Writings by Christopher Berg

Table of Contents
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  1. The Re-Imagination of Practice
  2. Learning the Fingerboard
  3. Scale Exercises and Studies
  4. Repeated Notes
  5. Slurs
  6. Harmony
  7. Arpeggios
  8. Melody and Accompaniment
  9. Counterpoint
  10. Florid/Virtuoso Etudes
  11. Mental Strategies to Improve Sight-Reading, Memorization, and Performance
Far from being another shopworn collection of studies, the exercises and etudes in The Classical Guitar Companion are presented in relationship to: other etudes or exercises that approach the same or similar techniques; relevant writings and examples by composers discussing or demonstrating how they thought their works should be approached; and known fingering and performance practices. (Sample pages are from 1st printing.)
Click title page to view sample pages:

The Classical Guitar Companion

OrpheusOnFire Publications

The first printing of Volume One of Christopher Berg’s new book, The Classical Guitar Companion: Practice, has sold out and the second printing is scheduled for a March 15 release. (Volume Two, which deals with performance, is planned.) This work, in excess of 250 pages, features over 200 examples, etudes, and pieces organized to help serious guitar students better navigate the shoals of becoming well-trained and expressive artists. Rather than try to shepherd each student down the same path, the book allows students to approach their training within a flexible and personal curriculum based upon their weaknesses and strengths.

The work is organized into eleven main sections according the technique used, e.g., scales, arpeggios, slurs, with brief commentary. The pieces in each section progress by degree of difficulty, insofar as that’s possible given the variety of backgrounds and abilities students have, but material within the sections can be studied concurrently according to one’s strengths and weakness, interests, and advice from a teacher. In this regard, it is the antithesis of a typical method book or graded repertoire series.

In other words, each section comprises a curated collection of works that presents a path to mastery. The Classical Guitar Companion is suited for students just starting their serious study of the instrument as well as advanced students looking to sharpen their skills, deepen their knowledge of our pedagogical literature, or fill in gaps in their training.
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Mastering Guitar Technique: Process and Essence

Mel Bay Publications, MB 96216

One of the keys to rapid technical and artistic development is to have the guidance to study the simple version of a technique, e.g., slow scales, while fulfilling all the criteria of the advanced version of that technique, e.g. fast scales. This will result in a practice that continually moves one forward, rather than go off in irrelevant directions.

Mastering Guitar Technique was designed to be a comprehensive, exploration of the requirements for developing an effortless and musically sensitive guitar technique.
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Giuliani Revisited

Mel Bay Publications, MB 95694

If Mauro Giuliani were alive today, how might his famous 120 right-hand exercises from his Studio per la chittarra, Op.1, be different?

Along with about forty of Guiliani’s right-hand exercises from his Op. 1, this book contains about a hundred original exercises by Christopher Berg based on pieces composed since Guiliani’s time and other exercises considered helpful for developing a well-rounded technique and for meeting the challenges of the modern guitar repertoire. There is abundant practice material here for guitarists of all levels.


PRICE: $2.99
Mental Strategies
To Improve Sight-Reading, Memorization, and Performance
This 25-page article explores the relationship between the mind, the body, and security in performance. Well researched and documented. Please note that if you plan to purchase the next version of The Classical Guitar Companion, this material will be included in that book. Or you could get an advanced look…
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Sometimes the problems with one’s sight-reading, memory, or freedom in performance aren’t the result of a lack of talent or industry, but of one’s misperceptions of how to study best.

This article looks at the study methods of some of the great pianists of the past—specifically mental work and the use of recall— and how these anticipate and confirm current research about learning and memory; how teaching methods influenced by faux-zen, however well-meaning, do a disservice to students; how visualizing a physical act can have a beneficial impact on performance; and finally, to present students with a way to relate their intellect to their music studies in a way that will foster more secure and artistically satisfying performances.

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About Christopher Berg
Christopher Berg is a Carolina Distinguished Professor in the School of Music at the University of South Carolina where he directs the classical guitar program. He has performed hundreds of concerts throughout the United States.