How to Play Fingerstyle Guitar
Learn fingerstyle guitar techniques in the styles of classical, acoustic, jazz, blues, rock, country, and folk guitar. This hand-healthy approach will deepen your sound and ability on the instrument. Topics include hand position, timing, common patterns, scale playing, tone control, and speed development. Upon completion of this class you’ll be able to play solo classical and fingerstyle pieces, as well as picking patterns and lead playing in several genres. We’ll begin the Masterclass by setting up your hands in a healthy and comfortable position. From there we will discuss the motions you’ll need for playing melodically and some of the most common fingerpicking patterns. Finally we’ll explore fingerstyle strategies for approaching intricate solo pieces and arrangements.
What You’ll Learn
- How to set up your hand position
- How to play common fingerpicking patterns
- The necessary fingerstyle techniques for solo works in a variety of styles, including classical and jazz
- Tone control and speed development
Meet Your Instructor
Kim Perlak is the chair of the Guitar Department at the Berklee College of Music, where she received the 2016 Berklee Chair Recording Grant. At Berklee, her artistic work to bridge styles includes collaborations with faculty composers, and in duo playing with master improviser and slide guitarist David Tronzo. Kim’s curriculum development for the department produced the book Classical Technique for the Modern Guitarist, which was published by Berklee Press/Hal Leonard in 2016.
Kim holds degrees from the University of Texas at Austin (DMA ’08), Yale University School of Music (MM ’01), and Stetson University (BM ’98), and a certificate of completion from the Harvard University Management Development Program (2013).
Kim’s versatile and inclusive approach to guitar embraces new composition, education, and public service. Her recording for solo guitar, Common Ground, features the new compositions of five American composers. Her work combining performance, American music history, and outreach has been funded through grants from the Center for African American Southern Music and Yale Alumni Ventures. Kim’s collaborative guitar work with American veterans in the concert project “Ben & I Play for Peace” was honored by the PBS program From the Top as part of their Arts Leadership series, and was recognized by the US House of Representatives. Her playing has been praised by the Austin-American Statesman as, “thoughtful, enchanting, vivid.”
Kim plays guitars by Thomas Humphrey and Kirk Sand and endorses D’Addario Strings. She currently serves on the board of the Boston Classical Guitar Society.
Suggested Prerequisite Knowledge and Materials
- A love of the guitar
- Some experience playing the instrument
- Classical Technique for the Modern Guitarist by Kim Perlak (Berklee Press, 2016)
General Masterclass Requirements
Below are the minimum requirements for enrolled students to access the learning environment and participate in Masterclasses. If you opt to use any recommended software for your Masterclass, please check that your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for those as well.
- Latest version of Google Chrome
- Zoom meeting software
- External or internal microphone
- Broadband internet connection
Higher Learning with Lower Stakes
A Masterclass from Berklee Online is ideal for you if you’re looking for a shorter, more free-form learning experience from Berklee—no deadlines, and no grades—just one live session with a Berklee instructor, and an award-winning curriculum to explore at your own pace.
- One session, lasts two hours
- Access remains open for 30 days after the Masterclass
- No registration fees
Academic Calendar, Policies, and FAQs
Students may request to transfer their enrollment/payment to an alternate Masterclass (provided there is room in the alternate Masterclass) until one week before the class. After this time, a student cannot change into an alternate Masterclass. To request a course change, students should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All withdrawal requests must be sent to the Berklee Online Registrar’s Office in writing and must include the following information:
- Your full name
- The Masterclass you are enrolled in
- Reason for withdrawing
Requests to withdraw will not be accepted over the phone. Requests to withdraw must be emailed to email@example.com.
All withdrawals from Masterclass must be received prior to 5 PM ET the Friday before the Masterclass opens. No withdrawals will be accepted after this date.
If a student is requesting an exception to the withdrawal policy for medical reasons, please see the Medical Withdrawal/Transfer section below for information on this process. If a student feels they have extenuating circumstances other than medical reasons and wish to request an exception to our policy, please see the appeal policy.
Please note students are expected to have reviewed the computer requirements for each Masterclass in advance of the Masterclass start. Computer or software issues are not cause for an exception to the withdrawal/refund policies. If a student is experiencing issues with their hardware or software, they can contact Berklee Online’s Student Support via telephone at 1-617-747-2146 option 3 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students enrolled in a Masterclass cannot request to transfer their Masterclass to a future semester. Students can opt to move their funds from a Masterclass to another Berklee Online course or program. Requests to transfer must be in writing to email@example.com and received by the Friday prior to the opening of the Masterclass.
Medical Withdrawal and Transfers
Students who need to withdraw for medical reasons may be eligible for a refund. A medical withdrawal will be considered only if accompanied by a written verification from a medical doctor on letterhead stating the student cannot complete the Masterclass due to an illness or disability. Please note the doctor’s note must be in English to be considered. The withdrawal will not be allowed if a student fails to submit medical documentation to the Berklee Online Registrar’s Office prior to the end of the first week of the Masterclasses. See above for the exact due date for a medical withdrawal.
The request for a medical withdrawal must be sent in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- By 5 PM ET Friday prior to the opening of the Masterclass: 100% refund of tuition paid.
Refunds will be based on when the withdrawal is received in writing. No additional refunds on courses in progress will be given once the Masterclasses are opened. Students can find the withdrawal and refund dates above. Please note that all refunds will be provided in United States dollars (USD). Berklee Online cannot be held responsible for any currency rate fluctuations between the date of purchase and the date of the refund.
Students should be aware of the following details:
- If a student’s payment was made by check, the refund will be issued in the form of a check.
- If payment was made by credit card, every attempt will be made to process the refund back to the card used within 30 days. In the event we are unable to do so, the refund will be issued in the form of a check.
- If payment was made using a Berklee Online eGift card, a refund will be issued back to the eGift card. eGift Cards are not redeemable or refundable for cash. Please refer to our eGift Card Terms and Conditions as well as our eGift Card FAQs for more information.
For questions regarding the payment methods we accept, please contact email@example.com or call 1-866-BERKLEE or 1-617-747-2146 if outside the US, Monday through Friday 9 AM–5 PM ET.
Credit Card Payments
Berklee Online accepts the following credit cards:
- American Express
- JCB Card
If you do not wish to use the online process, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or our Finance department at email@example.com or call 1-866-BERKLEE or 1-617-747-2146 if outside the US, Monday through Friday 9 AM–5 PM ET.
Berklee Online accepts payment via PayPal. Students can choose PayPal as an option during the checkout process.
Berklee Online accepts eGift cards purchased online via GiftUp. eGift cards can only be applied towards eligible Masterclass, course, and certificate program offerings. Further information regarding the use of eGift cards can be found within our Terms and Conditions.
Berklee Online has partnered with Flywire to streamline the tuition payment process for our students. You will be able to log in to your Flywire account, at any time, to track the progress of your payment and you will also be notified via email or text when your payment is received by Berklee Online.
Before initiating your transfer, please take note of your Student ID or Order Number to help ensure your payment is posted to the correct account. Your Student ID can be found on your My Home page, and your Order Number is located in your Order History.https://payment.flywire.com/pay/payment
How much is a Masterclass?
Masterclassees are Berklee Online’s most budget-friendly offering at $99. There are no registration fees.
Can I reach out to the instructors for extra help or for additional questions?
No, instructors will be available to students during the 2 hour live sessions. In our 12-week courses, instructors are available to answer questions outside of live class sessions.
Will I be able to access my course after it has finished?
You will be able to access the Masterclass for 30 days after the end of the Masterclass. After that 30-day period, we are unable to allow students further access to the Masterclass. If you have any questions, please contact Student Support via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens if I miss the Masterclass?
Each Masterclass is recorded, so you can always play back any portion you'd like to review up to 30 days after the Masterclass has taken place. We do recommend joining during the scheduled Masterclass time if you can, so that you can interact with your instructor and peers.
Will I receive course credit for a Masterclass?
The Masterclass are a non-credit offering.
Who are the instructors?
Our instructors are Berklee faculty and widely-recognized experts in their field. All instructors are Berklee faculty or professionals in the industry.
How long are the Masterclasses?
Each Masterclass will be one, two-hour live session.
Are textbooks, software, and hardware included in tuition costs?
No. The required/recommended materials for Masterclasses are not included in tuition.
How many Masterclasses can I take at a time?
You can choose to enroll in as many Masterclasses as you would like. You should keep in mind that some of the scheduled sessions could overlap. We recommend reviewing the days/times for each Masterclass before enrolling.
What happens if my Masterclass is canceled?
While we will make every effort to run all of our Masterclasses, sometimes it is necessary to cancel a Masterclass. If this happens, you will be sent an email letting you know your Masterclass has been canceled. You will be given the option to transfer into a different Masterclass, move your funds to another Berklee Online program, or request a refund of tuition.
Where do I go to find the Masterclass I enrolled in?
How do I participate in the Masterclass?
Masterclasses consist primarily of live, synchronous sessions hosted via Zoom on the Berklee Online platform. These Masterclasses will be interactive and will include instruction, breakout group discussions, question and answer portions, and more. In addition to the live session, you will have access to discussions where you can interact with your peers, as well as the ability to upload projects you’re working on for feedback from your peers.
Who do I contact if I am having technical trouble with the Masterclass?
You may contact Student Support by email at email@example.com or telephone at 1-866-BERKLEE (or 1-617-747-2146 if outside the US), Monday through Friday, 9 AM–5 PM ET. Student Support will assist you with any problems you have and will do their best to provide a response to your question or inquiry within one business day.
Are there assignments that need to be completed? Will I receive feedback on assignments?
Each Masterclass will include material for students to go through as well as suggested projects for students to complete. These are not required, will not be graded, and will not be critiqued by an instructor. Students are encouraged to provide feedback to their classmates.
Will I receive a grade and/or credit at the conclusion of the Masterclass?
Students enrolled in these Masterclasses will not receive college credit and will not be graded on their participation.
Do I get a certificate or letter of completion when I finish each Masterclass?
No, you will not be issued a certificate or letter of completion at the end of the Masterclass.
Can I request a transcript or proof of completion?
Masterclasses are not part of a student’s academic record. For this reason they will not be represented on a transcript. In addition, we cannot provide proof of completion of the Masterclass. We can, however, provide proof of enrollment in the Masterclass if that is needed. Requests of this nature can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.