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Classical virtuoso John Williams is regarded as one of the world’s foremost guitarists—even among players outside the classical arena. In a career spanning four decades, Williams has concertized all over the world and released over 30 recordings ranging from standard classical repertoire, to avant garde contemporary works, to explorations of ethnic music. His Sony release, El Diablo Suelto, dances and sways with music by eleven great Venezuelan composers. In a conversation at his London home, Williams, known for his impeccable technique, revealed what he feels are shortcomings in contemporary classical guitar right-hand technique. He shares his opinion that studying ethnic rhythms and alternative techniques will make your playing more compelling.

David Russell is highly regarded in the guitar world for his pristine technique and musical sensitivity. He has stated emphatically that he was no child prodigy and his technique made a quantum leap between the ages of 20 and 24. He worked meticulously on the basics then to enhance muscle memory. This work must be done by anyone hoping to be a professional guitarist. “Players with the best technique have fabulous muscle memory,” Russell says.  They play something once and remember how to do it again the next time. “Those with less technique have less perfect muscle memory. When they repeat a hand movement, it doesn’t come out the same way. Some people who don’t play very well may do a trill beautifully once, but they may need 50 tries to get it that once. That means they forgot how to do it 49 times and remembered once.”

Beginning classical guitarist need to develop facility in scales, arpeggios, and tremolo playing as well as other techniques to be able to play the classical repetoire. This lesson will present ideas to help you derive maximum benefit from a single etude by altering it to serve your personal technical needs.  

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Mark Small Lessons