Articles, Guitar Practice

Classical Guitar – Segovia’s Advice About Practicing

Andres Segovia

This is how I deal with practicing the Classical Guitar. First of all, I would like to relate
the words of the late Andres Segovia, the greatest classical guitarist
ever, who if anyone would be the authority on the best method of practice.
This is what he taught me and told me was his method. Practice in sets
of fifteen minutes, divided into two sets of seven to eight minutes with a
short break between. At the end of each fifteen minutes, take a 3 minute
break, stand up, get a glass of water, stretch, etc. but be sure to take a
moment to focus your eyes on something far away to relax your eyes from
the close work of the page and the fretboard and to clear your mind. Start
again and do three fifteen minute sets, totaling 45 minutes of intense
practice. This time at the end of the third set take a real break of
about fifteen minutes. Repeat this 3-set practice routine for a total of
five times. At that point you will have spent around five and a half

That is the morning session, in the afternoon you will do this
entire routine again after you have had some lunch and a chance to rest.
In the years I was living in Madrid, between 1971 and 1975, the
traditional schedule for the day was to start between 8 and 9am, and have
your main meal of the day around 2 pm; everything would then shut down for
this meal and a siesta that followed. At anywhere between 5 and 7pm,
everything would open back up and the evening meal would not be until 9 or
even 10pm. I would eat the midday meal, take a siesta and then practice
from 5 to 10 pm, before eating dinner, the lighter meal of the day.

This is what Andres Segovia would do and what I was expected to do as his
student. Recently I heard somebody claim that he witnessed Segovia
excusing himself after dinner, saying that he had to practice. This was
not the case in my experiences with him; he practiced in the mornings and
in the late afternoons and early evenings. The exact method as far as the
content of my practice will be dealt with in a subsequent blog post.

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