Suzuki Snippets


If learning to play the guitar is difficult, teaching the guitar is no less challenging, trust me! Just as I expect certain things from my students (regular attendance, daily practise), you have a right to expect certain things from me.

guitar tuitionWhat you can expect from me as a Suzuki Guitar Instructor:
  • Maintaining my own standard as a player and performer.
  • Regular interfacing with Suzuki Ireland to keep abreast of new developments.
  • A program of continual advancement and achievement for both me and my pupils.
What you as a parent can do to help the lessons:
Guitar lessons are a means to acquiring and honing a skill. All skills respond best
to a productive enviroment. Here are a few things that you, as a parent, can do to help make the weekly guitar lessons more enjoyable for all concerned:
  • Listen to as much music as possible at home. All music is inherently ‘musical’ and some is better than none at all.
  • Pay particular attention to guitar music, especially the classical guitar. There is a wealth of fabulous guitar music out there and I can point you in a number of directions.
  • Always have the guitar accessible and easy to pick up at any time. Not just by the child; have a go yourself from time to time!
‘In music, preparation is everything.’ Gerhart Zimmerman

Contact Brendan to discuss this further.

Classical guitar- Steady hands, steady progress.


For many people, the guitar has two incarnations. The first is the 'janga janga' syle that so often accompanies folk groups and is heard late into the night at house parties. The second is the ear-splitting fury and ferocity of the heavy metal solo- remember 'Bill & Ted'?

As a musical instrument, the guitar is capable of an unrivalled range of tone, expression, delicacy and passion. Both of the above styles are perfectly valid and I engage in them frequently. However, all too often the guitar is seen as an 'amateurish' instrument, suitable only for the parlor and as a vocal accompaniment. In fact, many people who play the guitar admit only to 'strumming a few chords.' One doesn't hear flautists claiming to 'give it an aul' blow' or trumpeters 'just parp around a bit'?

The point is that, contrary to popular opinion, the traditional method of guitar instruction (learning to play chords) is extremely difficult. The co-ordination of multiple fingers on the left hand alone requires years of practise. And, unless you are an accomplished singer and plan to accompany yourself, the rewards are not immediately evident. This leads to frustration and, ultimately, losing interest and discarding the instrument. This article will give some insight into how complex even the simplest guitar chord really is.

The classical guitar style avoids a great many of the traditional pitfalls to learning the guitar. Students learn the correct technique from the outset but in a carefully measured way. Rhythm, timing, tone, expression and musicality are principles adopted much more readily when learning simple melodies and tunes. Playing along with the teacher as a duet greatly enhances motivation and, when practising at home, a melody is much more enjoyable for the student and any listeners!

Far from being lofty, unattainable or elitist, the classical guitar is a superb foundation for further study and, should the student wish to pursue other styles of music, the techniques learned will ensure rapid progress and more artful mastery.

Next time, we'll listen to what the classical guitar can do for even the simplest of melodies.

Contact Brendan to find out more about learning to play the classical guitar.

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