The three volumes in the series are arranged in such a way that the difficulty level is progressively more difficult from page to page. It is appropriate for guitarists of all levels and styles. Yes: even total beginners. The result is making progress without even noticing it! It is also interesting to note that this comprehensive method is used as the basic text for the guitar program at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. It also contains several duets and solo pieces.

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Some of the material in the book was inspired and contributed by fellow guitar educator Jack Peterson. It does not train you to be a jazz or rock musician, additional work is needed.

IMO, it is best studied with a teacher, although I have known a handful of guitarists who have managed to go through the series without a teacher, but they are rare. I recommend going through the books with a teacher, whilst studying stylistically relevant material to your interests. I have found, for the average part-time student who is studying his books along with other material it takes about 15 months to go through each book. Bill made outlines that would take full-time students through all three volumes in 2 years 4 semesters.

First semester Volume 1 pages 60 to the end. Skip all the open position stuff in the front of Volume 1. Second semester, the rest of Volume 2. Third semester, most of Volume3. Fourth semester, the rest of Volume 3. He said," Well, fingering type 1 has first finger stretches and fingering type 4 has fourth finger stretches.

Fingering type 2 makes sense since it starts with the second finger. So I named all those, and I had this one fingering type left over.

I miss him so much-he had a wonderful laugh that could pick up your day no matter how bad it was going and was so kind to everyone. He had time to listen to you no matter how busy he was-I could go on and on -I have a box of letters perhaps or more from students, prisoners, soldiers etc whose lives he touched with either his music teachings or letters or private chats, thanking him for his help and kindness.

A couple of corrections on your bio-he was not in the coast guard-only the navy and he did not die from a stroke but from complications from his chemo that he was receiving for acute mylogenous leukemia. Bill Leavitt was a star even then, and playing with him was one of the high points of my life. How fortunate we were to be an active part of an era of great bands, great musicians, and incomparable composers and songwriters.

I am aware only of his career as a student and musician at the Naval Radio School in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition to his superb musicianship, Bill was a fine cartoonist and sketcher. They were taken during the summer of when Bill was a student in the 60th Division of the U. He graduated in October As far as I know, he was not in the Coast Guard.

Alas, I never saw Bill again after he graduated, although I tried to locate him a number of times. Only recently did I learn that he was studying at Berklee in Boston I always remember Bill as the best guitarist I ever played with and one of the finest persons I have ever known.

And it was no surprise to me that he went on to such an illustrious career and that he was so esteemed by so many. While still at Berklee I was told that the tumor in my left hip socket would require amputation of my left leg and hip.

Bill wrote letters of encouragement to me often, during my recovery. Bill was always very glad to have visitors. Bill is one of the "Bigger than Life" people I have known and truly cherish the fond memories I have, of talking with him.

I had applied for the teaching position at Berklee in late spring. I was seated at the music stand, warming up, and I was rehearsing this passage because I knew it was not smooth. Bill was puttering about the room, and made the observation in a seemingly off-handed manner, but that was his way of softening the message without diminishing its importance. Of course Bill was right -- to a point.

I was reminded once again how much guitar instruction is embedded in those little gems. Bill used to talk about the idea of the "pick stop.

Accelerate the pick as it moves across the strings so that it hits the melody string as full acceleration. But to avoid going to far, and hitting the next string, use the pick stop. The goal there is to ensure that the melody rings out. Bringing out the melody is a high priority for me in my chord-melody playing.


A Modern Method for Guitar - vol 1

The majo r and relative mino r key sig- natures are the same. There are 3 differen t scales in each minor key. Be sure to observe the tempo changes. Do not play them on two consecutive days. Do not go back over any particular section because of a wrong note. Do not "practice" these Reading Studies, do not play on two consecutive days. See top Page


William Leavitt (musician)




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