Mentors & Teachers (Full Version)

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pensoso -> Mentors & Teachers (Mar. 17 2012 19:15:49)

Hi Friends,

I'm interested in hearing about your flamenco mentors and teachers that you've had throughout the years. Its great to hear stories of where and whom have shaped our experiences.

For my part, I started playing guitar and flamenco at that, 2.5 years ago. I had just finished up with a very long IT project. It was a few years in the making and to be honest, was largely a failure. Burn-out and questioning my professional future, a collegue of mine suggested taking up an activity outside of the IT realm, i.e. Project Management, coding, etc..

For some reason, her advice reasonated with me and I took sometime to think about what would be something fun, inspirirational, and generally, not related to what I was doing. In the end, it was music and memories of listening to vinyl records of Paco and Manitas de Plata that pushed me towards learning the guitar. Long story short, I was very surprised to find a local flamenco studio and attached myself to the Harry Owen whenever my time and his permitted. Harry past away last year but his son Gareth (only 23) is now teaching me as well as continuing his families Flamenco inspired career.

Long story made short, playing music and learning what I can of this art has enriched my life in many ways that I didn't know it would.

I'd love to hear your stories!

-- Pensoso (Matthew)

rombsix -> RE: Mentors & Teachers (Mar. 17 2012 20:36:24)

Started out with a teacher in school who just gave me a few print-outs about flamenco. He told me to seek another teacher and I did. The latter I stayed with for 3 years taking classical guitar and the super very basic basics of flamenco. I then got the Oscar Herrero Paso a Paso series, and through online sites and forums got to where I am today.


Doitsujin -> RE: Mentors & Teachers (Mar. 17 2012 21:23:25)


hen got the Oscar Herrero Paso a Paso series

The problem with O. Herrero is..he has no fire. His playing is sterile. I wont use least not too much. Better go for the good old Juan Martin.

vigrond -> RE: Mentors & Teachers (Mar. 17 2012 21:48:26)

My ex had cheated on me and I really didn't want the same ol same ol in my life anymore. I saw John Clarke on youtube play Tempestad by Juan Serrano and The Most Evolved, a rumba by his own composition.

Instantly invoked great interest to me. I went to Guitar Center and was looking at new guitars as I had only a $100 Yamaha, and was just curious. The guy there asked me what kind of music I'm interested in, and I told him I was practicing Tempestad by Juan Serrano.

Now unbeknownst to me, who thought Juan Serrano was some old Beethoven like composer who died 1000 years ago, I was living in Fresno, CA and Juan Serrano was teaching a seminar that summer at Fresno State. I thanked the Guitar Center guy for educating me.

I got in contact with the school and I took that Juan Serrano seminar. At this point, Flamenco invoked more passion than interest in myself. I saw the students and the teachers at the seminar all had a genuine passion and relentless pursuit to learn more of Flamenco, and I knew I was no less participating in that pursuit.

Everything has grown from here, and compas is always playing in my head.

Bulerias2005 -> RE: Mentors & Teachers (Mar. 17 2012 23:27:00)

I started studying classical guitar almost 13 years ago with the great Russian guitarist Anatoly Shapiro (who is actually my grandfather twice removed). His incredibly unique style and approach to playing, arranging, articulation, and technique were invaluable in getting me on the path I'm on today. His words of wisdom and practically sagely advice make him more of a mentor than a teacher -- I still see him weekly to this day, although our lessons now are more like consultations than anything else.

I studied with classical, flamenco, and Brazilian guitarist Tony Hauser for around 6 years, starting when I was 11. He exposed me to a lot of flamenco and Brazilian music, and he encouraged me to start composing. I improved my technique the most during this period, when I was studying with both Tony and Anatoly -- their advice would line up 99% of the time (if not 100%), sometimes making for some eerie coincidences. For example, both would refer to gaps in playing as "holes". In terms of technique, expression, articulation, etc, I honestly don't remember when their suggestions did not line up.

For the past 5-6 months, I have also been studying with "El Payo" Humberto Wilkes. We're delving deep into the roots of flamenco -- Pericho de Lunar, Nino Ricardo, a plethora of cante flamenco, etc etc... Humberto is a walking encyclopedia and simply a great guy. He's definitely another "mentor" -- our lessons tend to segue into existential/philosophical topics more often than not, and they have not only greatly aided my playing but also benefited me on a personal level.

El_Tortuga -> RE: Mentors & Teachers (Mar. 18 2012 1:32:00)


ORIGINAL: Doitsujin


hen got the Oscar Herrero Paso a Paso series

The problem with O. Herrero is..he has no fire. His playing is sterile. I wont use least not too much. Better go for the good old Juan Martin.

I have studied with, and befriended Juan Martín. He's a great guy and though some people ridicule his playing, I think he's a great resource in himself. And so nice to talk to.

El_Tortuga -> RE: Mentors & Teachers (Mar. 18 2012 1:38:54)

My first 2 teachers were awesome: Patricio Tito (in 1997), who studied with Juan del Gastor. We (El Viento Flamenco) got a grant to bring Patricio to Canada. After this great month, Patricio arranged for me to study with Juan in Sevilla. That trip (1999) was AMAZING to say the least. Who better to study with than the nephew of Diego! (Of course I couldn't study with Diego himself as he's been passed on since... '73 I think?) I was, and still am, a big fan of the Morón sound. Just watch a Soleá by Diego de Morón and tell me who has better aire???

My other teacher in Sevilla was Miguel Aragón, a Brazilian guitarist who used to live in Sao Paolo but moved to Sevilla, and who showed me some more modern but very accessible falsetas. We also worked on a complete Taranto choreography which we then premiered in late '99 or early 2000.

I will be uploading some more Juan del Gastor and Miguel Aragón material soon.

I've also studied with: Juan Martín (see my earlier post), Flavio Rodrigues, Arcadio Marín, and José Vega. All great guitarists in their own ways.

RTC -> RE: Mentors & Teachers (Mar. 18 2012 1:45:04)

I have been working on the Juan Martin books with my teacher. I respect him for his work.I do not know him but seen many interviews and videos of him and believe that his books are a great tool for learning.

marduk -> RE: Mentors & Teachers (Mar. 18 2012 2:08:36)

well my teacher is Florian.... how do i describe him :P

sorry Doit..... I had to

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Munin -> RE: Mentors & Teachers (Mar. 18 2012 4:06:21)


ORIGINAL: Doitsujin


hen got the Oscar Herrero Paso a Paso series

The problem with O. Herrero is..he has no fire. His playing is sterile. I wont use least not too much. Better go for the good old Juan Martin.

I don't see how that is a problem. A good player is not necessarily a good teacher and vice versa. Unless you're living in a vacuum whereby you only ever listen to Herrero I don't see how that could have any negative effect on your own playing, and his DVD series really is the most in-depth one you can find on individual palos, I wish he had covered more palos.

FullMetalGuitarist -> RE: Mentors & Teachers (Mar. 18 2012 17:28:08)

Started all alone by myself, with only YouTube , Graf Martinez and Juan Martin's books to aid me (ah, ye , and lots of inspiration, determination and at least 5 hours of practice in the first half year)

Don't know if I can call them mentors , but when I began, 5 years ago , I was watching many videos of Sal Bonavite and John H. Clarke and they served me quite an example (and were kind enough to send me some of their tabs)

Ricardo -> RE: Mentors & Teachers (Mar. 20 2012 13:41:49)

One of my first guitar teachers was Michael DeLalla....I was about 14 or 15 at a summer guitar camp thing and he showed us the Circle of 5ths and I pretty much got the concept in one day of what music theory is all about, that takes most students years to grasp. Next he invited each of us to bring a cassette of one guitar piece to share with the class....most of us kids brought rock and metal guitar tunes, Vai satriani etc....Well HE brought in his LP of Passion Grace and Fire and let us hear ASPAN with Paco Mclaughlin and Dimeola. It was pretty mind blowing and I went out seaching for all recordings I could find of those guys. The irony was this guy was a student of my fathers from years before I even started to play guitar! [:D]

I did a lot of self teaching with books and videos in college. Honestly I was never too happy with ANY of the method books on the scene. I only like Encuentro vids and later I though Herrero's was good even though as doit pointed out, his expression is not so great. But at least the technques he shows are authentic and relavant vs the others (won't name names).

After graduation I got some pointers from local DC maestro Paco de Malaga, who I gots strings golpeadors and transcritptions of Faucher from. But no formal study. I got together with a local dancer Joanna del Rio, who as it turned out danced EVERYTHING. Actually some others made a joke about her that she did every single step she knows in a single choreography. Kind of true, but it meant for me that I got to learn ALL the dance forms and their variations, and got good at memorizing long structured dances. She would sing or hum guitar parts she wanted me to do and after some months of class and playing for her students, I was performing shows.

Soon after I met Gerardo Nuñez on tour in US and invited him to do a workshop in DC but he couldn't fit it in, and instead invited me to Sanlucar. The doors he opened for me in that environment were amazing. Since then my main mentors are singers and dancers and guitarists that I get to work with. Special mention to Jesus Montoya who I feel is an authentic and complete gitano cantaor that we are lucky to have residing in USA. Also special mention of Yi Yi percussionist and singer orginally from Barcelona that is great at communicating concepts both muscial, purely rhythmic and phrasing for cante too. And of course Pedro Cortez who I have had a chance to work with only a few times but learned a lot.


elroby -> [Deleted] (Mar. 20 2012 14:48:30)

Post has been moved to the Recycle Bin at May 5 2012 4:03:22

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