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Guitar - Introduction

Instructor:   Sheri Brake

Guitar - Introduction

Instructor:   Sheri Brake

Course Description:

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

This course is designed for those with little or no experience playing the guitar who want to learn the basics. Fun, laughter, and an unapologetic beginner mindset (we’ll take our time and we’ll figure it out) are welcome here!

Throughout this course we’ll focus on laying a solid skill foundation that you can use right away or continue to build on as your guitar skills progress. We’ll work on learning basic first position chords, exploring several keys, changing chords evenly, and strumming consistently while working on tone and rhythm. We’ll even explore the fret board a bit!

We’ll learn some tunes that you can play with just a few chords to enjoy on your own or with friends. We’ll talk about the most important things to consider when playing with others and how you can participate in a jam with just a few chords. We’ll also discuss the proper use of basic guitar gear including guitar straps, tuners, picks, and capos.

Sheri Brake

Sheri has been a lifelong musician, studying piano and voice from a very young age She believes in the power of music to inspire, uplift and bring people together.  She first picked up the guitar in her 20s and has dabbled ever since.  She has been a devoted FAMI attendee since 1998, served on the FAMI Board, and is a returning instructor 

Musically, Sheri has participated in Calgary-based chamber choirs and has performed publicly on a regular basis with several Calgary based folk music bands.  In addition to guitar, Sheri plays mandolin and loves to sing.  In her non-musical time, Sheri tries to get her twin girls to sing on key and works as a business consultant, regularly leading workshops and teaching others.

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.