Frequently asked questions
learning flamenco guitar
How do I learn to play traditional flamenco guitar?
You know, rasgueados, rapid finger style runs ….that sort of thing.
Answer 1: Find a good teacher
The best teacher to learn flamenco from is one who actually plays real, traditional flamenco for a living. Preferably this would be someone who regularly accompanies dance classes. This is your “foot in the door.” Here’s how it works. When you learn the basics of technique and your compas is reliable, you get to play beside your teacher in class. Part of the learning process is observation and imitation. Eventually you get to play for beginners classes on your own. Then there comes a day when the beginners want to perform their stuff and will want a guitarist to accompany them at local gigs. Guess what. You’re it. After all, by that time it will your music they are used to dancing to, not your teacher’s. Contact your local flamenco dance school and learn to accompany dancers and singers.
But I don’t want to learn the traditional stuff and get involved that way. I just want to know how to play fancy runs and rasgueados so I can do my own thing. What do you suggest?
Answer 2: Buy these recommended books. Find a teacher.
But there are no flamenco teachers in my area? What do I do now?
- Learn what you can from this website.
- Buy these recommended books.
Then…. At the earliest opportunity find a teacher.
Question 4: How long will it take me to learn flamenco?
How long will it take me to learn tremolo or rasgueados etc?
I am not the one playing your guitar so I cannot tell you how soon you will get a decent sound with rasgueados or whatever. These things take time to develop. I can’t make predictions that you will get the results you want within a given time frame because I am not you. Obviously if you practice 2 hours a day in a disciplined way you will get to where you’re going faster than if you put in sloppy practice for 4 hours a day. Also regular practice like 1 hour a day is better than concentrated practice for 7 hours over a weekend.
I feel a bit weird learning flamenco because I am not Spanish and I have never been to Spain. I’m afraid nobody will take me seriously, especially if I eventually get to perform for a Spanish audience or play in Spain.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am Italian and I have never been to Spain. I don’t understand Spanish either. Because I’m not Spanish, does that mean I am in some way not allowed to play flamenco? Of course not. You can read my thoughts about this here. (this link opens another browser window).
Anyone can play flamenco. I learned the traditional styles form dance schools in Adelaide, South Australia. I have performed with many dance groups that had a diverse mixture of nationalities. I have also performed for Spanish audiences who came to listen to and watch traditional flamenco, not to examine my immigration papers. Although flamenco originated in Spain and has unmistakable Spanish cultural influences, it is a universal art form. I say this because it is essentially based on the human condition and is an expression of universal human emotions.
I see no evidence that not being Spanish has harmed my credibility as a guitar player. In short, such concerns are all in the imagination. It is inevitable that some people will like what you do and others will not. The bottom line is that if you follow your passion and remain true to the musical tradition you have chosen to express, your credibility as a musician will never be an issue.
If I post a video on You Tube, can you comment on how I can improve my playing?
I do occasionally comment on other people videos if they specifically ask me to. This is something I don’t mind doing. In this public forum I’m just a guy who makes comments like anyone else because I want to.
You can tell me about your video two ways.
- Send me a private message through the You Tube message system.
My channel is here. Click on the “Send Message” link.
- Post a video response to one of my videos. But try to keep your content relevant to the video you are responding to. For example, if you play a Farruca, choose my Farruca to respond to. If you play a version of Freight Train, choose my Freight Train video to respond to.
End of Questions
There is no magic formula to learning guitar
Collecting knowledge vs applying the knowledge
Collecting tips and tricks on the Internet about how to play guitar will get you nowhere. Do you think the next tip you find in an ebook or website will be THE magic bullet that will propel you from struggling beginner to Guitar Hero? FORGET IT. It’s all about hard work and actually applying the information in a disciplined way.
Without an organized system of practice and guidance from a teacher tips and tricks are useless.
There is no ancient secret ritual to give a beginner “Instant Guitar Hero” status. There is no magic formula that anyone is keeping hidden from the general public. There is no secret scale or some super trick that will help you master the fretboard in 5 minutes. There is no such thing as magic scales or shortcuts when it comes to learning guitar. My best tip is…
Take real lessons from a real teacher