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Guitar - Introduction

Instructor: Greg Rumpel

Guitar - Introduction

Instructor:   Greg Rumpel

Course Description:

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

This course is intended for people who have little or no previous music background.  It will not be necessary to read music notation to participate in this course.

Open position chords will be introduced using chord diagrams and then used in progressions of chords enabling the student to provide rhythm accompaniment to basic songs.  A variety of strumming patterns will be learned in order to play popular rhythm styles.

In addition to chording, the course will introduce the technique of picking single notes.  This will be accomplished by playing exercises, the pentatonic scale and then melodies or ‘riffs’.  Tablature (TAB) will be explained and used to notate this.

Topics will include:

  • How to hold the guitar and the use of a pick
  • Tuning the guitar
  • Common open position chords in typical keys for the guitar
  • Strumming a variety of rhythms
  • Chord progressions in different keys and transposition
  • Use of the capo
  • Introduction to fingerpicking
Greg Rumpel


Greg has been playing the guitar and the accordion for many years.  He is an instructor of guitar at the MRU Conservatory and has taught there since 1998.  He graduated from the Mount Royal College Music Performance Diploma Program in 1997 with a focus on jazz guitar.  Greg has been teaching Adult Beginner Guitar Group Class’s at MRU since 2013.

As well as teaching, Greg performs regularly as a solo performer and in various groups.  As a solo performer he plays both accordion and guitar for many seniors groups in and around Calgary.  Some of the groups that Greg plays with include The Rodeo Riders, The Brabec Bothers Band, The Saddle Pals and the klezmer ensemble ’The Black Sea’.

At past FAMI camps Greg has instructed Beginner Guitar, Accordion, and Introduction to Jazz Guitar.

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.