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Guitar • Bass • Ukulele Tuition

at Waltons New School of Music

‘The guitar is a small orchestra. It is polyphonic. Every string is a different colour, a different voice.’
– Andrés Segovia

‘If you’re going to sweep the floor, sweep it better than anybody in town. And if you’re going to play the guitar, really, really, really get into it, and don’t be jivin’.’
– Carlos Santana

‘Sometimes I can’t think of a better way to end my day than coming home and just strumming my ukulele for a few minutes. I mean, I joke around and tell people that it’s an entire yoga session in one strum, you know?’
– Jake Shimabukuro

Tuition Offered

Instruments Taught

Guitar Bass UkuleleWe offer tuition for beginner, intermediate and advanced students in:

  • Acoustic Guitar (various styles)
  • Blues Guitar (acoustic & electric)
  • Classical Guitar
  • Electric Guitar (various styles)
  • Flamenco Guitar
  • Irish Traditional Guitar
  • Jazz Guitar
  • Bass Guitar • Electric Bass (various styles)
  • Jazz Bass
  • Ukulele

Guitar and bass tuition can also include preparation for music grade exams from preliminary to performance or teaching diploma level (see below for exam syllabi), as well as Junior Cert. Music and Leaving Cert. Music practicals, and it counts as the ‘personal skill’ challenge area for Gaisce – The President’s Award. Electric guitar and bass tuition can also include instruction in effects and technology. All of our guitar, bass and ukulele teachers are also active performers, both live and recorded.

Tuition Options

Our options for guitar, bass and ukulele tuition include:

  • Weekly private (one-to-one) lessons, 30, 45 or 60 minutes in length.
  • Group lessons, designed for students at the same level of proficiency who enrol together, and available as 30- 45- or 60-minute ‘partner’ lessons, as well as 60-minute lessons for 3 or 4 students.
  • Single 1- or 2-hour Intensive Lessons.
  • Four group courses for beginners, Introducing Guitar for Adults, Introducing Guitar for Teens, Introducing Guitar for Children and Introducing Ukulele (see following tab).

See Tuition Options for more information on private, partner and small group lessons, and Enrolment • Fees for tuition fees and enrolment forms.

Group Courses for Beginners

Introducing Guitar for TeensWe offer four popular foundation courses for absolute beginners (as well as a summer version of Guitar for Adults):

‘I would highly recommend the [Guitar for Adults] 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

‘An excellent music course for children. I’m delighted at the progress [my daughter] has made – as is she!’ [Guitar for Children]
– S. Murphy

‘A great introduction to guitar and will be something I’ll continue into the future.’  [Guitar for Teens]
– J. Keating

‘Really enjoyed the [Ukulele] course and am amazed at how much I learned in ten weeks!’
– N. McDonnell

Intermediate Courses

Electric Blues Guitar BasicsOur four ‘Basics’ courses for guitar provide extensive introductions to the styles for players with some previous experience:

‘I learned more from this 10-week course than from trying to teach myself acoustic blues for over 10 years!’ [Acoustic Blues Guitar]
– D. Farrelly

‘A great course – lots of information and great fun.’ [Electric Blues Guitar]
– N. Brennan

‘Fantastic course for anyone interested in this beautiful instrument.’ [Flamenco Guitar]
– R. McKenna

‘After each session I left with a smile on my face because I’d learned something new. Thank you very much and see you for another course.’ [Trad Guitar]
– M. Pardelinha

Other Courses

Songwriting WorkshopBeginning guitar and bass students should also consider taking Music Fundamentals, designed to supplement private tuition with the basics of music theory.

Our Jazz Blues Ensemble Workshop is an excellent introduction to blues and jazz ensemble playing and improvisation for those new to the forms.

Introducing Music Technology is a practical, hands-on course designed to teach absolute beginners how a PC and inexpensive home studio technology can be used to record and produce virtually anything at home.

Our Songwriting Workshop will help you to develop your creative ideas – in any musical style – and turn them into finished songs.

Ensembles • Sessions

Jazz EnsemblesGuitar and bass students may be interested in joining one of our Jazz Ensembles.

Guitar students may be interested in our Trad Slow Sessions, open to both New School and external students/players and taking place monthly on Friday evenings.

Guitar • Bass • Ukulele Faculty

  • Michael Behan • acoustic / classical / electric / jazz guitar
  • John Clarke • acoustic guitar, Introducing Guitar for Adults
  • Miguel Ángel Lejarza • classical / flamenco guitar, Flamenco Guitar Basics
  • Graham McCartin • acoustic / electric guitar
  • Michael McInerney • acoustic guitar, Acoustic Blues Guitar Basics
  • David Mooney • bass guitar, jazz bass, acoustic / electric guitar
  • Eoin Mulvany • classical guitar
  • Gary Norman • acoustic / electric guitar, bass guitar, ukulele, Introducing Guitar for Adults,
    Introducing Guitar for Children, Introducing Ukulele, Electric Blues Guitar Basics
  • John Sweeney • acoustic / electric / traditional guitar, Introducing Guitar for Adults,
    Introducing Guitar for Teens, Trad Guitar Basics
  • Brian Tavey • classical / acoustic / electric guitar

New School Stage System

Guitar, bass and ukulele tuition at the New School is designed to work within our Stage System, a comprehensive methodology for assessing student progress, from absolute beginner to a professional qualification (diploma).

New School Stages, ten in all, are roughly equivalent to the ‘grades’ of graded music exams offered by widely recognised exam boards (ABRSM, RIAM, Trinity Guildhall, Rockschool, etc.) and progress from beginner to performing or teaching diploma level. Stages and their grade equivalents are:

  • Stage 1 (1 term of lessons or an Introducing group course for beginners, equivalent to Preliminary Grade)
  • Stage 2 (1 year of lessons, equivalent to Grade 1)
  • Stage 3 (equivalent to Grade 2 or an intermediate group course)
  • Stage 4 (equivalent to Grade 3)
  • Stage 5 (equivalent to Grade 4)
  • Stage 6 (equivalent to Grade 5)
  • Stage 7 (equivalent to Grade 6)
  • Stage 8 (equivalent to Grade 7)
  • Stage 9 (equivalent to Grade 8)
  • Stage 10 (equivalent to a Performing or Teaching Diploma)

Students who successfully complete a stage can be issued with a certificate of completion. Please let the school office know if you would like this certificate.

See About Our Stage System for more information.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for private, partner and small group lessons are listed in the Enrolment • Fees section of our website and depend on the length of lessons as well as the duration (number of terms) of enrolment:

Group course fees are listed on individual group course pages.

Enrolment • Booking

Enrolment for guitar, bass and ukulele tuition at Waltons New School of Music requires a completed enrolment form and, except for those students using payment plans, full payment of tuition fees.

Intensive Lesson booking requires a completed booking form and deposit.

Private, Partner and Small Group Lessons • Ensembles


Group Courses for Adults • Teens


Introducing Guitar for Children


Intensive Lessons


Gift Certificates


Your Feedback

Have you studied – or are you studying – guitar, bass or ukulele at the New School? We would appreciate it if you could take a few moments to give us your feedback in a brief online questionnaire about your experience here.


Other Information

Martin A. Walton Memorial Scholarships

Scholarships • PrizesTaking place in late May / early June each year, the New School’s annual Martin A. Walton Memorial Scholarship Competition awards full-year tuition scholarships in three categories:

  • Young Student of the Year (students aged 18 and under)
  • Mature Student of the Year (students aged 19 and over)
  • Most Promising Beginner (students who began studying their chosen instruments within the same academic year)

New School Ensemble Prize

This prize is awarded for the best performance in our scholarship competition by an instrumental, vocal or mixed ensemble made up of two or more students, as well as for progress over the school year.

New School Songwriting • Composition Prize

This prize is awarded for the most creative original composition or song for solo instrument, voice or ensemble, performed by the composer or songwriter alone or with ensemble for our scholarship competition.

See Scholarships • Prizes for more information.

Friday Casual Concerts

Our Friday Casual Concerts are a great opportunity for students of all instruments (and all musical styles) to play in public, in a relaxed and supportive setting, before friends, family and other students. These brief concerts, which take place once a month on Friday evenings at 7 pm in the school, allow individual students and ensembles to perform in public, show off their skills and learn how to cope with nerves. They are also highly recommended for students preparing for grade exams.

End-of-Year Concert

End-of-Year Student ConcertOur End-of-Year Student Concert takes place in the National Concert Hall’s John Field Room each June and showcases some of our best students and ensembles, of all ages and in all musical styles, as well as scholarship and prize winners in our Scholarship Competition. Performers are selected by their teachers and the school administration.

See School Concerts for more information.

Student Benefits

Currently-enrolled students (and parents of students) at the New School are entitled to several useful benefits, including:

See Student Benefits for more information.

Outreach Programme

Our Outreach Programme offers a range of curricular and extra-curricular music courses that take place in primary schools, post-primary schools and youth centres. We offer Guitar and Ukulele courses for absolute beginners as part of the programme. See Outreach Programme for more information.

Music at Work Programme

Music at Work is a unique programme that provides convenient and affordable music courses in Dublin-area workplaces. We offer Guitar and Ukulele courses for absolute beginners as part of the programme. See Music at Work Programme for more information.

Guitar • Bass • Ukulele Tuition FAQs

I'm a beginner. What should I look for in buying a guitar, bass or ukulele?

There is no ‘right’ answer to this question, and choosing the best guitar or bass for you or your child will depend on several factors, including the type of music you or your child is interested in learning/playing and age.


Generally speaking, folk, traditional, song accompaniment, acoustic blues, etc. are usually played on a steel-string acoustic guitar. This is the type of guitar we recommend for students in our Introducing Guitar for Adults and Introducing Guitar for Teens courses, and we can also provide guitars as part of Course + Instrument Packages for both. Rock, metal, blues, alternative, etc. are usually played on an electric guitar. And classical, Spanish/flamenco and sometimes folk and traditional are usually played on a nylon-string ‘classical’ or ‘Spanish’ guitar. Partial size nylon-string guitars are generally the easiest for younger players, and this is the type of guitar we recommend for students in our Introducing Guitar for Children course.


The two most common bass types are precision and jazz, and the two main difference between them are their necks and pickups. Precision bass necks have a fairly consistent thickness, and closer to the nut (the small piece of hard material under the strings, near the headstock) they taper in slightly. Jazz bass necks are thinner and are more noticeably tapered towards the nut, making them easier to play for beginners and younger students. Precision basses generally have a split-coil pickup that produces a more defined and ‘solid’ bass sound. Jazz basses have dual humbucking pickups that produce a ‘cleaner’ sound and give players a wider variety of tonal possibilities.


Sometimes thought of as little more than a toy in the past, the ukulele is now used by musicians and bands the world over – and ukuleles are now available for everyone from beginners to professionals. The main considerations when choosing a ukulele are size and quality. Ukuleles come in four standard sizes: soprano, concert, tenor and baritone. Soprano and concert ukuleles are the most popular and the sizes that most people associate the ukulele with. Regarding quality, as a general rule, try to buy the best ukulele you can comfortably afford. There are countless ‘cheap’ ukuleles available, but the vast majority are little more than toys. Start instead with a reasonably priced ‘budget’ uke, which will offer the best balance of quality and affordability.

Do I need my own guitar, bass or ukulele?

Yes. You will need your own instrument both for the lessons/course you are taking and for practice at home. However, it is possible to use a school instrument for the first lesson/class so that you can get advice from the teacher on choosing the best instrument for you. Let us know before your first lesson if you would like to do this. Although all students should bring their own instruments to lessons/classes, electric guitar and bass students do not need to bring their own amplifiers.

What is the best age for a child to start lessons?

Six years old is usually the youngest age that we start students on guitar. Guitar is very physically challenging for students younger than this. When to start lessons depends on things like coordination and attention span – and sometimes hand size. It is best for children to start off with a 1/2- or 3/4-size nylon-string guitar. Nylon-string guitars make it much easier for children to ‘fret’ notes without the strings hurting their fingers. Young beginners can start with private (one-to-one) lessons at the school, or take our Introducing Guitar for Children group course. Because the ukulele such a small and lightweight instrument, it is easy for younger children to learn. As with guitar, coordination and attention span are two factors to consider.

Am I too old?

No! We have successfully taught guitar, bass and ukulele to hundreds of mature students, of all ages. No one is too old to make music. Adults can start either with 30-minute private (one-to-one) lessons or two of our popular group course for absolute beginners, Introducing Guitar for Adults and Introducing Ukulele.

Both of my children want to learn. Can they take lessons together?

Yes. They can take ‘partner’ guitar or ukulele lessons, as long as they start at the same level. Partner lessons are an enjoyable and satisfying way to explore music together. Ideally, the children will benefit from mutual observation and motivate each other to improve – and the enjoyment will go well beyond the lessons as they practise and progress together.

What skill levels do you teach?

We teach students from complete beginners to advanced, up to and including diploma level for guitar and bass. All of our teachers take beginning and intermediate level students, and each of them has specific strengths for advanced guitar lessons and courses, including classical, jazz, rock/metal, blues, fingerstyle, Irish traditional and flamenco.

Can you prepare me/my child for grade or practical examinations?

Although we don’t require students to take grade examinations, tuition can certainly include preparation for grade exams in guitar or bass with a range of exam boards, including the Associated Board, London College of Music, Rockschool, Royal Irish Academy of Music and Trinity College London. Our teachers can also prepare students for Junior Cert. Music and Leaving Cert. Music practical exams.

What's the point of lessons, when I can use a book or YouTube videos?

A teacher can observe your technique and progress in real-time and give you immediate feedback, specifically tailored to your needs and goals. You will be reassured by getting reinforcement for things you do well and constructive advice for areas that need improvement. Questions and difficulties can be dealt with as they arise, so you do not develop bad habits that will later be hard to correct. While there are many materials and aids available to help you ‘teach yourself’, determining where to begin and what path to follow is not so simple. A good teacher evaluate your skill level and provide sound guidance to keep you on track and focused on topics most appropriate for your development and personal objectives.

What about tabs vs. music notation?

Beginners learning guitar, having discovered tabs, frequently ask whether there is any point in learning standard musical notation as well. The answer really depends on what you want to do in terms of playing guitar.

Tabs (or tablature, to use the full term) are easy to learn and can be a great help in learning to play your favourite song or piece of music. However, it is also important to realise that they are limited – all they do is show you which frets to finger and in which order. They cannot show you time or key signatures or note length, which means that unless you already know the piece of music you intend to play, you will have no idea what it should sound like. You can’t learn an unfamiliar piece of music from tabs alone.

If you learn to read music, on the other hand, the time will come when there will be nothing you can’t play and no one you can’t play with. All you will need is the music, widely available in music shops and online.

What kind of pick do I need?

Picks (or plectrums) come in many sizes, although they tend to be a fairly uniform shape. The key question is their thickness, which varies from almost paper thin to rigidly thick, and the material they are made from. Both qualities change the sound the guitar produces when played with a pick. The best advice for a beginner guitar player is to buy a packet of assorted sizes/thicknesses and find out how each one affects your playing and the sounds your guitar makes. You will quickly find that you have one or two favourites that you nearly always use.

My strings buzz when I play. What can I do about this?

This could be due to one of two things. The first and most likely situation is that you are not pushing down on the strings with the correct amount of force or are pressing them in the wrong place. Make sure you place your finger as close to the fret as possible (nearer the bridge) and also with enough pressure. If your strings still buzz then it could be due to incorrect setting of the guitar (truss rod, bridge, nut height, etc.) You may need to take it in to Waltons or another music shop to have a specialist look at it.

Guitar • Bass • Ukulele Tuition
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