Let’s go on with the guitar playing technique and I was previously talking about an important part of the techique – the playing mechanics. So what is a good material for developing your mechanics?
The term “playing mechanics” came prominently to my mind unfortunately when I already had done my BA degree in classical guitar but luckily before starting the MA so I took a year off to develop my technique and mechanics before moving on. The initial material that catched my attention was the Ricardo Iznaola’s “Kitharologus“. In first place it was not the actual exercises that attracted me but the exact workout plans that he suggests. Indeed – playing the guitar on the professional level can be demanding and no sportsman wouldn’t ever expect good results without daily practicing routines. 2-3 a day. Of course, it takes time! But if you don’t deal with it conciously the time will fly away anyway and then there is no wonder that you have fears about going live or recording something.
So strict plans and rules for yourself is the key. People are lazy. Me too. For a start I followed the Iznaola’s suggested daily practicing routines and after about 5 years started to do things my way. I would take a piece of actual music and turn the smaller parts of it to an exersice in the same fashion. More and more I found that I even don’t have to think about my playing techniques any more and I can concentrate on the music. Don’t believe the guys who tell you that the guitar is the most challenging instrument in the world as there are so many different movements involved. The fact is that every instrument has developed its repertoire to the utmost limit of the instruments playing technique. Playing the “Flight of the bumble bee” on the piano is a job for an average student but for the tuba player it is only a dream. Of course, I would now question the idea of playing such things on tuba anyway (as for me it is still unclear why people struggle with Bach on guitar when the harpsichord does the job many times better) but this is another topic.
The other book that I found useful in some ways, was the Scott Tennants “Pumping Nylon” but it is more a handbook than a method book. I mean – you cannot learn a language from a dictionary although we all agree that the information presented in a dictionary is correct and often very useful.
But lately I discover a less known author. That is Bryan Townsend and his “The Guitarist’s Complete Technique Kit” gathers together many important principles that I have been using in my work both as a player and a teacher. Although many of the ideas don’t seem to be authentic but hey – you need a good tool, and here it is, so do your job and don’t waste time with thinking “who’s made the hammer that I find so useful :)”