October 29, 2010

Electric guitar, part 1

Earlier this week, I gave in to a long-suppressed urge and traded my flamenco guitar for an electric (thanks to Craigslist and Jason at the Shred Shed!). I'm not even sure yet what I am going to do with it. I don't even have an amp yet, so I've been playing it through Guitar Rig Player on my MacBook. 

I confess that for the first few days it was a real distraction from my classical guitar practice. It's not the only reason, though; I've been putting a lot of energy into a new business venture, which is not a problem, but it has made me focus my guitar practice more into a few hours at the beginning of the day. That's when I prefer to work on guitar, anyway, but with a few nights of poor sleep, I found it harder to focus on the classical guitar stuff.

The real reason, and it's time to admit this to myself, is that I'd lost interest in the set of pieces I was working on. I worked on them last week with a lot of energy, but some of the details were far enough beyond my reach that I ended up practicing the fun out of them. It's good music, but I just need to come back to it later. In the meantime, I've been relearning how to play electric guitar.

October 13, 2010

A piece from Joseph Miller

I found this while searching SoundCloud for classical guitar. I have worked with some students in a class I TA'd for a while on this piece, and I thought it was kind of nice but failed to really appreciate it until I heard this recording. I know nothing about this Joseph Miller guy, but I enjoyed his recordings. Check him out.

Rose in a Garden - Carlo Domeniconi by JosephMillerGuitar


exploring a piece

I'm hanging out in Montana right now, visiting Glacier NP and hanging out with my parents. I brought my guitar, but I've got a lot of projects in the works, so throwing in all the hiking and stuff is limiting my guitar time. So, I decided to pick a piece (Brouwer's Ojos Brujos) that's not long or hard but has some challenges, and explore it. I've played through each voice separately, tried a variety different fingerings for each part of it, ways to play the repeated sections differently, thought about the transitions between sections, etc. As a result, I've gotten most of it memorized without giving any thought to memorizing it, and I've also come up with some unexpected fingerings that help smooth out things I had trouble with and make the melodies sing nicely, too.

I've enjoyed this approach, just getting to know the piece inside and out before committing it to memory. I suppose that if I needed to work up a piece on a short deadline, this approach may not be the best, but I've been able to learn a lot from it.

October 11, 2010

Brouwer's Estudios Sencillos

This is a quick buyer-beware; you can still find the Brouwer studies in 4 short, very expensive volumes in lots of music stores. You can also find ALL 20 of them, plus a bunch of other great music he wrote, in one book, for the price of one of the individual volumes.

October 3, 2010

Concert Review

I wrote a guest post for the Classical Guitar Blog about Jorge Caballero's concert in Seattle last night.

I have to say, I miss the concert halls in the SF Bay Area. Petit Trianon and Herbst theater had really great acoustics, but I am not impressed with Benaroya Hall in Seattle. It just doesn't work as well for guitar.