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I thought you might like to see the BBC recording of the Julian Bream Masterclass which is now available to people living in the UK to download! My performance of Sevilla begins at 25mins 49 secs.

 

This competition was recorded by the BBC and shown in many countries across the world. It was the very last competition I ever entered. There where 6 finalists, one winner and 5 of us awarded joint 2nd place – including myself. I had a huge recital work load leading up to the competition, including an important solo recital for a new agent, and 2 concerto recitals – all containing different music to that played in the competition! So I entered the competition feeling very unprepared! I also decided to learn a new piece ‘Un Sueno en La Floresta’  for the ‘own choice’ selection, instead of playing something I knew well – putting myself under even more pressure.  The finalists had to play a movement from a concerto – choice of 2 – and I chose to play Rodrigo’s Fantasia Para un Gentilhombre. Enough said that it was very ropy!! A great experience though – the castle was stunningly beautiful – the one thing I miss about the UK – the historic buildings – not the weather!!

I have just been made guitarist of the month at Guitar Tube! Go and check them out –  its a great website with lots of interesting videos covering all aspects of guitar from rock to classical! They always have interesting performances to watch!

http://www.guitar-tube.com/

Its also Julian Bream’s 80th birthday this year – so check out the videos showcasing this amazing guitarist who inspired me to greater heights. Happy Birthday Julian!

http://players.guitar-tube.com/julian-bream

Hi guys. Its taken a few months to process but I am happy to say that my solo album is finally available to buy online at cdbaby.com. and to download through iTunes and other digital music sites!! There was an unbelievable amount of paper work involved – but worth it in the end.

Now all you need to do is to click on the link below and it will take you straight to cdbaby.com to purchase the hard copy, or you can download tracks from the album and purchase the complete Cd as a download from cdbaby.

 

Cheryl Grice-Watterson: Un Sueno En La Floresta (A Dream in the Forest)

If you prefer can also buy through iTunes at their online store, just click on the link below.

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/album/sueno-en-la-floresta-dream/id665699113

I have had hundreds of emails requesting information about this arrangement of Misty that I posted on YouTube. Its an old arrangement by Stan Ayers which is out of print and they have no intention of republishing it. So if anyone would like a copy just click on the link below.

 

Download sheet music here!

I have simplified some of the chords to allow the music to flow more easily – but you can make your own minds up on that when you receive the score. If anyone would like to work on learning the piece with me – remember that I do offer Skype lessons now, you just need a fast internet connection and a good quality webcam .

This youtube video is very funny – and so apropos my latest blog! A Must see!

Practising Guitar

I am now offering very affordable one to one lessons via Skype. I am happy to teach all levels and all abilities, as I love helping people achieve their dreams and I’m a great teacher! So don’t feel shy – I’m happy to help! Just email a copy of the music you want to work on – or we can work on general technique. If you are interested just send me an email and we can go from there. 🙂

Here is a comment from Sam in British Columbia, after his first Skype lesson……….

Cheryl, It was a great lesson. I especially appreciated your encouragement and suggestions on how to be more ” musical.” You were practical and inspiring at the same time!

Practising Tips

Practising Tips

ALWAYS practise from memory. Your first step is to memorise the 3 or 4 notes that you are learning, so that you can watch and help your hands to play them.

Step 1 As best you can, decide on a fingering for both left and right hands.  DO NOT waste time practising something without making good fingering choices – especially for the right hand, which is often ignored!

PRACTISE VERY, VERY SLOWLY!

Step 2 LEFT HAND:

a) Watch your hand.  Keep your thumb relaxed, it should not be digging a hole in the back of the guitar! Is your hand position correct? It should be parallel to the guitar (scale position) or turning out to facilitate 2 or more notes on one fret. Make sure it is in the best position for that group. Then practise very, very slowly –  help the fingers to play the notes efficiently, with small relaxed movements.

b) Next step play the notes with your eyes closed. If you cant do this – repeat step a) trying to memorise the ‘feel’ of playing them. Try again and repeat the ‘feel’ of the notes with your eyes closed.

c) Play the notes watching the music – this is harder because your kinaesthetic ability is reduced when your eyes are busy looking at the notes. EVERY sense is reduced when you are ‘busy looking’, so you won’t be able to ‘hear’ yourself as well either. Just keep repeating steps abc until you have it at a very slow speed!

Step3  RIGHT HAND:

Repeat steps abc this time watching the right hand. If it is too difficult for your left hand to cope when focussing on the right hand – then practise the right hand separately first on open strings. Use small relaxed movements – listen to your one, I often find that a problem  quickly disappears if I do this. When the right hand can ‘play the notes’ more easily, put the two hands together again – playing very very slowly!

Step 4: Apply this method continuously to each small group of notes throughout the piece. Or to just the odd groups that need it.

TIP 1: When you play the group through with your eyes on the music make sure you simply ‘track’ the notes with your eyes – in other words do not let your brain think it has to ‘work out’ the notes again! You are simply following the notes with your eyes whilst you play the notes that you have already memorised.

TIP 2:  You are simply memorising each small group of notes to help practise and improve them – this is the first step to memorising the whole piece. BUT you need to do this even if you do not intend to play the piece from memory, or feel that you cannot memorise the whole piece.

TIP 3: How many times did I say ‘practise slowly’ in this blog? Practising slowly means that you are relaxed and in control – if you are not – try going slower! (See previous article) If you always play at a controlled speed that ‘easy speed’ naturally speeds up. Never force it – you will just eliminate all the hard work you have done!  

 

gym

We are all guilty of playing something over and over and hoping it will get better, its human nature. But the truth is every time you make the same mistake, or struggle with same chord change –  it just cements itself more firmly into your subconscious. You need to play those difficult few notes PERFECTLY FIRST TIME. Or at least ASAP!

The trick is to play a small group of notes from memory watching your hands and playing in slow motion – at one mile an hour! If you play slowly enough you will execute it perfectly 1st time. Who cant do a difficult move perfectly if you leave 10 secs between notes! When you can play them easily 10 secs apart make it shorter (8 secs) then shorter again until you can play them at a comfortable speed. I stress the word comfortable not fast! Greater speed will take a few days at best and a few weeks/months at worst to achieve – BUT you will be playing the notes perfectly the whole time – and when you input the information calmly and slowly into your computer (the brain) and into your muscles, you naturally begin to speed up the relaxed accuracy you have achieved.

Guess what happens when you continually input faults into your computer (brain)? It keeps giving you the same crap! Maybe through sheer luck you get it right once every 4 times – but your brain remembers the 3 wrong times much more easily because you inputted the wrong notes/bad moves more often!!

Tomorrow I will be posting a blog telling you exactly how to practise a new piece or difficult section – so watch this space! (Unless of course you want to keep using the crash and burn practise technique that nearly every student employs?)

This Masterclass was recorded by the BBC at Bream’s house for their Masterclass Series in 1978. Unfortunately all I have is a video recording direct from the TV. Hence the low quality image!

I believe there were 6 students playing in the recording, and we were informed by the producer that there would be no break in filming between each player – so no chance to warm up!! I was freaking out, as I couldn’t imagine sitting still for a couple of hours then getting up stone cold and playing any piece well, let alone something as technically difficult as Sevilla! Wow was I lucky, as the person before me had to catch a plane, so filming stopped while he left and it was decided that would be a perfect time for a cigarette break!  So I managed to get a 10 min warm up after all. 🙂

I think my biggest learning curve from this lesson was actually when I was able to watch the recording on television. I had never heard myself play before, and one thing I have noticed consistently through the years is how different a piece sounds to your ears as you play it, to how it is received by the listener. What I mean by this is that the intention you have as you play a phrase (and what you hear as you play) is often not how it actually comes across. The depth of feeling I had for Sevilla did not come across – it was definitely too agressive – yet it didn’t sound that way to me at the time. It was much easier to take in Julian’s comments when I could sit back and listen to myself objectively.

So my advice would be to always record yourself and listen to how you actually sound, and not how you think you sound! Then you can adjust your performance to have the effect you intend!

Cheryl