Here are a few of the sources I delve into in pulling this manual together.
- I’ve revisited everything I’ve learned up until now, both from my graduate studies in classical guitar at two top schools, Cincinnati Conservatory and The Juilliard School. I’ve reviewed all I’ve learned in school and summer study from guitarists Sharon Isbin, Eliot Fisk, David Leisner, and Clare Callahan, as well as all I’ve learned as a professional musician and teacher in the 20 years since then.
- I grew up in a country and situation where it was impossible to find a teacher at the time. As a result, I was largely self-taught as a classical guitarist until I reached graduate school. I’ve done a lot of self-examination of the habits, assumptions and gifts enabled me to do well in spite of this, as well as the things that I would have done differently in hindsight.
- Personal research has also meant experimenting with the principles of an embodied learning system in my own quest to improve as a musician and work through my particular blind spots as well as the challenges I’ve had due to a few physical complications of long-time diabetes, which have threatened my ability to continue as a musician over the past 5 years.
- As a teacher, I’ve been judicially applying these principles with my students and seeing the results. Even though much of our time still gets spent on the “bread and butter” aspects of classical guitar learning process such as technique, fingerings. getting the notes right, and interpretation, my underlying approach comes from this place.
- I’ve researched or revisited a wide range of material including most of the core classical guitar technique tomes (incl. Charles Duncan, Aron Shearer, Anthony Glise, Scott Tenant), a number of the top books on practicing and musicianship (Madeline Bruser, Victor Wooten, and Gerald Klickstein are three favorites) a bevy of fascinating books on the neuroscience of learning, talent and music, as well as an in-depth personal study of embodied polarities (Yin/Yang on steroids) with the brilliant dancer, musician philosopher and movement expert Dylan Newcomb. In addition, I draw inspiration, ideas and practice tips:) from more esoteric sources and practices such as the Sufi master musician turned Mystic, Hazrat Inayat Khan, and from W.A. Mathieu, a California sufi who is also a brilliant musician, writer and music theorist.