#1
So, I just taught my first lesson to a kid. Ran over some simple warm-up and hand-strengthening exercises, taught him how to tune up by ear, and taught him the G D C Em chords. Ran threw a simple progression involving those a few times. Tried to run over part of "All the Small Things" by Blink 182 at the end, since he's into Green Day, Blink 182, Weezer, etc, but he seemed to be struggling, so I decided to save it for another time.

Gave him a paper with a ton of chord diagrams on it, and also asked him to practice the exercises and switching chords a few minutes a day at least, though I encouraged him to try some simple songs too, and gave him the tab for "All the Small Things".

All-in-all, I'm a decent player myself, nothing great or anything, but I figured I could teach a bit. Do you think this was a decent first lesson? I explained chords and how some sound good together, etc. I was thinking of starting in on pentatonic scales some next week, sound like a good idea? He has a good ear, had no problem tuning, and had the chords memorized before he left. Little trouble strumming, but I think that will work itself out in practice.

tl;dr - I'm started teaching this kid tonight, I was wondering if starting out with some hand exercises and the G D Em C chords was a good idea.
#2
gratz man, i wana become a teacher eventually too
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#3
Hand exercises were definitely a good idea but "All the Small Things" seems like a bit of a stretch, being that new guitarists sometimes find proper power chord fingering hard. My old guitar teacher started with "Time of Your Life" by Green Day because it taught that all guitarists have their own style, it taught 4 easy chords, and it taught how to control your hand for the rhythm.
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#4
Sounds like a nice first lesson to me. I think it's good that you introduced a song to him, I've known a few people to quit when they find out their lessons are all theory, and I think using songs he likes will help him to enjoy lessons, as it did with me. Definately introduce scales early, pentatonics at first and later minor and major, nothing too complex to begin with, obviously
#5
Congrats, I would go over the chords again to make sure he really has them down. Then maybe work on the song and some strumming exercises if it needs it. I would wait maybe 1-2 more lessons for scales. Let him get really comfortable first, but make sure you still give him more to work on.
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#6
sounds like you did a better job than my first guitar teachers. although you should consider, if you haven't already, throwing in a couple minutes of theory into each session. scales n wut not.
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#7
Quote by CrossBack7
So, I just taught my first lesson to a kid. Ran over some simple warm-up and hand-strengthening exercises, taught him how to tune up by ear, and taught him the G D C Em chords. Ran threw a simple progression involving those a few times. Tried to run over part of "All the Small Things" by Blink 182 at the end, since he's into Green Day, Blink 182, Weezer, etc, but he seemed to be struggling, so I decided to save it for another time.

Gave him a paper with a ton of chord diagrams on it, and also asked him to practice the exercises and switching chords a few minutes a day at least, though I encouraged him to try some simple songs too, and gave him the tab for "All the Small Things".

All-in-all, I'm a decent player myself, nothing great or anything, but I figured I could teach a bit. Do you think this was a decent first lesson? I explained chords and how some sound good together, etc. I was thinking of starting in on pentatonic scales some next week, sound like a good idea? He has a good ear, had no problem tuning, and had the chords memorized before he left. Little trouble strumming, but I think that will work itself out in practice.

tl;dr - I'm started teaching this kid tonight, I was wondering if starting out with some hand exercises and the G D Em C chords was a good idea.


I'm not much for giving hand exercises for a 1st timer.

For the 1st lesson, I would just get him familiar with some very basic concepts. Maybe teach him to read the 1st 3 notes on the 1st string...... how to count whole notes, half notes, and quarters. Then give a simple assignment that will reinforce those concepts during his week of practice.

I bring chords in when they're ready for it. Of-course If they have some experience already, or seem to be able to do it, I'll adjust accordingly..... but those are rare cases for a 1st lesson.

to the above poster, I would practically never bring up theory in a 1st lesson. I find students do much better after they've developed some basic skills 1st...... and show an interest in it.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 24, 2009,
#8
Just be sure to always reward him for practicing by letting him bring in a CD or his iPod and at least getting him started on a song he wants to learn. After all, that's probably why he's taking lessons.
#9
Quote by Wesseem
sounds like you did a better job than my first guitar teachers. although you should consider, if you haven't already, throwing in a couple minutes of theory into each session. scales n wut not.


Yeah, it's definitely good to start bringing up theory right away. But I suggest a kind of indirect approach. Start mentioning the concept of keys, intervals, major/minor scales blah blah blah, but don't really go into depth on it... Just get them used to hearing the terminology, even though they won't have a clue what you're saying. That way, they'll start to pick thing's up without even realizing that they're learning theory, and when it comes time for them to really take a look at it then they won't be totally lost.

Just beware of information overload. It's more difficult than you'd imagine trying to find things to do in 30 minutes with someone brand new to the guitar. It's really really easy to give them far too much to work on.

Oh, a couple riffs wouldn't hurt either... AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Smoke on the Water...
#10
Quote by icronic
Yeah, it's definitely good to start bringing up theory right away.


as someone who's taught for a long time, and taken many lessons, I respectfully disagree.

As a teacher you have to consider the ability of each individual student and present them with material that is appropriate for them.

Talking about things that are over their head is counterproductive.
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#11
Quote by GuitarMunky
as someone who's taught for a long time, and taken many lessons, I respectfully disagree.

As a teacher you have to consider the ability of each individual student and present them with material that is appropriate for them.

Talking about things that are over their head is counterproductive.


I'm talking about mentioning in passing more so than actively teaching. Saying too much about it is definitely counter-productive I agree. It's just real subtle conditioning

Plus, even learning the names of the strings or chords is in essence theory.

For a beginning player nearly everything is over their head. The difference between a humbucker and a single coil tends to be over their head.
#12
Quote by icronic


Plus, even learning the names of the strings or chords is in essence theory.


Well, I would consider them general music terms / concepts.... that they would need to know when they do begin to study theory.

I agree, those are an appropriate place to start (and to learn over time).


I don't think I would bring up formal "theory" (as in intervals, scale construction, harmony...ect).... until the player has the foundation to make sense of it. You seem to understand that though.

as far as a 1st lesson is concerned, I would keep it extremely simple. How to hold the pick, general guitar posture, how to fret and play a note, the notes in 1st position on the 1st string (and how to read them)..... basic timing concepts.

and not much more than that.... and maybe not even all of that in the 1st half hour lesson. If I can get them successfully playing the 1st few exercises in a standard method book within the 1st few lessons, I would consider that a reasonable accomplishment, and one that could be built upon.

again this is all assuming it's the very 1st lesson for the person, and they have not played at all before hand. You always consider the persons background and adjust accordingly.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 24, 2009,
#13
This kid is pretty sharp. He knew the names of the strings, the intervals of a major chord, etc. Said he had tried some songs with power chords, but hadn't had much luck, so I wasn't really sure how far along he was till later in the lesson. I just told him to work on the chords and try to do the exercises a few times to warm up before he played.

He also said he wanted to learn "21 Guns" by Green Day, and I think it's a good song to ease him into with the chords. Easy strum pattern, etc. Very easy chorus, all powerchords. Might try to get to that in a couple lessons.
#14
Quote by CrossBack7
This kid is pretty sharp. He knew the names of the strings, the intervals of a major chord, etc. Said he had tried some songs with power chords, but hadn't had much luck, so I wasn't really sure how far along he was till later in the lesson. I just told him to work on the chords and try to do the exercises a few times to warm up before he played.

He also said he wanted to learn "21 Guns" by Green Day, and I think it's a good song to ease him into with the chords. Easy strum pattern, etc. Very easy chorus, all powerchords. Might try to get to that in a couple lessons.


Well, it sounds like you've assessed the students abilities/knowledge and put thought into what is appropriate for him. That's the right approach IMO. Just keep doing that.

As a suggestion, I would say that if you can get him into reading music, like from a method book, it will make things alot easier later on should he decide to get into theory. Plus it's a great way to get exposed to all the basic musical concepts. Alot of kids are willing to work on it if you present it in a positive light. Some won't, which is a bummer, but in that case, you just keep guiding them the best you can. Sometimes they realize the value of reading / studying later on.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 24, 2009,
#15
Let him figure out melodies on for example a single string. You have learned talking from listening, that way you learn playing guitar
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#16
Quote by GuitarMunky
as someone who's taught for a long time, and taken many lessons, I respectfully disagree.

As a teacher you have to consider the ability of each individual student and present them with material that is appropriate for them.

Talking about things that are over their head is counterproductive.



no it's not. my music teachers felt the same way. they spent ages teaching me very simple things such as the first 3 frets and single notes for months. all the while they seldom or never mentioned theory and i would end up having to ask them myself what certain things meant such as time signatures etc.
to this day the lack of theory that my teachers neglected to show me has been a huge set back in my guitar playing. guitar is a hobby of mine and tbh it's not a rly major one. i haven't learned much more than what my music teachers have taught me and to this day i still don't know detrimental scales and keys.

in the end i realized the entire music school i went to was ONLY out to get cash from me. as long as they taught me as little as possible in each class they ensured that i would have to keep coming back for more lessons.

this idea to not show a student theory early on in order to 'cater to their needs' is imo a cheap attempt at preventing them from learning the skills to teach themselves.
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#17
I also recently took on a new student. She was completely beginner, and sat down with the guitar upside-down. I started with just going through all the notes in open/first position, just so she got an idea of how hard to press. Then we started with the first line on frere jacque (just up to the bit where it gets to the quavers)

I do think teaching them to tune by ear in their first lesson ever is a bit of a stretch. unless of course he has already down a lot of music..
#18
You should be careful OP. You can get sued for teaching guitar without a licence.

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#19
Quote by osXtiger
You should be careful OP. You can get sued for teaching guitar without a licence.


I think at first especially with kids you need to keep the fun/learning ratio more towards the fun side. Think about it like sports, do you start by just playing and having fun or go right into conditioning and drills.

Have them make a list of songs they like and just hit them while teaching the basics (open chords, barre chords, simple scales, ...).
#20
Sounds like a decent first lesson.
I like to make sure the lesson I taught would be an ideal practice session for myself, except for a diff skill level of course, this way they build good practice habits.
Yours sounded good, some warmup/technique, reading/writing, fundamental theory/chords and finish with song play and student feedback/questions.

My advice= Major scale and a few more lessons before pentatonic anything
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#21
Quote by Wesseem


this idea to not show a student theory early on in order to 'cater to their needs' is imo a cheap attempt at preventing them from learning the skills to teach themselves.



^ That's a preposterous opinion, from someone who has obviously never taught.

Blaming your teacher for not showing you theory in your 1st lesson is like blaming your 1st grade teacher for not showing you Algebra before you've learned how to count.

Attempting to teach someone a concept that is beyond their ability to understand is the sign of an inexperienced teacher. You always consider the students abilities and goals and work with them to achieve those goals. For a 1st timer, You start at the beginning and teach it well, and then build from there.... moving on when the student progresses sufficiently to do so.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 26, 2009,
#22
Sounds a lot better than my first lesson. I walked in and the guy was like, "hey man, I need to feel how good of a guitarist you are already so let's just jam." He proceeded to play barre chords while I awkwardly picked open strings for about ten minutes.
#23
I think it was really good. Chords, theory, you're considering scales, excercises and even introduced a song. However, someone before me was right, power chord fingering is usually confusing to a begginer. I wasn't a teacher myself but I did help my friend a bit w/ it and he tried to do a power chord w/ index and middle finger

It was over AIM and when he told me at school after seeing me do it correctly I felt bad, that must've hurt trying to do and it was "Smells Like Teen Spirit" so it was all the way to the 1st fret F# which meant it was a long stretch

I'd like to be a teacher too, but I don't think I would do well to make someone a godly virtuoso but I'd enjoy teaching the basics and giving them the confidence to be really good.
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#24
this idea to not show a student theory early on in order to 'cater to their needs' is imo a cheap attempt at preventing them from learning the skills to teach themselves.


It's absolutely not. You need to read your students and teach accordingly. If you got ripped off by an incompetent teacher, I'm sorry - but don't tar us all with the same brush.

Quote by osXtiger
You should be careful OP. You can get sued for teaching guitar without a licence.


???

There's not any licence that I'm aware of in any country.
#25
That seems like a good lesson, i'm a self taught musician but some of my friends quit because all they learned about was theory, which is good but you need some songs i think so for a first lesson you're doing good, and probably interested this kid since u started a song on the first lesson
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#26
Alright, thanks guys, this is some good feedback. I think I'll work on the chords a bit more with him, maybe get into some strum pattern a bit. Have to see who he's doing on the exercises, etc. "21 Guns" seems like a great song to work into, he's interested in it, it has some easy chords that I can weave into the lessons in the coming weeks, plus it'll give me a chance to teach him a bit more about rhythm and powerchords as well. I'll just have to see how he's improved. Eventually move onto the major scale and pentatonics.

Oh, and he has a great ear. His guitar struggles to stay in tune, and he knew everytime it was out of tune and refused to play until we tuned up. He seemed to have no trouble tuning up after I showed him how, and he said he had an electric guitar tuner at home if he needed it.

And I know there's no license required to teach guitar, though I could probably get in trouble for running a business without a permit. It's one kid though, if I get a few more, I'll probably just get a permit, they aren't very expensive.
#27
At first I thought it was too much for the first lesson, but then I read that he already knows some stuff. It was definitely a good idea to teach him some open chords. I would find a song that uses some of them. Also, the music hes into is great for teaching a beginner guitar. Use that to your advantage
#28
Sounds good.

I'd suggest working on what he wants to for a bit towards the end, it helps keep interest.
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