Principles of Practice
Based on "The Principles of Correct
Practice for Guitar"
by Jamie Andreas
Feb 29 2004 Volume
Book Review: "Flow, the Psychology of Optimal Experience"
"What you are as a person is what you will be as a guitarist"; I have noticed
that this is one of my most often quoted sayings. I am glad this phrase is
sticking in peoples minds, because it is one of the most fundamental
understandings I have always tried to convey to students. It is why I have
always endeavored to understand each student as a person: so that I could work
with them at the level of their essential personhood, and thereby create the
best guitarist possible.
I often found that in pursuing this, I ended up understanding the student much
better than they understood themselves! With many people, this is not very
difficult, because they are not trying, even a little, to understand
themselves. Those that truly understand the meaning of my opening
statement also understand that the dictum which hung at the entranceway to the Oracle of Delphi in
ancient Greece, "know thyself", should be taken as a lifelong commandment.
There are certain books which have the power to change our lives, if we are
ready to receive their message. There are certain books that can deepen our
understanding of what it is to be a human being, and our understanding of
ourselves. I came across one recently, and I want to tell you about it.
Read the rest of the review on "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience"
Of Special Interest At GuitarPrinciples
Secret Of Speed.....have you discovered "The Incredible Lightness"? It
is possessed by all great players, and it can be yours too! Find out how!
Video of Jamie Playing "Spanish
Romance".......Jamie demonstrates the flowing virtuoso technique made
possible by The Principles, playing a favorite standard of the classical
"Spanish Romance Practice Secrets"....many
students struggle with this piece, here is some MAJOR Principled guidance!
Free MP3 Downloads!......Hear the
virtuoso guitar of Jamie Andreas!
Trouble With Scales?.....Many
players struggle with scales because more basic skills have not been mastered.
Find out what to do about it!
The Price Of Greatness
I have spent a lot of time and money studying the classical guitar. I'm one of
those players who is seeking greatness. I ran across your site from a link on
some other guitar site and I must say, your material looks excellent. I have
been fortunate to have learned from some really great players here in the
northwest as well as auditing a few master classes from touring artists. I hope
you wont' mind if I offer you a critique.
The only thing keeping me from ordering both of your DVD's is the $60 each,
price tag. I have lots of educational material including DVDs and videos (very
useful) and none of them cost anywhere near $60. I hope you will consider
lowering the price.
I am sure you are familiar with Scott Tennants Pumping Nylon. His DVD is
Awesome. Much of the content on yours looks similar to what he is teaching as
far as the basics go (at least from what the table of contents list says
anyway). His costs $24.95. I have never seen any instructional DVD that costs
anywhere near what yours does.
I am glad to see someone like you teaching the principles that you teach, I am
sure that I can learn a lot from you.
Well, I would suggest that you take the money you would otherwise spend on
your next 2 or 3 guitar instructional products, and put them together and get
the 1st DVD. You will find that it does you more good than the next 10, or 20
books, DVD's or whatever else you would buy!
I say this especially if you are seeking greatness (of course, if you have
found that keys to that greatness in "Pumping Nylon", you need look no further).
Greatness is not cheap, and only those willing to make great sacrifices achieve
it. Paying the money for my work is the easy part. Putting out the effort to use
my methods is the demanding part.
Perhaps you have not seen any instructional DVD that costs anywhere near as
much as mine. You will also not find any that are anywhere near as valuable as
Letters like yours make me think of the years I spent working in a factory
all week for $40, which I spent on my lessons with a master in New York, who
charged 6 times what my previous teacher charged. But, I was like you, I wanted
greatness. I hope you find your way to it!
P.S. If you are nervous about whether the purchase will be worth the money
spent, perhaps you should read the feelings others have had after doing so. They
are will documented in our
as well as our
Forum (where Principled Players are usually happy to educate newcomers
as to the value of The Principles). Ask yourself if you have ever seen so many people say such things about a guitar
instructional product? I haven't, and I have studied every book I can get my
hands on for 37 years.
I would pay particular heed to the quote I
use from Donna Z., who is now one of our teachers, and has played for 30 years,
and I am sure has a mountain of instructional products even bigger than
......."For anyone reading this who may be thinking there is another
book and set of dvds that will serve you better, I'd like to save you some time
and money in saying that there is not.....Donna Z.
Interestingly enough, this letter came in right after the one above. This
happens just about every day at GuitarPrinciples......
Yesterday, I ordered your 1st and 2nd Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar
DVD's but would also like to add your CD
"Touched to My Tenderness"
Also, I just wanted to let you know that I have been thoroughly enjoying your
first Principles book and it has certainly revolutionized my practice habits.
The majority of concepts that you have covered were not covered either by
previous guitar teachers or when I was studying music at the University of Utah
in the early to mid eighties.
In fact, after I moved to Alaska in 1988, I dropped music feeling I had hit the
wall of progression and that I had to make a choice between two different
passions: music and photography. So, it is great to be playing again and with a
road map to progress further.
I hope other guitar teachers and universities will adopt your methodology
because it is something that was certainly missing 15-20 years ago, and I
suspect is missing today for the majority of guitarists.
All the best.
Thanks very much for writing Bill, and for your suggestion. We are doing our best to
make that happen!
Essay Contest: "What The Principles Have Done For Me"
Doesn't Steve look happy and fashionable in his GuitarPrinciples T-shirt?
Of course he does! And you too can look happy and fashionable, with this great opportunity coming your way: The GuitarPrinciples Essay Contest!
All you have to do is send us an e-mail about your experiences using The Principles, and how they have helped you move closer to your guitar playing dreams (or any other dreams).
The staff of GuitarPrinciples will pick the 3 most outstanding entries, and the winners will receive a FREE GUITARPRINCIPLES T-SHIRT! AND, the first prize winner will receive, in addition to the t-shirt (as if that weren't enough!) a first edition copy of my soon to be released book "The Deeper I Go, The Deeper It Gets: Meditations on Life and Guitar".
Yes, wowie zowie!
Before you run off to your keyboard to type out your Principled autobiography, just let me say that we are looking for thoughtful and poignant, and of course, true, descriptions of how The Principles have impacted your guitar playing, and any other areas of your life you care to talk about.
While I don't want to stifle anyone's creativity, please try to be as concise as possible, keeping the essay to about 350 words or less.
So, put your heart, your head, and your hands together, and let us hear from you! Then, you too can be a happy smiling guitar player like Steve in the picture (and didn't I hear him say his playing got better just by putting the t-shirt on?)
To submit your essay, click here
Enter Essay Contest!
Teaching The Principles: Finding Excellent Students
One of the greatest challenges facing the guitar teacher is finding good
students, and avoiding bad students. Good students can be defined as interested,
eager to work, and enthusiastic about learning guitar. They are stimulating to teach,
they make you feel like you are getting "money for nothing"! Bad students are
the opposite, the agony of being in the lesson is quite evident on their faces,
and as the teacher, you feel like someone has opened one of your veins, and
by the end of the lesson, you are
drained of every last drop of energy. The
lesson usually ends with a thud or a whimper.
The critical point here is that the kind of students you will end up with is
up to you, the teacher. The way you approach teaching will dictate the overall
complexion of your student body.
Here are the ways to go about building a teaching practice full of bad
- Do not have any organized approaches to achieving carefully thought out
goals with the student.
- Meander from song to song each lesson, giving a little of this and a
little of that.
- Do not write out the students assignment in a notebook each lesson, and do
not check it at the beginning of each lesson.
- Do not hold the student accountable for every task assigned the
previous week. Allow them to make excuses week after week about why they did
not practice all or part of the lesson.
- Continue to consent to teaching the student after they have clearly
demonstrated over a period of time that they are not practicing, and/or do not
really want to take lessons, or perhaps even play the guitar.
The way to build a strong and solid teaching practice, full of good students
is to reverse all of the above. It also includes a continuous communication of
enthusiasm on your part for the student's progress, and a continuous search for,
and application of, the approach to the student's current problems that will
The good teacher must realize that he or she cannot teach every student who
comes along, because not every student really wants to learn to play. Teachers
must resist the temptation to continue to teach such a student out of fear of
losing students and money. You must have faith in the fact that, fortunately for
we guitar teachers, there is an incredible number of people out there who want
to learn the guitar. Many of them think they probably can't, and many have had
that suspicion confirmed by a bad experience in lessons. The Principles will
save both teacher and student from this fate.
Teachers who accept bad students will, over time, find their teaching
practice overgrown with them, exactly like a garden that is not tended will
become overgrown with weeds. However, if bad students are not tolerated, and are
weeded out as they occur, you will find, over time, that your teaching practice
is full of good students, because you will attract them.
I proved this to myself within the first few years of my full time teaching.
I immediately noticed, in the music store in which I taught, that I was a better
teacher than all the other guitar teachers, because they were not even trying to
be good teachers. They were just getting by, week by week, lesson by lesson, repeating with each student the particular path they had taken with the guitar, not discovering what would be most effective with the student. They
did not take teaching seriously. Parents of students (and they are often the most
important economic factor in your teaching practice, because they carry the
checkbook!), soon caught on that they could trust me, and that I knew what I was
doing. They knew they would not waste their money, because their child would
learn to play, and I wouldn't take the money if that wasn't happening. I knew I
was successful one day when a new student's father came in to my studio,
obviously honored that I was teaching his son, and told me "your name is gold
in this county!"
By then, I was up to 75 students a week!
Finally, remember that your attitude about teaching is what determines your
experience. Your respect for yourself, for the student, and for the guitar will
guide you to acquiring all the right attributes of an excellent, and successful,
material copyright © 2003 by Jamie Andreas, GuitarPrinciples.com