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Intensive Classical Guitar courses 2014-2015 with Renato Bellucci

Study With Me

February 19, 2014: Maria Ayala receive the Diploma for completing with honors the intensive guitar course she took in my Asuncion academy. Bravo Maria.

Maria playing "My Heart Will Go On"

I will help you take your playing to the level where you feel secure and all your doubts are dissipated. You will polish your sound and repertoire and understand how a perfect technique is achieved. Guitar playing will finally become easy. You will feel as though  your eyes are finally open. Guaranteed!

US$ 890

 

Mail me to setup dates.

My studio: the place where I spend most of my days. The place where I "polish" my God given talent. If I grow as a musician 1 millimeter a day, I know I am on the right path. Life is a ladder that we either climb up or down. You simply cannot stay in one place. Staying still is dying.

I teach mostly in Asunción and San Bernardino (Paraguay). I often receive the visit of players/students who come from different parts of the world. Affordable daily international flights from both the US, Europe and connecting flights to Asia plus very comfortable and beautiful accommodations, are simply ideal "accessories" for those willing to study with me in person.

Sunset from home in San Bernardino

Sunset from Renato's home in San Bernardino

Paraguay is a beautiful country. It is like nothing you have seen before. People are gentle and very welcoming to foreigners. Time seems to pass at a different speed down here. "Tranquilo no más" (Take it easy) is like a philosophy. Paraguay is the homeland of Agustín Barrios Mangoré, one of the greatest guitar players and composers ever. The British Australian guitarist John Williams is responsible for putting Mangoré back on the "Universal Music" map.

It is very cheap to live in Paraguay, probably one of the cheapest countries on Earth.

Facts if you plan to come study with me for a week or two: Excellent accommodations are available at 60 US$ a day. Decent ones, no luxuries, as low as 15 US$. Lunch and  dinner at a first class restaurant in Asuncion is 18 dollars per person. Unless you intend to buy a guitar from me, bring your guitar. Students that buy a Bellucci guitar while they are here, get a tour of the workshop, and receive a 12% discount. I can then ship the guitar to you if you do not like to travel with a guitar.

You take 1 class a day with me. I give sound advise to my students regarding how to pursue a career in music. Lots of time to practice and rest and know the surroundings. I will help you take your playing to the level where you feel secure and all your doubts are dissipated. You will polish your sound and repertoire and understand how a perfect technique is achieved. Guitar playing will finally become easy. Guaranteed!

Medical attention is first class and so are communications in general. You can be a total beginner or a long time pro.

Democratic life started in Paraguay in 1989, after a coup d' etat that ended a 33 years long and harsh military dictatorship. Paraguay is slightly larger than Italy but with a 5 million population only.

There are several beautiful places you can visit once you made the long pilgrimage to Paraguay. The Iguacu Falls are most definitely a landmark, and they are only 300 Kilometers from Asuncion and so are the Jesuit reductions scattered throughout the south. I think that the biggest mistake the "standard" tourist makes when coming to South America is to go to monster cities like Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Caracas. Besides being crime wise extremely dangerous places, they are the typical cities: hostile, dangerous and all the same. Paraguay, a beautiful, friendly and subtropical warmly country, with an average yearly temperature of 21 to 23 degrees Celsius, is famous for Agustin Barrios, harp-music, and the Iguaçu-Falls. Asuncion, the capital, is a modern green city with many parks and Coffee shops.

Daniela Bellucci practices at home in Lake San Bernardino

Paraguay is a tax-paradise and is named Switzerland of South America. Actually, the country lives in decades of political and economical stability.

Since more than hundred years, Paraguay is a classic immigration country with unlimited possibilities, which stands with Australia at fore world-wide position today. Today the country exerts an almost magnetic attraction on the Europeans of most different occupation and religions.

Scientists (Moises Bertoni), doctors (Dr. Emil Hassler), authors, tradesmen, ranchers, farmers (Mennonits), musicians (Barrios Mangoré) as well as pensioners and nature-lovers, seeks and find the fulfillment of their dreams here.

The cultural offer is in accordance with: Spanish, French, German and US-American cultural institution. American, French and German schools, from the Kindergarten up to the high school diploma, and first class American, Italian and French's hospitals. Paraguay is an ideal county for meat-lovers; on the other hand the variety at vegetables and biologically aromatic fruit types makes life for vegetarian especially easily. The monthly expenses for foods amount to approximately 150 US$ per person.

The climate and the soft water are especially perfect for rheumatism - and gout, the symptoms mostly fully vanish.

The Paraguayans are very friendly; almost each native family has roots in Europe. The inhabitants of Paraguay are mestizos, white and about 60.000 Indians.

Paraguay is situated in the middle of South America and has a surface of 406.752 km2 - 50.139 km2 bigger than Germany and is with 6 millions inhabitants. Paraguay is thinly populated. Neighboring countries are Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia.

Summer starts on December 21st with a prodigal bloom splendor of the trees and shrubs. The odor of coconut lies in this Christmas time over the whole country, announces the near of Christmas celebration.

Paraguay offers a variety of discovery also in the interior: in numerous caves can be found the rune signs of the Viking still today.

Also the contrasts of the landscapes are impressive: mild hills changes with volcanic elevations and hilly regions. Big and small waterfalls, rivers, brooks and lakes in idyllic surroundings invite to the eventful swimming. The waters are rich of fish and a paradise for fishermen. More than 500 types of fishes can be found in the waters, only a few are namely known. Wildlife is a treasure for each animal lover.

Sunset in San Bernardino, May 2014

View from Renato Bellucci Residence in San Bernardino, Paraguay

The hydroelectric power station of Itaipú is the biggest on earth. Agricultural export products are meat, soya, cotton, sugarcane, rice, grain, tobacco, sesame, peanuts.

As I started growing as a guitarist and I felt like the place I lived in at the time (Paraguay), had reached it's plateau regarding what it had to offer to a 22 years old guitarist.

I started looking at Spain where the big names of classical guitar lived, or so I thought. All it took was a dear teacher of mine words of support: "Renato, go to Spain, Segovia lives there. He might help you grow from now on". Plus, he added these words which made a deep impact on me: "The man is almost in his 90s, If you could at least get a picture next to his coffin, you will never regret it".

Well, I made it to Spain, and got more than a funeral picture with the Spanish maestro. I had a hobby that I still cherish, photography. I took my camera along with the guitar literally everywhere.

After one year in Spain, where I collected, more than anything, lots of pictures with the great names of classical guitar and many, many words of encouragement.

I was stalled once again. By then I was playing lots of concerts simply for having had those "names" somewhere in my curriculum. Sporadic lessons with these masters did not make me feel any more secure than I was before, (technique wise). Yes, they made me believe more in what I did, but that was simply not enough.

Providence had it's plans for me and, after knocking on so many doors, my prayers were finally heard. Jose Tomas told me "Listen, you come all the way from South America looking for a teacher. Haven't you considered going to Montevideo (Uruguay)? Abel Carlevaro lives there". I had never heard the name, but I trusted Tomas because he was a good, sincere human being. I told myself: "Alicante is nice, Tomas is cool, but Montevideo is only 1000 miles from home". I'll go to Asuncion for Christmas and on the way I will stop in Montevideo to meet this Uruguayan master (Remember this was early 1980s and Abel Carlevaro's name was beginning to sound in small circles outside Uruguay, mainly due to the fact that his students were winning all the most prestigious guitar competitions). What have I got to lose?"

Well, was I totally astonished or what?! The master told me: "Play something for me", I did, I played Bach Prelude BWV 999. As I finished he said: "You feel quite insecure with the right hand don't you?", "Your back must hurt after a few minutes playing", "Don't you wish your playing could be natural and all those ugly strings' squeaks disappear?, etcetera. After Christmas, I moved to Montevideo where for the first time I felt like "the sky's the limit!". The man taught me to THINK guitar and opened a series of unsuspected musical horizons. He was the first teacher I ever had who asked me "What do you dream you could play?". When I said "Bach Chaconne", he said "ok...", (I said it with the same tone you would say "I want to reach the stars and be back in 5 minutes"). That same day I had the music in front of me and I was touching my dream for the first time in 23 years.

Dani in class

Daniela Bellucci in class, San Bernardino, Paraguay

I am telling this story because I know that many colleagues must feel like their playing is stalled or that they are making no progress. In a profession such as guitar playing, your teacher MUST be someone who inspires you constantly and you must be willing to take the necessary steps to unlock your playing. I can affirm a few facts but the following one, is certainly one of the few: If your teacher makes you believe in you , you will be a great player no matter what "name tag" the teacher carries. 

I had a long list of teachers, mostly due to my parents profession who were UN diplomats and we were constantly on the move from one country to the next, and I certainly believe that that puts me in a category which is different from the one that would define a player who had the same teacher for many years. I never stayed with the same teacher for more that 4 years. The one thing I did, once I was old enough to decide on my own, and my parents made sure I did before I could decide on my own, was that the teacher I had was the best available, and I often took extreme steps to make the teacher available. I would simply show up at the teacher doorstep with my guitar and ask him to allow me to play for him a piece and tell him I wanted to study with him. When you are willing to go that far, you are sending a much more powerful message than you think. Good teachers will see more than your playing abilities but your drive and motivation without which a musical career is simply impossible.

Testimonials

I have been playing classical guitar for about 10 years and began with huge enthusiasm. I studied in the Uk and Ireland but unfortunately ran into a teacher in Ireland obsessed with 'traditional' ways of learning the guitar. He made me play scales, arpeggios and Sor studies ALL THE TIME. My music reading and technique did develop but I lost the desire to play... Then earlier this year I decided to go to Paraguay and study with Renato on an impulse. What a difference! He immediately made playing the guitar fun again and reminded me that technique is at the service of music, not the other way around. No technical studies, real pieces and little bits of techniques to solve real problems. I also bought the love of my life whilst in paraguay, a Mangore concert guitar. Worth every penny and now I must play 2 hours a day minimum. A great teacher, great site and I can vouch for Renato, his family, Asuncion and Paraguay as a great place to visit. Subscribe, buy a guitar and go there - it's worth it. John Burton, Ireland.

I was first drawn to Renato's website because of the logical way that he analyses the music, in particular, I found that most of the fingering immediately felt right and made sense. By spending 2 weeks with Renato in Paraguay I have, first hand, experienced his superior teaching skills and willingness to share his vast knowledge of guitar playing at the virtuoso level. He helps one learn to teach oneself, rather than imposing a particular structure that one has to follow. Ulf Osterberg, Sweden.

Renato: I have just arrived to Seattle where I gave a concert yesterday. The lessons were of a high value for me and I thank you for shedding light to my knowledge and technique with your wise advice. It was an unforgettable week. A big hug for you, Belén and the children. Your friends, Alfredo and Rosemarie Alfredo, USA.

Sunset San Bernardino, May 1 2014

Sunset at San Bernardino, Paraguay

Renato: After seven years of classical guitar, my practice was becoming mundane and tedious. I decided to visit Renato in the hope that he could rekindle my passion for this beautiful instrument. The first five minutes of our first lesson convinced me that I made the right decision.

Renato did not treat me as an ignorant student, but as a fellow musician with whom he wanted to share all the things that he has learned. His enthusiasm was contagious and made each session a lot of fun! 

One of my concerns was that I was not making good progress, in spite of long hours of practice every day. There was some kind of barrier that prevented me from going forward. After carefully observing my playing, Renato gave me some very specific suggestions for overcoming my problem.

He explained how to reduce stress in the left hand  and how to increase the range of motion by pivoting at the wrist. He also talked about the critical role that the right hand has in preventing errors in playing. And he showed me a right hand fingering technique that is deliberately ignored by most Western teachers. Renato gave me practical advice which will no doubt vastly improve the way I play.

My visit also gave me the opportunity to see and play many of Renato’s excellent guitars. He is very meticulous about maintaining the highest standards of craftsmanship, and is not afraid to take advantage of new developments such as double tops, lattice bracing, and acoustic ports.

It was also very helpful to experience playing different scale lengths. The standard 650 mm scale is no longer the only choice. Renato’s guitars have a beautiful rich tone coming straight off the bench. I can only imagine how great they will sound when they open up. 

Thanks again for your help. If any of your students are considering a trip to Paraguay, I’ll be happy to exchange e-mails with them.

Andreas, USA.

Sunset at San Bernardino, Paraguay

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