If your thinking about studying here or you want to relive the past,
A day in the life of Cristina Heeren Guitarists.
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 school is big. More like an art gallery than a traditional flamenco school. But off we all rush to our respective classrooms.
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.
After about an hour of grueling work we might move on to new pieces that we are learning, all with a technique focus.
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.
Cante with Eduardo
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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
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…
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