SummerGuitar Intensive

SummerGuitar Intensive

June 24 - 29, 2018

The UNC School of the Arts is a hot bed of passionate creativity!  As the nation's first state-supported performing arts conservatory we have been cultivating great artistic visions for nearly 50 years.  Guitar in the summer fits right in - as it has all along! The Nothing but Nylon workshop exalts the glories of the nylon-stringed (or "classical") guitar.  This fast-paced intensive has something for everyone who loves the guitar - in an ideal setting for artistic growth where musicians, actors, dancers, filmmakers, and visual artists live and work together.

A rich mix of individual lessons, ensemble rehearsals, technique and musicianship sessions and special topic workshops fill each day with inspiration, creativity and community. Players at all levels of experience are welcome and no audition is required for admission. Our highly accomplished and creative faculty artists look forward to making music with you this summer!

Why Nylon?

Simply put – because we love it!  In fact, of all the types of guitars, more styles and kinds of music are authentically and commonly performed on the nylon-stringed guitar than on any other.  And the Nothing but Nylon workshop – you have the opportunity to hear and experience playing in an enthralling variety of settings:  classical solo performances, outstanding ensembles, and improvisation forums in a variety of styles.

Who is the Nothing but Nylon Workshop for?

Experienced Classical Guitarists will find high-level coaching to develop their solo playing, outstanding chamber music experience, and exposure to music creation and improvisation skills in styles that might not have been a big part of their formal instruction.  This is the place to widen your lens!

Experienced Steel String and Electric Players will find opportunities to expand their existing knowledge and skill – as well as to explore the gorgeous sonic possibilities of the nylon-stringed guitar.  Be warned though in advance – You may never go back!

Beginners in any style will be right at home here.  Sessions are designed to target players at their level – whatever it is.  All it takes is a love of music and a desire to learn.  You will be exposed to a range of playing that will unleash in your imagination the limitless possibilities of the guitar.  The only difficulty will be deciding where to go next! 

We look forward to making music with you this summer!


UNCSA SummerGuitar is based upon participation, not just observation.  Everybody spends several hours each day with guitar in hand, working together in small and large groups, as well as individually with the instructors.  At Nothing but Nylon, Collaboration is King! – so, ensemble playing and musical interaction are a big part of the scene.  Core classes are scheduled between 9am and 5pm with some practice time built in so the evenings are open for concerts, jamming, socializing, and activities.   The following are some examples of sessions that you may encounter: 

  • Chamber Music:  Small groups work together with an instructor to prepare and perform works for guitar ensemble, focusing on communication, precision, and artistry.  This is the only class that requires a successful audition recording to participate.
  • Movement/Technique Class: Participants work in groups with an instructor on principles and applications of efficient body use, good tone production, and easy, relaxed, fast, and precise playing.
  • Lessons/Masterclasses:  Players receive coaching on all aspects of their chosen solo repertoire, as well as additional instruction in technique, reading, and improvisation skills, etc…
  • Performance Class:  Students work together in a cooperative and non-competitive atmosphere to develop their skill at performing for an audience.
  • Guitar History Class:  Through listening, live performance, and discussion students are guided through over 500 years of guitar repertoire and style.
  • Recitals:  The session is filled with evening faculty and student recitals, as well as a guitar class performance in UNCSA’s beautiful Watson Hall on the final day.
  • Special Topic Session:  Several sessions each day will be devoted to specific general topics and style-specific themes related to improvisation, composition, and performance.  Examples may include:
  • General Improvisation: Everybody has music inside – how to bring it out regardless of your playing background!
  • Chord Chart Survival:  How to play along with traditional chord “charts” no matter how much you know or how complex they get. 
  • Flamenco: This venerable traditional Spanish style is closely connected to the guitar.  Here is your entryway to this enchanting music!
  • Fingerstyle Guitar:  This broad traditional American music is perfectly suited to nylon.  Learn the basic techniques and strategies.
  • Jazz:  Jazz and Blues music has been played on nylon since before electricity was born!  Learn ways to approach these great American traditions for every level. 
  • Composing and Arranging:  How can you set the music you love or imagine on the classical guitar?  Hear what we have done. 
  • Tuning the Guitar by Ear:  Tuning the guitar effectively has befuddled players for centuries.  Learn an approach that works for everyone.
  • Tuning Up Your Rhythm:  Good rhythm is often more than meets the ear. Learn strategies to tune it up and then set it free.
  • Traditional Music Abounds: Explore the sounds of Indian, African, Celtic music and more!

Watch & Listen