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Guitar Week

Monday 28 Sep 4pm — Friday 2 Oct 10am, 2020

To make a booking enquiry please complete the form below. We will contact you to confirm availability and complete your booking.

Course Enquiry

  • Halsway Manor will not share your details with any third parties.


Full board per person (tuition, activities, all meals & accommodation):

  • £360– single ensuite room
  • £330– sharing an ensuite room
  • £330 – single non-ensuite room
  • £295 – sharing non-ensuite room

Camping per person (tuition, activities, all meals):

  • £220

Non Resident (tuition, activities, all meals except breakfast):

  • £205

Fully Booked

COVID-19 Note: Click here for Halsway’s COVID-19 Guidance for your visit.

We’re delighted to welcome back Kevin Dempsey and Tristan Seume, joined this year by Vera Van Heeringen for our third Guitar Workshop Week. The week is an intensive and enjoyable guitar-school week for steel-string acoustic guitarists, led by three fantastic tutors!

The week will help you to develop your skills and confidence, with options to explore finger style, flat-picking, alternative and open tunings, arranging tunes and song accompaniment, chord vocabulary, and useful theory too. Whole group, smaller group and one-to-one teaching, to leave you enthused and inspired! There will be down-time too, for you to practise, jam, socialise and spend quality time with your instrument. For those who want to, there’s also the opportunity to join the tutors in concert on the Thursday evening.

The tutor team bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience embracing a variety of styles. The programme for the week will be tailored to the experience and needs of the group. An outline of what each tutor plans to offer is below:

Kevin will be covering the basic fingerstyle patterns, plus variations. Introducing percussive elements. Chord construction, introducing extensions and increasing chord vocabulary. Learning a couple of complete pieces for solo guitar. Looking at chord/scale relationships.

“I’ve played with them all, Kev’s the best.” – Dave Swarbrick

Tristan specialises in fingerstyle guitar, arranging traditional tunes and accompanying songs predominantly using CGDGCD tuning. This beautiful and versatile modal tuning remains curiously overlooked in favour of more commonly explored DADGAD, open D and open G tunings. Tristan will explore the tuning’s potential from the ground up whilst referencing and relating to other, more familiar tunings. We will work through the fundamentals, beginning with useful, go-to chord shapes and patterns and progress through developing left- and right-hand techniques, incorporating open strings, drones and harmony within the context of traditional repertoire.

Vera will be working on flatpicking and cross-picking techniques, playing mostly American guitar and fiddle tunes. With an emphasis on confidence and strength in both lead and backup playing, she’ll be exploring how to put the groove into tunes with rhythmic melodies. Vera will focus on creating smooth and clean solos, bass runs and fills with an emphasis on efficiency of movement, which will enrich both your solo and band playing. (For guitar in standard tuning, this course requires a plectrum).

Who’s it For?

This course is aimed at acoustic guitarists (steel-strung) of an intermediate level and above, it’s not really suitable for beginners.

As a guide, to get the most from the course you’ll need a grasp of the following topics:

  • All common open major and minor chords
  • Familiarity with one or two moveable barre chord shapes
  • Some basic fingerpicking ability
  • Steady, even strumming rhythm in 4/4 time

Beyond this, enthusiasm is much more important than skill level; we only ask that you join in to the best of your ability. This week is all about helping you develop your playing, whatever your current level of ability, and sending you away with the inspiration and tools to continue to improve.

The Team

Kevin Dempsey is an unassuming sort of bloke, whose quiet manner and laid back attitude hide a multitude of extraordinary talents as guitarist, singer songwriter, composer, arranger and producer. His wide experience shows in his versatility and ability to turn his hand, and guitar, to many different styles and genres and, for a long time, he has been sought out by other musicians. Kev has been a mainstay of our Summer School as our guitar tutor for six years.

“Kevin’s music has universal side effects” – Denise Narick

Tristan Seume is acclaimed as one of the UK’s leading acoustic guitarists, and has toured all over Europe both as a soloist and a sought-after accompanist. His two solo albums, You Just Know and Middle Child mix handcrafted originals with beautiful interpretations of traditional and contemporary tunes. He performs regularly with BBC Radio 2 Folk Award-winning artist Jackie Oates, and has recorded and played with many other artists on the UK folk scene.

An experienced and enthusiastic educator, his CV includes countless contributions to some of the UK’s best-selling guitar magazines; Guitar TechniquesTotal GuitarAcoustic, and notably, over 130 consecutive monthly guitar tutorials spanning more than a decade of issues of Guitarist Magazine. He was also Head of Further Education at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, Surrey, and he leads workshops at guitar festivals and events around the UK. www.tristanseume.co.uk

“Seume’s superb fingerpicking talent, and ease of drifting between styles drives you to a state of listening compulsion” – Acoustic Magazine.

Vera Heeringen is an accomplished and highly acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. She was part of the brilliantly comedic New Rope String Band for five years and has toured with several Cajun and Old time greats such as Dirk Powell and Sheryl Cormier. In recent years Vera has been performing with her own trio and has just released her third album ‘Won’t be Broken’ which has been described by the press as her best yet. Vera has taught guitar for over 10 years and is known for her inclusive approach which aims to inspire in a laid back and enjoyable way.

Vera has a gift that brings guitar a life in a way that’s entirely her own…” – FolkWords