Here is a list of all the classes I have taught at the Passim School of Music.

I have developed a truly original, fun and efficient "no filler" teaching style from  my experience  teaching groups private solo lessons and teaching myself. I believe a good teacher is a student forever.  I strive to be a music teacher that teaches music through the guitar . I want to make a difference in the student's ability to have more freedom and  fun  on the instrument (technique, tone, phrasing, fluidity) and in the mind ( understanding how music works, developing the ear, to pitch and pattern recognition, hearing "sound colors" and how the student can tell his/her musical  story.)

Guitar ensemble:  A fun way to learn how music works, technique and songs in many styles.  Parts for at least two levels of ease (Beginners and Intermediate) can make a big sound when combined.

On the menu are simple yet great sounding musical ensemble drills that teach
- Harmony,  how to navigate fearlessly the fingerboard,

- How melodies work with chords.

- How to warm-up and work-out the voice with the guitar,

“Guitorchestral" arrangements of classic songs in the Blues, Folk, Swing and Rock repertoire. (We will poll , vote and choose the songs). Basic Strumming, Finger-style and single-note playing  will combine textures for a rich ensemble sound.

Requirements: Be familiar with basic chords, bar chords and TAB reading.

Here is a great article on practicing music and the brain...great news!

All-American Finger-style Guitar with Bertrand LaurenceA good finger-picking hand can extract a lot of rhythm and melody from just one chord. Starting gradually from just 1 finger to 4 fingers, from simple to intricate. Exploring the rich geography of American Fingerstyle guitar (Folk, Blues, Ragtime, Swing, Country), we'll combine fretboard basic harmony with real world techniques and patterns from traditional to more contemporary styles. Explore fretboard harmony and song structure with real world Finger-style techniques including accompaniment, instrumentals, strumming, and lead.  All without a pick! Standard notation and tablature are provided.
Each class will begin with tuning and warm up exercises, including stretching and coordination exercises. The good habits of proper ergonomics will be addressed each time, to foster effortlessness, a precursor to mastery.
We will proceed to examine a style, focusing on particular characteristics.  Time will be reserved for critical listening and questions, going back and forth with hands-on exercises and practice.  Though not needed, students are welcome to bring their own music for listening, and discussion.  The last class will be a performance, by groups and/or solo performers.  Weekly printed materials will include original exercises and transcriptions as well as culled from his personal library including specialized magazines like Guitar Player & Acoustic Guitar and, and books by Mark Hanson, John Stropes, The National Guitar Workshop, The Chet Atkins Appreciation Society etc. We will examine the work of many guitarists, including Robert Johnson, Blind Blake, Big Bill Broonzy, John Lee Hooker, Mississippi John Hurt, Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Paul Simon, Leo Kottke, and more.

Fingerstyle Guitar: Basics and Beyond with Bertrand Laurence
Let’s explore the easy way to fingerstyle a guitar, from one finger, to two, to three. This gentle class will foster a sense of relaxed effortlessness by getting rid of tension, observing proper ergonomics, and moving very patiently and gradually from very basic to more sophisticated patterns of finger style guitar. Patterns taken from the traditions of Folk, Blues, Classical, Country, will offer a wide array of colors, moods and textures. In all those styles, soloing and accompanying can be addressed with the direct simplicity of these enduring musical treasures. You will be amazed at how much music can be released from the guitar with just the thumb. Add the index and you can have a band in your hand!
(Basic chord shapes and basic understanding of TAB reading is, however necessary. See Janet Guitar 1,2,3,4).  Add $10 for PDF, MP3's and other materials.

All-American Fingerstyle Guitar Part 2 with Bertrand Laurence
Expanding the playground: So you have some familiarity with the tablature system, basic finger-style patterns, hammer-ons and pull-offs, as well as the basic chord shapes and also a few movable chord shapes. (If not, starting with All American Fingerstyle #1 would be recommended as a thorough overview.) We will review and move beyond the basics and further explore the various elements introduced earlier.
As you might know, the fingerstyle hand offers a cornucopia of tones, melodic and rhythmic possibilities unmatched by a pick alone: From thumb only to 2, 3, 4 finger delicate patterns to power chords, from strumming to single notes.
In All American Fingerstyle Part 2, we will start applying these fun techniques and sounds to actual chord progressions, and further study the classic American finger-style repertoire.
Keeping in mind the two handed nature of guitar playing*, we will look at the dialogue between fretting and picking hand. We will take a peek at basic Western Harmony and how it translates on the fretboard, both visually and sonically. This class will be a relaxed journey through the 5 guitar friendly keys. Easy yet musical finger-style exercises and meditations will foster a deeper understanding of the chord/melody relationship.  Personal creativity will be encouraged, while a continued focus on effortlessness, healthy ergonomics and good tone will be sustained throughout.
* Many great guitarists play two handed.

All American Fingerstyle Guitar Part 3 with Bertrand Laurence
Consolidating basic fingerstyle patterns and turning them into actual guitar pieces, we will explore how chord shapes can be broken down and played up and down against the open strings. Playful, creative, improvisational  "Noodling" will be encouraged with given chord systems. This will enable the players to have fun while coming up with original music.  Classic folk chord progressions and patterns will be discussed. Also to continue investigating the guitar friendly keys, a title or two from the works by Mississippi John Hurt will be analyzed step by step. The rock steady Blues styles of Big Bill Broonzy and John Lee Hooker will be introduced as well.
A continuing look at proper ergonomics will be emphasized with exercises focused on extracting the best possible tone out of your guitar, with the least amount of effort.
It is recommended to be familiar, for this class, with the thumbed F chord and Tablature reading.
$10 Material fees to cover Print outs, PDF's and Mp3s.

All-American Fingerstyle Guitar Part 4 with Bertrand Laurence
This Freight Train keeps' a-rolling. Chugging along and moving beyond basics, this fun, efficient and successful class has gathered a life of its own. This course aims to provide a good balance between spontaneity and structure: We learn songs and instrumentals in all guitar friendly keys while following the cycle of 5th.  Methodical drills and workouts will build skill, strength, natural rhythm. Proper ergonomics, the kind that foster effortlessness will be addressed. But time is set aside for fun with simple warm up routines, collective jams, musical games, and group discussions regarding selections of study. In this particular session, we will look at the powerful CAGED system and it's remarkable possibilities. We are also planning to sustain our look at Mississippi John Hurt styles and his influence on the contemporary Folk scene. Studied styles may cover Folk, Blues, Ragtime, Rock/Pop, Travis Picking.
A comfortable familiarity with bar chords and basic finger-style recommended.
* Please read descriptive for All American Finger-style 1, 2, 3. $10 Material fees to cover Print outs, PDF's and Mp3s

Slide Guitar 101 with Bertrand Laurence
The timeless sounds of Slide guitar never went out of style. Freed from the constraints of the frets, the player can evoke the human speech like few other instruments can.
From haunting blues, soulful Gospel to giddy Hawaiian swing, the slide guitar can eloquently express an infinite range of emotions and subtleties.
Choosing the slide, or "Bottle neck" that is right for you and your guitar. We will hear various materials such as glass, brass, chromed steel, ceramic, and their characteristics.
We will analyze tone and string control technique. Standard tuning, and open E and open G tunings will be mapped out. Blues scales, pentatonic scales will be practiced in a fun, hands-on environment. We will look at Gospel melodies and classics titles of the American Slide Guitar repertoire like:  Mississippi Fred McDowell's  "You gotta Move", Muddy Waters " I can't be satisfied", WC Handy's "St Louis Blues."
Harmony for guitar and fingerstyle experience recommended but not necessary.
$10 Material fees to cover Print outs, PDF's and Mp3s.

Slide Guitar 102 with Bertrand Laurence
This class will review the basics seen in Slide Guitar introduction (Please read Slide Intro description) and continue the exploration of various styles such as Robert Johnson, Ry Cooder, Mick Taylor, Jack White, and is open to either Electric or Acoustic guitar. Selected pieces will be drilled methodically, with an emphasis on phrasing, tone and string control. The last section will include a brief introduction to the advanced style of Sonny Landreth.
This course will also offer a chance to look at rhythm, pick versus fingerstyle, and to develop the ability to sustain melody and bass for solo performing. Bring your 3 favorites slide pieces for listening and analysis.
$10 Material fees to cover Print outs, PDF's and Mp3s

Intro to Fretboard Logic: Fun with Harmony! With Bertrand Laurence
Drum roll : yes, learning practical Harmony is fun-damental and easy on the guitar! The guitar neck can be a daunting grid from the outside, but through this course, we'll unlock the not-so-hidden intelligence of its organization by mapping out the neck. True for any style at all, traveling up, down and across the neck with ease can be fluid when thinking globally. So by combining ears and eyes, you can hear, visualize and feel the basic shapes of Western Harmony on the fingerboard. You will turn the guitar neck into a musical playground with addictive ear training games that will sharpen your over all musicianship. We'll look at the famous CAGED system for moving chord shapes and "must-know" chord progressions. Create your own music; arrange your favorite melodies as instrumentals. A familiarity with basic chords shapes and TAB is recommended.

Fretboard Logic: Basic Harmony for Guitar Part 2 and 3 with Bertrand Laurence
Drum roll: yes, learning practical Harmony is fun and easy on the guitar! The guitar neck can be a daunting grid from the outside, but through this course, we'll unlock the not-so-hidden intelligence of its organization by mapping out the neck. True for any style at all, traveling up, down and across the neck with ease can be fluid when thinking and hearing globally. You will, for example, discover the "look and sound" of a major/minor third and carry it fearlessly all over the neck. So by combining ears and eyes to hear, visualize and feel the basic shapes of Western Harmony on the fingerboard. You will turn the guitar neck into a musical playground with addictive ear training games that will sharpen your over all musicianship. We'll look at the famous CAGED system for moving chord shapes and "must-know" chord progressions. Create your own music; arrange your favorite melodies as instrumentals. A familiarity with basic chords shapes, bar chords and TAB is requested

Fretboard Logic: Basic Harmony for Guitar, Continued with Bertrand Laurence
Please read descriptions for  Intro to Fretboard Logic & Fretboard Logic: Basic Harmony for Guitar. In this continuation, we will review the guitar friendly keys, (repetition is *Key*)build their respective chords from scratch and look at lush 7chords. Basic Diatonic, Blues and "Rock harmony' will be explained and applied. The CAGED system will be explored with useful partial chords we can move freely up and down the neck. Simple finger style patterns will turn those exercises into musical, useful and sometimes familiar devices. We will write chord progressions together,  and pick songs to  deconstruct in each key. Composing tips on how to turn a basic idea (guitar doodles and noodlings anyone?) into a fuller guitar composition will help blast through "writer's block. A familiarity with basic chords shapes, bar chords and TAB is requested.

360 Degree Acoustic Guitar with Bertrand Laurence
Ever wondered where and how to start to advance your guitar playing? Well this course is design to give you the widest array of avenues to explore.   As in a any games and art forms, we might enjoy ourselves more when we understand the rules. We can always change them, break them, bend or twist them (or tie them into knots). So part orientation, part open-(fun)house,  this "Best Of" course can serve as an intensive hands-on introduction to all the classes I offer, and at the same time will give you a notion of what and how you can explore on your own. Since every group is different, we can refine the program together, after discussing the needs and questions of each participant.
-Tips on how to teach yourself, how to practice efficiently.
-Strength and coordination
-Applied theory that will make immediate musical sense to your ears
-Finger style basics  (Accompaniment and Solo)
-Ear Training exercises provided by your own guitar.
-Active listening (Start recognizing chords and playing chords in the songs you like)
-Vocal practice warm-ups and work out supported your own guitar.
(Pianists can't have all that fun. Guitarists can also accompany their own vocal warm ups.)
-Chord progressions
$10 for class materials.

Guitar and Voice Integrated with Bertrand Laurence
Why spend 30 minutes on your voice, then 30 on your guitar when a combined session can potentially yield greater results than the sum of the two? In this playful but focused course, the guitar becomes your voice coach and the voice your guitar instructor. Guitar playing, ear training and singing will be combined into fun exercises that will strengthen the singer's pitch, breath, ease of flow, while getting a grip on basic harmony and the fret-board's organization. The act of playing and singing will become one thing and second nature.  But behind the fun, those musical exercises can actually be powerful tools to expand your overall musicianship.
In this next installment of this course, we keep going through the guitar keys, with new ear training games and creative, fun vocal warm up and voice conditioning.
It is not necessary to have taken the prior session to benefit from this course.
A familiarity with basic major and minor chord shapes (C,A,G,E,D), doing OK with Bar Chords and a basic understanding of Tablature is recommended.

Guitar and Voice Integrated, Continued with Bertrand Laurence
Sometimes multi-tasking does work. Why spend 30 minutes on your voice, then 30 on your guitar when a combined session can potentially yield greater results than the sum of the two? In this playful but focused course, the guitar becomes your voice coach and the voice your guitar instructor. Guitar playing, ear training and singing will be combined into fun exercises that will strengthen the singer's pitch, breath, ease of flow, while getting a grip on basic harmony and the fret-board's organization. The act of playing and singing will become one thing and second nature.  But behind the fun, those musical exercises can actually be powerful tools to expand your overall musicianship.
In this consecutive installment of this course, we keep going through the guitar keys, with new ear training games and creative, fun vocal warm up and voice conditioning.
It is not necessary to have taken the prior session to benefit from this course.
A familiarity with basic major and minor chord shapes (C,A,G,E,D) and a basic understanding of Tablature is recommended.