emotions within me. From that point forward, I knew I had to learn the classical guitar and explore its profound language that resonated so strongly with me.


Embarking on my classical guitar lessons at the age of 24, I soon realized the immense effort required to excel at playing this instrument.


Peaks


Enthusiasm, a pivotal factor when starting a new endeavor, has been my driving force throughout this journey. Despite the arduous three-hour drive to my teacher’s school every Saturday, I embrace the opportunity with gratitude. The delicate and persuasive sounds produced by the classical guitar transform this journey into a healing experience for me.

guitar student with guitar opens car door
Traveling to class from South East Florida

When pursuing a significant goal in life, the defining question revolves around the sacrifices one is willing to make. My personal aspiration centered on the ability to play, read, and fully express a piece. After six months of dedicated practice, I achieved a significant milestone: performing Johann Phillip Krieger’s “Minuet,” one of the first "challenging" pieces I took on. I now eagerly anticipate the moment when I can infuse emotions into my performance, add personal interpretation to a piece, and eventually compose my own music. The allure lies in the perpetual learning opportunities and the potential for growth, which constantly captivate my interest.


Valleys


Commencing the study of classical guitar can be likened to ascending a daunting mountain. The challenge becomes even more formidable without a competent teacher or a clear understanding of effective study techniques. Fortunately, diligent research led me to my classical guitar teacher, Alberto. In moments of self-doubt, Alberto’s reassurance and guidance shed light on my progress, even when I fail to recognize it myself. Leveraging his extensive experience as a seasoned musician, Alberto comprehends the obstacles I encounter and skillfully aids me in overcoming them.


An essential reminder is to grant ourselves the necessary time for development, avoiding unrealistic expectations of instant mastery. Improvement is an outcome of consistent practice and the guidance of a capable teacher, who can provide valuable feedback to rectify any detrimental habits that may hinder progress.


Patience is key. Building the connections between muscle movements and the sounds emanating from the guitar requires time for muscles to develop and neural pathways in the brain to form. Overnight results should not be expected, but rather a gradual refinement of skills through persistent practice.


Take the plunge


If the thought of studying the classical guitar has crossed your mind, my advice is simple—just do it! Do not allow intimidation due to age or the belief that mastering such an instrument demands years of experience to deter you. Learning a musical instrument necessitates time and dedication, yet the rewards of being able to create beautiful music are immeasurable. Remember, perfection is not required at the beginning; progress emerges through the passage of time and consistent practice. What have you learned during your own journey of studying an instrument?

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