Flamenco Guitar Workshop: Alegrias
The Spanish folk art flamenco offers a wealth of inspiration for guitarists of any background. Alegrias is a festive and joyful flamenco style, and its 12-count rhythm (compás) is essential to understanding flamenco. In this course, we will explore the sounds, techniques, and rhythms of flamenco in the context of Alegrias. You’ll learn the core flamenco techniques such as rasgueos, alzapua, and tremolo. We’ll go over the fundamentals of each technique in an exercise, and then apply it to a short musical phrase (falseta) of Alegrias. Students will finish the course with a full-length solo arrangement of Alegrias.
We will not be using TAB or music notation. Flamenco is typically taught by rote, and all material will be thoroughly demonstrated and explained during class. Students can review material through the course videos.
One year of playing experience (any style).
Basic chord knowledge. You should know basic chord shapes and be able to change chords smoothly. Being comfortable with (or at least tolerant of) barre chords will help.
Basic right-hand fingerstyle or classical technique. You should be comfortable using your right-hand fingers to play the strings.
Nylon strings. Flamenco guitar is played on nylon strings. If you only have a steel string guitar, certain right-hand flamenco techniques will feel awkward and difficult.
Sundays 1:30 pm Eastern Time
September 20 through November 22
Rasgueos and Alegrias Rhythm - September 20 and 27
Rasgueados are the flamenco version of strumming – they use different right-hand finger combinations to create various rhythmic effects. We will begin with some introductory rasgueados and exercises and apply them to the 12-beat compás (rhythm) of Alegrias.
Picado (Flamenco Rest Stroke) - October 4
Flamenco melodies and climactic scales owe their brilliant, powerful sounds to the picado technique, a way of playing with alternating index and middle fingers. We will go over some tips for developing a rapid and well-controlled picado and learn picado falseta for Alegrias
The Thumb - October 11
Flamenco guitarists use their thumbs in unique and surprisingly effective ways. We will cover the essentials of thumb movement in flamenco and apply them to a falseta of Alegrias
Review of Rasgueos, Picado, and Thumb Material - October 18
Arpeggios - October 25
Every style of guitar has different ideas for how an arpeggio should sound. We'll learn how to make various right-hand arpeggios embody flamenco aesthetics and put that knowledge in practice with Alegrias escobilla (music for dance accompaniment).
Alzapua (flamenco thumb strumming) - November 1
Another one of flamenco's unique uses of the thumb. We'll learn how alzapua works, how to fit it into compás, and how to use it in the context of Alegrias.
Flamenco Tremolo - November 8
Flamenco tremolo uses five right-hand finger strokes (p i a m i) to give the illusion of a sustained melody. Learn how to develop a fast and fluid tremolo and incorporate it into a falseta for Alegrias.
Review of Arpeggios, Alzapua, and Tremolo Material - November 15
Arranging Flamenco Solos - November 22
We'll gather all your Alegrias repertoire and discuss how to arrange it into a coherent solo. There are always lots of different ways to arrange the same material, so every student will end the course with his or her own unique arrangement of Alegrias.
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About Leah Kruszewski
Flamenco and classical guitarist Leah Kruszewski loves introducing young beginners to their first songs, helping adult students rediscover their inner musician, and guiding classical and flamenco players in advanced, specialized study. Leah accompanies flamenco singers and dancers in Seville, Spain and travels regularly to the USA for festivals and performances.
Leah is a totally professional highly qualified flamingo guitar instructor. I just finished 12 sessions with her. She always has a bright smile, and caring way about herself. Her focus is your improvement. Her focus is your development. Her focus is your Learning. Her focus is on you. She is truly a Maestro of Flamenco Guitar.
Leah is an excellent teacher with an organized approach that helps navigate the vast world of flamenco. She was clear and very patient with ensuring the material is understood.
I had an amazing learning experience in Leah’s Flamenco Palos class during the 12 weeks program. Each class was dedicated to one Palo. It started slow for me but in 3rd week, it quickly developed into “highlight of the week” on Sunday afternoon. The two-page handouts, sent before each class, were expertly prepared consisting of introduction of the Palo, its origin, music structures, compás, chords and the suggested You Tube links from Flamenco Masters. Second page contained the music. But don’t get fooled by the seemingly simplistic tabs. There were plenty of challenges requiring solid techniques to play well. Leah demonstrated not only her vast knowledge in Flamenco music also her impeccable guitar skills. She was enthusiastic, passionate and accommodating in teaching and always willing to go extra miles to allow ample opportunity for questions. Highly recommend this course to others. You will NOT be disappointed.