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Introducing Guitar for Adults

A Group Course for Beginners

Next classes start 29 April – 4 May 2019.

‘You’re always learning about this thing every time you pick it up.’
– Keith Richards

‘As an absolute beginner, I did not expect to learn so much in such a short time. Excellent tuition, and the course was fun as well as rewarding. Thanks and well done!’
– D. Mullins

Click on the tabs for information.

Course Description

Introducing Guitar for AdultsDesigned for absolute beginners and one of the Waltons New School of Music’s most popular courses, Introducing Guitar for Adults offers a comprehensive and enjoyable introduction to the guitar and what it can do. Students begin with basic left- and right-hand technique, and classes then progress through a varied and interesting repertoire – including folk, pop and rock songs – while students develop their skills. This course has given hundreds of adult beginners an impressive grasp of guitar fundamentals.

Course participants will need to have either steel-string acoustic guitars or nylon-string ‘classical’ guitars to bring to class and practice with at home.

This course covers Stage 1 of the New School’s ten-stage system of student progress and assessment, which culminates in a teaching or performing qualification (Stage 10) should the student progress that far. Participants who successfully complete the course can be issued with a certificate of completion of Stage 1. If you are taking the course, please let the school office know if you would like this certificate. See About Our Stage System for more information.

Have you enrolled in this course?
Download our Introductory Handout
for tips on how to get the most from it.

See Summer Introducing Guitar for Adults
for the summer version of this course.

Introducing Guitar for Adults is one of the New School’s group courses. We also offer private guitar lessons in a range of genres for students of all ages and skill levels. See Guitar • Bass • Ukulele Tuition for more information.

Techniques Covered

A video demonstration of some techniques covered in the course:

John Clarke

John ClarkeJohn has been playing and teaching music for over thirty years. His interests and skills are wide-ranging – including classical, jazz, folk and contemporary music – and he plays and teaches everything from Bach to the Beatles, and Eric Clapton to Radiohead. In addition to his guitar teaching, he has overseen and coordinated several CD album projects for which students have written, recorded and performed their own original compositions, and he has worked as artist-in-residence in several primary schools, where he taught songwriting skills. John has worked extensively as a musician both in Ireland and abroad, supporting such well-known acts as Honor Heffernan and Jimmy McCarthy, He is also a songwriter – his work has been broadcast widely on RTÉ radio and many local stations around the country – and he has written and produced two albums of music and poetry for the Dundalk poet Patrick Boyle. John has worked in education all his life and holds a BA (Hons) degree as well as a Higher Diploma in Education (PDE). In 2013, he completed a Masters in Theatre Studies at Dublin City University. In addition to teaching at the New School since 2013, John also teaches outreach guitar and songwriting classes for our Outreach Programme and Music at Work Programme.

Gary Norman

Gary NormanGary started to learn the guitar as a young child and soon began to explore bass guitar and ukulele as well. He began playing live with bands and vocalists in his early teenage years, enjoying everything from pub residencies to Aviva Stadium events, and playing a wide range of genres and guitar styles, including rock, pop, folk, metal, reggae, blues and jazz. Alongside cover gigs, Gary began writing his own music, and he was a finalist in RTÉ 2FM’s New Irish Music competition while still in secondary school; since then he has worked on a number of national and international projects. Writing and recording music developed Gary’s early interest in production, and he pursued this by studying at Ballyfermot College of Further Education, where he earned a diploma in music technology while working as a live sound engineer and recording EPs for local acts. He went on to study Music and English at University College Dublin, where he received a BA with First Class Honours. As well taking numerous advanced modules in tonality and musicianship during his time in college, he also studied Non-Western music and joined the National Concert Hall Gamelan Ensemble, with which he has performed at Electric Picnic, the National Concert Hall and Leeds University. Gary is an experienced teacher of guitar, bass and ukulele, both privately and in groups; he has also taught Leaving Cert. Music and run workshops with a number of music schools. In addition to this course, he teaches our Introducing Guitar for Children and Introducing Ukulele courses, as well as outreach guitar and ukulele classes for our Outreach Programme and Music at Work Programme.

John Sweeney

John SweeneyJohn comes from a musical family and has been studying, playing and teaching guitar, as well as bodhrán, tin whistle and a range of Irish traditional instruments, for over thirty years. He works in many different styles, including blues, rock, jazz, traditional and flamenco, and he has performed and recorded with a number of Irish groups, gigging extensively throughout Ireland, Canada, the UK, the US and Spain. He began teaching in 1988 at the Scarborough School of Guitar in Toronto, Canada, where he also studied composition and flatpick technique. He has also studied flamenco guitar with Miguel Escudero Lopez in Seville, Spain and traditional music at St. Enda’s Folk Park & Museum, and he continues to develop techniques in a range of guitar styles. John was the only guitar player selected by the renowned vocal innovator and improviser Bobby McFerrin to perform with him in the National Concert Hall for Bobby McFerrin Meets Ireland (2013), a unique collaboration for the Waltons World Masters Series between Bobby and a small, select group of Irish performers – chosen to represent the creativity, tradition and spirit of Ireland and selected through an Ireland-wide audition process. He has taught at the New School since 2003 and also teaches our Introducing Guitar for Teens, Introducing Bodhrán and Trad Guitar Basics courses, as well as guitar and bodhrán courses for our Outreach Programme.


‘I was trying to play guitar for a year, but YouTube didn’t help. With this course, now I can play and understand what’s going on.’
– Z. Alhawashim

‘Would highly recommend this course to anyone starting out on the guitar.’
– N. Clarke

‘I have been trying to play guitar for years. After a ten-week course I really feel I have some chance now!’
– G. Collie

‘Anyone can learn the guitar. All you need is a willingness to learn and a professional teacher from Waltons New School of Music.’
– S. Collins

‘Great way to get started with the guitar! [I have] a very thorough and patient instructor, with good choice of content for the classes. I have found that my playing has improved greatly.’
– T. Elomari

‘I was nervous learning an instrument like the guitar for the first time as an adult, but our teacher made us all feel at ease and the pace of the lessons suited our learning development. I can’t wait to come back!’
– D. Ffrench

‘I tried learning guitar on my own over the years and then didn’t pick up the guitar for two years. This class has been perfect for me, with encouraging, good-humoured teaching. I’m enjoying learning!’
– S. Gavin

‘Well taught, very entertaining, great music, nice friendly group.’
– M. Goggins

‘Each class brings me closer to a possible dream realised.’
– M. Kerrigan

‘I tried learning online and got nowhere. Already, after the course, I can play a few songs. Will definitely recommend it.’
– M. Kumar

‘I found the course very enjoyable and very much looked forward to my hour class every week. My teacher created a very relaxed and fun learning environment and managed to include enough variation for me to have a good understanding of guitar playing. Will be continuing classes in the next term.’
– C. McCauley

‘I would highly recommend the course to anyone who always wanted to learn the guitar, especially those who think they are “too late” or are afraid of the instrument.’
– J. McNally

‘I have thoroughly enjoyed the course and would recommend it to anyone.’
– E. Mernagh

‘I never thought I would be able to read chords and actually play something in such a short time.’
– K. Mifsud

‘A comprehensive introduction to the instrument.’
– E. Ó Caollaí

‘Brilliant teacher. Really enjoyed the course!’
– D. O’Connor

‘I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of learning and developing a new skill. This was further enhanced by the enthusiasm, motivation and continual encouragement and support of the teacher.’
– M. O’Reilly

‘Great interaction between the teacher and each individual student. Great fun too!’
– B. Rahman

‘The relaxed atmosphere made the course really enjoyable, which made the lessons a lot easier and helped me to progress quicker than I ever expected.’
– G. Treacy

‘Great, knowledgeable teacher. This beginner guitar class helped me go from not knowing one end of a guitar from the other to actually being able to play a song!’
– A. Veale

‘The tuition is first rate…fantastic tutor, with excellent ability in both playing and teaching.’
– G. White

Have you taken – or are you taking – this course? We would appreciate it if you could take a few moments to give us your feedback in a brief online questionnaire about it.


2018-2019 Third Term Class Schedules & Fees

CLASS 1 (John Sweeney)
8 weeks, 29 April – 1 July 2019
(No classes on 6 May & 3 June bank holidays)
Mondays 6.30 – 7.30 pm

CLASS 2 (John Sweeney)
9 weeks, 30 April – 25 June 2019
Tuesdays 7.30 – 8.30 pm

Class 3 (Gary Norman)
9 weeks, 1 May – 26 June 2019
Wednesdays 8 – 9 pm

Class 4 (John Clarke)
9 weeks, 2 May – 27 June 2019
Thursdays 7 – 8 pm

CLASS 5 (John Sweeney)
9 weeks, 4 May – 29 June 2019
Saturdays 1.30 – 2.30 pm

Tuition Fee (Monday class): €160
Tuition Fee (all other classes): €180

See Summer Introducing Guitar for Adults
for the summer version of this course,
taking place in July 2019.


Enrolment for this course requires a completed Enrolment Form and full payment of the course fee. Places in each class are limited to eight, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date of enrolment. A number of our group courses fill in advance of their start dates, and early enrolment is recommended.


Purchasing this course as a gift?
Please complete a Gift Certificate Booking Form.


Questions about the course?


What happens after the course?

Two weeks before the end of each Introducing course, participating students will be given options for continuing their tuition at the school if they’d like to do so. Although a continuation ‘Improvers’ course cannot generally be scheduled on the same day/time as the Introducing course, one can be arranged if enough students would like to continue and the teacher has timetable availability. Students can also continue their tuition with private (one-to-one) lessons or ‘partner’ lessons with another class member (see Tuition Options – Private • Partner • Small Group Lessons). We are happy to discuss these options with you.

Introducing Guitar for Adults
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