Bach: Cello Prelude
Note: This is NOT a full, note-by-note course. This is a "Study Guide", with tips on phrasing, problem-solving, and practicing.This prelude is one of Johann Sebastian Bach's best-loved pieces. Written for the solo cello, it fits extremely well on the classical guitar. This piece is at the intermediate to advanced level. Pieces like this grow with you. It's just as fresh and engaging after twenty years as it is when first learning it. The prelude can be played at most any speed, and has infinite opportunities for expression and musical interpretation. If you plan on playing guitar for many years, this will be a worthwhile project. This prelude will challenge and delight you for years to come. This Study Guide features almost an hour of detailed practice tips and approaches for phrasing and interpretation. After this Study Guide, you'll understand the piece better, and have concrete take-aways to explore in your practice. Some of the concepts and suggestions in this Study Guide are more advanced. As such, you may find something to use in your practice now, and can return later for new challenges and ideas.
Course Level: ADVANCED
This course is at the ADVANCED level. To play this piece well requires a solid foundation of classical guitar technique and experience learning from music notation (though TABs are included). The notes may be anywhere on the fretboard. The music is likely complex and physically challenging. There may be large stretches, bar (barre) chords, or other strenuous demands. Pieces at this level often take longer (several months up to a year or more) to master.
About CGS Study Guides
CGS Study Guides are like a series of lessons on a single piece, all condensed into a few videos. What may take weeks or months with a teacher are presented here for your own self-paced study.
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 Study Guide, 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.
Members of The Woodshed Program get full access to all courses and Study Guides for the life of their membership. Note: Videos stream only and are not available for download.
How are Study Guides different from the CGS Full Courses?
The CGS Full Courses go note by note, and are extremely detailed. Many of the full courses are upwards of 30 or more videos.
This makes for a thorough and beneficial learning experience. But they do require a substantial time investment to complete.
Study Notes, on the other hand, are condensed lessons. They assume you (the student/player) can figure out the basic notes and fingerings. So the suggestions are more often on how to improve upon what you can already do.
Focus is on understanding the music, and bringing it to a high level of technical and musical mastery. To this end, potential problems are addressed, and opportunities highlighted. Study Guides are usually from 20-40 minutes of video.
100% Satisfaction Guarantee, Plus…
Great Work!!! I thank you sincerely for all the effort you have put in and the terrific work you do for the classical guitar community.
Since a year ago with my subscription to CGS it has been for me a pleasurable adventure and a discovery of all the facets of the classical guitar.
Your dedication and enthusiasm, as well as your talent, in the tuition is quite contagious (well, lets hope also for your talent) and has made it fun and useful in my progression. Also the weekly tip that you mail us and the Facebook group is excellent.
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.
Hi, I’m Allen Mathews.
I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two stellar teachers – one focused on the technical, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully. Click here for a sample formula.
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.
If you need to, you can download course videos using a browser plugin. Most people get the best results streaming the videos. But if you need to download them, you can. Just email us on the contact page, and we’ll send you instructions.
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.