This beginner lesson for classical guitar covers 10 important lessons when learning classical guitar. This is a general overview lesson for beginner classical guitar but is also useful to intermediate students, see below for more specific topics. Find more lessons at the Lesson Archive Page. For free lessons, sheet music, and videos join the Email Newsletter. My free method book. Like these lessons? Consider supporting the site.
10 Classical Guitar Lessons for Beginners
1. Reexamine your posture and hand positions – Small adjustments in a number of places in your set up can make a big difference. Beginners need to constantly reevaluate.
2. Consider ergonomics on classical guitar – Beginners and intermediate students should closely watch for strange contortions and anything that is not ergonomic. Using a mirror can help.
3. Practice very slowly – I’ve rarely encountered a student who practices as slowly as I think they should. Practicing ultra slowly will ensure you are playing with your best hand positions, sound, confidence, relaxation, accuracy, and more. Once you can play something well at a slow tempo, you can speed it up while keeping an eye on the quality level.
4. Play the melody on its own (keep it simple) – If you can’t play the melody nicely on its own, how can you play all the note? Learn to play the melody nice and legato first and introduce the rest of the notes after.
5. Dive deeper into musicality – Students can get super caught up in their own technique and progress but remember to strive for better phrasing, dynamic shaping, and overall musicality.
6. Quality practice and happiness – Making your practice sessions enjoyable will be key to long-term musical success and development. When experiencing difficulties, break up the piece or exercise into small manageable goals at a speed you can accomplish successfully. Even if you only play a few notes at a time, playing successfully will improve your skills and give you a feeling of accomplishment.
7. Treat and reward yourself – Make your practice session an enjoyable and special time of your day. Have a treat or nice coffee, buy that nice music stand and metronome.
8. Playing well, don’t compare yourself to others (too much) – Focus instead on having a solid rhythm, legato lines, confident and full tone. Forget about reaching fast tempos, develop a solid and beautiful foundation first.
9. Listen to more music (not just guitar) – You must increase your awareness of the larger musical world. Guitar is great but it’s only a small niche and won’t inform you of all the musical eras diversity. Listen to piano, strings, symphonies, Bach cantatas, voice, lieder, and more.
10. Practice everyday, there are no bad days – I don’t believe in good or bad practice days. All days are good opportunities to practice something. On days when you are having trouble focusing or executing material cleanly, slow down your speed and use a metronome until you are playing well. You may have to play at half the speed you intended but you can still get in some quality practice.
What is a good daily routine for a beginner? I recommend a technique warmup (included in the back of the book), some review of previous easier material, some sight reading, and then dedicated work on the few pieces that you are currently working on. 15-20 minutes of solid uninterrupted practice everyday is a good goal for a beginner. Anything beyond that is a bonus. As you become more advanced you can increase the practice time. You might also want to watch some lesson videos before you begin to remind you of a few things you might have forgotten or just to pick up tips for the future. Even watching videos that are more advanced than where you are at or something you are not working can still help you learn. You can find tons of lesson at the lesson page. Watching so pros play daily would be good too, absorb the culture and technique just by observing.
More Video Lessons for Beginner Classical Guitar
More Lessons for Beginner Classical Guitar
- Step 1: Lessons for Your Guitar and Hand Positions
- Basic Technique Overview Video – Slideshow of Photos, Tips, & Diagrams
- Sitting Position for Classical Guitar – Video, Photos, Tips, Diagrams
- Right Hand Position for Classical Guitar – Video, Photos, Tips, Diagrams
- Left Hand Position for Classical Guitar – Video, Photos, Tips, Diagrams
- Tips and Advice for Beginner Classical Guitarists – Video, connects the above lessons
- I have a dedicated beginner lesson page as well.
- Step 2: Learn to Play with Method Books with Video Lessons
- Classical Guitar Method Book Vol. 1 by Werner – Free 100 page PDF method with 20+ video lessons for beginners. Focus is on reading music and playing melodies and arpeggios.
- Classical Guitar Method Book Vol. 2 by Werner – Solos, duets, chords songs, 15+ video lessons. The main focus is on reading in different keys but also introducing slurs, half barres, rhythm, and some upper positions.
- Step 3: Practice Repertoire & Technique Books with Video Lessons
- Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 1 – Eight pieces at the grade one level with dedicated lessons preparing you for each piece.
- Classical Guitar Technique by Werner – Essential exercises, scales, and arpeggios. Study this as you continue with all the below material.
- Ten Classical Etudes – Ten progressive etudes from the classical era with video lessons. Grade 4-7.