Help! I have to teach a guitar class. Recommend a method book. Please!

Andmyaxe

Strat-Talker
May 12, 2021
278
USA
So it looks like I'll be teaching weekly guitar classes at my community center. Kind of came out of nowhere. I've got some experience teaching one-on-one lessons back when I got my university certificate in music (classical guitar and jazz bass) Have since been playing rock guitar and bass the past 20 years. But I've never taught a guitar course in a "classroom" setting.

I'd be eternally grateful for method book recommendations. I don't want to reinvent the wheel here. The course will be 4-6 weeks. They told me I can determine the age range of students so I'm thinking age 12 to adult.

To the extent relevant, I'm in a mid-Atlantic state. So I expect a fairly diverse group of students. Some rock fans. Some country fans. Etc.

Main objective is that the students have fun and learn to play a basic song or two by the end of the course.

Again, looking for a method book for beginners.

🙏
 

Murdog

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
May 7, 2021
1,927
U.S.A.
I don't know about any method books, but I am an instructor for the Dept. of the Navy and deal with a wide variety of new Sailors, from various backgrounds from all over the states. I just go with what I know. Every student is different and you'll have to adapt, on the fly. Anybody can buy a book, teach those kids what YOU know! It'll be a learning process for you as well. Make sense?
 

Andmyaxe

Strat-Talker
May 12, 2021
278
USA
I don't know about any method books, but I am an instructor for the Dept. of the Navy and deal with a wide variety of new Sailors, from various backgrounds from all over the states. I just go with what I know. Every student is different and you'll have to adapt, on the fly. Anybody can buy a book, teach those kids what YOU know! It'll be a learning process for you as well. Make sense?
Yes, makes total sense. I'd like to be able to give the students a book to work from between classes, though. What do you use for "homework"?
 

Murdog

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
May 7, 2021
1,927
U.S.A.
Yes, makes total sense. I'd like to be able to give the students a book to work from between classes, though. What do you use for "homework"?
I don't give homework. For music though it would be nice to have something for them to practice, I don't have an answer for that. Sorry.
 

HSH Classic Vibe

Strat-Talker
May 29, 2022
347
Republic of Squierland
There's the Hal Leonard books, and then there's the Mel Bay books. But I'm a believer that if you really want to help beginners learn guitar, you need to have them learn to slowly put their fingers in the right location over and over so that they don't develop bad habits. And nobody teaches that better than Jamie Andreas.
 

Andmyaxe

Strat-Talker
May 12, 2021
278
USA
There's the Hal Leonard books, and then there's the Mel Bay books. But I'm a believer that if you really want to help beginners learn guitar, you need to have them learn to slowly put their fingers in the right location over and over so that they don't develop bad habits. And nobody teaches that better than Jamie Andreas.

The Guitar Handbook by Ralph Denyer

I've used it a dozen times or more
Thanks guys! I'm looking into these now.
 

Andmyaxe

Strat-Talker
May 12, 2021
278
USA
Perhaps you should should try trusting your own intuition... You do have "University" level education on the subject, right?... just a thought.. good luck!
Yes but it was in classical guitar, theory, and a little jazz, whereas I anticipate teaching a course covering more contemporary styles. Also, the approach and goals at the college level are a bit different from a basic course for casual beginners. The former builds theory and practice from the ground up over the course of months or years, whereas the latter's objective will be to teach some basic chords and songs.

Thanks for the well wishes. I'm gonna need 'em! 😬🙃
 

crankmeister

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 9, 2020
6,365
Republic of Gilead
So it looks like I'll be teaching weekly guitar classes at my community center. Kind of came out of nowhere. I've got some experience teaching one-on-one lessons back when I got my university certificate in music (classical guitar and jazz bass) Have since been playing rock guitar and bass the past 20 years. But I've never taught a guitar course in a "classroom" setting.

I'd be eternally grateful for method book recommendations. I don't want to reinvent the wheel here. The course will be 4-6 weeks. They told me I can determine the age range of students so I'm thinking age 12 to adult.

To the extent relevant, I'm in a mid-Atlantic state. So I expect a fairly diverse group of students. Some rock fans. Some country fans. Etc.

Main objective is that the students have fun and learn to play a basic song or two by the end of the course.

Again, looking for a method book for beginners.

🙏
I wouldn’t put much stock in diversity as a matter of taste in music. The true diversity will be in the range of abilities (current, floor, and ceiling); that’s the only diversity you need to consider.

At that rate, any one book will only get you so far. I’d probably think about a book that they’d get the most out of on their own rather than one that you would use to script a lesson. In class, it’ll be about how you manage those abilities and getting the students to work together. How many students will be in the class? Will you be able to put them in groups of 2-4? I was just talking to a guy yesterday, he said he had a music class as a kid and they would sit in a circle playing guitar together and they had to listen to each other and figure out how to play along with each other, it sounded awesome.

Now I’m just thinking back to when I first started, self-taught (a great student but a horrible teacher). The basic things I never discovered for years and years was the concept of the triad (chord construction), how to hold a pick (different ways and why), how to position your picking hand/fingers for finger picking, how Travis picking works, and I didn’t even know hybrid picking was a thing (or even physically/rhythmically possible) until a couple years ago.

It’s a lot to both find out what each individual student wants out of the class while also teaching everyone together the “musts” of guitar. A few weeks is gonna go fast!
 

El Gobernador

fezz parka
Apr 21, 2011
36,169
Nunyo, BZ
Four to six weeks.

Teach them the C major scale.
Teach them the associated diatonic modal degrees derived from that parent scale.
Teach them how to get the C major chord progression from the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th degrees.
Teach them a song using chords from that progression.
Tell them they can do the same in any other key.
They'll be light years ahead of the average student.
 

Andmyaxe

Strat-Talker
May 12, 2021
278
USA
I wouldn’t put much stock in diversity as a matter of taste in music. The true diversity will be in the range of abilities (current, floor, and ceiling); that’s the only diversity you need to consider.

At that rate, any one book will only get you so far. I’d probably think about a book that they’d get the most out of on their own rather than one that you would use to script a lesson. In class, it’ll be about how you manage those abilities and getting the students to work together. How many students will be in the class? Will you be able to put them in groups of 2-4? I was just talking to a guy yesterday, he said he had a music class as a kid and they would sit in a circle playing guitar together and they had to listen to each other and figure out how to play along with each other, it sounded awesome.

Now I’m just thinking back to when I first started, self-taught (a great student but a horrible teacher). The basic things I never discovered for years and years was the concept of the triad (chord construction), how to hold a pick (different ways and why), how to position your picking hand/fingers for finger picking, how Travis picking works, and I didn’t even know hybrid picking was a thing (or even physically/rhythmically possible) until a couple years ago.

It’s a lot to both find out what each individual student wants out of the class while also teaching everyone together the “musts” of guitar. A few weeks is gonna go fast!
Yes, I should be able to have them work in small groups as part of the course. I likely will have full discretion over the curriculum. Good idea.
Four to six weeks.

Teach them the C major scale.
Teach them the associated diatonic modal degrees derived from that parent scale.
Teach them how to get the C major chord progression from the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th degrees.
Teach them a song using chords from that progression.
Tell them they can do the same in any other key.
They'll be light years ahead of the average student.
I like this approach a lot. Even if I settle in a book that doesn’t include this, I can integrate it into the course. 👍

Been looking through some intro books. Most have been disappointing. I can see how newcomers get frustrated.
 


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