Studying Guitar in Cristina Heeren Foundation 6


If your thinking about studying here or you want to relive the past,

read on...

A day in the life of Cristina Heeren Guitarists.

Clase Regular

It's 7.30 and I get up knackered again.

Jump in the shower, make a quick smoothie & some lunch and off I go to the bus stop.


It takes about 20mins to get to the school from our place in Los Remedios. I enter the big metal door just as about a dozen other students arrive, cramming their bikes inside.

The Foyer

The school is big. More like an art gallery than a traditional flamenco school. But off we all rush to our respective classrooms.


Technique

Every morning we start with technique exercises, and they're tough. The teacher keeps the pace just above comfort range, much to our frustration. As the year progresses the speed only increases, making it hard to focus on individual technique. We were luckily enough to have Nino de Pura as a teacher in the final term, though his speed is way too fast.

Vahan4

After about an hour of grueling work we might move on to new pieces that we are learning, all with a technique focus.


Little Lunch

Is always held across the road at a local cafe. After the first term they know everybody by name.

Most people enjoy some variation of the Standard Spanish Breakfast:

Coffee, orange juice and toasted sandwich.

30mins passes quick enough and we cross the road again to the school.


ย Cante with Eduardo

Eduardo being Awesome

Eduardo is probably the most eccentric teacher I have. He likes to finish hard falsetas with "HA!!" which always gets a giggle. He is the solo Cante (singing) accompaniment teacher and the makeshift guitar coordinator.

While we often start late we spend a good hour learning new pieces or going over old accompany routines. It would be unusual that we would do less then 5 different pieces in a class and never the same ones.

Cante Class

It can be a bit frustrating because you never know what to practice for and the class moves at quite a pace.


Baile with Pedro

Baile is my favourite class. We all cram into a room downstairs and the teacher walks us through playing for a dancer in stages. Having a singer and a dancer every class really helps you understand the structure.

Class with Pedro

The usual progression is to complete one full choreography per term, starting with Alegria then Cana and maybe Taranto. Usually basic doesn't begin Baile (dance) accompaniment until 3rd term, (but we were a special exception,) there is palmas classes instead.

We had Pedro Sanchez & Pedro Sierra through the year. While a great performer Sanchez seemed pretty disinterested in the teaching side. Sierra on the other hand was an awesome teacher and I really enjoyed classes with him.


Lunch Break

lunch-break

An hour for lunch is killer when you're on a roll. Most of the time I just practice more with Sabby after a quick feed.

There's always a room free ๐Ÿ™‚


The Afternoon Class

The first 2 terms are classes with Pepa, a very knowledgeable daughter of a famous singer. She currently studying a PHD in Flamenco Singing History so she really knows her stuff.

Pepa & Manuel Molina

For me the classes were tough since she speaks a lot in Spanish and her topics are pretty in depth. I preferred to use my time to practice instead.

The last term was classes with Patri who also studies singing at the conservatorium but this time the topic was group communication. Basically a class where we take turns playing with a dancer & a singer (all basic students.) This was a great class and was really the first time we all got to know each other.

Patris Class

Luckily for the guitarists we had our material pretty locked down but the other guys still had some steps to learn at the same time.

 


So now it's home time and I'm back on the bus and 20minutes later our dog Bindie is begging me for a walk.

Bindie wants a walk

We go to the local park and I practice technique pieces for about an hour.

When I'm back home I'm cooking then I take all the videos I took for the day and put them onto my computer.

Time for study

Bindie studying hard

We nearly always have something to study for each class, so I need to spend about 4hours a night to keep up with the rest of the class.


If we're lucky we are in bed at 11pm. It means we always eat late and stress a fair bit about practicing. I'm just hoping for the weekend and dreaming about falsetas every night.

Not a bad life really...

These 2 in bed


Do you have a studying flamenco story to share?

Give us some hints in the comments section below.

 

 


About Fisch

Fisch is a Flamenco Guitarist from Australia. Currently he studies flamenco guitar in Sevilla, Spain. He spends most of his time expanding his knowledge of this wonderful music.


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6 thoughts on “Studying Guitar in Cristina Heeren Foundation

  • Cathy

    Wow! What a great insight into a day at this school. I am enrolled in 2015-2016 course and am looking forward to starting in September. Do you have any tips for planning the first month or where to look for accommodation? Thanks!

    • Fisch Post author

      G’day Cathy, glad it was helpful.
      I’m guessing you’re guitar so; they normally do a test on the first day to assign everyone levels and after that just be ready to hit the ground running. The learning curve is pretty steep and don’t expect a lot of free time (you practice a lot). You will feel pretty overwhelmed but don’t worry because it all starts to come together eventually.

      As for accommodation I have 2 recommendations.
      The first would be to just book temporary accommodation through a site like https://www.airbnb.com/ and then ask around for a house mate, the school is loaded with internationals probably looking for the same thing. Raquel in the office might even be able to help you.
      The second would be to check a site like http://www.idealista.com/ where they have a heap of rentals.
      If you like us on facebook I might be able to give you some personal contacts via a PM.

      Hope that helps & feel free to share your experiences with us too!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Cathy

        Thanks, Fisch
        I’m taking your advice and booking some temporary accommodation and will check out rental options when I get over there. I’m doing dance, actually. Can’t wait to get there!
        Following you on Twitter. Might meet you in person soon!
        Cheers
        Cathy

  • Mapami

    John, I may have missed it elrewhese but do you recommend anchoring the thumb on the bass E string while perforning the picado technique? And let me also thank you for all your time and effort involved in helping us out.

    • Fisch Post author

      G’day Mate.

      Good question. Personally I don’t. If you use more traditional right hand positions then you would, but I follow the teachings of some of the new age guys, Nino de pura for example.

      They keep the thumb nice and close to the fingers so that they can maintain the same hand position. For me this means generally when I picado on the bottom strings I rest in D and then as I move higher my thumb just continues up.

      This might sound a little confusing but we will be releasing some more videos on this soon, just subscribe to our YouTube channel ๐Ÿ™‚