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Guitar - Introduction

Instructor:   Murray Fitch

Guitar - Introduction

Instructor:   Murray Fitch

Course Description:

Level: 1  (see Playing Experience Level descriptions at the bottom of the page)

Shhhh! Did you know that learning to play guitar at a basic level is actually pretty easy? And that with a few simple chords you can play tens of thousands of songs?

This course is for those with little or no experience playing the guitar who want to learn the basics while having fun!  Along the way, we’ll address some key questions of many beginning players. Am I too old/young/tall/short to learn to play the guitar? (No). Do I have enough talent to learn to play the guitar? (Yes). Will my fingers ever behave themselves and make an F chord? (Yes). Will I learn to play like Eric Clapton in this course? (No, but you’ll have fun anyway).

You’ll learn some essential first position chords in several keys, and you’ll walk away with materials on additional chords and an understanding of how they’re used. We’ll work on strumming tone and rhythm. We’ll talk about guitar gear and how to use it, including picks, tuners and capos (the almost-like-cheating device that even your mother would approve of).

We’ll learn some tunes to play with your new chords. Lastly, we’ll talk about next steps: how to participate in jams with your new guitar skills, how to build those skills further, and how to apply your new knowledge to all those songs you’ll be looking up on the internet.

Murray Fitch

Murray started his music career with the accordion at age 6…and quit after a few months because of a tragic ignorance of zydeco music. He then took piano lessons for several years, but eventually quit because of a tragic ignorance of honky-tonk. Murray has been playing guitar since his mid-teens, and has never quit because guitars are awesome. Although the guitar remains his primary instrument, in the past few years he has added banjo, mandolin and ukulele to his repertoire, and has been known to pretend to play bass guitar. Murray has also recently started songwriting, and in 2017 placed first in the “Untapped” category of the Ship and Anchor songwriting competition. He also hosts a monthly song circle at the Gravity Café in Calgary. Murray has been a devoted FAMI attendee for many years.

Playing Experience Levels

These guidelines aim to ensure that all camp participants have an enjoyable experience. They represent what your playing capability should be before you take the class (prerequisites).

Classes are generally designed to pace themselves to match the participants' abilities. Level 1 classes aim to proceed at the pace of the slower students in the class. Level 2 and 3 classes aim to move at the pace of the majority of students in the class. Level 4 classes are designed to push the capabilities of all students and will target the pace of the more capable students  Class descriptions that show a range (Levels 2-3) means the material presented is broadly applicable across that range.

LEVEL 1: You are new or relatively new to your instrument. You may be able to play basic chords or scales slowly. You want to learn the basics of the instrument. You have very little experience playing with others.

LEVEL 2: You are competent with basic chords and/or basic scales. You can keep rhythm and/or play basic melodies and/or sing and play at the same time if the song is familiar. You generally need the chords or melody to be written out in order to play along. You have some experience playing with others.

LEVEL 3: You are reasonably comfortable with most chords, basic major and minor scales, and can play at an appropriate tempo for songs. You are aware of time signatures, song keys, and know that there are chords called 6th, 7th, 11th, etc even if you can’t play them all. You are comfortable maintaining good rhythm and are willing to taking breaks while jamming with others, even if the breaks don't always turn out the way you planned. You may be hoping to take your playing up to the next level of performing with a group or band (beyond jamming) and you want to further improve your technique and speed.

LEVEL 4: You are skilled on your instrument and have a good understanding of musical concepts including scales, arrangements, harmonies and some improvisation. You play lead and back-up with a steady rhythm and can play skillfully with others. You know there is life further up the neck on your instrument and have some capability in that world. You have performing experience, can hold a tune, and can harmonize.