We offer 4 class levels for learning guitar. See the individual class descriptions for information on what the levels aim to cover during the year.

All guitar groups are on the same night, with the expectation that students will move up or down within the first few weeks of term as they find the level which suits them best.

Be prepared for your tutor to move you to a different class at the start of term and discuss with them if you’re not sure what level is right for you.

Classes will rotate tutors for one night at an agreed point in the year to give students and tutors the chance to feed back and share different experiences of teaching and learning.


Guitar 1 – Complete Beginners

Aimed at those who have little or no experience on the guitar. Learn the basics of playing the acoustic guitar: chords, strumming patterns and basic picking, with a view to accompanying traditional music and song.

We will also look at how to properly tune and maintain your instrument. You should have a guitar to bring along to the class.

Three continuous terms from Sept 2018

Please note this class starts one week later than other classes, on Thurs 20th Sept, and finishes on Thurs 13th Dec. 

Times: Thursday 7-9pm at James Gillespie’s High School
Room: 2.32
Tutor: Michael Starkey

GroupSpace: http://groupspaces.com/SMGGuitar1/

Guitar 2 – Improving Beginners

Aimed at those who have at least a year’s experience on the guitar. It is assumed you will know basic open chords, and have some experience of strumming and simple picking patterns. There will be a progression to more complex chords and rhythms, always in the context of learning songs and occasionally tunes. There will also be an increased focus on musicality and fluidity in moving between chords.

Three continuous terms from Sept 2018

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room: 2.31
Tutor: Jack Weir

Guitar 3 – Lower Intermediate

For players with several years’ experience. We will look at getting to know the guitar neck better, tunes and songs, rhythm work, chords and inversions, and consolidating finger-style accompaniment and flat-picking. You should know these open string chords: C A G E D; Am, Em, Dm; A7, D7, E7, B7

Topics covered during the year include:
Some chords in closed position
Changing chords more smoothly
Following a chord chart
Learning to read TAB
Repertoire of song accompaniments
Keeping time more consistently
Playing simple tunes using alternate picking (plectrum)
Improving finger-picking

Please bring a notebook, picks and a capo. A recording device is also useful if you have one.

Three continuous terms from Sept 2018

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room: 2.29
Tutor: David Francis

Guitar 4 – Upper Intermediate

For guitar players who are comfortable playing a range of chords and have solid technique. We will build a palette of chords and techniques you can use to develop a narrative in your arrangements and accompaniment using dynamics, rhythm, melody and harmony. While catering for more confident players, the class aims to welcome a range of ability, with space and flexibility for students to move up from Guitar 3.

Topics covered during the year include:
Flat-picking the melody
Chord Voicing and inversions
Improving your rhythm
Explore the dynamics of your instrument.
Playing in Standard Tuning and Drop D Tuning.
Developing your finger-picking
Developing a tailored accompaniment

Three continuous terms from Sept 2018

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room: 2.28
Tutor: Frank McLaughlin

GroupSpace: http://groupspaces.com/SMGGuitar4/