Aspen Music Festival And School

Lead Guitar

After-school classical guitar instruction for beginning through advanced students, in grades 5+

Schools  |  Cost and Scholarship  |  Guitars

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Program Overview 

Lead Guitar is a 501c3 non-profit organization founded by guitarist-composer-educator Brad Richter. Lead Guitar partners with arts organizations and higher education institutions to provide students with experiential learning opportunities at top-notch facilities. Lead Guitar is proudly offered locally in collaboration with the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Lead Guitar students learn classical guitar technique, music theory and literacy, performance skills, and ensemble playing in group classes, through which they develop their self-discipline, self-esteem, and ability to work as a team - attributes that help them realize success throughout their lives! The Lead Guitar curriculum emphasizes music reading, allowing students to become independent musicians, capable of taking their guitar skills to any style of playing. 

The program is designed for students in grades 5 and up. Responsible 4th-graders are welcome to apply but will only be accepted on a space-available basis. 

 

Classes

After-school Lead Guitar classes begin in mid-October. Each class includes a warm-up routine, weekly lesson objective, and clear practice strategies as students move through the thoughtfully designed Lead Guitar curriculum.  

Green Circle: Students in their first year of Lead Guitar instruction always participate in the Green Circle class. In Green Circle, we start at the beginning of Lead Guitar Method Book 1, learning proper set-up, music reading skills, and left/right hand independence on the first songs, progressing into songs with increasing rhythmic complexity. Students progress to the Blue Square class level when they can confidently of Method Book 1 Level One and most pieces in Level Two.

Blue Square: Students in the Blue Square class have had at least one year in Lead Guitar class and can demonstrate proficiency on all Method Book 1 Level One pieces and most Level Two pieces.

- Some students in their second year of Lead Guitar instruction will be ready for the Blue Square class, while some will be better served through a refresher in the Green Circle class. 
- All students will be reassessed during the first week of class to ensure they are placed into the correct class level.

Black Diamond: Students who can confidently play Leyenda (in Level Four of Method Book 1; thumb and fingers) are invited to participate in the select Black Diamond ensemble (below).

 

Black Diamond Ensemble

Are you in high school or a very advanced middle school player? We have an option for you! While we know that most Lead Guitar students are in middle school, we have created a Lead Guitar Black Diamond Ensemble experience for our older and most advanced students. This small group of hand-picked, advanced players work with Lead Guitar Director of Instruction Nick Lenio and expert teaching artist Mateo Sandate on classical guitar technique, advanced ensemble playing, solo guitar, and extended technique. Students will play advanced repertoire, with only one or two students to a part. Students will meet in one of two central locations (Basalt or Carbondale). This experience is for motivated students who want to progress in their own playing and are dedicated to practicing consistently outside of class to make sure they can independently play their assigned parts.

 

Schools:  2023-2024 School Year

Lead Guitar will run as an after-school program at four schools during the 2023-2024 school year. Classes begin the week of October 16. All Roaring Fork Valley students (regardless of what school they attend during the school year) are welcome to participate in an after-school Lead Guitar class at any hosting school.

Meet the AfterWorks Teachers

Basalt Middle School

  • Mondays and Wednesdays
  • Mondays:
    3:40-4:25 PM - Green Circle class
    4:30-5:15 PM - Blue Square class
    Wednesdays:
    2:10-2:55 PM - Green Circle class
    3:00-3:45 PM - Blue Square class
  • Classes begin October 16
  • Taught by Nick Lenio| Location: BMS Band Room
  • View your class schedule HERE!

 

Ross Montessori School (Carbondale)

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • 3:45-4:30 PM - Green Circle class
    4:35-5:20 PM - Blue Square class
  • Classes begin October 17
  • Taught by Tim Caskin | Location: Classroom #143
  • View your class schedule HERE!

 

Riverview School

  • Mondays and Wednesdays
  • Mondays:
    3:40-4:25 PM - Green Circle class
    4:30-5:15 PM - Blue Square class
    Wednesdays:
    2:10-2:55 PM - Green Circle class
    3:00-3:45 PM - Blue Square class
  • Classes begin October 16
  • Taught by Mateo Sandate | Location: Think Tank (across from the main music room)
  • View your class schedule HERE!

 

Two Rivers Community School

  • Mondays and Thursdays
  • 3:45-4:30 PM - Green Circle class
    4:35-5:20 PM - Blue Square class
  • Classes begin October 16
  • Taught by Ashton Taufer | Location: Classroom #130
  • View your class schedule HERE!

 

Black Diamond Ensemble

  • Basalt
    • Wednesdays, 3:50-5:05 pm (or at an alternate time depending on student/teacher availability), starting October 18
    • BMS Band Room
    • Taught by Nick Lenio
  • Carbondale
    • Tuesdays or Wednesdays TBD (based on student availability), starting October 17 or 18
    • Carbondale Location TBD
    • Taught by Mateo Sandate

 

Do you have a scheduling conflict with the Lead Guitar days at your school this fall? We can help... Reach out to us about options!

 

After-School Program Cost: $240

Cost includes 20 weeks of classes (two 45-minute classes OR one 90-minute class per week, depending on school) taught by guitar specialists, performance opportunities, all music, and access to Lead Guitar online resources. 

This program is heavily subsidized by the AMFS and generous donors, and the actual program cost is more than $700 per student. The program cost to students/families is only $5.50 per class/concert!

Please note that this is a 20-week program and students should commit to the entire series of classes. 

Scholarships & Payment Plans

A limited number of tuition scholarships are available to students who demonstrate significant financial need. Tuition payment plans are also available, if necessary, and can be requested during the acceptance process.Additionally, a limited number of instrument scholarships are available to students who are unable to afford the cost of purchasing or renting a guitar.

AfterWorks Refund Policy

Once a student has registered for an AfterWorks program (Beginning Strings, Chamber Music Lab, Lead Guitar, or Maroon Bel Canto Choirs), the following policy will apply to tuition refunds if that student chooses to leave the AfterWorks program:

  • Before first class/rehearsal: full tuition refund
  • Between first and third class/rehearsal: half tuition refund
  • After third class/rehearsal: no refund

 

Guitars

Students in Lead Guitar classes are required to have their own classical, nylon-string guitar. All students should have a guitar ready for the first day of Lead Guitar class. In order to procure a guitar, students have several options:

1. Purchase a guitar through the AMFS at a heavily discounted Lead Guitar-student rate. We’ll bring the guitar to your Lead Guitar school to be ready for the first day of class! There are three guitar options for purchase:

  • Yamaha CGS103AII Guitar (3/4-size guitar - for our youngest, smallest Lead Guitar students only), electronic tuner, and backpack-strap soft case:  Lead Guitar price = $159
    • Yamaha CGS103 AII classical guitar is a great instrument for small students learning the ins and outs of classical guitar technique. The guitars feature a spruce top, Mercanti back and sides, a nato neck, and a rosewood bridge and fingerboard. Yamaha is famous for producing great-sounding budget classical guitars, and the CGS instruments will reward the learner with years of musical pleasure.
    • This 3/4-size guitar is for our youngest, smallest Lead Guitar students only. Typically some 4th and 5th-grade students require a 3/4-size guitar.
    • MSRP: $380
  • Yamaha C4011 Full Size Guitar, electronic tuner, and backpack-strap soft case: Lead Guitar price = $170
    • Beginners will appreciate the level of quality found in the C4011 classical guitar. This quality instrument delivers outstanding cost performance with exceptional playability and superb tone. The C40II might be one of Yamaha's most inexpensive full-size classical models, but its quality and tone are outstanding. A real bargain for beginners.
    • MSRP: $405
  • Yamaha CG102 Full Size Guitar, electronic tuner, and backpack-strap soft case: Lead Guitar price = $202
    • Drawing upon the vast knowledge and techniques of our master craftsmen, the CG series nylon string guitars where developed to deliver top level sound quality, performance and playability. Yamaha's most reasonably priced classical guitar offers a rich tone that beginners will find inspiring. This is a full-size classical guitar with a spruce top and nato back and sides. It features a rosewood fingerboard and a 52 mm nut width for traditional classical play. This would make an excellent choice for the young guitarist seeking to improve his or her nylon-string skills or even for the seasoned player looking for an inexpensive guitar to always have within reach.
    • MSRP: $480

 

2. Rent a guitar from the AMFS: A limited number of guitars are available to rent at the rate of $20 per month, for six months (rental payments October-March).

3. Apply for an instrument scholarship to use an AMFS-owned guitar for the school year: A limited number of scholarship guitars are available to students who are unable to afford the cost of purchasing a guitar or renting an AMFS-owned guitar while enrolled in Lead Guitar.

4. Bring your own guitar: Students may bring their own guitars, but they MUST be classical guitars. Not sure if your guitar is classical or acoustic? Watch this video, check the strings (classical guitars have three strings that look like clear plastic [nylon] while acoustic guitars [steel string] have all metal strings), or take the guitar to Glenwood Music and have them identify it. IMPORTANT: We do not recommend restringing a steel-string guitar with nylon strings. Acoustic (steel-string) guitars and classical (nylon-string) guitars are very different... different bodies, necks, fingerboards, etc. Adding nylon strings to a steel-string guitar doesn't turn it into a classical guitar.


Lead Guitar Performances

  • January – Lead Guitar Winter Informances | Dates vary by school
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2024 – Lead Guitar Showcase  |  Harris Concert Hall (Aspen) 

* Lead Guitar classes end after the Lead Guitar Showcase in April.

 

How to Register

REGISTER NOW!

Registration opens September 1 and closes October 6. Late registrations may be accepted if space is available, but will incur a $25 late registration fee to cover delayed application processing.


To learn more, please contact:

Veronica Lopez, Education and Community Coordinator
Email | 970 205 5059

 

Lead Guitar scholarship support is provided by James Katzenberger.

Significant underwriting of the AfterWorks program is provided through generous contributions from:

The Meinig Family Foundation

Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO