Chris Phelps I write about guitar lessons.

An Introduction to Classical Guitar

What are classical guitar lessons like?

This is a series of short videos explaining what a classical guitar lessons with the goal of playing music like Allegro would look like.

Allegro is an example of a classical guitar piece you might play after some lessons. It's a beginner piece, but it isn't easy.

Allegro on Instagram.

Allegro on YouTube.

I’m going to explore what lessons would look like that would get you to the point of playing Allegro.

The Carcassi Method

First, a quick summary of what it's going to sound like:

Next, the whole thing:

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The Carcassi Method is my favorite because it uses similar parts (also known as motifs) throughout to teach the student to read music in many different keys quickly and easily, and there’s plenty of theory and technical examples.

The scale is fairly easy for complete beginners to master, but the chords will be impossible to play until some strength is built. People who have played chords will find both easy to play, but the chords will take time to read. At that point, going on to the next key is actually more beneficial than forcing it. Work on C major for a week or two, and then move on to the next key. Reading is worth it, and the Carcassi Method is very logically constructed, and a good way to learn to read music on the guitar. It seems like it gets easier as you go because each key is constructed out of the same motifs. Quickly skimming The Carcassi Method makes this obvious.

Scale and Chord Progression on Instagram.

Scale and Chord Progression on YouTube.

Next up is the first exercise...


The first Exercise seems just like the scale, and it is. There are some leaps, but for the most part it centers around the root note C. On the end are a couple C chords. It's easy, and sounds more complete than some exercises, but not much. It is a good warmup.

Exercise on Instagram.

Exercise on YouTube.

Next is the Prelude where it gets much better...


Prelude on Instagram.

Prelude on YouTube.

The prelude looks like it's constructed out of only single notes, but it's all chords. Reading it note by note will be tedious and time-consuming, but necessary. Ideally, it should only be done a few times in the process of analyzing this piece of music. If you don't know how to analyze the chords, it's worth getting help to make it sound right. It's even more valuable in understanding what comes next in the Carcassi Method. I write the chord names across the top of the music, and help my students memorize the shapes. At this point we also analyze the sound and function of each chord, and how it fits in with the whole piece to make the progressions sound good. Carcassi used the same chord progressions throughout his method to build the pieces. He also used the same forms, and rhythmic structures. Once you understand this reading the book is a pleasure. Each new key is easy to read, and just makes sense. You learn some new things, but it's mostly fun and easy sight reading.

That's how learning guitar should be.

Next is Andantino, and that's where it starts to sound really good.


Andantino on Instagram.

Andantino on YouTube.

This is where the Carcassi method started to sound like music to me. This piece had two notes, chords, and sounded good! That was motivational, so reading it was a joy. It was something I could play for people and be proud of my accomplishment. That's how much of the Carcassi Method feels to me, and that's how learning to play guitar should feel. As I read the book, and learn new stuff I feel like I can play it for people and it still sounds good. The key of C Major also has a Waltz and a Allegretto. After a few keys you will see a pattern in the forms and styles of the pieces that repeats throughout the book methodically. A guitar method. It's really a fun book to learn from.

What's next? This is the first in a series of beginning lessons I intend to complete. Follow me on Instagram, or YouTube to see more. What guitar music would you be interested in learning more about?

The entire series:

All four parts on YouTube


Romanza is another easy classical guitar piece, and shows how you can keep going.

Romanza on Instagram.

Romanza on YouTube.

Thanks for reading. Get in touch if you have questions.

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