We’ll use the structure to cover some practical advice for what a good guitar lesson should include. Topics versus Application One thing I always like to draw a distinction between when it comes to learning attar is topics and applications. It helps to put a little bit of skin on some of the other things we’re going to talk about, so let’s go ahead and define both, as they relate to guitar lessons: Topics: Concepts or ideas that are new to the students Me chord, pentatonic scale, etc.
Application: The use of topics to create something musical tabs, songs or improvising. Every good guitar lesson will have both of these elements, in one form or another. What’s difficult, is getting people to know how to move from topical learning, into musical application. This is part of why a lot of guitar seasons stop with learning chords and scales. Learning chords and scales is fine, but it’s Just the beginning. You’ve got to do something with those topics, instead of Just learning them and then moving on.
If you don’t use them, then it’s going to be harder for the student to recall them in the future. The Responsibility of the Student I know some of you might be thinking, “Isn’t it the student’s responsibility to use what they’ve learned”? Yes it absolutely is. Www. Actuarial. Com To use a tired cliche, the “real learning” will take place while the student is playing n their own during the week. If they don’t do that, or if they’re not interested, then the topics will likely never take root.
However, I would also say that far too many students avoid application on their own, because they don’t know how to do it and they’re never able to see the connection between the topics they’ve learned and the music they’re hearing on their ‘Pods. As the teacher, you need to illustrate that connection to them and show them how Music 101 -Guitar By Benches It’s difficult certainly more difficult than going over a chord sheet, but it can be done. Ordering Guitar Topics A few months ago I wrote a post called Practice and Progress: How a Guitar Player Advances and included an anaphoric to illustrate the post a little more succinctly.
The post basically covered how I would recommend ordering guitar topics in the early stages, where different goals (rhythm or lead guitar, etc) don’t really come into play. Now what I’m not trying to say is that the “order” needs to be the same for every teacher. Not every history teacher’s syllabus is the same, so not every guitar teacher’s topic order will necessarily be the same either. What you should do is sit down and plan out several months of lessons. If you have to adjust, no big deal Just make sure you’ve got something on paper.
We’ll do a template after this next paragraph. Student-by-Student Considerations Feel free to reference the Practice and Progress post, but also keep in mind that those are beginner topics that don’t take into account variables that are unique to certain students. This is something you’ll have to be aware of, so we need to at least mention them here. 1. Goals Rhythm or Lead Guitar: Not every student will even now the answer to which one they’re more interested in, but the learning path for each side is a bit different. . Skill-Set Complete Beginner or Prior Knowledge: What your student already knows will have a lot to do with how you schedule and plan their lessons. It might save you a few steps. 3. Musical Interests: This one usually won’t have a great deal of bearing on what you teach them until later in the process, after you’ve covered the “gene des” of the guitar. Making a Syllabus So now we’ll set about the process of making a generic syllabus that gets us through ten weeks of guitar lessons.
Now I know that some people do 30 minute lessons as opposed to one hour, so if that’s the case, Just double the amount of time, since I’m assuming one hour lessons while writing this up. We’ll do a basic schedule that outlines each topic and then talk a little bit about how it could be adjusted to account for some of the variables we mentioned earlier. GUITAR LESSON SYLLABUS Week Physical Components of the Guitar Covering the physical construction of the guitar, different types of guitars, how to hold a guitar and pick as well as stringing and tuning to standard E-A-D-G-B-E.
Application Basic strumming, picking (usually open or single strings), learning how to use a tuner and posture technique can be assigned as homework or for practice time. Learning the Freeboard Notes Build off of tuning the strings by learning the open notes of each string in standard tuning (E-AD-G-B-E) and then learn the notes of the freeboard for the first 12 twelve frets for the sixth and fifth strings. Assign the student to learn the other four strings, based off of the repetitive pattern of every 12 frets (if you learn one, you can learn them all).
Memorize each freeboard spot by note by moving your finger through each one and calling out each note. Week Ill Playing Single Notes and Tracking them on the Freeboard Use the knowledge from week two to start playing single notes, covering the physical technique as well as working on naming each note’s musical letter (G, C, D etc. ). Assign student to play single notes both in order (up and down the freeboard) and at random while naming the musical letter of each note as they play. Week Learning Chords, Correcting Buzzing Notes and Improving Overall Physical Technique
Cover basic open chords, usually G, C, D, E, Me, A, Am and F, while also teaching how to avoid note buzzing and using chords to strengthen your fingers and prepare them for bare chords and arpeggios. Building Chord Transition Speed Stop Buzzing Notes Chords sound terrible why? Give the student a list of chords to play along with some tabs that show how to break the chords out into single notes or arpeggios. Instruct the student to concentrate on maintaining clear notes that don’t buzz and show them how to correct the ones that do. Week V Learning other types of chords: Minor, Major, Power and Bare.
Discuss the difference between major and minor chords and introduce student to the basic bare and power chord shapes. Give student some simple songs and tabs that use the chords they’ve learned. By now, they have enough chords in their vocabulary to play a lot of music. Week VI Start learning basic scales: Major and melodic minor and all four pentatonic scales can be covered in one lesson. Help the student learn both the pattern and the sounds of the scales that you’re covering, while also providing an understanding of the root note of a scale and how o move that scale on the freeboard.
Make sure to articulate how the single notes, Illustrate how to use the scales for basic improvisation and allow the student to experiment by trying to incorporate “new notes” into the scale that arena listed. Introducing songs with very basic lead guitar segments is fine at this point. Week veil Cover the basics of intervals and power chords and how you can use intervals to start hearing the freeboard. Explain the theory behind intervals, how they can be used for chords and how they can be used to understand how the freeboard sounds.
Cover how this can relate to improvising and playing lead guitar. Take some of the scales you learned in week six and try to add some new notes to those scales by using intervals. Do they sound good or bad? Use this technique to develop the students ability to improvise on their own. Week veil Illustrate soloing techniques like bends, vibrato, hammer-ones, pull-offs. Cover the physical and musical aspects of these techniques and show the student how to apply them to single notes and intervals. Also discuss how these are represented in tableware. Application
Provide a few of your own improvised tabs for the student to practice soloing techniques. Assign the student to come up with their own improvised lead piece by using a scale of their choice and at least five improvised (or added) notes based on intervals. Week IX Additional and more complex scales should be covered, while discussing the correlation between scales and improvising a little more specifically. Cover some more complex pentatonic and blues patterns and provide more theory and detail about how those scales help you improvise by giving you a structure and inundation by which to work.
After memorization the student should be able to work in and out of the scale and know when they’re improvising as opposed to playing within the structure of the scale itself. Week X Address rhythm and song dynamics. Discuss how rhythm impacts your strumming technique, while also covering how the dynamics and intensity of a song should impact how the guitar is played. Application Assign songs for the student to listen to that exemplify the dynamics of the guitar and help the student hear when they need to pull back or play heavier.
Have the student work on their ability to play softer and louder on command by making use of effects and their own technique. So this is essentially what I would consider a rough skeleton of a ten-week syllabus for teaching guitar, with plenty of room to adjust if you need to. If we go back to the variables I mentioned earlier, you’ll probably have a few of those coming into play. For example, a student might know some of this stuff already, particularly the more basic stuff like how to hold, tune a guitar, etc. When that happens, you can obviously Just skip ahead.
What’s not quite so straightforward is when you have a student with a specific goal or focus. Let’s say you’ve got someone who really wants to be a rhythm guitarist and is interested in Jazz. When that happens, you change your syllabus in terms of emphasis not necessarily in terms of content. That means that you’ll focus more on beat and counting, along with chords and chord changing mechanics. As you cover the more basic topics, you’ll be ready to start incorporating Jazz specific lessons that will be much more interesting to the student. Concluding
It’s tough to understand what someone’s ideal learning patterns and situation might be. As a guitar teach, you’ve got the advantage of usually having a I-to-I student to teacher ratio. Take advantage of that by having a structure in place that you can work off of, rather than Just winging it and hoping for the best. A student will be more confident in what they’re learning if you’re confident and assertive about when and how it needs to be taught. Hopefully, this can help by giving you a framework to start from thanks for reading. Email suggestions and lesson requests to [email protected] Com.