HOME DANCE LESSONS GUITAR LESSONS CANTE LESSONS CDS VIDEOS GUIDES FLAMENCO FORMS




HOME DANCE LESSONS GUITAR LESSONS CANTE LESSONS CDS VIDEOS GUIDES FLAMENCO FORMS
BACKGROUND

Thanks to a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Culture, I had the chance to study flamenco guitar in Córdoba, Granada and Jerez. In each city, I was struck by how well the traditional method of teaching flamenco guitar fits flamenco music.

Flamenco teachers in Spain rarely use books and they don't teach 'student pieces.' Student and teacher sit down face-to-face and the teacher shows the students how to play the same falsetas and rhythms they themselves perform. You learn flamenco as it is, not as it was.

Of course, beginning students get simpler passages and advanced students get the hard stuff, but in either case the teacher expects the student to strive to play as musically as possible. Technique is taught in service of musicianship. As a result, the student doesn't sound like a student for long.

I use a similar approach in my own teaching, with one important difference. The average Spanish guitar student has been exposed to the best flamenco in the world for years before he even takes up the guitar.  An American student has to learn about the world of flamenco while learning to play it. Unless they already have a strong background in flamenco, I tend to start out my students with Juan Martin’s El Arte Flamenco de la Guitarra. There are a lot of good books out there and I like many of them, but El Arte remains the best tool I know to help me get a student listening and playing like a flamenco guitarist.

ESSENTIALS:

  • WHERE? MY HOME STUDIO, 721 MOUND AVE, SOUTH PASADENA, 91030
  • WHEN? LESSONS ARE ONCE A WEEK. LESSON TIMES ARE AVAILBLE MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY
  • HOW LONG? I OFFER HOUR AND HALF HOUR PRIVATE LESSONS AND ONE HOUR SEMI-PRIVATE LESSONS
  • HOW MUCH?
    • $75 FOR A SINGLE ONE HOUR LESSON
    • $125 FOR FOUR WEEKLY HALF HOUR LESSONS
    • $200 FOR FOUR WEEKLY ONE HOUR LESSONS (RECOMMENDED)
    • $250 FOR FOUR WEEKLY ONE HOUR SEMI-PRIVATE LESSONS
    • $400 FOR TEN WEEKLY ONE HOUR LESSONS (DISCOUNT)
  • HOW DO I GET STARTED? CALL ME AT (626) 403-7489 OR E-MAIL ME AT STEPHEN@STUDIOFLAMENCO.COM
  • WHAT SHOULD I BRING? A NYLON STRING GUITAR, A CAPO, AND (OPTIONAL) AN AUDIO OR VIDEO RECORDER. IF YOU'RE A BEGINNER, I ASK THAT YOU ALSO BRING A COPY OF JUAN MARTIN'S EL ARTE FLAMENCO DE LA GUITARRA.
  • RESCHEDULING POLICY

I need 24 hours notice to reschedule a given week's lesson, otherwise the fee for that week's lesson is forfeited. Exceptions are made in case of emergencies. I'll do everything I can to reschedule your lesson to another time that week. If I need to reschedule, I'll give you as much notice as possible and your fee for that week won't be forfeited.

  • PAYMENT

Pament is due at the first of each series of lessons. Cash or check is preferred, but you can also use your credit/debit card to pay via PayPal using the link below.

1: Choose the number of lessons you'd like to buy.
2: Click the button to buy classes via PayPal.
3: I'll receive notice of your payment automatically from PayPal.
NUMBER OF LESSONS

 

HOME DANCE LESSONS GUITAR LESSONS CANTE LESSONS CDS VIDEOS GUIDES FLAMENCO FORMS
ONLINE FLAMENCO GUITAR LESSONS

I now offer online flamenco guitar lessons via Skype. Just like private lessons in my studio, these are one-on-one lessons in which I work with you on repertoire and technique. The only difference is that I'll be here in Southern California, or wherever I am while touring, and you'll be anywhere in the world.

I offer a free, twenty minute session to begin. This gives us a chance to meet online so that I can assess your playing and outline what I can do for you and allows us both to make sure the Skype connection is working before you make a payment.

Once we've met online, we'll find a regular time for your online lessons, arrange for payment via PayPal, and get you started. You can buy one lesson or a series of four lessons.

ESSENTIALS:

  • WHERE? ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD
  • WHEN? LESSONS ARE ONE HOUR OR ONE HALF HOUR LONG, ONCE A WEEK. LESSONS TIMES ARE AVAILBLE MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY.
  • HOW MUCH? $200 FOR FOUR ONE HOUR LESSONS.$125 FOR FOUR HALF HOUR LESSONS
  • HOW DO I GET STARTED? CALL STEPHEN AT (626) 403-7489 OR E-MAIL ME AT STEPHEN@STUDIOFLAMENCO.COM
  • WHAT SHOULD I HAVE? A NYLON STRING GUITAR, A CAPO, AND A COMPUTER WITH WEBCAM CAPABILITES AND A FAST INTERNET CONNECTION. IF YOU'RE A BEGINNER, I ASK THAT YOU ALSO GET A COPY OF JUAN MARTIN'S EL ARTE FLAMENCO DE LA GUITARRA.
  • CAN I PAY FOR MY LESSONS ONLINE? YES, ONCE YOU'VE SET UP YOUR LESSON TIME WITH STEPHEN . . .
1: Choose the number of lessons you'd like to buy.
2: Click the button to buy classes via PayPal.
3: PayPal will notify me immediately when you've made a payment.
Online Guitar Lessons

HOME DANCE LESSONS GUITAR LESSONS CANTE LESSONS CDS VIDEOS GUIDES FLAMENCO FORMS

Essential Palos For Guitarists

As a flamenco guitarist, there are certain forms you'll be expected to play, depending on the situation. Although you'll eventually want to be familiar with every form, certain forms show up all the time, some almost never show up, and others come in and out of fashion.

Rather than worrying about knowing everything before doing anything, I prefer to have my students start accompanying dance classes and performing as soon as possible.

Below, I've created a list of twelve essential flamenco forms, grouped by performance situation. This list is by no means exhaustive and there are no hard and fast rules, but it will give you a general idea of what to expect and what will be expected of you once you start working with dancers and singers.

Beginning-level flamenco dance class
At the beginning level, you shoud know how to play these forms por arriba or por medio. You should know their llamadas and be able to recognize the dancer's cues.
A foundational form, this is the parent form for all the 4-count forms.
A foundational form, this is the parent form for all of the 12-count forms.
This exciting, high-energy 12-count form is closely assoiciated with the city of Jerez.
Intermediate/advanced flamenco dance class
Each of these forms involves changes in tempo and changes from section to section. You should know what these changes are and be able to recognize their cues.
A slow, 4-count form.
An upbeat, 12-count form in a major key closely associated with Cádiz.
A 12-count Ida y Vuelta form based on Cuban rhythms.
The hybrid form combining the music of the soleares and the tempo and beat structure of the bulerías.
A 12-count form with an unusual beat structure.
Group pieces in a tablao
These forms aren't difficult, but they are standards and you should be able to play any of them at a drop of a sombrero cordobés.
This quick 4-count festero form is closely associated with the Gypsy Kings.
A 6-count song and dance from the province of Huelva; performed frequently in tablaos.
This 6-count folk and classical dance from Sevilla is an instrinsic part of the Feria de Sevilla.           
Flamenco solos performed in tablao or concert
These forms are dramatic and change tempo and section quickly. To play these forms successfully, the guitarists must work closely, almost telepathically, with the dancer and singer.
A 12-count form thought to be the ancient prototype for the soleares.
An arythmic form associated with a companion 4-count dance form, the tarantos.
A four count, primarily dance form.
HOME DANCE LESSONS GUITAR LESSONS CANTE LESSONS CDS VIDEOS GUIDES FLAMENCO FORMS

There are some wonderful instructional resources available for flamenco guitarists these days: Books, CDs, DVDS, websites, and stores. Below are are some of my favorites:

Instructional Materials

Websites

Stores

Instructional Materials
Flamenco Básico

We created this series of CD/Booklets to directly answer the needs of our students and our own needs as teachers.

We put a lot of emphasis on not just "doing" flamenco, but on understanding flamenco. We needed an English-language resource that would take a flamenco piece apart section by section and show students exactly what the singerr, guitarist and dancer was doing at each moment in a performance. We also needed a practice tool useful for us as professional artists and for students.

We couldn't find anything like that, so we created our own.

Each Flamenco Básico CD presents one or two flamenco forms. That form is presented in its entirety and the companion booklet breaks down that form, explaining moment by moment what's going on.

The CD also includes rhythm tracks for practicing. The booklet includes chord diagrams, and guides for playing the falsetas.

You can order Flamenco Básico CDs directly from us using the PayPal buttons under each CD or through CDBaby.

You can also download individual tracks directly through iTunes.

Order your copy of Flamenco Básico: Tientos y Tangos today via PayPal.

The booklet for Tangos y Tientos is only available online.
Download your copy here.

Order your copy of Flamenco Básico: Bulerías today via PayPal.

The booklet for Bulerías is included with the CD.


El Arte Flamenco de la Guitarra

I recommend this two volume series to all of my beginning students. It does the best job of any I know in getting students to play authentic flamenco quickly and with understanding and a good grounding in technique.

It can take one to two years to make it through both volumes. I've had a number of students make it all the way and I have always been pleased with the results.


Click on the book to buy it from SheetMusicPlus

La Guitarra Flamenco de . . .

This multi-volume series presents the music of some of Spain's most influentual contemporary guitarists and teachers. Each volume includes a DVD in which the artists plays the selections slowly and at tempo, with commentary translated in the book. The books include transcriptions of the music in standard notation and tab.

Although at $80-$120 they cost more than the average music book, they are well worth the invetsment if you're willing to spend the time learning all they have to offer.

Some of my favorite volumes are:


La Guitarra Flamenca de Merengue de Cordoba
(Vol. 1 and 2)

Although not well known outside of Spain, Merengue de Cordoba is perhaps Spain's most influential guitar teacher. His students include Vicente Amigo among many other important artists. In simple, clear steps he explains all of flamenco's most important forms. Volume 1 introduces these forms and Volume 2 shows you how to accompany flamenco singers in a wide variety of cantes. Unless you're in Spain, studying with the masters and going to flamenco shows every night, these books are absolutely essential to understanding flamenco.


La Guitarra Flamenca de Gerardo Nuñez

This volume includes an extraordinary discussion of flamenco technique by one of flamenco's leading artists. The section on right thumb technique alone is worth the price of the book. It changed the way I play the guitar. The book also includes a wonderfully challenging collection of flamenco pieces in non-standard tunings.


La Guitarra Flamenca de Manolo Franco

Franco is another artist you may never have heard of. I started to get a sense of how important he is when I heard Manolo Sanlucar praise Franco's skills as an accompanist. When I studied with Franco, I was constantly amazed by his left hand technique. It seems every piece he teaches makes you go for stretches you didn't think were possible. This is certainly true of the three pieces included in this volume, two of which helped him to win the guitar prize at the Bienal de Flamenco in Sevilla in 1984. If you want to play solo flamenco guitar at its most challenging level, try these pieces. [Note: It seems this book is no longer available, but look for it. These pieces are worth it.]


Guitarra Flamenca

In this ten volume series Franco uses both CDs and DVDs to teach concert solo versions of ten important flamenco forms. He also shows you how to accompany each of those forms. As with his La Guitarra Flamenco de Manolo Franco, these are another chance to learn flamenco guitar from a master.


Keys to Flamenco Guitar

In this three volume series (two didactic volumes and one collection of flamenco guitar solos) Koster, an American student of Sabicas and Mario Escudero, teaches essential flamenco techniques and forms. These were the first books I used and they gave me a good start in flamenco.

Websites
Google.es If you want to research flamenco from a Spanish point of view, one great trick is to use the Spanish Google. You'll get more useful results than you would if you used Google in English.

Flamenco-World This is often the first site we go to when we want to find out what's new in flamenco. For over ten years, it's been a central source for information and products.

esflamenco This site carries most of the same products as Flamenco-World, and we've had good luck getting things we order in a reasonable amount of time.

Flamenco Connection This is a well-stocked, U.S.-based source for flamenco books, CDs and DVDs. They carry an extraordinarily broad range of materials related to flamenco and other styles of music and dance.
Stores
Dan Zeff Dan is an old friend of ours. He is a fine and extremely knowledgeable flamenco guitarist and dealer in first quality flamenco and classical guitars and materials.

Guitar Salon International This is a source for high end flamenco and classsical guitars. Some of the finest guitars in the world are found at this Santa Monica-based store.