This is a tricky one, one which I haven’t got to the bottom of. I’ve seen this happen in a majority of people taking up the guitar in, say, late middle age. A combination of unsteady hand which bounces off the strings, rough tone, missed or muffled notes, uncertain timing. Some of these things are easier to sort out than others but the whole effect is often quite difficult to ‘treat’. And the pupil is of course most often aware of the situation and finds it mortifying or at least annoying and cannot get around it.

Some of the issues (as it is a combination of various things) can be dealt with with the old formula -analysis before playing, breaking pieces down to small chunks that are more easily ‘digestible’, practise very slowly at first so as to retain control, repeat those small bits many many times once you’ve got them right. All this seems to be much more easily said than done for many people but it is the system that works best. Alas, it works to an extent.

In some cases you have to manage expectations -no, it might not be a good idea to play Bach’s Chaconne just now. Maybe ‘Adelita’ would be a better choice at this point.  Even so, I find in some cases you have to go further back and, whatever they are playing, break it down to very small bits or simple elements and work on those -even down to get a three or four note scale to come out clearly and even in tone might require attention. Try to find simpler alternative pieces that are still satisfying to play. It is a complicated balance to keep and the main thing is to keep the motivation high, the wanting to do something through that medium of the guitar.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: