Starting to learn classical guitar may seem daunting – even to those who play other styles of guitar! However, getting your feet wet with this genre is easier than you think. Learning classical pieces can come quickly with the right instruction.
In his course, Take 5: Beginner Classical, renowned instructor Andrew Leonard breaks down the basics of building a good technique. Then, with Andrew’s help, you’ll play your way through the course and learn five classical pieces along the way!
Here are 3 beginner classical guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Andrew Leonard’s Take 5: Beginner Classical on Truefire!
Classical Guitar Lesson – Level 5 – Lágrima: Overview
Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909) was one of the great masters of the classical guitar. He lived in Spain and his performances, compositions and teaching led to the development of modern day classical guitar playing. Some of his most well know compositions are: “Capricho Árabe”, “Recuerdos de la Alhambra”, “Adelita” and this piece “Lágrima”.
“Lágrima” means tear. Apparently, Tárrega wrote this piece while he was performing in London and feeling homesick.
Classical Guitar Lesson – Level 5 – Lágrima: Performance
During the performance of Francisco Tárrega’s “Lágrima”, I play each section one time. There are two sections, played A-B-A.
When you perform “Lágrima”, the proper form is to play with repeats: A-A-B-B-A. This is explained in the breakdown.
As you listen and watch, notice we’re using all of the fretboard with many left hand fingers moving in many opposite directions. Notice the use of legato: Look at how I’m holding down the bass notes while playing the melody and listen for the legato sound.
Notice the difference in mood between the A and B sections. The A section is in E major and the B section is in E minor.
Also, focus on the right hand classical guitar technique. You will see both rest strokes and free strokes being used to bring out the melody and soften the accompaniment.
Enjoy! You have the opportunity to play one of the masterpieces written for classical guitar.
Classical Guitar Lesson – Level 5 – Lágrima: Breakdown
This is the most complex of our beginner classical guitar pieces. I suggest you learn one part at a time before putting the entire piece together. One strategy is to learn the smaller sub phrases individually before moving on. Another possibility is to divide the entire piece into two measure groups.
When learning a piece, I always start by playing very slowly, focusing on accuracy and good tone. I take as much time in between notes to prepare the right hand and left hand before I play. I think of the concept as “correcting the mistakes, before they occur”. The last thing I add is playing in time.
Pay close attention to the left hand fingerings. Strive for a legato sound and notice where I am holding notes down with my left hand. Again, the finger independence you develop will improve your left hand classical guitar technique.
While keeping many different fingers on the fretboard at the same time, make sure you monitor how much pressure you’re using. Use as little tension as you need. A common mistake is to apply to much pressure from the left hand thumb. Lastly, be aware of the separation of melody and accompaniment. As suggested earlier in the course, take the time to learn to play the melody alone.
Digging these free beginner classical guitar lessons? Check out Andrew Leonard’s Take 5: Beginner Classical.