Learn Classical Guitar for Beginners

Learn classical guitar for beginners. This page helps you understand how to learn classical guitar in a step by step progression of beginner lessons leading to an intermediate level. Remember to watch all the video lessons, tutorials, diagrams, and photos to make sure you are learning correctly. Constantly go back and review the lessons in case you’ve forgotten anything. All the video lessons and articles are free to view and learn from. Plus, our free 100 page PDF method book will give you a healthy start to classical guitar.

Step by Step Progression for Learning Classical Guitar 

Step 1 – Learn how to sit and hold your hands on classical guitar

Step 2 – Download our free pdf method book

  • Classical Guitar Method Book Vol. 1 – Free 100 page PDF method with 20+ video lessons for beginners. Focus is on reading music and playing melodies and arpeggios.
  • Play through the pieces while watching the videos for important tips

Step 3 – Start our Volume 2 method book

Step 4 – Gain more advice before moving on

Step 5 – Start a technique routine and etudes

  • Classical Guitar Technique by Werner – Essential exercises, scales, and arpeggios. Study this as you continue with all the below material.
  • If you need TAB you can see our 20 Favorite Exercises, Notation + TAB, Video lessons, Gr.1-6, Great for crossover or a quick boost.
  • Ten Classical Etudes – Ten progressive etudes from the classical era with video lessons. Notation, and notation + TAB. Grade 4-7.

Practice Tips for Beginner Classical Guitarists

General Advice

  • Music is special so always play thoughtfully and with musical feeling
  • Music is easy but requires daily practice to improve
  • Enjoy fixing your mistakes and solving problems
  • End each practice session with a piece you can play well

Practice Tips

  • Practicing is problem solving (not just playing)
  • Always check your technique before playing
  • Carefully consider fingering and instructions before playing
  • Practice the music slowly at first (half speed or less)
  • Practice difficult parts slowly and repeatedly in small sections

Sitting Position (see full article)

  • The head of the guitar is at eye level (guitar is at 45º angle)
  • Feet flat on the ground and footstool
  • Face of guitar straight up and down (not angled back)
  • Relax shoulders and neck

Right Arm & Hand (see full article)

  • Right arm touches the guitar just in front of the elbow
  • Right wrist is straight with a relaxed arch
  • Right hand plays above the rosette
  • Right hand fingers move into the palm, not up and away
  • Right hand thumb is in front of the fingers

Left Arm & Hand (see full article)

  • Left wrist is straight, not over-extended
  • Left palm and knuckles are parallel with the strings
  • Left hand thumb is vertical and behind 2nd finger
  • Left hand fingers are curved and on fingertips
  • Left hand fingers play very close to the fret

Happiness in small goals: 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.

Isolate difficulties and solidify strengths: Balance your practice sessions by working on difficulties as well as maintaining easy material you can play well. Playing at a high quality level as often as possible will help develop a solid foundation. Work on your difficulties near the middle of your practice session and finish with something you can play well. This will ensure you end with a positive feeling of success.

Practicing is Problem Solving: Practicing is different than just playing the guitar. When you practice you need to identify problems or elements you wish to improve and solve them immediately. Simply playing the guitar will not make you a better musician. If your teacher says you should practice for 30 minutes a day, be sure you are actually practicing for 30 minutes not just playing.

Combine repetition with thoughtful practice: Although a certain amount of repetition is required to establish your skills, balance repetition with thoughtful reevaluation. Sometimes, improvement will occur by reexamining your posture, hand positions, or elements not directly connected to what you are studying. Having a qualified teacher is very helpful. They can identify problems before you repeat it a hundred times. That said, aim to be mindful at all times about what you are doing.

Good days vs bad days: Actually, 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.

Play 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. The majority of your practicing should be at very slow tempos. Once you can play something well at a slow tempo, you can speed it up while keeping an eye on the quality level.

Page markers: Use page markers (sticky tabs) on the pages you are practicing so you can quickly flip to the next piece or exercise.

Keep it simple: Even the most advanced players will practice simple open string exercises but will do so at a very high quality level. Quality practice helps to improve your playing so keep the exercises and pieces simple enough that you can accomplish them at your highest potential. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. You‘ll only improve if you set realistic and manageable goals.

Trust your teacher: If your teacher recommends something contrary to what’s in this book, please trust their advice. Your teacher knows what’s best for you and your personal and unique development. Learning from books and online videos can be helpful but the real work is done through long-term communication with teachers and other musicians.

More Lessons to Learn Classical Guitar

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