LAGA Flamenco focuses on good technique from the very beginning by emphasizing the basics: balanced posture, proper form and technique. Step-by-step, our lessons take you from basic finger positions and strokes to a level one would strive for. We incorporate the traditional method of rote learning incorporating kinesthetic, aural and visual techniques enhanced by detailed guided videos.
We thought you might want to get a brief glimpse of some of the material that is covered in each level, just to whet your appetite for learning the Flamenco guitar. Each level has a link to a brief video that will give you an idea of what you will accomplish at each level. In no way do the following videos reflect the entire scope of their respective levels–they are merely a sample of what we have to offer.
We begin Level One of our Flamenco program by demonstrating the proper sitting position. Posture and relaxation are key to forming a good technique. You will build upon that foundation by learning the fingering notation for both hands, as well as basic terminology. As you progress, you will learn the free stroke, the rest stroke, rasgueados and golpe. We will introduce you to the compas (rhythm cycle) as you begin your first Flamenco piece, a Solea–which is one of the most traditional forms (palos).
You will learn about falsettas and be introduced to the Phrygian mode. Music theory will come naturally as you learn that it is but one component of the music you will be studying. You will begin to think like a musician in our PIT (put it together) pieces–even at this level–by creating your own pieces based on the material that you have learned so far.
Level Two begins on a familiar note, with the well-known Spanish folk song called “Malaguena.” More advanced variations of the techniques that you learned in Level One make your music come to life, as we add syncopation to the rhythmic structures you have already worked on. You will learn more varied and advanced arpeggios, and add hinge bars and grace notes to your technical toolbox. Level Two ends with the study of the second Flamenco form, the Seguiriyas. Level Two will also prepare you for higher levels by teaching you textures and harmonic structures that are common in forms that you will be learning in the future, such as Tangos, Tientos, and Bulerias.
In Level Three, you begin with variations which are based on inversions and re-voicings of the harmonic structures of remates, which are also a fun ways to learn about music theory. More rhythmic and golpe variations vary the pace in Level Three. Tremolo drills will prepare you to learn the four-note trelomo, a traditional Flamenco technique. We introduce you to bar snaps and learn more advanced falsettas in Seguiriyas. You will end Level Three by beginning the joyful Alegrias.
Level Four goes further into technical details by covering “pivot/guide finger” transitions and rubato, which is a widely-used interpretive element in Flamenco music. Thumb drills will prepare you for advanced Flamenco techniques such as the alzapua. Following these drills, we introduce the alzapua itself. We refine and perfect your hinge bar technique, as well as many others. We introduce you to another traditional form, Tientos, which is the foundation upon which more recent styles, such as Tangos, were based upon.
In Level Five, you will build speed and dexterity as you meet the challenge of intricate fingering passages. Your confidence level will rise as you build your technical expertise and interpretive skills. Bass-line melodic falsettas are also featured in this level. You will encounter your first non-rhythmic Flamenco form–the Granaina, which differs from most Flamenco forms that are played in compas. The Granainas will also be your first introduction to melismatic music, which characterizes non-rhythmic Flamenco music. You end Level Five with the challenge of your first Bulerias, one of the most virtuosic forms in Flamenco music. Mastery of this form is a milestone in your development as a Flamenco artist.
At the beginning of Level Six, you will have the opportunity to work on your creative side as we teach you to build your own Granainas falsettas. You will begin tackling the Tangos (a Flamenco form which is unrelated to the Argentine tango). At this level, you will be well-prepared for the challenge of the Fandangos, a form that requires the player to have great technical and musical ability.
We begin Level Seven with rhythmic variations on the Tangos compas that we learned in the previous level. You will fine-tune your speed, dexterity, theoretical knowledge, memorization skills, and artistry. Your knowledge of fingerboard theory will be tested as you use it to recognize sophisticated chordal structures. You will study cases in which some Flamenco musicians alter harmonies in order to transform traditional Flamenco music into a form which has a more contemporary sound, if desired. You will revisit Fandangos and Bulerias PIT (put it together) pieces in which you can create variations on this challenging form. This final level will transform you from a skilled technician to a true artist, as you fine-tune the skills that you have already learned.