When I was first learning to read music, pieces took me a long time to learn. I had to struggle through each note and the whole process was very painstaking. My sight-reading is considerably better now, but could definitely be much better.
One of the differences in how I learn music now, compared to when I was more of a beginner, is that I think about more than just what the notes are and where to put my fingers. I now consider how they fit in with the other notes around them. I consider their volume in comparison with the other notes, and how to play so that it’s interesting to listeners (even though no one is actually listening right at that moment).
Exploring the Aguado Moderato
This lesson on a Dionisio Aguado guitar piece explores some of these types of issues. The notes in this piece are not terribly difficult to master. The rhythms are easy. On the surface it looks like a very straight-forward piece.
But looks can be deceiving. If we bring higher standard of musical playing, we can find that there are many technical challenges within this piece.
This Aguado guitar Moderato is a great study for balancing the volume of the bass note and the melody note. It also provides many opportunities to practice your long-short.
Watch out: It leads to harder stuff….
One of the things I love about pieces like this, with easy notes and more difficult musical challenges, is that we find the same issues in harder pieces.
For instance, the challenges within this piece mirror exactly the ones found throughout Augustin Barrios’ Julia Florida. In Julia Florida, the harmonies are more complex. The fingering is more complex. It uses more of the fretboard. In short, it’s just a whole lot more difficult piece.
And here’s what usually happens: when most people play Julia Florida, they become so concerned with just playing the right notes that they miss all the musical possibility within the piece. The end result is that the piece falls flat, and is not nearly as beautiful as it could be. Just look on youtube at all the poor Julia Floridas out there!
By mastering this skill on an easy piece like this one, when you choose to play a harder piece with the same issue, you have already done much of the heavy lifting. You will be more likely to (1)notice the issue, and (2)make a point to work through this issue in that piece of music.
Train like a pro
By spending time with an easy pieces such as this moderato, you can start to master some truly high-level playing without all the distractions that come with harder pieces. That way when you move to harder pieces, you will have a background and foundation of good musicality to bring to those harder pieces.
In many ways, this is like a basketball player doing lay-ups. Or a baseball player or tennis player hitting balls from a machine. This type of work gives you the skills to play beautifully while eliminating distractions (such as more numerous or difficult notes and fingerings).
Any master at anything has gotten there by gaining complete control of the details of his or her craft. And we can do that much easier when we isolate them. That is what these videos are all about.
Thanks for reading. I hope it gives you some food for thought. Please leave a comment and share on your social media of choice.