How to Play Classical Guitar like Andres Segovia

Will Kalif

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Andres Segovia has had a profound impact on every aspect of the modern classical guitar from technique, to repertoire, venue, and even the construction of the guitar. And while you can’t take lessons from him you can learn much from the wonderful legacy he has left behind.

Learn From a pupil of the master

Although you can’t take lessons from the master himself you can take lessons from one of the great guitarists that studied under him. Christoper Parkening is one of the more famous pupils that studied under Segovia and he has his own, highly acclaimed series of instructional books for the classical guitar. It is called the Christoper Parkening Method.

Add the Segovia Picking technique to your repertoire

Segovia had a very unique way of plucking the strings with his right hand. While most of the classical guitar world debated whether a guitarist should pluck the strings with the fingertips or the fingernails Segovia used both. He had the unique style of plucking the strings so both the nail and fingertip made contact with the strings. Add this technique to your repertoire. It takes effort but is worth it.

Listen to his recordings with the ears of a musician

There is an astonishingly large selection of recordings by Segovia and you can learn a lot from him just by listening to him play. But make the transition from passive listening where you enjoy the music to active listening where you try to understand what he is doing and how he is doing it. This type of listening can, in a very short period of time, dramatically improve your playing ability.

Read his books and studies

He has many publications that you can learn from including Diatonic Major and Minor Scales, Segovia: My Book of the Guitar, and Andres Segovia: An Autobiography of the Years 1893 –1920. He also has several transcriptions that you can play including Andres Segovia Studies for Guitar 178 (Estudios fur Gitarre), and his transcription that is considered to be one of the finest guitar transcriptions ever written 20 Studies for the Guitar. Mastery of these 20 pieces is considered to be the pinnacle in classical guitar performance and ability.

Take the Segovia Approach

One of the most important lessons you can learn from the master is that of constant questioning and improvement in all aspects of the guitar. This is something he spent a lifetime pursuing and you should do this too. Always make strides in your playing, your performance, and your technique. And don’t pay too much attention to what is normal. It is through this foresight and courage to break new ground that Segovia rises above all others and this is a lesson that you can truly get a great benefit from.

While you may never be the next Andres Segovia you can dramatically improve your guitar playing by reading about and listening to the legacy that he left for us all to enjoy and emulate.

For more interesting insights and information about the classical guitar or to hear pieces played by the author visit his website at: The Classical Guitarist

You can learn more about Andres Segovia on the authors website at: About Andres Segovia


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