Studying in Granada is a great opportunity: free tapas, beautiful views & many pro flamencos.
If your considering studying in this school, read on...
Studying Guitar in Carmen de las Cuevas
After another night of enjoying the gardens of Granada followed by a flamenco show at the local Tablao, I wake up and enjoy breakfast with a view. Our terrace looks out over the rest of the city, near the top of Realejo, a suburb in Granada.
There's time enough for me to practice for a few hours and make lunch before I start class.
Since we cover new material everyday practice is pretty important. I watch the videos of Jorge, our teacher, over and over piecing together the falsetas. Around 11am Maria from next door comes outside for a smoke and encourages me.
"Muy, Muy Bien Fisch." She shouts from her terrace to ours.
Though I'm sure she's getting sick of hearing the same 10 seconds played repetitively.
Sometimes all us guitar students would gather together and have a beer before class, but usually I would have lunch at home and make my way to the school to practice some more.
It was often easy to find a room in Carmen de las Cuevas for practice if you got there before normal class times at 1:45pm.
Since I spent the first half of my studies in the early class I would practice while no one was there.
Every week was a new palo. Also every week was new faces.
This meant that the level was often shifting up and down to accommodate. We rarely went over old exercises or material, so new material every class.
Jorge would start the week off with technique exercises and some standard compas. By the end of the week we are working on falsetas, sometimes 2 or 3 a day. Generally every week we would cover:
- A few technique exercises
- Some compas variations
- Some falsetas
This was great for some of the guys who were here for a crash 1 or 2 week course and back home, but the pace didn't shift for those of us who are here for the 3 month course.
After an hour and a half Jorge would let us record all the material for that day and write out the tabs for the falsetas or compas. (He rarely wrote the tabs for the advanced class.)
We didn't cover anything to do with accompaniment other then just general conversation.
Jorge 'El Pisao'
Jorge is a great teacher. He is patient and very knowledgeable. It helps that he has taught in that school for over a decade.
A lot of the falsetas he teaches in class you can see him perform which adds to your lust for practice.
Probably his greatest asset is that he speaks english. While a little patchy it means you can ask all the questions you need rather than just sit idle, like I had to when I knew no Spanish.
As part of the 3 month package they include a 2 week compas class with Jorge.
This hour long class is in 2 parts, basic and advanced. The basic is great and covers everything you need to know as a guitarist. The advanced though goes deeper into 'contra tempo' (half beats) and remates.
There are also other classes about structure of dance and so forth but unless you speak Spanish you won't be able to understand.
Now there's a little time for a beer & a tapa, enjoying the sunshine. Often we would get the chance to catch up with other students and sometimes teachers. Since most of the students are on a short holiday, there was always plans made to see a show.
In the Evening
Since Sabby was studying dance and had an extra class I would come meet her with our dog. We would then make dinner and enjoy the views of Granada once again. If we had made plans to see a show it was usually on Thursday when Jorge & Pillar (both teachers from the school) played.
Otherwise I would cut down the videos I had made from class and prepare for practice the next day.
We would always be looking forward to the weekend where we would get a chance to walk through the hills or the local gardens. There were often tours through the school (free for long term students) that took you around Scaromonte or to the Monastery.
All in all Granada was a relaxing and enjoyable place to study flamenco. Perhaps not as many options and better for basics, but definitely pretty.
Do you have a story about studying flamenco?
Maybe you have been to Carmen de las Cuevas...
If so please share your experience in the comments below.