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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

The Virtuous Guitarist 4

How the Alternative Development Plan is important for all classical guitar players

In this article I will try to show how all student guitarists can become better players by adopting the Alternative Development Plan (ADP).

To sum up so far: the ADP assumes a different approach to guitar playing. Its' aims are excellence in all-round accomplishments. The six-point plan develops creative, musical, technical and theoretical aspects of guitar playing.

This is the six-point plan:
1. arranging
2. composing
3. sight-reading
4. knowledge of harmony and chords
5. playing chamber music
6. improvising

The ADP is particularly appropriate to student guitarists interested in arranging, composing and in playing chamber music. The ADP is also important for all those guitarists who want to become better players, for it can improve a player's performance.

How the ADP can improve a player's performance
This is how all six points of the ADP can improve performance:

1. Arranging music improves your knowledge of the fingerboard, of chord inversions, of musical textures and so makes you aware of these qualities in the pieces you are learning to project them in your interpretations.

2. Composing music improves your awareness of musical ideas, themes, development, form and structure and so makes you aware of these qualities in the pieces you are learning, to project them in your interpretations.

3. Improved sight-reading increases speed of reading and helps to quickly locate the sections of pieces which need practise.

4. Improved knowledge of chords and harmony helps to create the building-blocks for memorising pieces and consequently gives you more confidence in performance.

5. Playing chamber music improves your reading skills and playing in time, and so makes you aware of these qualities in the pieces you are learning, to project them in your interpretations.

6. Improvising develops arranging and composing skills at lightning speed through faster musical and technical reflexes.

Here is the same thing summarised in an equation:

arranging (knowledge of fingerboard and chordal inversions) + composing (musical awareness) + sight-reading (effective practise + faster learning) + knowledge of harmony (memorising) + playing chamber music (keeping in time) + improvising (faster musical reflexes) = learning pieces more quickly + playing more securely + more knowledgeable and musical interpretations

The Player's Development Plan
Building on the learning skills of the ADP, the Player's Development Plan could be an eight point plan that looks like this:

1. learning pieces
2. developing technique
3. arranging
4. composing
5 sight-reading
6. knowledge of harmony and chord
7. playing chamber music
8. improvising

This may seem a daunting task but it need not be. Make it fun, make it a voyage of discovery. Take your time. As I described in The Virtuous Guitarist 2, learning is like a jigsaw puzzle. I assume that if you decide to follow The Player's Development Plan points 1 and 2 are your driving force. As far as points 3 to 8, start where you like. Take time out from your practise to do so, you will benefit from this in the long-term. The improvements will be gradual, but the satisfaction immense from the beginning. As the jigsaw pieces begin to fit together so will the various strands of your newly acquired knowledge and skills begin to interlock. You will become a more curious player, and then a more knowledgeable one, and finally a better guitarist.

Read more from my previous blogs:
The Virtuous Guitarist:
An alternative development plan that does not include virtuosity

Posted 28th August

The Virtuous Guitarist 2: More about the Development Plan
Posted 3rd September

The Virtuous Guitarist 3: Getting started on the Alternative Development Plan
Posted 10th September

10,000 Hours' Practise Makes Perfect: We're All Going On A Summer Holiday, Except The Dedicated Few
Posted 7th August

Guitar practise: brain rules all
Posted 29th May

How I arranged Beatles classics for classical guitar
Posted 5th June

September 2011

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=716 .
© 2019.


  1. It is never too late to become a virtuous guitarist – Carlos Bonell

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