www.spanishguitarschool.com – Flamenco Guitar Lessons

www.spanishguitarschool.com – Flamenco Guitar Lessons

 

Today’s review is all about an online guitar course for those interested in Flamenco guitar! On his website www.spanishguitarschool.com, Nicolas, your instructor, offers an online course for acquiring the necessary skills to dive into the fascinating world of Flamenco guitar.

 

Nicolas started out with his classical guitar education in Belgrade then moved on to study at the Conservatorio de Música de Málaga in Spain after graduating at the Conservatori del Liceu Bacelona. He is nowadays renowned for his virtuosic Flamenco playing which is exactly what he teaches in his online course at www.spanishguitarschool.com.

 

During the course of this review, I will go through the general structure of the page and how it relates to the curriculum and material offered there as well as going over the general assumption that I had while gathering the material and then practicing it over the course of a few months. While doing so, I will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of this course as well as what the reader can expect and what the target audience may be.

 

Let’s fist start out with the target audience. This course goes beyond what is considered basic in many other guitar methods. It goes pretty deep into phonetics and how the individual tones and notes are derived from it. This does deepen the understanding of what it is that you are produce on your guitar, but at the same time raises the bar quite high. This leads to the assumption that the course is aimed either towards the ambitious student who is truly into music and wants to get a very solid foundation out of a course or the intermediate to advanced player, who already gathered basic knowledge on music theory and now aims to move on, getting deeper into that particular field. Considering the latter, this would make this course a master-class type course rather than an ordinary one.

 

Moving on to the general structure of the site, one does immediately notice the clear structure at the very top of the page. There, you can get some basic information about your instructor and his biographical references which further strengthens his competences in Flamenco and Classical guitar playing. Besides that, the site features a contact section as well as a live-chat plugin that allows you to contact your instructor very quickly. You will also get a brief instruction on how the method that Nicolas designed works out and what his philosophy is on teaching Flamenco guitar.

 

This leads us to the core of the site, the course material itself. The curriculum is structured in four sections that each work build upon each other, further strengthening your previously gained knowledge. The four sections are:

  1. Harmony
  2. Techniques
  3. Styles
  4. Nails

harmony

Harmony basically refers to the theoretical concept of what you will need to know in order to get into achieving a more flamenco-type of sound. You will start with the basic history of the Flamenco guitar before moving on to elementary theory of the guitar such as restringing your instrument, tuning the guitar as well as saddle compensation. After that, you are then introduced to the world of intervals and chords. You will learn what intervals are and how the relate to chord construction, the last section of the “Harmony”-section. This very section does go fairly deep in what is called harmony but at the same time gives very basic information as to how to restring the instrument and tuning the guitar. This leads to the assumption that the course is not exclusively aimed towards the intermediate player but also opens its gates for the ambitious beginner who wants to get to the essence of theory straight away.

techniques

After being equipped with the necessary theoretical knowledge, you are moving on to the “Techniques”-section of the course in which you will learn all about terms such as “picado”, “arpegio”, “tremolo”, “rasqueado” as well as “alzapua”. These terms are all well-defined techniques that are considered a core part of Flamenco music. In each sub-section related to a particular technique, you are given several video lessons in which you will receive explanations as to how that particular technique works and how to practice it.

 

Furthermore, you will also be able to see and listen to the technique being performed by Nicolas. This section goes beyond a basic introduction to a particular technique. The rasqueado part of this section for example, focuses on getting the basic technique right by focusing heavily on the wrist movement and distinguishing between different types of rasqueado. I found this part of the course particularly interesting as it may be considered essential to the success of the method.

styles

After having learnt the basic theoretical knowledge and the proper technical tools, you move on to the “Styles”-portion of the course in which you will be able to listen to and learn more about the various styles that comprises Flamenco guitar, such as Bulerias, Tangos, Alegrias as well as the infamous Rumba. Each section features several mini-lessons that consist of rhythmic patterns and how to apply them in a musical context. In the Rumba lessons in particular, you will also learn about scales, improvisation as well as harmony. Furthermore, you will get a performance video of the masterful piece Entre Dos Aguas by Paco de Lucia and a breakdown video in which you will learn about the various parts this beautiful piece is comprised of.

nails

The last part of the course is dedicated to the nail care and how important it is for your performance. Being able to get that soft and at the same time crisp sound of the Flamenco guitar is closely related to the proper maintenance of your nails that get into direct contact with the strings and thus influence the sound that you produce immensely. Here, you will learn how to ideally shape your nails and how to fix broken nails.

Unbenannt

All lessons are brought to you in video format with supplemental material being provided underneath the videos. You can always download, print and review the material that you are given in each section to revise your knowledge gained in the lesson. Furthermore, you will have access to an ebook consisting of pieces, exercises as well as theoretical information that you will further solidify your knowledge on the Flamenco guitar.

 

Another important feature of the site is the built-in loop player that features a huge selection of samples that allow you to practice what you have just learnt over the course of Nicolas’ video lessons. These samples are of very high quality and make practicing much more fun and entertaining, both for you as well as your audience.

 

The site is subscription-based, which means that you will have to pay a certain amount to be able to access the site with its features. At the time of writing, there are three different levels of access that you can purchase. The first one is for the style section and particularly the “Advanced Rumba”. The second and third one is a full access that you get, with the only difference lying in having live online video conference lessons or not.

Before closing out this review, I would like to briefly summarize what I liked about Nicolas’ method as well as what I didn’t like that much or what I feel could still be improved or refined.

 

Let’s start with a few areas in which some adjustments could me make. In some of the video lessons, the overlay of the sheet music and notation that is meant to accompany the video lesson (i.e. further explaining and visualizing a particular concept or topic) was too dark and it was basically impossible to follow some of the notes. Another remark that I made is the lack of further exercises that give the student the opportunity to further practice a particular technique. This could be accompanied by some small studies that allow students to practice the technique in a musical context. This is particularly important for the beginner student, who cannot be expected to practice some of the more difficult techniques on standards Flamenco repertoire pieces.

 

After having spoken about some of the few negative points of the site, we definitely have to move on to the overall dominating positive part of the course. The material that is provided is of superb quality (despite these few, occasionally occurring negative points). The explanations and performances are of high quality and it is easy to follow and understand the concepts. Everything that is provided for the student, be it the accompanying ebook, the supplemental material, the outstanding loop player or the video lessons, is of high quality and truly fits in well within the curriculum and the overall structure of the course.

 

This course was a lot of fun to walk through and I definitely recommend this course to anyone who wants to dive into the world of Flamenco guitar. You are given a highly competent instructor who knows what he is teaching and who has designed an -easy-to-follow course that will elevate your playing to a new standard.

Highly recommended!

 

Lukas Wedrychowski

www.meridirhproductions.com – ‘cause music matters

 

This course was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Guitar DNA: Pentatonics by David Wallimann and Truefire.com

Guitar DNA: Pentatonics by David Wallimann and Truefire.com

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Today, we are going to have a look at a new course at Truefire.com named Guitar DNA: Pentatonics by David Wallimann.

David Wallimann has been a quite familiar name to me because he has already worked as an instructor on various other sites. I see this as something very positive because that tells that David is no stranger to teaching. Actually, I can tell from experience that he is a highly skilled player and teacher and that his way of breaking down concepts and explaining these concepts to his students is outstanding.

In Guitar DNA: Pentatonics, David Wallimann introduces you to the world of improvisation. Everyone can learn some songs, but adding an improvisation can be the distinctive factor in making you stand out and create your own style and sound. This course is generally aimed at the intermediate player as it introduces lots of different concepts that go beyond basics.

However, you might also include a late-beginner player because he starts out with the basics, explaining exactly what it is that the pentatonic scales are derived from and how the differ from other scales. In addition to that, he starts out by teaching you the five positions of the pentatonic scales which is something that every beginner player is ought to learn anyway.

So, how is the course structured and what can you expect out of it? Let’s have a look:

47 Total Video Lessons | 162 minutes

Guitar DNA: Pentatonics

Introduction

The Minor Pentatonic Formula

Demonstration

Positions 1 & 5

Minor Pentatonic: Demo

Positions 3 & 4

Minor Pentatonic: Demo

Position 2

Minor Pentatonic: Demo

Getting Comfortable in the Positions

Pentatonic Application: Demo

The Major Pentatonic Formula

Demonstration

Sliding Minor Pentatonic Paths

Demonstration

Sliding Minor Pentatonic Paths

Pentatonic Application: Demo

Filling with Chromatic Notes

Overview

Chromatic Notes in Position

Demonstration

Chromatic Notes in Position

Pentatonic Application: Demo

Narrow Modulation Zones

Overview

Selecting Positions for Soloing: 1

Narrow Modulation Zones: Demo

Selecting Positions for Soloing: 1

Narrow Modulation Zones: Performance

Selecting Positions for Soloing: 2

Narrow Modulation Zones: Demo

Selecting Positions for Soloing: 2

Narrow Modulation Zones: Performance

Pentatonic Scales & Modes

Overview

The Major Modes

Demonstration

The Minor Modes

Demonstration

The Secret Modal Order

Demonstration

Traditional Pentatonics & Modes

Demonstration

Ionian Jamming

Pentatonic Application: Demo

Lydian Jamming

Pentatonic Application: Demo

Mixolydian Jamming

Pentatonic Application: Demo

Dorian Jamming

Pentatonic Application: Demo

Phrygian Jamming

Pentatonic Application: Demo

Aeolian Jamming

Pentatonic Application: Demo

Building Custom Pentatonic Scales

Overview

Custom Dorian Pentatonic

Demonstration

Custom Dorian Pentatonic

Soloing Application: Performance

Custom Phrygian Pentatonic

Demonstration

Custom Phrygian Pentatonic

Soloing Application: Performance

Custom Aeolian Pentatonic

Demonstration

Custom Aeolian Pentatonic

Soloing Application: Performance

Custom Ionian Pentatonic

Demonstration

Custom Ionian Pentatonic

Soloing Application: Performance

Custom Lydian Pentatonic

Demonstration

Custom Lydian Pentatonic

Soloing Application: Performance

Custom Mixolydian Pentatonic

Demonstration

Custom Mixolydian Pentatonic

Soloing Application: Performance

Musical Applications

Overview

Dorian Floyd

Overview

Dorian Floyd

Performance

Major Sweetness

Overview

Major Sweetness

Performance

Guitar DNA: Pentatonics

Conclusion

 

The course starts out fairly simple with the introduction of the five positions of the pentatonic scales in minor and major. While you are learning the positions and memorize them, David goes on and explains to you exactly where the notes within a pentatonic scales come from and how the different positions matter and differ from each other.

After getting the basic theory down, David goes on by explaining very important concepts of improvisation and soloing in general such as changing the positions of these pentatonic scales and applying them in real-life situations. As he states in the beginning, most players usually get stuck somewhere around the first two positions and never break beyond them. In this course, however, he urges you to push beyond that amateur’s mindset and explore how to toy around with the pentatonic scales.

The practical application in particular is what I like the most about this course, beside David’s amazing explanations and well-structured curriculum. You are not only getting the theory taught, but also shown how to apply it and being musical. This is invaluable when it comes to teaching musical concepts.

After having dealt with the fundamentals, David goes into modes. This opens up a whole new world for the soloist and that’s mainly the reason why this theoretical part of the course is followed by a series of demos in which David plays over various modes and apply what you have been just taught in a variety of different modes. Learning modes can be daunting, but it is an amazing way to enrich your sound and extend your skills as a soloist.

As always, David’s experience as a teacher shines throughout the course by covering important concepts that each beginner or intermediate player has such as choosing the right scale and position.

It is hard to find anything that could be missing in this course because the explanations are clear to the point and the material that is given to you as a supplement visualizes everything you need to know to get started soloing and improvising with the pentatonic scales. For your own use, you are also given Jam Tracks that you can play on basically any device and that you can use to play and practice these concepts.

 

Conclusion

After having played my way through the course and having followed David’s instructions on how to practice the taught concepts, I can conclude that this course is hardly missing anything.

To be completely honest with you, I don’t even know what it is that one could add to further improve this course as everything seems so well structured that this will probably be my go-to course when it comes to introducing someone to the world of soloing using the pentatonic scales. Certainly, the core of this course is the scale type and not a general course on how to solo, but the course manages to include so much information on how to solo that even a beginner player would be able to follow the course relatively well.

One of the best courses I’ve reviewed so far and a top contender for my all-time favorites. Well done David!

 

Lukas Wedrychowski

www.meridirhproductions.com – ‘cause music matters

 

This review copy was provided by Truefire.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

 

 

#Let’sReview | Spanish Guitar – Strumming Techniques by Edina Balczó

Spanish Guitar – Strumming Techniques – by Edina Balczó

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Today’s review is all about Edina Balczó’s brand-new book entitled
Spanish Guitar – Strumming Techniques.

The Spanish guitar style, including its probably most popular style called Flamenco, is
becoming more and more popular as the sound and the techniques involved in Spanish style pieces are very unique and appeal to both the amateur and veteran player.

If you are not familiar with Edina Balczó, you may want to look up her YouTube channel
called The Spanish Guitar Hub where you will find many of the techniques covered in this book being used.

This book sets itself the goal of teaching you vibrant Spanish-style guitar rhythms that are closely related to a flamenco type of playing but clearly separates itself from being a pure flamenco method.

According to the author, this book is not intended to teach the style known as Flamenco
but uses techniques that are widely known from that particular style.
Let’s have a look at the content of the book…
1 How to Read TAB and Traditional Music Notation
2 The Duration of Notes and Rests
3 Guitar Parts and Terminology
4 Basic Chord Construction
5 Major and Minor Chords, and the CAGED System
6 Major Seventh, Minor Seventh, and Dominant Seventh Chords
7 Basic Rumba Technique
8 Rumba Technique Variations
9 Pulgar
10 Flamenco Triplet
11 Adding a Hit to the Flamenco Triplet and Variations
12 Replacing the Hits with Golpes
13 Rasgueado
14 Muted Rasgueado
15 Rasgueado Variations
16 Hammer-on and Pull-off
17 Tango with Rasgueado
18 Alzapua as a Strumming Technique
19 Drumming Techniques on Spanish Guitar
20 Quiz Solutions
21 Thank you Notes
22 About the Author
23 Recommended Books
24 Kickstarter Supporters
From the book’s content we can clearly see that the target audience for the book is a mixture of both beginner level players as well as more advanced players who want to delve deeper into the Spanish guitar style.

The book starts out with basic music theory such as reading TAB and traditional music
notation and by explaining the very basics of the guitar and common terminology as well
as the basics in note reading (i.e. durations etc.). That’s a pretty clear indication that the
book is also aimed at the beginner who may have been inspired by that very unique style
of playing the instrument.

Since we are talking about learning the rhythmic part of that particular style, we need to
talk about chords. This book covers this topic in three chapters. The first chapter teaches
the basics of chords such as chord construction and the closely related topic of intervals.
The second chapter covering concepts such as major and minor chords, which is still
something every beginner will find very helpful as well as a more advanced concept called CAGED system, which is mainly about movable chord shapes that open up the fretboard. Going beyond these basic chords, Edina moves on discussing the whole family of major chords in their major, minor and dominant variants.

After having dealt with the different chords and their voicings that you are going to use in your rhythm playing, Edina moves on introducing the basic techniques of Rumba. Rumba is a very powerful style that has lots of momentum going in it, requiring you as a player to be able to play and transform the rhythmical ideas by accentuating correctly. In the first section you learn a basic rumba sequence that you are going to practice on later on, given one of the many exercises Edina provides throughout the book.

After having practiced the basic techniques, you are led further to the more advanced
techniques as well as some technique variations including golpe and percussive elements to further underline your accentuated rhythm playing. Furthermore, you will be taught the pulgar as well as common flamenco triplets and the infamous rasgueado with some of its variations.

What I like a lot about this particular book is the conscious approach to what students really need when learning something new on an instrument, and that is a solid selection of exercises and little studies to further improve their technique on the newly acquired
concepts. This book is full of exercises that give you more than enough possibilities to
explore the individual techniques covered in the book. These exercises are meant to forge your technical abilities in an area that is essential for that particular style of playing.
Conclusion
All in all, my impression of this book is a great one. I loved reading the book, going over
some of the numerous exercises and chapters in the book. The individual techniques are
well described as well as underlined with the studies that follow each chapter.
Throughout the book you are being confronted with small quizzes that test your knowledge in a particular area, simulating a real teacher-student situation.

I definitely enjoyed spending my time with this book and learnt something along the way
in a fun and entertaining fashion. A great book by a passionate guitar player who put her
heart into this very book that is meant to make you a better player.
Recommended!
Lukas Wedrychowski
Meridirhproductions.com – ‘cause music matters
http://www.meridirhproductions.com

Ferdinando Carulli | Waltz in Em | Classical Fingerstyle Guitar

Hey everyone,

 

Since the year 2017 is nearing its end, I wanted to take the time and show you my last piece for 2017. It is the a very popular waltz in em by Ferdinando Carulli. Over the last couple of months, I’ve listened and read a lot about him and he is truly a composer that awoke my interest in studying his music.

I’m currently setting my “playlist” for 2018, carefully selecting pieces that will both, interest and entertain you but at the same time also challenge my abilities as a musician to push me further.

Next to this video, there will also be another one that I am going to record this year. In that particular video I am going to reveal my plans for 2018 and why I decided to re-structure my YouTube channel. Stay tuned! 🙂 Until then, my fellow friends, I hope you will enjoy Carulli’s walz in em.

 

Lukas

 

“Get your Song Write” by Anthony Little, Jennifer Day Morrison and Truefire.com

Get your Song Write” by Anthony Little, Jennifer Day Morrison and Truefire.com

 

Have you ever written a song, compared it to one of the hits that you hear on the radio every day and wondered what that hit song contains that your song may be missing? Well, today we’ve got a brand-new course on Truefire.com for you that delves into songwriting or rather how to “Get Your Song Write”… uh right.

Get Your Song Write” is part of Truefire’s foundry courses that are all independently-produced courses by some selected educators. In this case, it is Anthony Little, award-winning producer and songwriter, as well as Jennifer Day Morrison, better known as Jennifer Day, an amazingly talented singer from the U.S.

During the course of those 38 video lessons that span a length of almost 2,5 hours, you are provided with a complete and analytical approach to song writing. The two songs that serve as an example are “Firefighter” and “Mr. Moon (Take it Away)”. Whether you are a complete beginner or already familiar with song writing terminology, in this course you are going to learn the very basics up until secret formulas that will teach you contemporary songwriting techniques.

You start by defining the different parts that form a song and what their specific function is. You learn about when to use certain section and how to avoid typical mistakes by following the proven methods of a high-class producer such as Anthony Little. Learn what it takes to write hit songs nowadays and how to refine your already written songs so you can give them that small something they might have been missing so far.

Get to know why rhythm is so vital for the success of a song, and by rhythm I don’t necessarily mean the pure musical rhythm when you play a piece. Rhythm can be more. It comprises patterns that we all have grown accustomed to over the years, listening to the radio every day and absorbing those patterns that build our musical culture. Learn how top producers use these patterns to create great songs that stick for a long time.

However, this course goes beyond the basic structure of a song. You are also going to learn how important lyric is and how vital it is for your song to choose your words wisely. Be a painter and paint a picture that tells a story with words and your music.

Once you know which story to tell, you need good transitioning tools that are supported by other rhythm or melody. All these components make a good song. All these components form a well-rounded, complete song that is certain to stick with your audience and convey your story and the emotions you link with your story. Be creative, be productive and be successful by following the secret formula of the current industry.

The videos are accompanied by .pdf files that summarize the explained content. The files also give you a basic scheme to practice what you have learnt in your courses.

 

Conclusion

Despite some minor flaws in production, the content that is presented here is of an extremely high value to everyone who is serious about songwriting. You are getting taught what to look at and what variables equal contemporary hit songs. I very much liked the course and enjoyed following it. Definitely recommended! Get ignited in your songwriting career!

 

Lukas Wedrychowski

www.meridirhproductions.com – ‘cause music matters

This course was kindly provided by Truefire.com for review purposes.

 

#noAD | #honestreviews | #keineWerbung

“Snow Falls Softly at Night” – Percussive Fingerstyle Cover | Easy Intermediate Level

Hey everyone,

here’s a new video for you! It is a very short one, featuring a technique and style that I want to learn in 2018! It is inspired by Tobias Rauscher, an amazingly talented and gifted guitar player from Berlin, Germany.

He became famous for his percussive fingerstyle playing and that’s something that I want to get into as well! Those are my baby steps in that direction. It is very challenging keeping the rhythm and keeping time while switching hand positions and playing on other parts of the guitar.

That is something that I have to work on hard from now on. I hope you like it. For the rest of 2017, I’ve still got plenty of songs that I want to record. Most notably all the themes that I chose for this particular level.

But for now, please enjoy this short video on “Snow Falls Softly at Night”.

 

Classical Guitar for the Blues, Jazz & Rock Player by Andrew Leonard and Truefire.com

Classical Guitar for the Blues, Jazz & Rock Player by Andrew Leonard and Truefire.com

 

Author:                                  Andrew Leonard

Genre:                                    Classical

Level:                                     Beginner | Late Beginner | Intermediate | Late-Intermediate|

Advanced

Features:                                8 Tabs (.pdf)

Lessons:                                 86 Video Lessons (3 hours and 56 minutes)

 

Today, I am going to discuss a course for those interested in getting started in classical music on the guitar. “Classical Guitar for the Blues, Jazz and Rock Player” by Andrew Leonard and Truefire.com is meant to introduce you to the techniques and pieces that are associated with the classical guitar. It is meant to be a transitioning course for those of you who never touched the classical genre and those who come from the realms of rock, blues or jazz.

The course is divided into two sections. Starting out with an introductory section in which you are getting briefed on the basics of classical guitar playing such as posture, gadgets as well as playing technique, you are going to get an initial impression of what to expect when you decide to study this particular musical genre. The instructor takes his time to ensure that everything you need to know in terms of preparations and proper posture is covered.

The second part of the course consists of a selection of themes or excerpts of famous classical pieces that serve as appetizer for you. In this section, you see the themes being performed by the instructor as well as broken down by him step by step, teaching you exactly how to play it. All themes are accompanied by notation/tabs that allow you to either print the sheet music for your own studies, download it on your smartphone or laptop or simply play along as you play yourself through the course. This section serves as a source of reference and something you can play around with.

Let’s have a look at the pieces or themes that you are going to learn following this course. The selection comprises 7 themes that were taken from well-known classical pieces that could be arguably be called essentials of the classical repertoire for a guitar player. You are going to be taught two signature pieces of the Classical Guitar that is usually associated with the Spanish Guitar, namely  Malagueña a classical riff, if you wish, and Spanish Romance.

Furthermore, you are getting introduced to several high-classed composers that are usually connected with the classical guitar, such as Isaac Albéniz (Leyenda) and Francisco Tarréga (Lagrima). Those two composers are amongst my personal favorite ones on the guitar. Their pieces are very challenging but also very rewarding. Studying the classical guitar means having to deal with those two composers and their legendary pieces.

Classical guitar, however, is not just about Spanish composers, which is why you are also going to get introduced to other famous people that contributed hugely to the development of the guitar as a mainstream instrument of the 20th century and beyond.

With Mauro Giuliani’s Le Papillon (Op. 50 No. 13) and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Bourrée in Em as well as a famous theme of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Fernando Sor, you get to know famous composers from Italy and Germany that are probably the most famous names associated with classical music.

This collection of themes and pieces are a great starting point to get introduced to the classical genre on the guitar. You have a pretty broad repertoire that you can play around with and see if that style truly suits you. You get briefed in music history as well as different styles that all contribute to what is regarded as a timeless era of music and particularly the guitar.

All lessons are broken down into several sections so you can practice small chunks at first until you get the whole piece correct. The demonstration is clearly visible, the audio quality decent and the provided .pdf charts help a lot in following the lessons and play the pieces on your own without the need to constantly follow the videos.

The only topic that I have been missing throughout the course was a lecture on how to sight read with some basic examples, but that may be too much for an introductory course as this represents a major skill in general.

Let’s conclude my impression of Classical Guitar for the Blues, Jazz & Rock Player by Andrew Leonard, produced for Truefire.com. If you are trying to get in touch with a historically and musically rich genre, no matter what your current skill level is, wanting to receive an overview of important names, styles and pieces associated with that genre, then you have come to the right place. This course is meant as an introduction to classical music on the guitar, nothing more.

Don’t expect a full-fleshed course that will make you a superstar on the classical guitar. This course gives you an overview, that’s what it is meant to do, and it does so in a very interesting way. It might be the first step of your career as a classical guitarist!

 

 

Lukas Wedrychowski

www.meridirhproductions.com – ‘cause music matters

This course was kindly provided by Truefire.com for the purpose of a review.