Alternation is as easy as walking.
“Left foot, right foot, left foot etc.”
It could also sound like the most abstract kind of nuclear physics.
“First one must start with the ‘i’ finger, which is short for the Spanish word, ‘indicio’. Once you have plucked the ‘e’ string with your ‘i’ finger, the ‘m’ finger should immediately…”
I hope that I have found something in-between that is accessible and allows for reflection upon the mechanics of the body when it is working at its best.
For the classical guitar, there are five possible fingers that we can use to pluck the string; thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger and pinky. Using the abbreviations of the fingers’ Spanish names, we get ‘PIMAC’. This is very simple, but it needs to be automatic and students need to be able to both create strings of right hand finger combinations and to interoperate combinations through teacher/peer-led commands or by reading them. The more automatic this becomes, the less of a barrier there is for the communication of technical advice (ex. “play the ‘high e’ string with i-m-i alternation to get the right musical effect).