Play Guitar With Milos, Level 2, by Milos Karadaglic
Published by Schott.
This 2nd volume follows on from the previously-reviewed edition [https://egta.co.uk/blog/reviews/milos].
In it, the format, layout and even some of the photographs are replicated. The first few pages of foreword and introduction are actually identical. Schott, being (presumably) concerned that someone will engage with Book 2 before Book 1, cover the same ground again. (Milos even re-states his love of the Meludia ear-training software.)
Book 1 left the student playing elementary two-voiced pieces and, since there had been pieces presented in different positions in book 1, this pattern continues here. As early as page 13 and Exercise 2, Milos has the left hand stretching its way across the guitar in an enjoyable, yet tricky, etude.
The personable style of prose also continues and I think this is one of the most successful aspects of the book. The reader is made to feel as if he knows Milos, as he recounts some personal stories of learning the guitar – including his fondness for computer games, counterpoint and campanella.
I thought his explanations of the difference between across-string melodic playing and several-notes-to-a-string playing was effective and perhaps Carl Herring’s influence is felt in the arrangement of a delightful Japanese piece called The Hazy Moon In Spring. This is an engaging 5th-position campanella piece but I daresay students will be challenged by the (uninvited) over-ringing bass notes just as much as they will be entranced by the campanella effects.
The same will be true of quite a few pieces in the book, including a contribution from Reginald Smith Brindle’s Guitarcosmos 1. Here, the intrinsic difficulties of planting fingers to mute lower strings, whilst at the same time playing an apoyando melody on top, need a systematic approach which Milos overlooks. How we are expected to acquire the requisite skills is anyone’s guess.
The book is interspersed with tips of merit, such as the advice to name and play the notes of a scale at the same time, but equally some suggestions teachers may dispute. For example, Jad Azkoul’s counsel to lift off the fingerboard for squeak-less moving (which EGTA members have heard explained and demonstrated) is contradicted by Milos; he advocates string contact.
There are many ‘teasers’ in this Level 2 book of Milos’s series of books and I welcomed explanations of old tablature, his ideas for making scale-playing interesting, his thoughts on tone colour and legato and his thoughts on how to prepare for performances. It’s a well-meaning book which, like his first, will stimulate and ignite the interest of people wishing to undertake guitar study.
In not offering full explanations of the arsenal of techniques a guitarist requires, yet at the same time inviting players to tackle developing repertoire, there is a real risk that students could do it badly. The well-advised student will take this book along to a teacher capable of exposing his shortcomings and being able to correct them before they become habitual. I cannot see a student without a teacher developing a facility in position playing, legato, counterpoint or slurring – by using this book alone, but as a fascinating glimpse into the dark arts Milos practises, this is an enticing taster.
The Level 2 book offers teachers scope for allied and more exhaustive explanations and systematic explorations of the classical guitar. If the object of this book is to ‘lift the lid’ then it does so successfully. Visiting the web-site https://en.schott-music.com/play-guitar-with-milos allows the student to hear Carl Herring’s beautiful playing of the Milos music, the highlight of which for me was the Razao De Ser duet, which is a real foot-tapper. Here, Milos’s health warning that “Latin music is addictive” is proven!