Benslow Music Trust Flamenco Guitar Course
Benslow Music Trust
Flamenco Guitar Course
A little bit about me Tomás, the teacher.
First of all, thank you very much for popping in here to find out more about the Flamenco Guitar Course that I am delivering at the Benslow Music Trust on 16th-18th March 2020.
I am very excited about this.
Teaching has never been something that I do to fill in between performances.
On the contrary it is a whole area of flamenco experience that I love.
In fact, my dream is to one day have my own ongoing flamenco centre where I can teach along with other flamenco guitarists, dancers, singers etc.
As such it is hardly surprising that I am very pleased to have been invited to deliver this residential course.
About the course:
I am feeling that the best way I can tell you about this course is in a question and answer format.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions that you may have and I will try to give you the best information and will of course add the question and answer here.
This blog post is very much a work in progress and will develop as I get to know the students better.
Q: What level of guitar playing do I need to have to enjoy this course?
A: A bit more than basic. It would be good if you feel comfortable with strumming over chord progressions quite smoothly.
Q: I have a good technique. Will I be bored, will it be too simple for me?
A: Great news! I will work with you so that you can use and adapt your technique to playing flamenco.
Q: I do not have a very virtuoso technique. Will I be left out?
A: Not at all. Flamenco in its origins was played with only index finger and thumb over some very simple chords at the first position.
Q: As this is a group course will it really be possible to have a great deal of individual attention?
A: Good question. Yes, you are right it is indeed a group class but at the same time I really do feel it is necessary for me to get an understanding of each person’s abilities, needs, goals. In this way I hope and believe that each guitarist can do what they do best and fully join in.
Q: Do I need to have a flamenco guitar?
A: No, any nylon strung guitar is useful. Steel strings unfortunately do not work for flamenco.
Q: What support materials will be used and do I need to buy these in advance?
A: None. In typical traditional flamenco style, everything will be by ear.
Q: O.K. but I need to have things written down in some kind of musical notation. Can you help me with this?
A: Well, I do not work from any score of book, but you are most welcome to take notes in any way that you find helpful
Q: Recording devices. Can I bring an audio recording device and/ or a camera?
A: Absolutely yes, and I strongly recommend that. Sometimes everything seems so clear during the class but then later that day there may be parts that are not so easily remembered.
This is why recording a video can be so helpful.
Usually the video will only focus on me teaching and you have my permission to film but naturally if there are cases where other guitarists will be in the footage, we would ask them for permission.
Q: May I upload videos of your teaching to online platforms such as YouTube?
A: I would prefer not. I want guitarists to come to me for real guitar classes rather than access my teaching online.
Q: I am not absolutely sure if I will sign up for this. Do you offer any kind of taster in advance of the date?
A: O.K. there are two parts to my reply.
First, I cannot provide any real classes because this is a Benslow Music Trust event and as such I am very happily careful to avoid any other teaching in the time leading up to the event so as not to distract attention from the Benslow course.
However, secondly yes, I am thinking of producing a selection of very short flamenco guitar introductory videos which will not be public but can be viewed by guitarists who have signed up to the course.
Q: Can you be more specific?
What sort of flamenco guitar playing will I learn?
A: Here is a non exhaustive list of some of the aspects of flamenco guitar playing that I hope to share on the course?
Solo Flamenco Guitar Techniques:
Rasgueado: Flamenco strumming technique going forward across the strings.
Rasgueado Abanico: Flamenco strumming technique in a triplet fan like formation.
Alzapua: Flamenco thumb technique that produces and very percussive and rhythmical pattern.
Ligado: Left hand hammer on and pull off technique. This is used frequently in Flamenco.
Accompanying Flamenco Dance:
There is a parallel Flamenco Dance Course given by the wonderful flamenco dancer, Laura.
I have accompanied Laura on many occasions and am clear that she is not only a very exciting flamenco dancer she is also a very helpful flamenco dance teacher.
Q: Will I learn how to accompany flamenco dancers?
A: Yes, indeed. Right from the beginning when I first discussed teaching this course I was especially keen that there should be a flamenco dance course and that my guitarists would have the opportunity to not only learn the skill of accompanying flamenco dance but also very much apply that skill accompanying the dancers on the course.
I am working very carefully with Laura in advance so that we can design both courses to work very well together.
Q: Truth is that I am a guitarist and my main interest is in developing my solo guitar skills and knowledge.
Do I have to accompany the dance and will this course be appropriate for me?
A: It is absolutely right that you should focus on the parts of the course that are most interesting to you.
I will try to help you as much as I can with Flamenco solo guitar playing.
You can then decide if you wish to devote time to working on your own guitar playing or feel attracted to try accompanying flamenco dance.
Q: Will I be examined and will I receive any kind of certificate of achievement.
A: No examination. People come to this course to enjoy learning and sharing music.
Personally, I love people’s efforts and attainments to be recognised and rewarded, even if only verbally.
Q: Will there be some kind of short performance by students at the end of the course?
A: I very much hope so. Of course, participation needs to be optional, but I do very much like people to have the opportunity to show what they have learnt.
Note: More information will follow as guitarists contact me with their questions.