with Sérgio Assad
and Peppino D'Agostino
Benicia, California
October 27-29, 2017
Learn how to compose and arrange for guitar while also exploring classical, Brazilian, fingerstyle and percussive techniques at this immersive three day retreat.

Guitarists of all levels and styles are welcome at the Global Guitar Retreat™ in sunny California, USA. Whether you’ve been playing guitar for years, or have only recently picked it up, you'll be able to immerse yourself in learning classical, Brazilian, fingerstyle and percussive guitar at this three day retreat with one of the world's leading guitarists;
Sérgio Assad!

Sérgio Assad will be joined by steel string player Peppino D'Agostino as a guest teacher on this retreat. 

From learning to play melodies by ear, to writing or arranging your own guitar pieces, and taking your guitar technique to the next level, Sérgio Assad will give you the inspiration and exercises, to build your confidence and turn your ideas into finished compositions. The retreat is designed to gather guitarists of all styles and levels from around the globe with a common goal - learning, playing, eating and sleeping guitar.

This is the first time The Global Guitar Retreat™ has been held in the USA. Don’t miss this chance to spend a week-end in the Golden State of California, home of some of the world's best music. What could be better than a musical holiday where you really learn something and have a great time with like-minded people?

The Global Guitar Retreat™ will take place in Benicia in Northern California, just outside San Francisco on October 27th, 28th and 29th, 2017. 

During the day you'll learn directly from Sérgio and Peppino and every evening you can sit back with a California wine or local handcrafted beer and take part in intimate, once-in-a-lifetime jam sessions. Just bring your guitar, get ready to learn, write, jam, make friends and have fun!

What Is The Global Guitar Retreat About?
The Global Guitar Retreats are all about unlocking your creativity as a guitarist. Here are just some areas that will be covered at the retreat.
Improve Technique
Improve technique and a new level of confidence as a guitarist.
Multiple Styles
You'll be exposed to learning classical, Brazilian, fingerstyle and percussive styles.
Spend three days getting inspiration and making new friends. 
Guitar Exercises
You'll learn plenty of new exercises to continue to progress in your guitar playing.
Guitar Composition & Arranging
During the Retreat you'll learn to take your ideas and arrange them for guitar.
Live Performances
Opportunity to perform on stage with Sergio, Peppino and your fellow guitarists.
The Daily Schedule

Friday 27th October 2017
3:00 pm - 3:45 pm Students Arrive (check-in to hotel if Gold Package)
4:00 pm - 4:30 pm Retreat Welcome & Introductions
4:30 pm – 6:30 pm Workshop I
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Dinner
9:00 pm - 11:00 pm Evening Jams

Saturday 28th October 2017
9:30 am – 10:30 am Workshop II
11:00 am - 12:30 pm Workshop  III
12:30 pm - 1:45 pm Lunch
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Workshop IV
​3:30 pm - 4:00 pm Coffee Break
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm  Workshop V 
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Dinner
8:30 pm - 11:00 pm Evening Jams

Sunday 29th October 2017
9:30 am – 11:00 am Workshop VI
11:30 am - 1:00 pm Workshop VII
1:00 pm – 2:15 pm Lunch
2:15 pm – 3:30 pm Workshop VIII
3:30pm - 4:00pm - Coffee Break
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Workshop IX
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm Performance at Local Venue (optional)

The Location
With a population of 28,000, Benicia is a small waterfront town in the Bay Area less than an hour from Oakland or San Francisco and twenty minutes from the Napa Valley. This charming hamlet gives visitors a chance to relax as they stroll the compact downtown's boutiques, antiques stores, and restaurants. This one-time state capital (1853-54) and location of the first Army post on the West Coast is dotted with historic sites and is a haven for the creative set — about 500 artists make Benicia their home.
Sérgio Assad
Sérgio Assad
Classical and Brazilian Guitarist

Born into a musical family in Mococa, São Paulo, Brazil, Sergio Assad began creating music for the guitar not long after he began playing the instrument. He learned Brazilian folk melodies from his father. By age 14, he was arranging and writing original compositions for the guitar duo he had formed with his brother, Odair. At the age of 16, he and Odair began their studies under the best-known classical guitar teacher in Brazil at the time, Monina Tavora, a former disciple of Andrés Segovia. Sergio later went on to study conducting at the Escola Nacional de Música in Rio de Janeiro and worked privately with Brazilian composition teacher, Esther Scliar.

Over the last thirty years Assad has concentrated most of his efforts on building a repertoire for the guitar duo. He has extended the possibilities of the two-guitar combination through his arrangements of Latin American music by composers such as Piazzolla, Villa Lobos, Ginastera and Gismonti as well as Baroque and Modern music by Scarlatti, Rameau, Soler, Bach, Mompou, Ravel, Debussy and Gershwin among many others. He has completed over 300 arrangements for different chamber music settings arrangements for Gidon Kremer, Dawn Upshaw, Yo-Yo Ma, Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg, Paquito D'Rivera, Turtle Island String Quartet, and LA Quartet among others. As a composer Assad has completed over a hundred works for guitar, many of which have become standards in the guitar repertoire. . Pieces like Aquarelle, Fantasia Carioca, Farewell, Sonata 1, and Eli’s Portrait are part of the repertoire of many well-established guitarists today. He wrote the set piece for the 2008 Guitar Foundation of America Competition named "Valsa de Outono". Assad’s orchestral compositions include the ballet "Scarecrow", the concerto "Mikis" for guitar and strings, "Fantasia Carioca" for two guitars and chamber orchestra,, "Interchange", a concerto for guitar quartet and orchestra premiered by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet with the San Antonio Symphony in 2009, the concerto "Originis" for violin, guitar duo, and orchestra recorded live with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo featuring the Assads and Nadja Sonnemberg as soloists, the concerto "Phases" for guitar duo and orchestra premiered in 2011 by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra with the Assad Brothers as soloists and the Concerto Popular do Rio commissioned by the GFA and the Cordoba Guitar Festival  premiered in June 2015 with Pablo Villegas as soloist.

In 2013 Sergio Assad was awarded a honorary degree by the University of Arizona in Tucson. He also got along with his brother Odair an award for artistic life achievement by the Guitar Foundation of America in 2015.

Assad has taught master classes in conservatories, universities, and music schools in the US, Europe, Latin America, Japan, and Australia. From 1994 to 1996, he taught at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Brussels and from 2003 to 2006 at the Chicago College for the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and from 2008 to 2016 he was part of the guitar faculty at the SF Conservatory of Music.

Peppino D'Agostino
Peppino D'Agostino
Fingerstyle and Percussive Guitarist

D'Agostino, a native of Italy, has been hailed as “a guitarist's guitarist” by Acoustic Guitar magazine as well as “a giant of the acoustic guitar” (San Diego Reader), and holds many top guitar awards - even his Peppino D'Agostino Seagull Signature Guitar model was ranked in June 2014 as one of the 10 best signature guitars by Guitar Player Magazine.

D’Agostino has performed in more than 31 countries; been featured at prestigious international music festivals, and frequently plays with prominent artists around the world, including Tommy Emmanuel, Leo Kottke, Martin Taylor, and Eric Johnson. His 18 recordings include releases on Favored Nations, Mesa/Bluemoon, Acoustic Music Records, and other labels.

When not performing D’Agostino also enjoys teaching. He has made various teaching videos, has individual students, and through the years has been a guest instructor at various guitar programs such as Creative Vacances in La Moreau, France, Acoustic Alaska Guitar Camp, Swannanoa Gathering, and Guitar Workshop Plus. Truefire, an online instruction company, has released two courses in which D’Agostino explains his influential guitar techniques and approach to composition. One thing is true – Peppino is always thinking guitar.

"Thank you for all of your efforts, attention to detail, and hard work to make the guitar retreat such a success. It was an extraordinary experience for me. The teaching was inspiring and the camaraderie was wonderful. There was great playing by teachers and students alike." 
- Duncan
"Peppino D'Agostino has impacted my guitar playing like no one else. His passion for the guitar is contagious. The breadth of skills and techniques that he brings to his students seems endless. And his ability to make the learning experience valuable, rewarding and fun to an entire group of students with mixed backgrounds and skill levels is second to none. Whether in historic Benicia, California or the Amalfi coast in Italy, every retreat with Peppino strengthens my playing in ways I couldn't have imagined."
- Miles


How to write and arrange for guitar.
Playing simple melodies by ear.
The essentials of harmony.
Guitar fingerings and positions.
How to learn new pieces.
Using percussive and slides techniques in your guitar playing.
The Gold Package includes accommodation at either The Shorelight Inn, Inn at Benicia Bay, Union Hotel, or Heritage Inn. The three main lodging options are within walking distance of each other and close to some of the workshop activities and the small Benicia downtown area.  Built at the turn of the century, the Shorelight Inn was once known as The Anderson Hotel and also referred to as the Pink Palace.  This beautiful, historic building was moved a half block to its current location on the Benicia waterfront and lovingly restored.   Each suite is tastefully decorated and welcoming to guests. Waking up near the water or sitting on the relaxing porch will surely add to your week-end's inspiration.  The Inn at Benicia Bay has beautiful rooms to relax the soul and mixes a rich history with modern amenities. This 1854 Victorian is located in downtown Benicia, just half way between the charming main street and Benicia’s Marina/Yacht Club. Like a European retreat, the garden oasis combines that old world feeling with a sense of privacy. Without being too far away, The Inn at Benicia Bay lets you get away from it all. The comfortable décor of the Union Hotel is reminiscent of California's past. In the middle of the nineteenth century, this cream colored hotel welcomed guests from all over the world with warm hospitality. The tradition continues today. Each guestroom although older in its decor is spacious.  You will be able to imagine Benicia of the past while at the Union Hotel.  The Heritage Inn is a modern hotel, convenient to the freeway and downtown Benicia. The guest rooms are spacious and comfortable.  On site is a jacuzzi and swimming pool that you can enjoy for a little rest or exercise before or after the workshop.
Shorelight Inn Front Porch

Shorelight Inn Bedrooms

Shorelight Inn Water Views

The Inn at Benicia Bay

Historic Union Hotel

Heritage Inn

Silver Package
  • All Workshops (over 13hrs of instruction)
  • Welcome goodie bag
  • Sunday night performance (optional)
  • 2 Lunches & 2 Dinners
  • Wine/beer at Dinners
  • Evening jam sessions & instructor performances!
Gold Package
Most Popular
  • All Workshops (over 13hrs of instruction)
  • Welcome goodie bag
  • Sunday night performance (optional)
  • 2 Lunches & 2 Dinners
  • Wine/beer at Dinners
  • Evening jam sessions and instructor performances!
  • Friday & Saturday Accommodation in Benicia
** Bonus Online Course ** 
Bonus Online Course
The first 15 people to register for the retreat will also receive access to James Taylor's online course on the creative process (value $297). 

This online home-study course from James Taylor's C.SCHOOL™ includes over 40 HD videos, pdf worksheets, and audio files on understanding your creative process and breaking down creative blocks.
Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When does the retreat take place.

A. The retreat classes run from the Friday afternoon until Sunday evening.

Q. Where does the retreat take place.

A.The retreat classes will take place in downtown Benicia close to the three main lodging spots.

Q. Can my partner attend even though they won't participate in the classes.

A. Absolutely, non-participating partners are very welcome and the price per non-participating partner (sharing room) is $295 which can be purchased HERE. Partners may also sit in on a workshop session or two as long as there is adequate space in the room.

Q. What is your cancellation policy?

A. You can receive a full refund minus any credit card/hotel booking fees within the first 30 days of booking. Please consider getting travel insurance to cover unexpected occurrences.

Q. What about accommodation?

A.The Shorelight Inn, ​​​​​​The Inn at Benicia Bay, and Union Hotel are in the center of the small downtown area of Benicia and a five minute walk from each other.  The Heritage Inn, is about a mile away.  The Heritage Inn also has an exercise room, outdoor pool, and spa. If you would like to request a specific hotel, check out their websites and send your request and any other accommodation questions to Donna Wapner at dwapner@sbcglobal.net .  Priority for the downtown accommodations will go to participants who attend with a partner (when possible).

Q. Can I book extra nights of accommodation?

A. Yes. Once you know the hotel room that you are assigned, you can contact the hotel directly to book extra nights.

Q. Who can I contact if I have other questions related to the retreat?

A. Please email dwapner@sbcglobal.net

Q. Can you accommodate those with dietary issues?

A. We are happy to cater for people with diet issues. Vegetarian, vegans and basic diet requirements are included in the price.

Q. Is the venue and accommodation suitable for those with mobility issues?

A. We are not able to accommodate anyone with severe mobility problems. Please get in touch with dwapner@sbcglobal.net to discuss your particular needs.

Q. How do I get there?

A. You can travel to Benicia either by air or road.

By air: Benicia is 45minutes from Oakland International Airport and an hour from San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Public transportation to Benicia from the airports include: BART (to Pleasant Hill) - www.bart.gov - and Evans Airporter to Vallejo - www.evanstransportation.com.


The Premier Music Retreat Experiences
This will be the first Global Guitar Retreat in beautiful Benicia. James Taylor's C.SCHOOL™ also produces music  and creativity retreats for Martin Taylor, Mike Marshall, David Wilcox & Peppino D'Agostino in the same location. Our Benicia team is focused on giving you the very best experience in which to learn guitar.

Other C.SCHOOL™ retreats take place in London, New York, Italy, Scotland, France and Asia. We are honored to work with Sergio Assad for our first Global Guitar Retreat in California. We hope you decide to join us for three day days of eating, sleeping, learning and playing music.