Q&A: Ray Boyle – BIMM Dublin’s Head of Guitar

4th April 2018

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In order to give new applicants an idea of what to expect whilst studying a performance course at BIMM, we decided to interview some of our heads of department to help give a glimpse of the people behind the courses. We spoke with Ray Boyle – Head of Guitar at BIMM Dublin – to hear all about his favourite masterclasses, BIMM Dublin’s fantastic facilities and the proudest moment of his career so far.

What have been the best Masterclasses during your time at BIMM Dublin?

John Scofield came in about four years ago as he was over here performing with the RTE orchestra. Guitar tutor Jimmy Smith was playing with him at that concert and brought him in to do an informal last minute masterclass. He was a very gracious, generous and unassuming individual and talked very openly about his technique, tone and the jazz form. He played through a couple of Jazz standards with the head of bass Paul Moore and talked to students about his style, influences and thought process with music. He answered any questions students had and gave some very helpful advice.

Guthrie Govan came in a few years ago and delivered a very exciting and informative masterclass. He played some of his own compositions and answered questions on all aspects of guitar playing. He is an excellent teacher as well as a virtuoso guitarist and had a lot to offer in terms of advice and tips on all things guitar-related.

Larry Corvell was over playing in Dublin and we managed to convince him to come in and do a masterclass. He was a very gracious guest and gave generously in his time and knowledge of the instrument.

Gerry Leonard’s class was excellent and he gave a great insight into life as a professional guitarist. His advice was far reaching and really consolidated the most important parts of being a musician and what would be expected of you in the real world of music. He also has an excellent knowledge of effects and was very helpful on set-ups and how to get a great tone.

Buckethead was here a couple of years ago and was very popular with the students. His technical skills on the instrument are outstanding and his musical knowledge is vast. I think it‘s important for the students to see that level of technique as it really hammers home the level of skill you can achieve with a solid goal driven practice routine.

In your opinion, what is the best facility available to students at your campus and why?

I think it’s a great luxury to have a full recording studio in the college, as the students gain a lot of real life recording experience, which is invaluable in their overall development as musicians. I think the rehearsal space after-hours in the college is also a very important facility to have as it keeps down costs when forming bands and rehearsing for gigs.

What first inspired you to become a Guitarist?

I would say probably Jerry Reed, Scotty Moore and Brian May would have been my seminal influences. I think my dad also encourage me, as he was a guitar enthusiast but found the instrument difficult. He was a great trad Irish musician and taught me the tin whistle and bohran before he then gave me his guitar and sent me to lessons.

What’s been the proudest moment of your career so far?

I think playing for the president of Ireland was a proud very moment – one for the mothers.

What’s the single most important piece of advice you’d offer a student looking to succeed in Guitar?

Work hard, be on time, be open-minded and always strive to create something new.

Thinking about signing up to study a course in Guitar? We have degree-level Commercial Modern Music or Professional Musicianship courses available across our campuses! Check out detailed descriptions of each of our guitar course options, here.


James Watts

Social Media Assistant, Professional Bassist and Music Journalist. Career highlights include performing at some of the UK's premier music festivals, recording in Abbey Road and interviewing Debbie Harry.