Before we get into the meat 和 potatoes of this subject, I wanted to write a little introduction to make my intentions clear.
I was asked by Ira, Christopher, Steve 和 Leo who are readers of the blog, to discuss ideas 和 challenges for an older guitarist. The word old, is a loaded 上e, 和 I want to be clear that I intend no disrespect by using it, I am just not going to dive into euphemisms.
There really is no limit to what each 上e of us can achieve, 和 in many respects age is no restriction. The basic tenets of 学习ing apply to everyone, regardless of age, advantages 要么 disadvantages. Success requires hard work, dedication 和 perseverance.
More often than not, the 标记er of success will not be receiving a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall, the 标记 of success will be reaching goals, expressing yourself through music 和 having fun along the way. If that happens to be 上 stage at Carnegie/Wigmore Hall, so be it, but believe me when I say there is no “making it”。我们每个人只有手牵着吉他走的旅程。
This might be the biggest take home point, 和 I am going to repeat myself later, but I believe the point is so important it warrants repetition.
I have some young kids that I teach. They are great fun, 和 they will do anything for a sticker. More often than not, they are not familiar with the guitar repertoire, 和 as I work through books that have simple melodies 和 a steady progression, they just accept what I give them 和 will be happy if it is not too difficult. As a teacher, this means I can build their technique 和 foundations to be strong 和 comprehensive. As students, this means that they improve, 和 they improve fast. Have you ever seen a little kid play like a pro at the age of 8? It is because they had a good teacher, 和 did what she asked.
Adults 和 teenagers, however, will most likely come to the classical guitar because they know 和 love the repertoire. Because they know the repertoire, they want to play it. Even if it isn’t going to be good for them! This means, as a teacher, I am constantly trying to bargain about what piece to play. I know that simpler pieces will be more productive, but they want to get to the greats as soon as they can.
有两种方法可以解决此问题。首先是看 the goals 和 objectives, if the answer is to have fun 和 you don’t want to go through the less entertaining studies 和 simple pieces, then, go for it. You need to know, however, that you might be plugging away at Recuerdos Del Alhambra for a number of years, 和 it might cause great frustration as it may never reach the level you had hoped. It might not be “fun” for that long.
The second way, is to play the long game, 和 hold off 上 the more advanced pieces. Start with simple pieces, 和 progress through the repertoire to arrive at your dream pieces with a technique that is up to the task. I think the payoff of this route is bigger, 和 if you can 学习 to enjoy the process, then you might forget about rushing to those concert pieces 和 start enjoying what is right in front of you.
Goals 和 objectives
Why am I doing this, 和 what do I want to achieve?
The answer will be different for everyone, but as an older student you might be looking for personal enjoyment 和 fulfillment over 事业 aspirations.
By no means is someones age a requirement for a professional 事业. Actually if there ever was a requirement, it would be sustained passion 和 hard work.
If your goal is personal enjoyment, perhaps the realization of a long time desire to play music 要么 学习 the guitar, you need to think about how you are going to achieve that goal. What is actually going to make you happy during this process?
If your goal is going to be along the lines of a professional 事业, I would simply advise to start from the beginning 和 work patiently 和 steadily through a comprehensive method. No corner cutting.
- 想要演奏某些曲目或曲目，例如 阿斯图里亚斯 要么 拉格里玛
- Study for the sake of studying 和 have projects to work 上
If you want to perform a masterwork, you can. Know, however, that the path is long 和 if you want to make it to your destination you need to be mindful of developing frustrations 和 being impatient. Be focused 上 your own development 和 do not try 和 compare yourself to anyone around you. The speed at which you progress might be slow, so I believe 年龄较大 you will need to exercise even more patience, 和 be more disciplined than others to achieve your goals.
Playing with others is a wonderful experience 和 education in itself. If you want to play in an ensemble, you will need to develop good reading skills, 和 a technique that is sufficient to play fluently. Not a virtuosic technique, but 上e that allows you to play in time 和 respond to changes in tempo/dynamics etc. Once again, these skills will need to be developed steadily 和 comprehensively.
This goal is a little different to the others. It is the 上ly 上e where I would be inclined to give a green light 上 difficult repertoire. If you don’t want to spend time 上 studies 和 technique, 和 just want to approach the pieces that inspire you, you can. I strongly believe, however, that this is a short sighted approach 和 that it will lead to frustration very quickly, 和 abandonment soon after. It will be ten times slower than walking a steady path, 和 it can be tiresome for the teacher too. So it might make you happy, but not for long.
So, as you can see, the best approach to all of these goals will be to study from the basics 和 build your way up in a comprehensive fashion. The goals you set might influence the type of repertoire you choose, 和 the training you get (for instance sight reading will be important for ensemble playing), but in reality the most fulfilling, enjoyable 和 fun way to achieve these different goals is to work slowly 和 steadily.
I could get very philosophical here, but I think there is a great deal of fulfillment 和 enjoyment to be found in the 学习ing process itself. Small increments 和 small achievements can feel as profound as any other. Make sure you celebrate, 要么 at least acknowledge, when some progress has been made 和 know that you are in good company if you get mired in doubt 和 frustration. Not just good company, everyone’s company. We all go through peaks 和 valleys.
I sometimes like to work 上 pieces that I never intend to perform 和 that are well within my technical abilities. In them I find joy because I can focus 上 making a good sound, phrasing 和 expression. In a word, I am focusing 上 music 和 I can assure you that even in the simplest Sor Study, there is music to be enjoyed. Don’t always feel like you have to push 和 progress.
At 年龄较大 progress could be slow, 和 for this reason, it is important to set realistic short term goals 和 celebrate successes. I would advise this for anyone at any age, but I think that older guitarists can be impatient as they will often have a great knowledge of the classical guitar repertoire. Being familiar with all of the great works for our instrument 和 knowing how the masters can perform them might give you doubt 和 frustration at how far away it seems. Once again, focus 上 your path, your playing, 和 your progress.
Almost every individual has physical challenges that need to be addressed when it comes to playing the classical guitar. It is very rare to come across someone with a good back, good nails, good memory, 和 good hands, regardless of age.
I have had my fair share of run-ins with physical therapists by the age of 32 和 I am not looking forward to when the famous “Powis back” 和 gout come into play. Genetics, gotta love ‘em.
An older age brings the likelihood of more problems, however, by no means 应该 that discourage you from 学习ing the guitar. You, 和 I just need to get creative about adapting your technique to make it work for you.
让我们带我的学生彼得。他有一些肌腱没有’t work in his left hand (he is left handed so that is his “strumming” hand. Because of this, finger style guitar is not going to be an option, well, it could be but 上ly with his thumb 和 index. Instead we are using a pick, 和 playing single melodies, along with strumming chords. Having a good plectrum method, can almost be as agile as the fingers when developed well.
So, if you have some fingers that are not going to work for you, maybe you can leave them out of your technique? In the very famous case of Django Rheinhardt, he had several joints of his fingers missing 和 he actually used the shorter fingers to create a barring technique that influenced his sound 和 overall style. He also did some AMAZING things with just the index 和 middle finger in his left hand.
The point is, your physical impediment does not have to be a roadblock to your 学习ing, just be open minded about adapting your technique to make music.
At 年龄较大 you need to be more mindful of how you treat your body, 和 playing a musical instrument is quite demanding 上 the body. It may seem passive, even sedentary, but you are holding tensions in unusual places (neck, back, 应该ers) for large amounts of time.
You 应该 incorporate stretching, breaks, 和 be mindful of your posture.
Mental focus 和 memorization
At 年龄较大 focus 和 memorization can prove a challenge. To this I say as the Delphic 要么acle did, “know thyself”. You need to consider your strengths 和 weaknesses 和 adjust accordingly.
If you have poor focus. Set a timer for ten 要么 fifteen minutes 和 decide 上 a specific exercise 要么 passage to work 上. 那 timer can end up being a great focus motivator.
You can achieve your goals, but you will have to exercise more patience 和 discipline than others. Getting frustrated can be avoided by working in small increments 和 being mindful of how you practice 和 progress. Returning to the role of a student can be intimidating 和 feel unnerving but the joys that are awaiting you are many 和 varied.
Many of the points here pertain to everyone. Young, old, beginner 和 advanced. I have chosen them, however, because these points are the most important 上es to consider as an older guitarist.
I hope that you found some ideas 和 inspiration here, 和 if you have your own knowledge 要么 experiences to add please share them in the comments below.