Villa-Lobos Guitar Lessons

Villa-Lobos Guitar Lessons – welcome to the only place on the web to learn all the amazing works Heitor Villa-Lobos left behind. I will help you step through each etude, or prelude, you wish to learn; and go even further, by pushing you to learn all 12 IN 1 YEAR!

Why should I learn Villa-Lobos?

This music is some of the most challenging in the classical guitar repertoire. But also the most beautiful. I can’t – not – play Prelude 3, 1 or 5. Etude 1 is amazing, but have you heard the lush harmony of etude 10; or seen the improvement of your tremolo technique from etude 11. The preludes are pieces that all guitarists should have played through at least once. The 12 etudes really should be an everyday affair, at least some of them. These will also introduce you to Villa-Lobos’ musical language. A lot of the ideas contained in the etudes, surface in the preludes, the choros, and his concerto. This gives you an extra bit of insight into the landscape each piece was formed from.

Structure to Villa-Lobos Guitar Lessons – 12 etudes

These Villa-Lobos guitar lessons are finely structured around micro studies, you will help you learn each section of the piece fully. But more than that, you will understand why you are learning it. This ‘small chunk’ way of learning will improve your technique, and understanding of it. It will. Mine did, and so has every other guitarists that have taken to learning these etudes like this. You only play the bits you need to. Below is an outline of all 12 etudes. It highlights which are the master studies, which are the concert pieces, and which are extras. 

A new way to learn

This approach to the 12 Etudes is probably a new way for you; but don’t just “play” through them. Think of them as equipment or tools, they will help you improve all areas of your guitar playing. You pick the right tool for the job, or the right section of music, and then break it down into micro studies to push the technique you want.

I have already done the hard work for you. Each one of these great works has been placed into a handy study guide, with a series of accompanying videos. That explain all the sections in each guide. All you need to do is grab your guitar and learn.

And I am going to show you how to do this. But don’t take my word for it. Check out the comments below. These guitarists have already done what you are about to.

Do I Play the Whole Etude?

I want to dispel a myth here. You do not need to play the entire study, unless you wish too. In fact, I am going to show you how to break up a few of them, think of them as master etudes, into smaller chunks that will push, improve, and strengthen your guitar technique.

In fact, it is possible to play etude 1 – 6 as a super study, only selecting the challenging bits, to really warm up your hands, and push your technique. So as an entry into the wonderful world of Villa-Lobos, and as a freebie to get you started, below is a link to the FREE guide for etude 1 – 6 condensed.

Etude 1 to 6 Condensed

This video will help you understand what I am doing in each section of this super-duper study. This simple act of working different parts of your technique, with music, in a structured manner, will help you make technical gains on the fretboard.

12 Etudes

Etude 6

Barre chord Study & 1st study to learn

This first study will help you learn Villa-Lobos’ musical language, it has a few of his hallmark ideas in it. It will also help you nail:

  • right-hand tone control
  • left-hand barre
  • and coordination

Grab your copy of the guide, head over to the page lesson and dive into an etude that you can use daily to improve your playing.

Etude 1

Villa-Lobos Master Study

Welcome to Etude one by Villa-Lobos, this is a master study in my system. It is the Swiss army knife for technique. It will train your:

  • barre chords
  • right-hand fine control
  • left-hand equal strength
  • and coordination.

Grab your copy of the guide, head over to the page lesson and dive into an etude that you can use daily to improve your playing.

Etude 2

Arpeggio Study

This whirlwind etude will train your:

  • left & right-hand coordination
  • accuracy for shifting
  • barre technique

It will also boost your barre chord technique. The second half of this study is all barre chords, you will have the left hand of Arnie when you are done with it. This also improves your fretboard knowledge, and begins to open up your ear to modern harmony.

Etude 3

Etude 4

Etude 5

Advanced Studies

Etude 7

Etude 8

Etude 9

Etude 10

Etude 11

Etude 12

5 Preludes

The 5 preludes are beautiful homages to Brazilian music, culture, and life. Oh! And bach! Villa-Lobos loved Bach, and his ideas. Each study guide, and its accompanying video series, will help you learn each one of in our Villa-Lobos guitar lessons. Highlighting the fingers, and hacks, you need to get the music out of the page and onto your fretboard. These are considered staples for any serious classical guitarist. Learn all five, or just one, it doesn’t matter. This music is worth the time and effort you will be spending learning it.

5 Preludes Guitar Lessons

Below is my take on the pathway through these amazing Villa-Lobos preludes. Just jump in and follow from where you feel you are.

Prelude 1

Cello melody with chords

Arguably the most performed of all the preludes, this beautiful music is a homage to Villa-Lobos’ instrument – the cello. In this lesson, you will learn:

  • right-hand fine control of the melody
  • left-hand hacks
  • how to tackle that E major section

Prelude 2

Rascal of Rio & Brazilian Rock

This prelude has a cheeky, Rascal of Rio, melody with accompaniment. This descends into a barre chord section that would not be out of place in a rock band. In this lesson, you will learn:

  • right-hand arpeggios
  • left-hand barre chord
  • how to practice that right-hand pattern

Prelude 3

Impressionistic homage to Bach & 1st prelude to learn

This prelude is beautiful! The harmony is modern, and Villa-Lobos uses the entire fretboard. It is also the first prelude to learn. In this lesson, you will learn:

  • Villa-lobos’ harmonic language
  • how to nail that 2nd section Bach pattern
  • phrasing & shaping melodies