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Pedro Rodrigues: The Breathing Hand –Reflections & Exercises for Classical Guitarists – Bergmann

Pedro Rodrigues

Bergmann: 88 pages


This technical book of exercises for the classical players has been written to show how to get over certain technical difficulties, whether a beginner or relatively advanced player, and so all these exercises are not suitable for just beginners. He does state however that a good teacher might be able to adapt some of the harder ones for the less talented players, so that they can also benefit from them.

The first section covers a vast amount of subjects, from chairs to footstools to sitting positions, how to relax to improve your playing, detailed writing about both left and right hands and many more things besides, and therefore focuses heavily on the body of the guitarist and ways to improve before a note is played.

The second section then covers many ways to do warm – ups, again before playing a note. Then he introduces technical exercises for all the fingers including the rarely – used little finger which he stresses is a very useful finger when dealt with in certain ways. Then subjects such as slurs, barres, finger crossing, how to deal with buzzes, tremolo, shifting of positions and ornamentation are carefully explained and covered in great detail

The third and final section discusses the study and collection of your repertoire, and suffice it to say that much of this, and indeed the other two sections are more about reading rather than the actual playing of exercises, although there are of course many musical studies to play, but one of the most surprising things about the book is just how much reading there actually is. For I have seen many books similar to this where there are a few pages of reading and the huge majority is then music. This book is entirely the opposite, and as a result it really does make you think about everything you do when picking your guitar up.

So, this is a very useful, and very detailed book that  goes into far more detail than you might be expecting, but it is well worth the read, as you will definitely learn things that you didn’t know, and you will as a result, be able to pass on very handy information to your pupils.


Chris Dumigan

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