How to Practice Classical Guitar

I had the honor to study under one of the world's greatest classical guitarists, Maestro Andres Segovia. In this series, I will be sharing with you how to practice classical guitar, giving you practical instruction that will improve your classical guitar playing.

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How to Practice Classical Guitar

This is how I deal with practicing.  First of all, I would like to relate the words of the late Andres Segovia, the greatest classical guitarist ever, who if anyone would be the authority on the best method of practice.  This is what he taught me and told me was his method.  

Practice in sets of fifteen minutes, divided into two sets of seven to eight minutes with a short break between.  At the end of each fifteen minutes, take a 3 minute break, stand up, get a glass of water, stretch, etc. but be sure to take a moment to focus your eyes on something far away to relax your eyes from the close work of the page and the fretboard and to clear your mind. Start again and do three fifteen minute sets, totaling 45 minutes of intense practice.  This time at the end of the third set taking a real break of about fifteen minutes.  Repeat this 3-set practice routine for a total of five times.  At that point, you will have spent around five and a half hours.  

 Eric Henderson pictured with Antonia Morales and Maestro Andres Segovia

Eric Henderson pictured with Antonia Morales and Maestro Andres Segovia

That is the morning session, in the afternoon you will do this entire routine again after you have had some lunch and a chance to rest.  In the years I was living in Madrid, between 1971 and 1975, the traditional schedule for the day was to start between 8 and 9 am, and have your main meal of the day around 2 pm; everything would then shut down for this meal and a siesta that followed.  At anywhere between 5 and 7 pm, everything would open back up and the evening meal would not be until 9 or even 10 pm. I would eat the midday meal, take a siesta and then practice from 5 to 10 pm, before eating dinner, the lighter meal of the day.  

This is what Segovia would do and what I was expected to do as his student.  Recently I heard somebody claim that he witnessed Segovia excusing himself after dinner, saying that he had to practice.  This was not the case in my experiences with him; he practiced in the mornings and in the late afternoons and early evenings.

The exact method as far as the content of my practice will be dealt with in a subsequent writing in the next article in this series. In the meantime, check out my store, and make sure to subscribe to get the latest in news and updates. If you wish to contact me for a booking or for any other reason, you can contact me here.