Learning to play the guitar can be one of the most fulfilling life decisions you will ever make. From the moment you strum your first chord, then progress onto fingerstyle or fingerpicking, or perhaps one day sharing your talent to play guitar in front of others, learning guitar is a journey, not a destination.
My Dad and Django Reinhardt inspired me to learn to play the acoustic guitar, but it wasn’t long before the rich tones and emotional depth of the classical guitar also became a passion.
I was always keen to learn to read music and used to spend my pocket money in Brighton’s music shops, sifting through boxes of classical guitar sheet music to find another great piece by Tarrega or Barrios.
Becoming a classical guitarist
You may have already had private guitar lessons, tried free online guitar lesson videos or perhaps you are just looking for guitar lessons for beginners. Wherever you are on your musical journey, my aim is to make sure you are working from a solid foundation so we will revisit basic techniques and help lose any bad habits.
Like me, you may find that standing up to play guitar transforms your experience. We will look at both sitting and standing positions as well as fretting and how you present your fingers to the fretboard. If you are new to the instrument and still find your strings buzzing occasionally, I will show you how to fix this.
Overcome guitar playing frustrations
As you work to introduce mastery into your musicianship you will, like all musicians, experience moments of frustration. The dreaded barre-chord is feared by many as are those rapid finger picking patterns you can’t quite master. I can help you with all these aspects of technique and save you time by showing you how to practise - but you will still have to practise! Classical musicians, revered for centuries, would all agree that a good, simple understanding of your instrument helps achieve greater things in less time.
Your learning choices
If you have decided you need guitar instruction and want classical guitar lessons, you are faced with three choices: visit a local guitar teacher, search online for free guitar instruction or pay for professional online guitar lessons.
Option 1 – Traditional face to face guitar tuition
With the right teacher this works well with students of all ages and when not touring I still offer face to face private lessons. An obvious advantage is instant feedback and personal guidance. The downsides are the expense plus the risk of feeling stuck with the “wrong” teacher.
Option 2 – Free Guitar Lessons online (i.e YouTube)
Free lessons have questionable value and can also just be a hook to get you to pay. Certainly there are great guitar teachers out there but the guitar is so often misunderstood and generally not well taught. If you’re going to invest your time in learning to play guitar, you need to ensure your teacher knows what they are doing. Bad teaching causes frustration, wastes time, can result in physical injury and means the most musical person may just give up altogether.
Option 3 – Video lessons from a qualified teacher and experienced concert guitarist
This is a great way to learn to play classical guitar . The Richard Durrant Academy has the credibility of a top tier guitar school with the convenience of home learning, at your pace at an affordable price. The RDA offers professionally produced video lessons on guitar basics such as tuning your guitar, correct and simple playing techniques, through to popular repertoire and a chance to move away from guitar tablature and replace it with universal standard notation. You will quickly develop your sight-reading so you can pick up any piece of music and start playing.
My life as a concert guitarist
I studied guitar, cello & composition at the Royal College of Music in London when I was already exploring a wide range of styles (early music, folk, contemporary, South American). Since my debut recital (Purcell Room 1986) I’ve combined composing with performing and have toured widely at home & abroad ever since.
I’ve performed as soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the Royal Albert Hall and played unaccompanied Bach on a ukulele on top of Itaipu dam, Paraguay. I’m the only classical guitar recitalist to stand whilst performing, my work is multi-genre and has been played on BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 music.
I’m a fellow of London College of Music, an ambassador for Brighton Youth Orchestra and received an award from Prince Charles for supporting art in the community.
As a dedicated supporter of music literacy I co-founded RichardDurrantAcademy.com, in 2017, as a resource for guitarists of all styles.
Your next steps
For every self-taught guitarist still enjoying playing, there are thousands whose guitar is collecting dust in a corner of the attic. If this is you then the Richard Durrant Academy can help you change your approach and look again at how to play the guitar.
It would be a privilege to accompany you on your classical guitar journey of discovery and so I would like to invite you to become a member of the Richard Durrant Academy.