Guitar is undoubtedly the most popular instrument in the whole world. Pioneered by legends like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Andrea Segovia, etc. this instrument caught the imagination of generations and its popularity is still growing with each passing day. It is seen today, as a symbol of the youth.
The demand to learn the Spanish Guitar is hence, huge. Spanish guitar tutorials can be categorized into three stages, depending on the expertise of the learner, namely, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced stages.
The beginners are primarily taught the basics of guitar-learning. Holding the guitar properly, proper use of the plectrum and/or the fingers for strumming and picking, co-ordination of the left and the right hands and proper positioning of fingers for fretting the notes effectively are some of the very basics that are extremely important for a student to know.
The concept of rhythm and time signatures are also incorporated at this level.
Basic diatonic scales, simple open position chords, simple arpeggios, some simple songs like Bob Dylan’s Knocking On Heaven’s Doors, John Denver’s Living On a Jet Plane, etc. can be taught at this stage to develop the interest of the learner.
At this stage, the learners are usually taught the basics of improvisation to learn to how to play guitar. The use of odd-time rhythms in a piece is introduced. The seven modes of the diatonic scale, namely, Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian are usually tutored along with modal harmonies and arpeggios.
The concept of the basic 12-bar Blues progression which has been the backbone of numerous songs can be introduced too. Flamenco guitar is also a very interesting aspect in the curriculum. Buleria, Solea, Fandango, Tango, etc. are some of the different styles of Spanish Flamenco Guitar. Harmonies in the form of progressions of chords can be explored in this level.
A student who has reached this level of expertise can usually pick up songs by themselves and perform to an audience successfully.
At this stage, students can be encouraged to explore Jazz harmonies and study the works of great Jazz artists like Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ted Greene, etc. Re-harmonization of Jazz standards like Stella By Starlight, Dona Lee, Autumn Leaves, etc. can be a task that will improve the compositional sensibilities of a musician.
Playing over changes smoothly is one of the most important aspects of an advanced guitarist. The Flamenco works of Paco Di Lucia, the gypsy-jazz pieces of Django Reinhardt, Joscho Stephan, etc. can also shed light on different styles of improvisational brilliance.
This stage usually deals with enhancement of creativity and compositional ability.
We have thus seen the basic structure of Spanish guitar tutorial. The most important feature of playing guitar is having fun. That is exactly why you picked up the guitar in the first place. Though the guitar needs a lot of practice to master, it should never be boring. The information given above is just a guideline. Using creativity in practicing regularly in a focused manner is the key. So keep practicing, and see you on stage!