'Learn a song slowly, gradually build up speed, and practice like the devil.'
– Doc Watson
Schedule & Fee
What is ‘fingerstyle guitar’? Theoretically ‘fingerstyle’ can be used to describe any style of guitar playing that uses the fingers to pluck the strings, rather than using a plectrum. As such, it can be said to encompass every style of music in which the guitar is used. However the term ‘fingerstyle guitar’, has in more recent years been used to describe a distinct guitar style centred around the steel string acoustic guitar.
The Fingerstyle Guitar Basics course aims to introduce students to some of the fundamentals of fingerstyle guitar playing, including:
Right hand technique. Positions, patterns and exercises; classical and folk variations.
Styles and techniques. Alternating bass (the ‘granddaddy’ of all fingerstyle guitar styles), monotonic bass, arpeggios and strumming styles.
Creative practise strategies. Making use of what you already know in new ways; getting away from the open position and using the whole guitar from a ‘compositional’ perspective.
The masters. When possible students will have opportunities to play ‘off the record’, learning directly from the source.
Alternate tunings. From the basic ‘open’ and ‘drop’ tunings through to ‘anything goes so long as it sounds good’.
Players. We’ll listen to music by some of the most influential players in the genre.
Songs. There is a large repertoire of songs that can only be played fingerstyle, from classics such as 'Blackbird', 'Scarborough Fair', and 'Going to California' to modern gems such as 'More Than Words' and 'Heartbeats'. Students will get a chance to learn some of these songs and see how they’re performed. (This list is by no means exhaustive. Songs to study will be chosen at the discretion of the teacher depending on the level of the class, although individual tablatures may be available upon request.)
Instrumentals. Selections from blues, folk, ragtime, classical and more modern fingerstyle pieces to illustrate the application of specific techniques and indicate the range and breadth of styles available.
Although this course is an introduction to fingerstyle guitar, it is not a course for guitar beginners. (Go to Introducing Guitar for Adults or Introducing Guitar for Teens for information on our beginners courses.) Participants in Fingerstyle Guitar should have at least one year’s playing experience, must be able to read guitar tablature (see the tablature parts in these examples) and have a good grasp of basic open-position chords as well as standard barre chord fingerings. Changing from one chord to another should not be a problem. To gain the maximum benefit from the course, a steel string acoustic guitar is recommended, although nylon string or classical type guitars can also be used. Please note, however, that although some classical techniques are taught, this is not a course in classical guitar.
Fingerstyle Guitar Basics is one of our group courses. Private, partner, group and intensive lessons in fingerstyle guitar and other guitar styles are also available. Go to Departments & Faculty - Guitar & Bass for more information.
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Michael McInerney, Teacher
'A very, very knowledgeable teacher who clearly explains each technique. I learned so much from this class.'
– D. Murray
Michael began playing the guitar in his late teens, initially as a way of trying to make sense of the musical jargon that confounded him as he tried to teach himself the harmonica, his first instrument. It didn’t work. And so, for the next 18 years or so he meandered from one style to the next in search of that ever elusive piece by which he could finally say, ‘Now I can really play!’ The search continues. In the meantime he has, at one time or another, played blues, jazz, flamenco, slide-guitar, Irish traditional, some classical and a little ragtime – though his main interests remain blues, slide and fingerstyle guitar. He also has a keen interest in the use of alternate tunings and has built up a large resource on the subject. Although he sees himself as primarily an acoustic player, he also plays electric and is equally at home with pick or fingers. His experiences trying to figure out what was going on either from books or recordings has given him an insight into the difficulties faced by anyone trying to learn the guitar, and he remains committed to the idea that in order to teach you must first know what it’s like not to know. As a result, his guitar courses are the some of the most popular and successful in the history of the New School. Michael has written and performed solo guitar music for theatre and film and performed as a flamenco guitarist; he can also be heard with his band Master Blaster. He holds an LGSM (P), DipJazz from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, a BA in English and Philosophy from NUI Maynooth, and a Diploma in Drama Studies and an MA in Modern Drama from UCD.
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2013-2014 First Term Schedule & Fee
Schedule to be confirmed.
Tuition Fee: €170
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Enrolment for this course requires a completed enrolment form and full payment of tuition fees. (Go to Enrolment & Booking Form Downloads for a 2013-2014 General Enrolment Form.) Places are available on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date of enrolment. Early enrolment is recommended, as places are limited to eight.
Purchasing this course as a gift? Go to Enrolment & Booking Form Downloads for a Gift Certificate Booking Form.
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