Bach – Air on a G String
Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the Air as part of his Orchestral Suite no.3. Since then, it's become one of the most recognized pieces of classical music.
The slow pace of this piece makes it a wonderful study for players of many ability levels. It stays mainly in the lower positions on the guitar as well, so it's easier to learn than many others.
The big opportunity with the Air on a G String (Bach titled it just "Air", and the "on a G String" was added later and has become common) is in the phrasing and expression. This piece is a joy to work through. We can craft the connection of each note to the next, and form a sweeping journey from beginning to end.
The harmonies and melodies here are both delicate and robust. They somehow penetrate and feel personal and human. So practice feels meaningful and rewarding. This is truly one of the best.
Includes PDF Materials
Course Level: INTERMEDIATE
This course is at the INTERMEDIATE level. This means that notes may be anywhere on the fretboard. Rhythms may be more complex and the general tempo (speed) may be faster. The piece may use bar (barre) chords or special techniques. And the piece may be longer than earlier-level pieces. TABs are included for an alternative to music notation. For more advanced players, pieces in this level can be used as a study to improve learning, memorization and phrasing techniques, as well as general right- and left-hand technique.
About CGS Courses
The courses you’ll find here on Classical Guitar Shed are among the most in-depth, detailed and high-quality classical guitar courses available anywhere. Each course explores a single guitar skill or piece of music. And each course features high-quality HD video with multiple camera angles, as well as one-of-a-kind custom learning materials. This means you always know exactly what’s going on.
Repertoire and skills are divided into small sections or concepts, and worked through one at a time. You’ll get suggestions on varied subjects, which may include:
- How to count and play any tricky rhythms
- How to polish difficult transitions
- How to phrase the music, when to swell or fade
- How to apply advanced phrasing techniques to make the music more beautiful
- How to practice so you learn the piece most quickly
- How to memorize the music more easily
- How to troubleshoot hard spots
- How to avoid common traps that slow players down
- How to make small changes that make big differences
- How to understand the composer’s intentions
- How to choose the right tone quality for each part
- How to make the melody sing
- How to make the rhythm more lively
- How to practice to increase your speed and precision
- How to maintain the piece after you learn it
- among others
When you purchase a CGS Course, you get lifetime access to all videos and materials. You also get full support and your questions get answered via on-page comment or email.
Note: Videos stream only and are not available for download.
Members of The Woodshed Program get full access to all Courses and Study Guides, as well as the complete program, for the life of their membership.
100% Satisfaction Guarantee, Plus…
Allen: Just wanted you to know I have thoroughly enjoyed The Woodshed program. I'm in Level 1C and love how every part works together. It has improved my "general" playing already.
Great advise here. I find I am taking more time with the pieces than I would have in the past as I am focusing on the technique you have taught me. It is slower going at first but has fewer frustrations, is easier and sounds better in the end.
I came on board three months ago and I’m loving it more than ever. I have maintained my practice pattern. I’m sticking wholeheartedly with the program as written. That makes it easy to see what I NEED to work on rather than just playing the shiny places I’ve gone beyond…..I’ve learned to focus 100% on what I’m doing that very minute….I’m developing strength in my left hand...I spend time with the videos in the evenings and always find something more to help me. I’m not looking for info anywhere else. Everything I need is right here in The Woodshed. You say “Jump” and I say “How high.” I’m so grateful I found you. You speak in a language I understand.
About Allen Mathews
Allen Mathews learned guitar as an adult, and has been a full-time guitar teacher for almost two decades to students age 4 to 96. He has taught classical guitar at Reed College and Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and has been a guest lecturer and clinician at schools and universities throughout the U.S. Allen is often praised for his creative teaching abilities, and his dedication to helping adults learn classical guitar. He has a popular Youtube Channel offering regular classical guitar tutorials, and has gained fans worldwide for his weekly emails and articles at ClassicalGuitarShed.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any questions on the course, or on any of the lessons within the course, you can leave a comment on any page. (Comments on the website are best, because others can see them as well.)
If you would rather not leave the question as a comment, you can email me directly. I will promptly do my best to answer any questions you have.
If you get in over your head, that’s okay. You can return the course and get a refund, or you can keep it and come back to it later.
If you feel overwhelmed, you can also email me for advice or input.
Also, if you feel like it may be too difficult, you may be able to simplify your practice. Focusing on one small aspect (such as the right hand alone) of one small section at a time is very helpful.
If you are ready to purchase this course, you can click the purchase button above or below this text.
After you complete the checkout, you will have access to the course.
If you do not already have a username and password, one will be emailed to you. (Your username is usually your email address).
You can login at the top of any page.
Once you are logged in, you can find your courses in the “My Courses” tab at the top of any page.
To begin the course, print your materials and progress through the lessons.
If you ever have technical difficulties or something doesn’t seem to be working correctly, you can contact me and I’ll help as soon as I am able.
Once you purchase the course, you have lifetime access. You can proceed at your own pace. You can start and stop as you wish, and know that it will always be here.
If you mark lessons “complete” as you go, your progress will be saved and you can pick up where you left off.
As you watch the video and look and the excerpt above, ask yourself the questions:
“Have I played music using these notes?”
“Do I recognize any of the “shapes in the left hand?”
“Are there markings or techniques I don’t recognize or understand?”
“Does this piece get me excited, and just a little scared?”
Most pieces of music can be a wonderful experience for a wide range of players. If you’re a beginner, your challenge will be getting the notes and controlling your hands. If you’re a more advanced player, the notes may come more quickly, but you may need to work on playing more beautifully (phrasing, connecting the notes, balancing the voices, etc).
There is always more to learn. As long as you take your time and focus on specific challenges one at a time, you can enjoy moving forward and learning a wide variety of music.
Most courses include sheet music. You can see above in the grey box with the sheet music excerpt whether or not this course does. If so, you get both standard musical notation and TAB PDFs to download, save, and print. You’ll also find the music separated into small sections for closer study, as well as any other helpful study-aids.
If the music is not included, you’ll see a notice stating this above as well.
Yes, all courses and videos will work just fine on all common devices.
Yes. There is no limit on time, and you can progress at whatever pace is most comfortable for you.
If you need to take a break from the course (to travel, or to focus on other things), you can pick up where you left off.
Move through the lessons as slowly or as quickly as you wish.
Currently, videos only stream and cannot be downloaded. You will need internet access to view the videos.
Most courses include sheet music and TABs. You can see above in the grey box with the sheet music excerpt whether or not this course does. If so, you get both standard musical notation and TABs PDFs to download, save, and print. If the music is not included, you’ll see a notice stating this above as well.
Allen Mathews was recommended to me as somebody who could help me expand my guitar vocabulary. Allen started me on a really fun cycle of lessons and practice. He is a very good and very enthusiastic teacher, and I feel that I'm on the road to learning. I couldn't be more pleased with my experience.
-Peter Buck, R.E.M.
Hi Allen, I am thoroughly enjoying your website and I find it is just what I need in my renewed passion for classical guitar. I have rediscovered a great love for this instrument and the music I can learn and play and it has changed my life for the better dramatically! Thank you facilitating this process.