Getting Started on Classical Guitar Shed
If you’re a fan of guitar music, and you’re exploring the world of classical guitar, this site is made especially for you.
Whether you’re 9 or 90, you’ll find articles, video tutorials, courses, and programs that take you from the very beginning stages of learning guitar, all the way up to honing your craft as a mature musician and playing beautifully.
As you may suspect, music is more than just learning where to put your fingers, and even if you’re early in your guitar journey, you can practice and play in a way that makes even simple tunes much more beautiful. This site will help you to play more beautifully and find more meaning in your music, from where you are right now.
Learning classical guitar is about curiosity, discovery and small, daily experiences that deepen and expand over time. It’s my goal to help you make guitar practice one of the best parts of your day.
What to Expect
There are 4 main components to Classical Guitar Shed.
Classical Guitar Technique – How to move your hands efficiently and create the habits that will let you play beautifully, without pain, excess tension, or wear and tear.
How to Phrase and Play Beautifully – Beauty isn’t all subjective: there are little-known but extremely effective methods that, when used consistently, make music more beautiful.
Articles – Explore many of the ins and outs of studying music and playing guitar. Practice methods, extra skills, and guitar-specific knowledge.
You can find the entire archive here.
Oh, and keep an eye out: many of the lessons have valuable free bonus materials to extend your learning.
Find very deep dives into specific skills and repertoire pieces. The courses are designed not only to teach you a piece of music, but to advance your phrasing and musicality, as well as how you approach learning pieces.
These are my best work, and unlike anything else you’ll find on the internet. New courses are being added all the time. See available courses here.
A complete system to learn classical guitar at home, including:
- A progressive, step-by-step path to master the fundamental skills and techniques that will serve your playing for a lifetime.
- An entire library of guided play-along technique practice videos
- Access to all CGS premium courses
- Unlimited video review and Facetime/Skype check-ins
- Access to The Woodshed Community
At least once weekly, on Saturday mornings (PST), you’ll get some food for thought to carry you through your week. Enter your name and email below to join over 10,000 others who get weekly emails.
Enter your name and email here:
How to Get Started
There’s so much material on this site, it can easily be overwhelming. Worry not, you can just dip a toe.
- First, sign up for emails so you can stay abreast of news and appropriate resources.
- Next, bookmark this page in your browser, so you can find it easily in the future.
- Then, explore some of the links in the drop-down menus below. They’ll point you to a few popular destinations based on your interests or needs.
Here are a few recommendations to get you started:
Regardless of philosophies, theoretical understandings, or brilliant inspiration, if your fingers don’t move, the music won’t flow. Guitar technique is part of the daily endeavor that is the classical guitar. The main goal is to play beautifully, but to do that we need solid fundamentals and effective technique.
To get you started…..
- How To Sit and Hold the Guitar
- The Fundamentals of Movement on the Guitar
- Complete Course on Arpeggio Technique
- QuickStart Guide to Practicing Scales on the Classical Guitar
- An Off-Guitar Exercise to Build Strength and Dexterity in Both Hands
- See the Entire Technique Archive Here.
If you’re truly interested in having beautiful sound and great technique, you may like to explore The Woodshed.
Remember Bob Ross, the painter on TV with the afro who showed step by step the process of creating a painting? This was my inspiration for these lessons. Here I take small pieces and go deep into the processes of learning, practicing, and making them beautiful. From whatever level you currently play, you will gain insight from learning these pieces with me. (complete PDF music packets are included).
- Kuffner: Andantino (great for beginners, includes short course)
- Sor’s Study in C (great for beginners)
- J.S. Bach: Bourrée
- A Spanish Dance
- Carulli: Andante
- Visit the Entire Archive of Free Pieces Here
- Or check out the Premium Courses Here
For even deeper, note-by-note explorations of beautiful pieces, tour the Courses Page. These are my very best teaching, and more in-depth than just about anything else you’ll find for the classical guitar.
One of my greatest strokes of luck came when I met a retired concert pianist and started taking weekly coaching sessions with him. After several years, I still see him every week. He has opened me to long-standing traditions of musical phrasing and ways to practice and organize the music so that listeners can connect with it more easily. These lessons are sprinkled throughout all the articles and lessons on CGS, but here are a targeted few:
- How to Play Expressively
- Classical guitar lesson in phrasing and expressive playing
- The Long Line: lessons from a pianist
- Backing Up to Go Forward
- How to Play Pairs of Notes
- Discover Even More in the Archives
To see these in practice (instead of just in theory), I suggest taking any of the repertoire courses. You’ll also find many lessons in the category above, Full Lessons.
Of course most of our time studying guitar is spent actually practicing. Over time, the quality of our daily interactions with the guitar are what shape us as players. While we are “learning to play guitar” what we are actually doing is learning how to practice.
A few to get you rolling:
- How To Learn Guitar Guitar Pieces (step by step process)
- How to Warm Up for your Classical Guitar Practice
- Practice Smarter, with the Pomodoro Technique
- The Power of Exaggeration in Your Practice
- Are You Practicing, or Are You Exercising?
- See More on the Art of Practicing Here in the Full Archives.
In The Woodshed, you’ll find over a hundred guided, play-along practice videos. You’ll stay more focused and learn even more quickly. Find out more about The Woodshed here.
There are so many topics surrounding “How to play guitar” that many just defy broad categories.
- Do You Really Need Long Fingernails?
- 50 Ways To Test Your Musical Memory
- 42 Questions to Blow (open) Your Musical Mind
- Learning Classical Guitar (as an existing guitarist)
- Keeping a Positive Agenda
- Find Even More Articles Here in the Archives.
To keep abreast of new articles and also enjoy a weekly note from me, join the email list.
In addition to all the free resources on CGS, you also have access to one-of-a-kind premium courses, and a complete educational program to guide every step of your guitar journey, called The Woodshed.
About Me, Allen Mathews
Based in Portland, Oregon in the US, I (Allen Mathews) spend my days studying classical guitar and sharing what I learn on this site. Though I didn’t find classical guitar until I was 25 (I started folk guitar at 18), I earned a B.A in classical guitar performance, and have been in private lessons with various teachers and coaches consistently for over 15 years, primarily in the US and in Brazil, where I lived and studied.
In addition to teaching privately, I’ve spent many years on the classical guitar faculty at Lewis and Clark College, and Reed College here in Portland. I’m proud to be able to say that former students have gone on to win college scholarships, regional grants, and competitions (including one national)!
Since 2010, I’ve been working with an internationally renowned concert pianist as my musical coach, honing performance practices and learning techniques passed down from some of the greatest musicians in the piano tradition. (Just to clarify, I’m on guitar, he’s on piano.) I’m grateful for my weekly musical coaching, as it gives me different perspectives, and sets me apart as a teacher and musician. It also adds immeasurable joy (and challenge) to my daily guitar practice and life.
It’s an honor and a dream come true for me to be able to spend my life studying music and to be of some small help on your personal journey in classical guitar.
You can hear me play on my personal Youtube Channel, here.
Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoy the site. If you ever have a question or need anything, please drop me a line. I’m here to help.
All the best,