Group 2

Are you tired of struggling with the complexities of guitar-playing? Good news – most guitar music relies on a small number of key technical building blocks. This upcoming two-week intensive program will dive into these building blocks and offer a systematic approach to improving your foundational skills on the guitar. By breaking down the technical intricacies of guitar-playing into a handful of essential movements, we’ll be providing exclusive insights and exercises that can help you overcome the most common difficulties. With practice and dedication, these exercises can become an integral part of your regular warm-up routine, unlocking your potential to better express your musical ideas.


  • Sign-Up: March 15th
  • Course Period: March 20th - March 31st
  • Check-In via Zoom: March 23 & March 30, 10am PST

Assignment (week 1)

The video below introduces the course and presents 6 exercises aimed at developing essential 'building blocks' of guitar playing. Aim to practice each every day as part of your warmup routine for 2~4 minutes. This should result in an overall 15~30 min practice block.


The exercises presented are:

exercise 1a - apoyando/tirando alternation of single fingers (i-i-i... m-m-m... a-a-a...)

exercise 1b - tirando alternation of small groups (m-i, i-m, a-m, m-a, a-i, i-a)

exercise 2 - apoyando alternation across first three strings

exercise 3 - 'quasi' slurs

exercise 4 - chromatic scales

exercise 5 - shifting

exercise 6 - extensions


If you aren't able to consistently complete all exercises or if it takes too long, select whichever you think will be the most beneficial ones for you (e.g. 1-4). Remember that it is better to practise shorter but regularly than to practice longer but less frequently. Keep track of your practice! This will allow you to later asses how useful a change to your practice routine has been.


Assignment // Week 1


Assignment // Week 2


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  • Hello Emmanuel
    Just a video of exercise 1 (i and m ) to ask an important question for me.

    It's hard not to move your hand...
    I have two (bad?) habits: put my thumb on the string just above and have a very "horizontal" attack (and not perpendicular to the string). The sound can be sometimes "too" round.
    Should I correct this position to facilitate both attacks and if so how?
    Thanks a lot.

    Like 1
    • GALAIS Olivier  

      The position is looking pretty good and stable when you switch between apoyando and tirando – great job!

      It is completely fine to rest the thumb. Desirable, even! However, for the exercise, I would rest it on a lower string (6 or 5) and not too close to the string you are playing on. This wider position between the thumb and fingers is often more challenging, but absolutely essential ro practise as it is so very common in pieces. Practise like this while aiming for a relaxed thumb. Also, when resting the thumb, I'd suggest resting the side with which you play (front), rather than the back of the thumb.

      Achieving a nice and round sound is nothing to worry about. On the contrary – it's great! However, what is an issue is that you are occasionally hitting the lower string (3rd), which means you are indeed striking the string a little bit too horizontally. You might afford to either lift your wrist or bring your knuckles towards the ground VERY slightly, until the trajectory of your finger after playing stays just about clear of the lower string. You are barely touching the 3rd string as it is, so I encourage you to experiment with very small adjustments... otherwise, it's looking pretty good!

  • Emmanuel Thank you for the exercises. I see myself incorporating the exercises as part of my warm up routine.  

    Like 1
    • You're welcome, Raul – I hope they will be useful. Happy practising!

  • Manny,

    can you discuss planting with the arpeggios? Full, sequential or none?


    Like 1
    • Hi Jerry ,

      If purely for physical reasons, I've learnt that full planting in ascending arpeggios (from lower to higher strings) is preferred, and no planting for descending patterns (playing 'inwards' from 'a' towards 'p' is a more natural movement than from 'p' to 'a').

      However, we can always adjust to any musical needs. For example, if as part of an ascending arpeggio, there is an important melody on one of the strings, say the 1st, full planting would cut the melody every time... no planting or, at least, sequential planting (if some stability is really needed) would be preferred. Or conversely, if a descending pattern is meant to sound more active or energetic, full or perhaps sequential planting could be preferrable.

      Hope that helps! M

    • Emmanuel 

      thanks. I enjoyed your twi

      Like 1
    • Glad to hear, Jerry . All best!


    Thursday 30 March, 2023
    6 PM  London  🇬🇧
    10 AM  Pacific Time 🇺🇸

    Join Zoom Meeting

    Meeting ID: 830 1496 4945
    Passcode: 992107

    Like 1
    • David
    • David.39
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Thank you again for a great 2-week intensive. As a follow-up question to today's scale discussion, would you have a favorite recommendation for information on the principles you discussed (shifts on a strong beat, changes of string, etc.) and/or fingering recommendations/references? 

    Like 1
    • Hi David , it was my pleasure!

      Of course – the most distilled and practical resources I've come across are three books by Marco Tamayo – his 'Essential Principles for the interpretation on the classical guitar', 'How to "don’t" practice scales [sic]', and 'Warming Up'. The first is only available as a physical book and might seem a little abstract, but the contents are very sound and probably one of my main sources of progress over the past few years. The following two are available as PDFs and are a little more practical with examples and exercises... in 'Warming Up' you will find great similarities with some of the exercises we tackled as part of this TWI.

      Let me know if you find any more out there in the wild:)

      Thanks again for your fantastic contributions to the course!

      All best, M

      Like 1
  • Emmanuel

    Thank you for a great TWI.

    Your video demonstrations and explanations were exactly what I needed at this point in my learning. In my effort to keep "moving ahead" I had forgotten the importance of focusing on the smallest of movements. Not only are the actual exercises helping me with control - but when I am encountering a difficulty I am better able to think about what is really going on at the most basic level.

    I am sorry that I was unable to attend the second zoom session. I hope it will be posted.


    Like 1
    • Hi Martha , so glad to hear the course was so useful to you. I couldn't agree more – indeed almost any difficulty starts to break down (even if slowly at times) once we are able to recognise the many smaller components that build up the whole. A good friend of mine says 'the fastest way to do something is to take all the time in the world', presumably as it will help us keep an eye for detail and analyse things more thoroughly which can be of immense help when problem-solving.

      Best wishes with your music-making:) I'll make sure to post the Zoom session.

      All best, Emmanuel

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