Playing Your Dream Pieces
Playing Your Dream Pieces
Are there pieces that you have always wanted to play, but are told they are too difficult? Your colleagues or teachers might say something like "maybe in two or three years you can play that..."
Then what ends up happening? You start playing boring etudes and simple pieces that don't motivate you. Your passion for practicing starts to dwindle and your guitar starts to build up dust.
If this sounds familiar to you, then I'm here to give you a different story. First I'll tell you my story, then I'll tell you how you can rewrite yours.
When I first learned the guitar, I was taught by my father. You know what the very first things he taught me were? Pieces of music that I wanted to learn.My dad was playing gorgeous pieces of music everyday at home, and I wanted to learn some of them!
I was very motivated to play these pieces that would normally be considered much too advanced for someone first starting to learn. But I just darn wanted to play these pieces and that desire fueled my motivation, which in turn fueled my discipline and work habits - I was practicing a lot!
After six months or so of playing the guitar, I was starting to learn pieces like Sevilla, Un Sueno en la Floresta, and Variations on a Theme by Mozart. I still remember my first lesson with a teacher other than my dad. I played Sor's Variations on a Theme by Mozart for my new teacher. He then asked me to play a certain passage with a rest stroke. I then asked him "what's a rest stroke?".
While I might not have known some basic techniques and rudiments of music, I had memorized advanced pieces in a short amount of time. I did it almost purely from motivation - I just darn wanted to play those pieces!!
There's also one more important part to the story. This is the part that might rewrite your story. I discovered how to simplify the pieces I was learning - break them down into small chunks and practice each voice individually (just melody, just bass line, etc.).
I want to pass this method to you, so I am now starting a new series of books called Play Your Dream Pieces, which make virtually any piece of music playable for guitarists of any level. The first piece in the series is Tarrega's Recuerdos de la Alhambra. Have you ever dreamed of playing this piece? (Even if you can play it already, I think the materials in this book will help you enhance many different aspects of your musicality and technical command.)
I know you're probably thinking that this is an impossible task - "how can something so advanced be simplified so that it's playable by virtually any guitarist?". Well, here is the method behind the madness.
The book is divided up into two main sections. The first section breaks down Recuerdos de la Alhambra into its constituent parts (or voices).
The tremolo has three voices, a melody (soprano), middle (tenor), and lower (bass). In my book, I have written out each voice individually in full, so you can practice them with ease. I have also written out different pairs of voices - melody and bass, melody and tenor, tenor and bass. Finally I condensed Recuerdos de la Alhambra into a chord progression. If you can play all of that material well, then I guarantee that playing the actual piece will become much easier.
For today I want to give you the melody part, and I've also done a special video just for you. The video was done at first on Facebook live, so the video and audio quality are a little shaky, but live streaming seems to be the way of the future. Plus it's also nice to have some interactions and comments with people in the moment. (You can add me as a friend on Facebook if you want to see the live videos!).
I have since edited the video, putting in musical examples and changing the camera angles to make everything a bit clearer. This special video is only available to you, so I hope you take the time to watch at least part of it.
If you have never played the melodic part of a piece before, then now is your chance to start! I cannot tell you the benefit of practicing individual voices. It helps in every aspect - musically, technically, for memoriziation, etc.
It also helps you learn something that is "too advanced". Playing the melody of Recuerdos de la Alhambra is not too advanced! Playing two of the voices at once is a bit more complex, but still nowhere near as "advanced" as playing the piece as written. In the video I go through each voice and pairing, discussing different ways you can practice them.
There are no fingerings in the book, and I make this clear in the video and in the preface of the book. You should experiment with your own fingerings and write them in. This way you will learn with more thought and improve your fretboard knowledge.
So, below is the melody. I challenge you to play it from start to finish. Don't just 'play' it. Imagine you were playing this melody in an ensemble and in front of a large crowd of admiring listeners. How would you play it then?
- How would you phrase it?
- What dynamic shaping would you use?
- What feelings are behind the melody?
- Where would you 'breathe'?
- What tone colors would you use?
- What fingerings would you use?
- Are there technical difficulties even in the melody?
You can write all of this into the score. That's another reason why it is blank. I don't want to tell you exactly how to play every phrase - you should explore that for yourself!
The second part of the book goes into depth about some practice strategies to enhance both musicality and technical security. There is another video on that coming soon.
If you would like to purchase the book, you can do so below. It's $10 USD and I'm positive that you'll get many many quality hours worth of material to work with (thank Tarrega for that!).
About Daniel Nistico - the Resourceful Guitarist
The Resourceful Guitarist aims to help make you a resourceful guitarist by giving you easy access to free resources, pieces, and information that isn't easily available but can have powerful impacts on your playing.
I also aim to promote guitar music that is obscure today, but in my opinion, deserves much greater attention and recognition. This is stuff that you could easily spend hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on - scores, method books, recordings, lessons, etc.
The work I do is to search thoroughly for exceptional resources and promote them via writing, recordings, and videos.
I am truly passionate about this cause, so I keep this service free to you and have no ads. I pour many hours each day into this - in researching, practicing, recording, producing videos, making booklets, translating, and writing.
If you find value in what I do and would like to donate to this cause, then please consider becoming a patron and giving a recurring donation each month. These funds will assist me in website maintenance, video production, audio recordings, access to libraries, and more! Ultimately, you will be part of the mission to spread these old guitar treasures to people around the world. You will help to expand the guitar's cultural borders and ensure that its important history doesn't lay dormant.
Daniel Nistico is available for private guitar instruction in Melbourne.
Please call him on 0455 274 744 for more information and to arrange a free trial lesson, or
Click here for information on Daniel's Skype lessons