To paraphrase the great flamenco singer Enrique Morente: “In flamenco there are no teachers, only disciples.”
Gustavo’s approach towards teaching prioritizes students’ goals. Healthy learning relationships start with respect, and not just from student-to-teacher, but also from teacher-to-student. If students want to be challenged and pushed hard, they will be. If simply enjoying the instrument is most important, that’s perfectly okay too. The best teachers are capable of giving life to the musicality already present within a student. All students are encouraged to be proactive and engage in their own learning plan. A teacher’s primary role is to provide information and guidance.
The fundamentals of flamenco guitar are a valuable resource for any guitarist, regardless of genre or style. It’s impossible to separate technique from other aspects of musicality, such as dynamics or rhythm. Therefore, students start by developing a technical routine to build strength, stamina, precision, and speed. All basic techniques are introduced, including: arpegios, rasgueados, pulgar, alzapúa, picado, trémolo, ligado, and golpe. Rhythm plays a central role in flamenco and is emphasized throughout. Repertoire is given according to each student’s capabilities and tastes, including resources for accompanying dance and singing.
Basic harmonic theory is covered as well. Topics include: scales, intervals, chord construction, chord relationships, the Circle of 5th’s, modes, chord inversions, the CAGED system, formal analysis, and more. This is taught in the context of flamenco, but applies to all styles of guitar music. The goal is to demystify the fingerboard and equip students with the tools to continue their own independent learning.