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As many others have pointed out - this book contains a carefully thought out and well refined set of exercises to assist progression through the classical guitar grades. I doubt there is a better book.
My only problem is fitting such a book into my practice routine. As an adult learner I struggle to find more than 45 minutes a day to practice guitar and I like to spend that time working on the pieces that I'm currently studying. I find that when I try to work with this book, it is hard to organise my 45 minutes effectively between playing music and studying technique. This is obviously not a criticism of the book itself but I suspect that I am not psychologically unique. Practice for me is a process of getting slowly into the water, adjusting to the temperature and then complete immersion. I find it very difficult to chop and change what I'm doing and for me, actually playing music takes priority over technical exercises (albeit quite musical ones).
This is the second book i have bought of Simon's and again impressed. It is laid out well and it has a number of set routines against the grades they support.
My reason for giving this book 4 out of 5 stars is there is no accompaniment. I am working my way through this book and there is a chance i am not playing these parts correctly or as instructed. There is a brief description about each exercise but a soundbite of each exercise would have been nice especially as this book is more likely to be bought by beginner/intermidiate players
Dr Simon Powis is an excellent communicator and teacher and is the principle of the online Classical Guitar Academy of which I am a student. The routines in this book provide an interesting and varied selection of work which are mostly aligned with the grade systems of guitar progression. Ample notes are provided on how to approach each exercise. I would recommend this book to all classical guitar students and teachers.
I did eventually buy this. It's a decent book. Worth 4 stars so far. But my only low rating and complaint is with the type of listing this book falls into. They give you a "look inside" tease, but they only show you the chapter page listings and the introduction. What good is that? I understand the writer wants to protect his work, but at least show us an exercise or two so we can see if it's something we're interested in. I hate buying something blind. If this were available in a music shop you'd be able to pick it up and look at it. Why not here?
Why should I use 20 Practice Routines for Classical Guitar instead of Pumping Nylon?
Pumping Nylon grew out of Scott Tennant’s desire to have something to give to his conservatory students for them to work from. And while it has grown into something much bigger than that, his preface warns “not to confuse this book with a method book..it is not sequenced progressively…It is more of a reference book..”
20 Practice Routines, on the other hand, is a carefully sequenced series of technical and musical challenges that progress logically (and inexorably) though the standard 8 grades of classical guitar proficiency established and recognized worldwide. However, unlike the technique books issued by such groups as the Royal Conservatory, these routines have been specifically developed for the adult amateur classical guitarist, and extensively beta-tested on over a thousand of us at Dr. Powis’s Classical Guitar Academy (of which I am, at age 60, a relatively new member).
In front of me now (in addition to both editions of Pumping Nylon & the Royal Conservatory Guitar Technique Book), are Iznaola’s Kitharlogos, Johanson’s Daily Grind, and Kappel’s Bible of Classical Guitar Technique (described by Bradford Werner as “Pumping Nylon on steroids”). If you’re a conservatory student, or in the depths of a mid-life crisis, buy all of them. But if you’re ready to buckle down and bring on the classical guitar for the love of music, 20 Routines will get you from here to there in ways that you probably wouldn’t have imagined were possible.
OK, I get it. But I can get some of these others as spiral-bound books, and that’s kind of a deal-breaker for me.
I know what you mean. And while this perfectly bound edition lends itself well to spiralization (Kinko’s, Office Depot, Staples), you can also order a spiral-bound edition directly from Dr. Powis
I have largely avoided book not in TAB, and I missed this one when I bought it. Yes, the exercises are useful, as others have noted. But there is simply no excuse for not including TAB, especially on a book intended for beginners. Yes, I've heard all the excuses for so-called "standard" notation - really "piano notation." In an age when authoring software can easily scan scores and add TAB, they all fall flat. To use "standard notation" you must scribble in the fingering on the score and do mental gymnastics to picture the fretboard in your mind in order to execute the score. OK, if you're intending to be a professional you'll have to put up with this and you will get good at it eventually, but less than 1% of guitar players are going to be true professionals earning a living at it, so again, the excuses fall flat.
I have been a student of Dr. Powis' online classical guitar school - Classical Guitar Corner (CGC) - for 2 years and can vouch, firsthand, for his talents both as a virtuoso world-class performer and exemplary instructor. This book is a wonderful addition to his already impressive body of work. The practice routines in this book are the same as the ones in the online curriculum but with the added benefits of being all in one place and available to students not affiliated with the academy. Somehow, Dr. Powis has been able to take all the guesswork out of technique practice while at the same time making it interesting and fun. These progressive studies are the most direct method for learning technique that I have come across. I recommend them highly. I have heard that Repertoire and Sight Reading books that will complement these studies are in the offing as well - I'm eagerly awaiting those!
I have only been through 20 exercises but I feel they have helped my playing. The exercises are fun to play and build skill one upon another. I am only in the beginner section so can’t vouch for mid range and advanced sections but they should probably be good as well.