Technical hurdles can keep you from playing your favorite classical guitar pieces.

How do you leave them in the dust?

Mastering Classical Guitar Technique cover shadow

An Art of Guitar Series Ebook

Conquering Technical Hurdles

The Art of Mastering Classical Guitar Technique

With Bonus Video Instruction

Coming in December!

How many really enjoyable classical guitar pieces are there that you can “almost” play…if they weren’t just a bit beyond your technical grasp?

Not everyone wants to be a world-class virtuoso. But you do need a lot of technique to play classical guitar well.

If you want to truly mine the riches of the classical guitar repertoire, play your favorite pieces, and share them with others, then you have to get a clear understanding of the finer points of technique.

And you have to know how to leave technical hurdles in the dust.


  • Do you get stuck trying to learn pieces that shouldn’t be so hard, except for one or two difficult spots that keep ruining it for the rest of the piece?
  • Do you have a few irritating technical limits that seem to keep you from progressing any further, even if other things seem to be working fine for you?
  • Do you get frustrated because you know something doesn’t sound as good as you want it to, but you just don’t know how to fix it?
  • Do you have issues with your left hand…or issues with your right hand….or with one finger, or one thumb…that just doesn’t want to do as asked?
  • Do you get overwhelmed by how complicated classical guitar technique is? There seem to be so many different parts to it, and you just don’t know how to get them to all work together as one?
  • Do you have problems with certain techniques— like barring, or slurring, or scale speed, or getting consistent tone production—-that you just can’t get to work well enough?
  • Do you wish you could spend your precious practice time actually conquering more of your favorite pieces—rather than staying stuck playing the same ones over and over because of one or two technical traps?

The good news is that the most persistent technical issues tend to come from an imbalanced approach, not from lack of talent.

There is an art to mastering classical guitar technique and to conquering technical hurdles.

On one hand, it’s about clearly understanding the principles of form and function that you have never quite applied properly.

On the other hand, it’s about mastering the actual embodied process you need to go through as you apply them and make them your own.

In this manual, I intend to show you not just the essential details of a masterful physical technique, but the core ways you can naturally improve it, by accessing, nurturing and developing your own talent.

In doing so, I want to show you how you can grow not only technically, but as a musician and a guitarist, in ways you might not have realized were possible, and to learn using parts of yourself that you might have ignored until now.

Mastering classical guitar technique involves much more than just getting the notes, and as you improve, the art of conquering technical hurdles becomes more and more about finding–and mastering–new and creative and exciting ways to use your technique to bring the music to life.

This manual is my ongoing report from the practice trenches, in the battle for ever greater range and freedom of expression on the classical guitar, this beloved and quirky instrument of ours. The principles I cover in this book are ones that I still use, every day that I practice, and writing the book is a labor of love as I discover more and more of what is possible for myself and for my students.

Coming in December!



As a classically trained musician and teacher with graduate degrees from the Juilliard School of Music and the Cincinnati Conservatory, I’m committed to translating the principles of technical and musical mastery into plain language and practical suggestions for guitar students of all levels and all stripes. In addition to extensive private teaching experience, I’ve been on the faculty of the prestigious Bowdoin Music Festival as well as the Western Connecticut State University.

This manual is not intended to substitute for a good teacher, but it does address your ability teach yourself when your teacher is not looking over your shoulder.
It will enable you to improve significantly so you can spend more time on the music, during lessons and elsewhere. It will also help you in those situations where finding a really good teacher is not possible. If you teach classical guitar yourself, it’s meant to provide some perspective and guidance on the issues that most often show up with students.

Jay Kauffman, New York, NY

“Jay’s pedagogy is clear and accessible. He takes into account all levels of students, so the beginner doesn’t run away discouraged or the advanced turn off because they’re not challenged.”

Mark Scott

“Jay’s approach to teaching is distracting me TO the music and away from the usual din in my head which disconnects me from both my hands and the guitar. So instead of listening to the whirlwind of chopped up thoughts I’m usually having while practicing, which are mostly negative (did that wrong, strings ALWAYS buzz, my hands must be misshapen, shouldn’t be even trying to do this, etc.), I am listening to the guitar — to the strings. The second thing is coming naturally from the first: I am feeling a direct connect between my mind, hands and back and shoulders and what sounds are happening. So I feel in control. “


Rachel P