University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Finger-Style Guitar: History and Performance Workshop

Spring Semester, January 25 - May 10, 2016

MUSIC 478 LEC 001, #45063, 3 credits
Thursdays, 5:30-8:10pm, Kenilworth Square East 640

MUSIC 680 LEC 014, #45638, 3 credits
Thursdays, 5:30-8:10pm, Kenilworth Square East 640

Registration Fee: $250. Classes begin January 28. Late registration will be accepted until February 4.

This 2016 Spring semester, the UWM Guitar Program will offer a survey course in finger-style guitar that draws on an unparalleled media archive and features lectures and multimedia presentations on the following topics: the development of finger-style guitar beginning with the renaissance guitar, vihuela, baroque guitar, and the first appearance of the six-string guitar in Europe in the 1770s; the divergence of classical and finger-style guitar in the 1920s; the development of the instrument and its written notation; the use of alternate tunings on the guitar; country blues; Delta blues; Hawaiian slack-key; folk music in America and the folk/blues revival of the 1960s; early country guitar; Merle Travis; Chet Atkins; the British Isles revivalists; and special presentations on modern icons of finger-style guitar John Fahey, Leo Kottke, and Michael Hedges. These presentations will include rare historical footage and contemporary video of performances and interviews.

Students will learn intermediate finger-style guitar technique and repertoire by such guitarist/composers as Leo Kottke, Billy McLaughlin, Michael Hedges, Mississippi John Hurt, Big Bill Broonzy, Taj Mahal, John Fahey, Sonny Chillingworth, and Preston Reed. Archival video and specifically designed pedagogical materials will enable students to study these pieces in depth. We welcome anyone interested in finger-style guitar to sign up for this class, and have designed the performance requirements of the class to be able to accommodate students at a variety of levels.

Finger-Style Guitar at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

As the only college-level program in finger-style guitar in the world, we have the opportunity to explore the history and pedagogy of finger-style guitar, push forward standards of scholarship, experiment with new approaches, and bring new technologies to bear on this quest. Our new laboratory for the digital conversion and analysis of historic and contemporary media is a center for groundbreaking research. To view live performances of current and former UWM finger-style guitar students, visit our YouTube channel. To check out the latest program news and events, find us on our Facebook page.


  • If you are currently enrolled at UWM, you may register for this class on PAWS.
  • Those 60 and over may audit the class for free on a space-available basis. For information on admission and registration, call the Registrar's Office at 414-229-6571.
  • You may enroll in this class as a noncredit workshop ($250 fee) online or by calling the Peck School of the Arts Box Office at 414-229-4308, Tuesday-Friday, 11 am - 5:30 pm.

For more information, contact John Stropes, 262-994-8710,