A Look Inside Adelita + Free Sheet Music

Click to get free sheet music: ¡Adelita!_by_Francisco_Tárrega

Adelita is a lovely piece composed by Francisco Tárrega. Along with Recuerdos de la Alhambra, Lágrima and Capricho Árabe, is one Tárrega’s most popular composition for classical guitar.


At first, this piece may seem easy, but as you advance on reading it, you’ll encounter some challenges. You need to be able to make barre and slurs, especially in measures 11 and 12. You may want to add to your warm-up or technique routine the following exercises:


In this piece, you may encounter some difficulties doing slurs using the third and fourth finger. One of the best hammer-ons and pull-offs exercises I like practicing are the ones presented in the book Pumping Nylon from Scott Tennant. You may want to check them out because they cover every left-hand slurs combination. If your teacher already gave you a set of exercises, you can practice them as well. The important thing is to isolate developing the ability to do slurs before trying them in a piece of music.


The barre is one of the most challenging techniques for a newbie guitarist, but with practice, can be mastered. A good barre exercise is No. 9 on page 178 from Julio Sagrera’s book Advance Technique For The Guitar In Accordance with the Modern School of Tarrega. It’s easy to learn. You can practice it every day for 5-10 minutes.

Another barre exercise that I practice is from the guitarist Mc Allister.


The mazurka originated in the 16th century among the Mazurs of East-Central Poland and adopted at the Polish court, and is a polish dance for a circle of couples, characterized by stamping feet and clicking heels and traditionally danced to the music of a village band. The music is in 3/4 or 3/8 time with a forceful accent on the second beat. [1] The dilemma with the interpretation occurs because Tárrega wrote Lento as the tempo indication, which opposes the mazurka’s characteristic of being fast because of the dancing nature. Some people object that Adelita isn’t a mazurka because of Tarrega’s tempo indication, although it’s written in 3/4 and it has an accent on the second beat. Others decided to play it faster giving all of the mazurka’s flavor.

Frédéric Chopin was the greatest mazurka’s exponent, composing around 57 mazurkas for piano. If you want to understand better the mazurka’s style, you should hear Chopin’s composition.


Another interpretation controversy has to do with the repetitions. If you hear my playing (I hope you did and enjoy it) I decided to play it AABBAABB. The original transcription has a D. C. (Da Capo) at the end of part B, which means to repeat the whole piece from beginning to end, as I did. There are recordings in which they play AABBAA. Also, mistakenly transcriptions that at the end of part B they wrote D. C. to Fine, with a Fine at the end of part A. Whether you prefer to play AABBAABB or AABBAA version, we must be careful not to adulterate the original transcription, because it can end not being what the composer originally wanted.


Adelita isn’t a very complicated piece. I have to say it’s relatively easy, keeping in mind the slurs and barre. It’s very melodic, and when playing it, we must keep this in mind. Before trying to play everything, isolate the uppermost notes, which contain the melody of the piece. While combining it with the rest of the musical notes, which creates harmony, moderate them to highlight the melodic line of the piece.

Withing the melody, some notes in the second beat have accents. That is characteristic from the mazurka. Make sure to stand it out. There are also dynamics, ritardandos, crescendos, and diminuendos within the piece. Isolate each part, figure out how you’ll play it, practice it, and finally incorporate it with the rest.

As mentioned earlier, the most challenging part of this piece is measures 11 and 12. A few things are happening: barre, slurs with the third and fourth finger, and a jump from the ninth fret to the seventh fret with an uncomfortable left-hand position. Take these two measures apart. First, practice the slurs with the correct fingering. Forget about the tempo right now. Second, make sure that every note is clean. Finally, practice the jump and add the metronome, but beginning with a slow speed and gradually increasing the tempo. A little secret that I’ll share with you is using your third as a guide to creating stability when jumping from the ninth fret position to the seventh. I found that putting the third finger first allows me to put the rest of the seventh position fingers easier and quicker.

Finally, I chose to play the end bouncing, but with my fingering, you can play it more ligado. I practiced it in both ways, but after recording myself, I made myself a decision. You can do the same, play it in both forms, and maybe choose a different interpretation.

Thanks for reading my blog! I hope you liked it.

Before saying goodbye, I want to remind you about my most recent book Beat The University! As A Classical Guitar Student which you can get through Amazon. I invite you to follow my blog, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and like my Facebook page.


Define Your Fears! What Paralyze Musicians and How To Overcome It

Everyone talks about goals: I want to finish my music degree; I want to be the best musician; I want to become a millionaire by composing and producing music; I want to be a singer and get a Grammy, etc. Defining goals is crucial because they align us on developing a plan to accomplish them, but what about fear?

Fear is something natural on us, but it can also be destructive. “Is a response of a real or imagined perception of danger.[1]” It has its roots in human evolution. If our ancestors didn’t fear, they wouldn’t protect themselves from dangers, like hungry predators.[2] Nowadays, we fear to be alone at night because of burglars, but in many cases, we feel safe because our house has concrete walls, fences, and even cameras. Fear is wrapped in our DNA. We get frightened when asking someone for a date and, as musicians, the following list raises the heart beats, causes muscle tension, dryness in the throat and sweating:

  • Being criticize
  • Failing jury
  • Not playing the correct note(s) in a music recital
  • A string breaking half of the concert
  • Not meeting deadlines

The list goes on and is a personal thing: my fears will be different from yours.

There’s also good fear. For example, if you’re driving and another car invades your lane, you’ll fear, and that’ll make you act instinctively to avoid a fatal car accident. It can protect you from bad things and help you make good choices, and the feeling doesn’t last long. As opposed, bad fear, which is the one that’ll be defined today, paralyze and confuse you, make you see no exit or solutions and doesn’t let you do what you have to do.

Defining the Fears

Fear paralyzes you. Think about the times in your life that you didn’t do something you wanted to do or you cared about it because of fear. Maybe you wanted to play a piece in public, but you were afraid of failing, playing it wrong in front of a lot of people and being criticized. You need to give your fear a name and separate what you can control and what you can’t. When you feel trapped, you think that you can’t move forward.

We suffer more in imagination than in reality.”


Our mind overthinks and imagines terrible outcomes that aren’t realistic or reasonable. In this post, I present two different forms to define your fears.

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferris is the author of the book The 4-Hour Workweek, a blogger, motivational speaker and also has a podcast. He talked about defining fears in a TED Talks which you can watch on YouTube. His method uses three pages:

Page #1

What if…?

What causes you fear and/or anxiety?




What is the worse thing that can happen?

How can I prevent bad things to happen, or at least minimize the negative impact?

How can I fix the damage completely or a little bit, or who can I reach for help?

1 1 1
2 2 2
3 3 3
Page #2

What might be the benefits of an attempt or partial success?

Take 10-15 minutes to think and write what are the benefits of taking that decision.

Page #3

The Lost of Inaction

(Emotionally, Physically, Financially, etc.)

6 Months 1 Year

3 Years

Matt Ragland

Matt Ragland is a writer, YouTuber, and productivity expert. You can also watch his video about this topic on YouTube. Ragland uses a bullet journal and is a little bit simplified. If you carry a journal, you can write your Fear-Setting in it, or use a piece of paper.

Question: What do I want to do? Should I…

Fear: What I’m afraid?

Worse Case: What’s the worse thing that can happen if I do that?

Reasonable: What is a reasonable fear?

Likely: What can be the benefits of doing so?

Decision: What I’ll do?

The worst-case scenario can happen, but it may not be as bad as you think. If you understand the risk and if that leads you to an outcome that you can accept, go on. It’s worth trying it.

Defining your fears allows you to paint a fright painting about the things that can go wrong but within a realistic perspective. It also creates the medicine to cure the fear of unsatisfying outcomes. By understanding that the things that we’re afraid of aren’t as big as we think, we can move forward with more confidence.

As a musician that understands common fears that consume us, I encourage you don’t fear to play in public, record and upload a video playing classical guitar or singing original compositions to social media, make tutorials, teach, etc. Perfection doesn’t exist, and the worst-case scenario in your mind won’t be as bad as you think. Use one of the guidelines above and recognize that, as many disadvantages that you imagine to exist, there are also numerous advantages to receive.

Before saying goodbye, I want to remind you about my most recent book Beat The University! As A Classical Guitar Student which you can get through Amazon. I invite you to follow my blog, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and like my Facebook page.

Featured Image:Designed by rawpixel.com / Freepik

CAGED Guitar System for Major Chords

I have to confess that I learned chords by playing songs in a church from my town. I had the ability, and since my first class, I could play chords and rhythm simultaneously. My fingers hurt a lot at first. After a few years, I found some limitations on my playing, but when I started to play classical guitar, I didn’t bother learning more chords and names. I just needed to read the notes in a pentagram.

Continuing with the story, I only knew basic chords. There was no inversions or major and minor scales involved in my early guitar stages. I wish I learned about the CAGED system earlier because helps guitarists understand better how the instrument works because of the category system in which is built. Think it like a concept map in which you start with something small that branch out to a lot of different concepts. This system may be old, but I’m sure that it’ll never go out of style.


What is the CAGED Guitar System?

The name comes from the five basic open chords C, A, G, E, and D. Those basic chord shapes are transferred through the fingerboard to play other chords. It allows you to play one chord in different positions. It’s been popular between guitarists, and it also has created debates.

If you’re starting to play guitar, this system helps you establish some connections between chords and scales. It’s great because helps you navigate the fingerboard by visualizing chord tones and also link chords, scales, and arpeggios.

I think that the best way to learn the CAGED Guitar System, is by actually doing it. I added pictures, but you can download The_CAGED_Guitar_System_Major_Chords pdf and practice. Before starting, it’s important to know that this system works only with the standard tuning from the guitar: EBGDAE. There are some easy steps to follow:

1. Learn the five basic CAGED open chords shapes.

You need to learn how to play these five basic open chords and identify the root notes from each chord. The following image presents the root note from the chords in blue. The X on top of the diagram means that the string isn’t played, and the O that is an open string.

*Don’t go to the next step until you learn this five chords.

CAGED Basic Chords


2. Alter some of the original fingerings and add a barre.

Doing a barre with the finger 1 acts like adding a capo to the guitar. By searching the root note on the 5th or 6th string, following the CAGED sequence with the proper chord shape, you’ll be able to do the chords in other positions.

For example: in order to do the C chord using the A chord shape you need to change the original fingering 123 to 234 and add a barre with finger 1. If you do it in the first position (fret) you’ll make Bb chord instead of C, but if you transfer the A chord shape to the third fret, you’ll make a C chord.

*cX means X position (fret 10). Most of the chord diagrams use numbers, but I’m a rebel and wanted to use roman numerals, like in the classic guitar notation.

CAGED Basic Chords


3. Always follow the CAGED sequence.

If you start doing a G chord, continue with the next E and D chord shapes. After playing the D chord shape, start over with the C chord shape: GEDCA.

CAGED Basic Chords


The only major chords missing are F and B. Learning those chords should not be a problem after learning the CAGED basic open chord shapes.

The CAGED Guitar System involves more than learning the major chords. A lot of popular songs use these chords, but there are also other types of chords that add variety and color to the music. Implement the system to learn minor chords, scales, and arpeggios. It’s also a good idea to explore other chords like the 7th, Maj7, 9th, sus2, sus4, etc. The same applies to scales. After learning the major and minor scales, add the modes, major and minor pentatonic, etc. and always ask yourself, how can you apply this to the music you’re playing? Learn at least the basic fundaments of music theory because all of it will make you more versatile.

If you haven’t read my book Beat The University! As A Classical Guitar Student check it out on Amazon!

Download: The_CAGED_Guitar_System_Major_Chords

Student Loans with a Bachelor Degree in Music

Whether you’re studying for becoming a doctor or a musician, the chances are that you may have taken a student loan and you have to repay it. If you agree or not being wise getting Sallie Mae’s money for a bachelor degree in music, I have a $10,038.94 debt, and if you’re reading this, you may have a student loan too. We aren’t alone. You can find on the internet that the student loan debt crisis reaches $1.5 trillion. That’s huge! I know that people think that having that amount of debt or more for a bachelor degree in music is stupid. The internet has a lot of free resources for learning music theory, and you can take private lessons to learn how to play an instrument while working or studying for a degree that’ll not make you starve to death. Wise or not, I made my decision, and now I have to pay all that money back.

How did I end with a student loan debt?

I spend eight to nine years trying to finish a bachelor degree. During my first two years, I was at a public university. There, the credits were cheaper, and the Federal Student Aids (FASFA) covered everything, so I didn’t have to pay anything. After that, I moved to a private university because I decided to study music and the public institution where I was didn’t offer that degree. Now, the credits were expensive ($187 per credit), and that’s when my student loan crisis began. I took my first student loan in my fourth year, or the second year in the private university.

I didn’t start working to pay for my education because I was taking between seven to nine classes per semester (you can check out Timeboxing as a Musician Student to see how I managed it). That’s crazy, I know, but I wanted to finish fast so I could start working quickly. My plans didn’t turn as planned, but that’s a story for another day.

Where did the money go?

Literally, in paying the university the credits ($187 per credit or $2,224 for 12 credits per semester, read) and their dorms ($1,200 per semester) plus food, and materials for classes like books and paper copies. I also bought a classical guitar that cost me $1,200 and a used car for $1,000 which I still drive today.

Personal Finances

Now that I finally completed the bachelor degree, I have to repay my $10,038.94 student loan debt. The problem is that I knew nothing about personal finance and that wasn’t a topic that I could discuss with my parents because they struggled. I had to do some research because, ironically, the universities make it easy to borrow money, but they don’t have as a requirement to take a personal finance class, which is an essential skill for life. Instead, you have to take more language classes, like three semesters from English and Spanish, which in Puerto Rico you took for twelve years in school, and so on.

The research wasn’t easy because there’s a lot of miss information on the internet and there are people who say they know, but they are scammers who only want your money through their books or YouTube. I found Dave Ramsey and read his biography… I’m ashamed to say this but in Wikipedia. People who know me know that I don’t use that source. Of course, I visited his website and watched his YouTube channel to learn more of him and see if I could trust him or not. I ended reading his book The Total Money Makeover which I highly recommend you to dig in. It’ll blow your mind as it did to me. It’ll not only guide you on paying your debts, but it also debunks a lot of money myths, and if you’re young like me, you’ll start with the right foot to manage your finances early in life.

Another financial advisor that I follow is Jeff Rose. His YouTube channel, Wealth Hacker is all about tips for managing money, investing, interviews with successful people and more.

A second book which I’m currently reading is Personal Finance For Dummies by Eric Tyson.

What I’ve learned:

If you read Dave Ramsey’s book or do some research, you’ll find what he calls Baby Steps. In this post, I’ll talk about the first two steps, but I’ll share the names of those steps with you:


BABY STEP 1 Save $1,000 for your starter emergency fund.

BABY STEP 2 Pay off all debt (except the house) using the debt snowball.

BABY STEP 3 Save 3–6 months of expenses in a fully funded emergency fund.

BABY STEP 4 Invest 15% of your household income in retirement.

BABY STEP 5 Save for your children’s college fund.

BABY STEP 6 Pay off your home early.

BABY STEP 7 Build wealth and give.

1. Create a budget

Before starting your first baby step, you must create a budget. You need to tell your money where to go by giving every dollar and cent a purpose. The budget is a plan on how you’re going to spend your money. Spend money wisely. You can use a Google or Excel spreadsheets, the Every Dollar app by Dave Ramsey or Mint. I create a budget in Every Dollar and Mint, and the best part is that both are free.

2. Save $1,000 for Your Starter Emergency Fund

In a separate checking account, save $1,000 as fast as you can. By doing this, you’ll avoid getting into more debt if an emergency happens: a car break, the washing machine stops working, the fridge gets warm, unexpected medic visits and so on.

This money isn’t for vacation, debts or investing. Put that cash in an account that won’t charge you for withdrawing the money from it when the emergency occurs, but don’t deposit it in the same you use for paying bills and other things because you’ll be tempted to spend it.


How to save $1,000?

If you completed your bachelor degree and started working, don’t make the dumb decision of buying a brand new car. You already owe money, why will you owe more? To impress people? I have news: they don’t care about you. Save that money by delaying the brand new car purchasing for another occasion.

Stop eating out. Cook your food and bring it to work. You’ll be amazed by how much money you’ll save by cooking and eating your food. I intentionally paid breakfast and lunch or dinner for a week to see how much money disappears. That week I spent $100. That’s $400/month or $4,800/year.  I mostly cook, spending between $20-$30/week on groceries, $80/month or $960/year. That’s a big difference!

“Taking control of your finances is 80% behavior and 20% head knowledge.”

-Dave Ramsey

Be a little minimalist. It doesn’t mean having two pants and seven shirts, but limit spending money on unnecessary things. Taking about cloth, open your closet and see all the things you aren’t using. Sell the cloth you’re not using with the things you don’t use anymore, and add that money to your emergency fund.

Avoid hanging out for fun in Walmart or the shopping mall because those places are designed to make selling items attractive. Always carry a list of the things that you need and stick to it. Enter the store, grab the things that you need and get out as fast as you can. If you have the temptation of buying something that isn’t in your shopping list or a new arrival, take a deep breath and don’t make an impulse decision. Write it down in a paper and wait 30 days. Think if you need it and if it’ll serve you any purpose. If a month pass and your desire of buying that item vanishes, don’t buy it. If you still want it, then get it.

3. Methods for paying debts

As I mentioned early, I have a student loan debt. If I pay the minimum, which is $103.16 monthly, I’ll finish paying my loans on March 17, 2029, plus a lot in interest. To avoid this, I challenge myself, and I challenge you, to pay the student loan as fast as you can. My goal is to eliminate my $10,038.94 student loan debt within a year since the first day I start working. To accomplish my money goals, I have to choose one of the two methods: Debt Snowball and Debt Avalanche. Let’s talk about the two systems.

Debt Snowball

Developed by Dave Ramsey and again, if you haven’t read his book, The Total Money Makeover, check it out. The method consists of focusing on the smallest debt balance, regardless of the interest rate. After knocking out the small debt, add the extra money to the second one. The steps are:

1. Make a list of all your debts from the smallest to the largest balance.

Loan Name Amount Interest
Student Loan 3 $2,759.34 3.760%
Student Loan 2 $2,760.66 4.290%
Student Loan 1 $4,518.94 4.660%

2. Pay extra in your smallest debt while paying the minimum in the others.

Loan Name Amount Interest Monthly Payment
Student Loan 3 $2,759.34 3.760% $27.63+$170 = $197.63
Student Loan 2 $2,760.66 4.290% $28.34
Student Loan 1 $4,518.94 4.660% $47.19

3. After knocking out the smallest debt, add the extra money to the next one.

Loan Name Amount Interest Monthly Payment
Student Loan 3 $2,759.34 3.760% $0
Student Loan 2 $2,760.66 4.290% $28.34 + $197.63 = $225.97
Student Loan 1 $4,518.94 4.660% $47.19

4. Repeat until becoming debt free.

Loan Name Amount Interest Monthly Payment
Student Loan 3 $2,759.34 3.760% $0
Student Loan 2 $2,760.66 4.290% $0
Student Loan 1 $4,518.94 4.660% $47.19 + $225.97 = $273.16

The only disadvantage that I see is that you’ll end paying more in interest because you’re not paying first the highest interest debt. The advantage is that you’ll get quick wins which will boost your motivation to continuing paying debts. The chances of sticking to your money goals are higher using this method. That’s why it’s very recommended.

Debt Avalanche

In this method, you focus on paying the debt with the highest interest first, regardless of the amount of debt. Pay extra money on the high-interest debt while paying the minimum on the rest. The steps are:

1. Make a list all your debts starting with the high-interest debt.

Loan Name Amount Interest
Student Loan 1 $4,518.94 4.660%
Student Loan 2 $2,760.66 4.290%
Student Loan 3 $2,759.34 3.760%

2. Pay more money to the high-interest debt while paying the minimum on the rest.

Loan Name Amount Interest Monthly Payment
Student Loan 1 $4,518.94 4.660% $47.19 + $170 = $217.19
Student Loan 2 $2,760.66 4.290% $28.34
Student Loan 3 $2,759.34 3.760% $27.63

3. After knocking out the high-interest debt, add the extra money to the next one.

Loan Name Amount Interest Monthly Payment
Student Loan 1 $4,518.94 4.660% $0
Student Loan 2 $2,760.66 4.290% $28.34 + $217.19= $245.53
Student Loan 3 $2,759.34 3.760% $27.63

4. Repeat until becoming debt free.

Loan Name Amount Interest Monthly Payment
Student Loan 1 $4,518.94 4.660% $0
Student Loan 2 $2,760.66 4.290% $0
Student Loan 3 $2,759.34 3.760% $27.63 + $245.53 = $273.16

The disadvantage is that it can be hard to keep the motivation levels up because you’ll feel like an eternity paying the high-interest debt, leading people to abandon their money goals. You won’t have quick wins, like in the debt snowball, which makes easier to give up on paying debts off. The advantage is that you’ll save some money because you’re tackling first the high-interest debt.

Which is the best?

Both are excellent because they lead you to the same goal: becoming debt free. Whatever path you choose, it’ll work if you focus and work hard on doing things according to the plan. I recommend selecting the method based on your personality and money habits. If you have a hard time managing money and depend on the emotion of motivation, forget about saving a few bucks on interest and choose Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball. On the other hand, if you have discipline with your money spending habits and can work without depending on the emotion of motivation, then take the Debt Avalanche path. The key is being consistent when following the plan, be goal oriented with your financial decisions and focus on reaching your money goals.

Final thoughts.

I think that finishing a bachelor degree with a student loan debt is a mistake. People will disagree with me and say that’s good because of the credit score; yes, I haven’t started paying my student loan debt and my credit score is 661. I know that as soon as I start paying it right, it’ll increase and that helps on things like getting another loan…


But starting your life with debt is risky because you’ll never know if you’re going to find a good job fast, due to the economic situation that we suffer in Puerto Rico. I would’ve preferred to start saving money for a house and invest for my future retirement in a 401K or Roth IRA.

My suggestion for you, my dear reader, is to work while studying if you can do it. Avoid taking student loans and if you do it, don’t pay the minimum. Pay it fast! It’s not worthwhile being 40 years old and keep paying for something that you borrowed when you had 21.

If you like this post, I invite you to share it with your family and friends.

Hey! If you haven’t read my book Beat The University! As A Classical Guitar Student check it out!



The Practice Chart

First, I have a special announcement. My book Beat The University! As A Classical Guitar Student is available on Amazon! Get your copy here!

book cgv2_3

Get it on Amazon!

I did my graduation recital on November 11, 2018. I had to play ten pieces and two of them have movements: one has six movements and the other seven. That makes an equivalent of 23 pieces for one recital. So I had to be very organized to be able to practice everything. How did I manage?

I used the Music Practice Journal to write what I practiced during the day and the tempo, which allowed me to view how I was progressing, but I also put inside my guitar case a Practice Chart. This is used by the great guitarists  David Russell and Mc Allister.

This method consists in writing the repertoire list and marking under the date that you practiced. I recommend it because is visual. At a glance, you can see what you’re practicing and what you’re leaving out. You can take it to another level and use colors to indicate which pieces need more work than the others. For example RED for the ones that require more work and GREEN for the ones that you’re playing perfectly.

Download it for free: PRACTICE CHART

If you want to read more, check out my book Beat The University! As A Classical Guitar Student.

NEW BOOK! Beat The University! As A Classical Guitar Student

book cgv2_3

A new book arrived! Get it on Amazon!

What is this book about?

Picture this scene: It’s your first day at the University or Music Conservatory. You’re motivated and have this dream of becoming the best classical guitarist in the world. A month later you go unprepared to your instrument class because “you didn’t have time to practice.” After two months, you can’t sit and practice every day because you haven’t developed the habit.

This book has five chapters dedicated to procrastination and time management techniques. One of those talks about habits and how to form it from the scientist’s point of view. It even includes a template for you to track your progress when developing the habit and worksheets to put in practice the time management techniques presented in the book.

Maybe you want to buy a classical guitar, but don’t have any idea of which one is better for you. A tip: don’t make the same mistakes that I did when I was a student at the University. I bought a guitar that sounded amazing but ended taking therapy for my hands. Before purchasing the instrument, make sure to read chapter 2, dedicated exclusively on how to buy a classical guitar. It’s a detailed guide that covers the instrument construction basics and the things to have in mind before making the decision.

Other themes that these amazing book covers are how the environment can affect our concentration when attempting to practice, how to fix problem areas in your piece of music, and how to practice efficiently.

What if I don’t play classical guitar?

If you play piano, violin or another instrument, skip the first two chapters and benefit from the rest of this marvelous book for students.

If you want to be a better musician student, this book is a tool that’ll help you achieve that goal! Get your copy of Beat The University! As A Classical Guitar Student.

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Timeboxing as a Musician Student

Last month classes started, and we committed being better students. Now we’re struggling to find time to practice with our instrument and studying for other courses. In this week’s video, I talk about the Timeboxing method, also known as Time Blocking.

This video is in Spanish but has English captions.

You may have heard about Ellon Musk. That guy works between 80-90 hours per week between two of his main companies: Tesla and Space X. He’s one of the busiest people on the planet, but still get his things done. How is it that we students, who have less work than Musk, come to the instrument class without having practiced anything? In this blog, I’ll discuss the method used by him: Timeboxing.

Timeboxing is the action of planning the day ahead. Five minutes spent on planning and organizing, avoid us losing time deciding what to do next, or wasting our valuable hours doing things that aren’t important, and that doesn’t lead us to meet our most ambitious goals. Furthermore, working without distractions and interruptions makes us productive and raises the quality of the task.

For this, calculate how much time it takes to perform a task and then distribute it to the calendar. If this is your first time using this technique, maybe you aren’t accurate, and you’ll have to make some adjustments. For example, perhaps you thought that doing the English class essay will take you an hour to finish it, but because you had to research information at the library, you spent an hour and a half. A stopwatch or app can help you identify how much time your student’s tasks require.

When blocking the tasks in your calendar, leave a space of 5-15 minutes between each slot. You’ll never know if an emergency occurs or a change of plans.

Timeboxing Steps:

In the YouTube video above I used Google Calendar, but for this blog, I used Excel. There are paper agendas and printable templates that can be used.

1. Put your class schedule.


2. Add your practice hours and study time.


3. Have some fun doing things that you enjoy!


Being productive isn’t something that one can do overnight. You need to create the habit of organizing the day daily and have the willpower to perform each proposed task, including practicing your instrument. Use this technique for a month and at the end evaluate if you had positive results, I’m sure you’ll have them. Let me know how the Timeboxing technique turned out in the comments section below.

Special Announcement:
By the mid of this month, I’ll be launching my new book Beat The University! As A Classical Guitar Student which is an excellent resource for becoming a better musician student. I’ll give more details further, so make sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and like my Facebook Page.


book cgv2_3