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Question on progress and learning   You are logged in as Guest
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flyhere

Posts: 121
Joined: Dec. 17 2012
From: California, USA

Question on progress and learning 

Hi All,

I'm interested in some general thoughts and guidance, and would appreciate all comments.

My question comes in 2 parts: Is there a "general" rate of progress as far as learning is concerned, and are there some pointers that are particularly useful while learning.

When I was much younger and was attending a music conservatory part-time, the classical guitar curriculum starts with the Carulli method book, most students complete that in 2 years or a little less. Then you move on to the Carcassi method book, and most students completes that in another 2 years or a little less. Then you do another year or so of individual program. So it takes 4-5 years, a few private hours of instructions per week, a few more hours of theory per week, plus 1-2 hrs of practice per day. At that point of "completing" the program, you're considered competent enough to pursue your own path, of course we all know this is just the starting point, but FWIW it's my frame of reference, for the purpose of this discussion here.

While I know Flamenco is a lifetime endeavor, and also realize that everyone learns differently and makes different progress, also based on how much you put into it. Are there some general thoughts that you can share? May be your own learning curve? Are there some general expectations that I can set for myself?

Also what do you think would help the learning process. I ask because I read somewhere that you should volunteer to accompany dance lessons as soon as you can (when is that?), and I don't think there are much opportunity for me to do that at present. In other words, how important is learning to accompany dancers at the beginning?

Many thanks,
fly
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2013 4:13:34
 
chester

Posts: 891
Joined: Oct. 29 2010
 

RE: Question on progress and learning (in reply to flyhere

What is your end goal (ie - what are you looking to progress towards)?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2013 5:19:38
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Question on progress and learning (in reply to flyhere

There´s no such standard repatoire that you´re supposed to go through.
Most Spanish Flamenco teachers starts with trad. falsetas. Typically Montoya, maybe a Diego del Gastor and a lot of "standards" with no author.
later on they often go into early Paco De Lucia stuff.
Here in Spain, they try to make you play with singers as early as possible, because thats where you really learn and thats where the "spirit" is. Also, compás is considered very important right from day one. These last two things are the ones that really teach you what its all about. The rest is just tones.
But there´s no general rules. Flamenco is Spanish = pretty chaotic.

Besides that, most people need some years just to learn to hold the guitar and to devellop power enough in the hands. This includes people who´ve played other kinds of guitar before starting flamenco.

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Blog: http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2013 7:32:35
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14604
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Question on progress and learning (in reply to flyhere

beginning stages are tough, and different for everybody. Could be a year or forever to get the basic concepts of technique and compas. Once you got that though, then it's simple...10 years of dance accompaniment and 10 years of cante accompaniment and then you have "arrived". They can be done congruently so long as the hours have been put in and focus for each.

Ricardo

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2013 13:44:01
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1787
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: Question on progress and learning (in reply to flyhere

It al depends on your character and situation. I happened to learn flamenco at a flamenco specialized conservatory in the Netherlands were all students were selected based on the question "can we transform this individual from precent level to conservatory final exam level within 5 years". Still, dude to stags of bad habits most of us had to learn to play the guitar from level zero again. A responsible development of all technical/musical skills from very easy to more complex was the main concern. We took all the time needed to build up a future proof technique and many many lessons were spend on learning how to use our hands and brains (many many technical and rhythmical exercises including weeks of only playing the open strings with pulgar). In the same way we learned how to implement these elements in actual music, again working our way up from very easy to more complex in an academical way. We always started by studying the basic compas variations of a specific style first before adding falsetas. The first year we focused on developing the tools needed and added a little bit of soleares, seguiriyas and tientos. The second year we added a bit of bulerias, alegrias and tangos and the 3th year we started studying fandangos and some of the free forms of fandango. A fifth year student was able to play over 15 styles. The same approach we used for learning to accompany singing and dancing (step by step working our way up from very easy to more complex... unfortunately not everybody has the luxury to have first class singers and dancers around as a personal coach, offering material that fits/challenges your level). A correct development within personal abilities and level of control is more important as speeding up things wile neglecting the quality of the product. The more time you spend on studying/approving/upgrading material fitting your actual level of technique/understanding (and the less time you spent on playing things way above your capacities, accepting a lot of things to go structurally wrong) the better you are likely to become in the end. At conservatory we only had 1 hour of private coaching a week (the first year we also had 1 group lesson of technical workouts a week). On top of weekly lessons in musical history/theory/didactics we were supposed to study the guitar a couple of hours a day. I didn't study very much outside the classroom myself but most students spent 4-8 ours a day with their guitar, reaching acceptable (starting) levels after 5 years. After a couple of years i started working 5 to 10 hours a week in dancing schools. The few times in my life i gave myself 100% on a daily base i was able to reach incredible levels within 3 weeks (studying only 2 hours a day based on my self developed and for me very effective 40 hour rebirth sessions). But without the incredible motivation and focus i showed on those rare occasions not any amount of studying would bring me even close to those levels. Without 100% focus and motivation i can study 8 ours a day (using the most refined material) without improving at all. So it's a combination of talent, a good program and most of all an incredible inner motivation to produce the very best.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2013 15:21:10
 
flyhere

Posts: 121
Joined: Dec. 17 2012
From: California, USA

RE: Question on progress and learning (in reply to flyhere

Thank you all for your inputs.

Chester: Longer-term goal is to be "reasonably good", what that means I guess is what I'm trying to establish. Your question actually made me think. How about first goal: To be able to recognize and play the compas of one form, able to competently accompany dance and cante for say solea.

Anders: Yes, I'm still trying to comfortably hold the guitar. And I started with a teacher from day one, not wanting to develop any bad habits.

Ricardo: I should have started at least 20 years ago! you make me depressed right now...just kidding.

Erik: Lots of good pointers. Thanks.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2013 23:18:35
 
val

 

Posts: 800
Joined: Apr. 4 2007
From: London

RE: Question on progress and learning (in reply to flyhere

It's not often I'm moved to answer/ comment on a question posed on the forum, but I'm finding this one really interesting. I'm coming at it from a totally different direction - some 15- 20 years (on and off) dancing, with a classical guitar background from many years ago, interspersed with intermittent attempts at playing flamenco guitar during various "injury" periods.

Sadly, I've recently acknowledged that my serious dancing days are pretty well over and it's time to pick up the guitar again. But I'm not at a stage in my life where I want to set the bar too high. I just want to entertain myself in a pleasing, but structured way. So where to go from here?

Fly - get with some dancers if you can. I personally feel the dance whenever I pick up the guitar. The structure in the choreographies has become meaningful. For me, working with a singer is a totally different, and more advanced skill and not something I'm aiming for
As Chester says - what's your end goal?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2013 23:56:13
 
flyhere

Posts: 121
Joined: Dec. 17 2012
From: California, USA

RE: Question on progress and learning (in reply to val

Hi Val,

Thanks for your comment. Right now I play and practice everyday, just enjoying the music, it invokes such emotion. I can understand how music can make you feel like getting up and dance.

I know what my end goal is not. It's not to be a working professional, but I want to be a serious student of the art form. As I said above, I will make it a goal to be able to accompany dancers, just one form to start with. And I will try to connect with some dancers. I'll ask my teacher to tell me when he thinks I'm ready.

Thanks
fly
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 3 2013 0:42:08
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Question on progress and learning (in reply to val

quote:

So where to go from here?


You sound like one who should learn to play for dance. Your background will be a huge advantage. Just focus on playing the rythm and a lot less on falsetas. Getting your rasguados well. Its one of the best way to learn flamenco anyways, if not the best.

_____________________________

Blog: http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 3 2013 6:50:44
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