Santa Fe Guitar Academy




Dear friends and students, summer is here and we are staying busy at the Santa Fe Guitar Academy!


In student news, congratulations to Armando Padia, who played an inspiring graduation recital at Adams State University, Daniel Torres on his full ride scholarship for his master degree, and Daniel Firebanks and Nicolas Lopez for finishing their International Baccalaureates!


As you might know, our schedule is almost completely full, so I am working on opening some more spots. I always appreciate referrals, since friends, current and past students are in the best position to recommend us, so each time a new student signs up for a full month of lessons due to your recommendation, you get a $25.00 check, wether you are a student or not! All you have to do is remind them to mention you when they sign up, or just let me know.


Traveling during the summer? Hard to schedule make-up lessons? With a week's notice, from June to August, up to four lessons can be left as “rain checks” that we can make up when you come back. The make-up lessons do not expire, as long as you are continuously enrolled. This way you can use those lessons when it suits you best, and this allows you to keep your spot and your preferred time slot.


It is time for a Performance Class, isn't it? Choose a piece or two to share with us on May 28th, 3:00 to 4:00! Let me know what music you'd like to play so we can plan a nice performance order, or just come listen. We always keep this under one hour, so no need to fear the four-hour recital!


Following up on the “Foundation Exercises” workshop we had in January, we'll be having a Free Fingerpicking Technique Workshop on June 11th, from 3:00 to 5:00. These usually fill up, so please RSVP to reserve your spot!


Current students only: Free Extra Lesson Day on May 26! If you have a little extra practice time during the summer, or need a little boost, sign up for an extra lesson at no charge. Call for available times.


The New Mexico Guitar Festival is coming up mid June, and you might want to go! Their website has all the details.


GiG Performance Space is an all-ages club on Second Street that often offers great guitar performances. They have a calendar of upcoming performances on their website,, and there are three upcoming guitar events:

Bruce Dunlap, guitar, and Brahim Fribgane, dumbek and percussion, Saturday May 28th, 7:30PM

Roberto Capocchi, guitar, June 4th, 7:30PM

Aaron Largert-Caplan, guitar, June 25th 7:30PM


Happy practicing!







Dear students, friends, and guitarists:


January was busy, with new students coming in with their Christmas-present guitars, some returning students starting up again, Carlos Pérez's beautiful House Concert, a Performance Class, and a very full workshop on the “Foundation Exercises”. In February, we will be hosting Joaquin Gallegos, local flamenco favorite, in a House Concert Friday February 12th at 7PM. We will have a Performance Class on Saturday the 27th at 2 PM, so plan on coming and sharing some music in the most supportive and friendly environment possible.


Our friend Petra Babankova runs a classical guitar ensemble that performs around Santa Fe and Albuquerque. It is free to join, and requires a basic commitment to rehearsals and performances, Although you must know how to read music, you get plenty of time to prepare your parts. If you are interested, or would like to learn more about it, contact her directly at


Nicolo Spera, from Italy, is playing this Sunday in Albuquerque at Immanuel Presbyterian Church. Ana Vidovic, from Croatia, is playing in Albuquerque February 20th at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, and in Santa Fe on April 15th, for Performance Santa Fe. The New Mexico Museum is hosting an exhibit called The Guitar Museum, featuring historic and interesting instruments. Check it out! Miguel DeLuca and Friends are playing at San Q Sushi for Valentine's Day, and Jeff Sand, who is also a fine guitarist, will be singing at the Starlight Lounge February 18th.


In a partnership with the New Mexico Classical Guitar Festival, I am scheduling a number of little concerts at local schools. If you know of a school that might be interested, please let me know and I will put them in contact with the right people to get the ball rolling. As you might know, the lesson schedule has filled up steadily over the past months. This means a little less flexibility, so please keep your lesson time in mind when making other plans, and let me now with plenty of advance when you might need to re-schedule.



Stay warm!









Happy New Year!


Because of the snowstorm, tomorrow's “Foundation Exercises” workshop is postponed to January 30th, 2PM.


December was busy! Thanks to everyone who came listen to Mohit Dubey and me at the Jean Cocteau cinema. Next time he comes, he will bring some new duets he is writing!


The December Performance Class went well; there is always some breakthrough in these classes, even if the group is very small. The January Performance Class is January 23rd at 2:00PM, so come share the music you are playing in the most supportive atmosphere possible. Performance Class is ALWAYS FREE.


In December, we finally had the “Introduction to Bossa-Nova” workshop and our first House-Concert, featuring Miguel Deluca was a blast. The next workshop covers the “Foundation Exercises” and it is on January 30th.


The next House-Concert is January 17th at 7pm, featuring the famous Chilean guitarist Carlos Pérez. Here is a taste: This is very likely to sell out, so contact Genevieve Leitner at or 505-501-8092 to secure your seats.


Our schedule is getting pretty full, so I have added a few few time options, including a couple new evening times. I am looking forward to another great year of teaching and playing music!







Introduction to Bossa Nova

December 12th 3:30 to 5:30

at The Candyman, 851 st. Michael's Drive


Roberto Capocchi

$35.00, $5.00 discount with pre-registration by December 11th.

Call (505)577-1447 or email


Come enjoy a two-hour workshop with Brazilian guitarist Roberto Capocchi, and learn the basics of Bossa Nova, the charming Brazilian mix of Jazz and Samba. We will cover the basic chords shapes you will expect to find in this style and the basic rhythmic pattern associated with it. We will apply the rhythmic pattern to common chord sequences, explore a few rhythmic variations, and finally apply that to a song.

This is an intermediary level class, where we will build on the guitar playing you already have. No need for amazing chops, but it is not an introduction to guitar playing.


Roberto Capocchi has performed in every major venue in Santa Fe, from the Lensic to to Santa Fe Opera, and has collaborated with artists such as David Grussin and Carol Redman. He is Artist-in-Residence at Adams State University, and is on faculty at United World College, Santa Fe Guitar Academy, and New Mexico Highlands University. He holds advanced degrees in Performance and Music Theory, and has extensive touring experience as a recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral soloist. He enjoys playing music from his native country, mostly in the forms of Bossa Nova, Samba, and Choro. This is his second collaboration with the Music Education department of the Candyman, with more to come!

We had a great time listening to and catching up with Miguel Deluca, who offered SFGA students a beautiful House Concert last week. We will be organizing about six of these a year. And this coming weekend we have a Performance Class for our students to play for each other. 

A few students are moving on to new exciting projects: Best of luck to Kevin, who is on his way to Boston to audition at Berklee College, and Kelson and Daniel, who are applying for scholarships for Master degrees.

Get a piece or two ready for our next Performance Class October 17th!

New referral program!

Find the sweet spot and never feel bored or frustrated with your practice again!


Join us for our next Performance Class Saturday October 17th from noon to one, free to all current SFGA students. This is a low-pressure, friendly group setting where students share some music they have prepared over their lessons. It is very rare that anybody will perform as well in public as they play at home at first. This gathering offers a friendly, safe environment to experiment with ways to improve your performing skills.


We have some new lesson times available in the evenings and weekends. You have the best perspective when you tell your friends about the Santa Fe Guitar Academy. I appreciate referrals very much, and when somebody you recommended signs up, you will get a $40.00 discount the following month. Please take some brochures with you at your next lesson and help your friends find guitar lessons they love.


We've been talking about the Three Stages of Mastering Movements, and I'd like to remind everybody to look at this idea as a more fluid process than it seems. Here is a great link to a blog on this: and here is a little overview of some details about each stage:


Cognitive Stage:

Feels like overthinking and micromanaging

Very slow tempo

Detailed accuracy is not important

No pulse – stop and go as needed

Focus on the most basic information – notes, fingers, etc

Steps feel isolated and rigid

Observe physical limitations

Use vizualization techniques


Assossiative Stage:

Feels familiar

Comfortable pace

Gradually improve the accuaracy

Stablish a clear pulse, with some flexibility

Gradually add details – guide fingers, pivots, etc.

Start to tie the individual steps into more fluid gestures

Develop specific exercises as needed, to improve physical limitations

Look for patterns – analyse the music


Automatic Stage:

Feels automatic – muscle memory, or auto pilot, takes over

Gradually push speed forward

Enjoyable easy accuracy

Crisp pulse

Observe the details and add more

Focus of larger gestures

Create a reserve of technique

Experiment with interpretation


Remember, time flies when you practice with the right stage in mind!

This is the first installment of the Santa Fe Guitar Academy's newsletter! 

I'd like to invite you to a concert in Santa Fe NM next week, September 26th, at 8pm at San Miguel Mission. It is part of the “Concerts at San Miguel” series. The place looks very charming, and sounds gorgeous. This is a program of guitar favorites, with a strong Spanish flavor. I have a limited number of tickets available at a discount - $15 rather than the $20 at the door. Email to see how to get some. Here is the Facebook event with more details:

 Meanwhile, at Santa Fe Guitar Academy, we are still offering great guitar lessons in person and online. We have a new, stronger internet connection for our SKYPE lessons, and a new YouTube channel is in the works, dedicated to supporting the lessons. The free Performance Class is taking shape, and we are planning workshops on applied music theory, jazz, bossa-nova, and more. As the teaching schedule got busier, we've started offering lessons Saturdays (10:00am to 1:00pm) and weekday evening lessons, available for hour-long lessons only, at 7:30pm.

See you soon! 


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