Welcome to my personal website. This is a space for me to share my work and passion for music. In this site you can find information about my concerts and New York guitar lessons. You can also see my video samples or find information about my performance dates and repertoire. I am an active solo classical guitar performer and a professor at the Long Island Conservatory of Music in New York. Aside of my work with college students I also provide guitar lessons for kids and acoustic guitar lessons for adults at my studio located in Sunnyside Queens.
Available information about my concerts and guitar lessons in New York City or my live guitar lessons online can be found on the corresponding links .
The Classical Guitar
The classical guitar is a technical school of playing, developed over many centuries, were the instrument is utilized as a poliphonic solo instrument. The classical guitar incorporates and endless array of musical styles in its repertoire. The classical guitar is also referred to as the Spanish guitar or the concert guitar.
For my upcoming concerts I have selected a group of pieces that showcase the wide range of musical styles in which the classical guitar is at home.
The Professional Student
Both activities, those of performing and teaching, are very dependent on each other. I have been a performer and teacher for many years now and I cannot imagine becoming better at one discipline without working as hard on the other. I firmly believe that a good musician has to become good at both.
One of the most interesting things about evolving as a musician is the fact that every single principle, rule or technique has to pass through several different tests before the status of truth can be granted to it. These tests imply not only a personal empirical application of them, for example in the concert stage.
A “true” principle, one that can be applied to different circumstances and prove itself true every time, has to have been properly articulated, transmitted to and successfully applied by a student. Only then the principle can be considered true.
When it comes to teaching, every single lesson I give is a lesson that I receive. For example, when I work with very young students I learn about the parameters of music that are more stimulating to the human mind at its early stages. When I work with more mature students I can observe the different ways that the music taste can develop in the individual and see the unity in the diversity.
All this experience allows me to better understand my listeners and I must consider it when, for example, choosing the songs that I will play at my concerts and when I decide how to play them. Teaching allows me to take a closer look to the musical mind at its basic and developed stages and discover different ways of connecting to it, depending on the individual. All this is also very much considered when I am writing an arrangements or a composition since it allows me to listen to what I write through the ears of a diverse audience.
In this web page you can find information of how to learn to play the guitar by signing up to my lessons, either live or through a webcam from any part of the world.
I write arrangements of different musical genres and instrumental formats.
This guitar quartet version of The Simpsons Theme is a good example of the flexibility and wide range of resources that the classical guitar has.
This arrangement has been published by Lathkill publications of London and the score is available here.
This version is performed by the by the Aranjuez Guitar Quartet.
Playing an instrument like the guitar requires the development of skills and habits in our hands and fingers that are not necessarily "natural". Actually, the natural reflexes of our fingers are 90% of the times inefficient when it comes to playing the guitar. To learn how to play we need to gradually understand the complex relation between the guitar and our fingers. We will need to repress many of our wrong natural tendencies and substitute them for “non instinctive” and yet more efficient ones. This can only be learned with the guidance of a professional instructor who has to be both a consolidated teacher and performer.
A good teacher has to allow you to develop a good foundation in a fun and motivating way. A good teacher has to have a flexible method that incorporates songs that are stimulating to you in the process. Only with a solid foundation you can boost your ability to learn as well as envision the most efficient solution to every challenge.
Although I play different type of guitars, the classical guitar is definitely the best option for a beginner. The nylon strings and the lighter design of the classical guitar is more gentle with the fingers at the beginning stages. The finger style (plucking with the fingers rather than a pick) allows the student to discover the resources of the guitar as a polyphonic instrument in an easier way.
The Acoustic Guitar does not differ much from the classical guitar. The main differences are the material of its steel strings (which have more tension than the nylon classical strings) and the slightly larger body, required to withstand the bigger amount of tension of its strings. The acoustic guitar is usually played with either a plectrum (pick) or the fingers (fingerstyle) and it requires more strength from the fingers. Nevertheless it is very rewarding to apply the classical guitar technique to the acoustic guitar. I have successfully worked with students who apply the classical guitar technique to their acoustic guitars. The acoustic guitar is also known as plectrum guitar, pickstyle guitar, steel string guitar, American jazz guitar, folk guitar, rock guitar or rhythm guitar.
You might have thought about learning to play the guitar but are not sure exactly where to start. Should you start with an electric, acoustic or classical? Should you try to learn by yourself with one of those video courses or invest your time and money in signing up for lessons with a private instructor?
In my personal experience, as both a student and a teacher, I have come to realize that the first goal for a beginner should be to acquire a solid foundation. By this I mean an understanding of the nature and complexity of the relation between the guitar and yourself.
Acoustic New York Guitar Lessons from a Classical Guitarist
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Music for Events
World class performers, beautiful sounding instruments, tasteful musical versions and a carefully selected repertoire will make your event unique and memorable.
The Galvez-Benavides duo provides specialized musical performances of ideal wedding and/ or cocktail hour music. Please visit the Media page for more samples.