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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

It is never too late to become a virtuous guitarist

- Your guide to a fresh start in September -

Summer is over and school is back. It’s all starting up again including your music. If your thoughts are turning to practice and playing, read on!

In previous articles I have written about the “virtuous guitarist”, suggesting an all-embracing approach to develop your skills. At first glance you may have read the word as “virtuoso”, but no, it should read “virtuous”. Virtuous is defined as “a beneficial quality or power, a commendable quality or trait” and comes from the Latin virtus for merit. The virtuoso should indeed be “virtuous”, but the virtuous need not be a virtuoso into the bargain, it is enough to aim for musical merit for the purposes of our September start.

The pursuit of becoming a virtuous guitarist brings together technique, interpretation, style, improvisation and harmonic awareness (among other skills) in an inter-active fashion which is both creative and enjoyable. Now September is here it is as good a time as any to begin work on an integrated approach to your playing. Here are the key elements to a virtuous approach to playing which I call The Player's Development Plan:

The Player's Development Plan:
1. learning pieces
2. developing technique
3. arranging
4. composing
5 sight-reading
6. knowledge of harmony and chords
7. playing chamber music
8. Improvising

The Player’s Development Plan (PDP) grew out of the Alternative Development Plan (ADP) which I described in The Virtuous Guitarist 1: An Alternative Development plan that does not include virtuosity. The PDP and ADP can be tackled by any player at any level, from beginner to advanced. It is never too late to change your approach and make headway.

For the moment let us take stock of where you are in your skills at this moment. Ask yourselves the following questions and score each out of 10, with 10 = excellent; 7 = OK; 5 = not good.

How virtuous are you?
1.
How well are you able to sight-read a piece you wish to learn and which is within your playing ability?
2.
How quickly are you able to devise new fingering patterns?
3.
Can you describe the overall musical structure of the piece?
4.
Can you name the keys and modulations (if any) of pieces you already play, with and without looking at the music?
5.
Can you name a majority of the chords in the piece?
6.
Are you familiar with other pieces by the same composer and can you compare them?
7.
Do you know anything about the life and times of the composer, especially if he or she is dead?
8.
Can you play from memory a majority of the pieces you have learnt?

Now add up the scores. If you have scored 64 – 80 you are doing brilliantly. If you have scored 48 – 63 you are doing OK but there is lots of room for improvement. If you have scored 40 – 47 you have no time to lose, get started now!

If you want to catch up on my previous articles here are the links:
The Virtuous Guitarist 1: An Alternative Development plan that does not include virtuosity, 2: More About The Development Plan, 3: Getting started on the Alternative Development Plan, and 4: How the Alternative Development Plan is important for all classical guitar players.

In my next article I will suggest a step-by-step approach to a specific piece of music. Meanwhile, good luck and may you have a fulfilled journey on your path to becoming a virtuous guitarist.

Mexico, 7 September 2012

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=1600 .
© 2017.

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