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#1
so i've been playing for 13 years, and i think i am ready to tackle having a few students. while trying to come up with a lesson plan of sorts, i realized that i've learned so much about the guitar that it's hard to choose where to start. obviously it will vary depending on where the students skill level is, but even still - there is just so much with technique and theory and chords and phrasing and soloing and everything else, i just don't know where to begin. any advice?
keep writing. keep dreaming.

keep the notes coming...

ibanez ftw
#2
You may want to use some sort of instruction book series alongside songs they want to play. Assume they have no skill from the beginning whatsoever:

Start off with the basic explanation of frets and where to place the fingers. This sounds silly, but a new student might get into the habit of placing their fingers on the actual fret instead of the space between. I know I did at first. Another habit one might make is poor posture, so forcefully move their hands in the right position when you catch them.

Next explain the basic tuning. Make sure they understand string numbers start from high to low. Instead of just relying on tabs, have them read standard notation so they can be familiar with note names and the guitar's relation to the staff.

Onto physically playing the guitar: I used this excercise where I would play the first four frets in eighth notes in different patterns, IE 1312, 1314, 1212, etc. I did this on each string. Keep having them do this in every lesson, moving the positions upward until you feel they've got it down instinctually, increasing the speed (tempo or note value) along the way. Starting chords shortly after beginning this excercise, you may increase the chances of your students keeping proper posture. Use the chords mainly for technical purposes at first rather than theory purposes, saving that for later.

Let them choose the songs they want to play, but also let your interests brush up on them. Introducing them to new music might increase their motivation, but having them play what you want them to will make it feel like they're being forced against their will.

Beyond this all depends on the genre. What genre do you mainly feel like teaching?
#3
for a complete beginner
start with basics of music. notation string names note names (start with open position and low strings) rhythms and teach them a simple melody. eventually teach them to read and play in open position and with simple chords, then move on to playing all major scales in single string positions and improvisation over a drone with those same scales. then start them on two string scales, then three string and then position playing along with appropriate music (mostly in the open position and with simple folk chords).
#4
I actually think there's a very clear "path of least" resistance when it comes to learning the guitar, if you tackle things in the right order the process is much easier because you're simply bulding on knowledge you've already absorbed rather than plucking random bits out of the air.

In all honesty, after 13 years if you're planning on teaching you should know what it is you intend to teach and how you plan on teaching it.
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#5
Quote by WizMystery
You may want to use some sort of instruction book series alongside songs they want to play. Assume they have no skill from the beginning whatsoever:

Start off with the basic explanation of frets and where to place the fingers. This sounds silly, but a new student might get into the habit of placing their fingers on the actual fret instead of the space between. I know I did at first. Another habit one might make is poor posture, so forcefully move their hands in the right position when you catch them.

Next explain the basic tuning. Make sure they understand string numbers start from high to low. Instead of just relying on tabs, have them read standard notation so they can be familiar with note names and the guitar's relation to the staff.

Onto physically playing the guitar: I used this excercise where I would play the first four frets in eighth notes in different patterns, IE 1312, 1314, 1212, etc. I did this on each string. Keep having them do this in every lesson, moving the positions upward until you feel they've got it down instinctually, increasing the speed (tempo or note value) along the way. Starting chords shortly after beginning this excercise, you may increase the chances of your students keeping proper posture. Use the chords mainly for technical purposes at first rather than theory purposes, saving that for later.

Let them choose the songs they want to play, but also let your interests brush up on them. Introducing them to new music might increase their motivation, but having them play what you want them to will make it feel like they're being forced against their will.

Beyond this all depends on the genre. What genre do you mainly feel like teaching?


this is all good information. i have developed my own finger excersizes that i have found work wonders. but i am planning on using the guitar grimoire series, as i have learned a lot from them. i am still undecided though, because unless you have a general knowledge of music they get kind of confusing.

as for what genre i want to teach, i am willing to teach anything. i know a whole lot about metal, but i am real into blues and jazz and classical. i just pretty much want to teach what my students want to learn, if that makes any sense.
keep writing. keep dreaming.

keep the notes coming...

ibanez ftw
#6
It's worth spending the time finding out about what each student want to learn. Find out about what they can and would like to be able to do and what motivates them. Remember that you don't always have to give them new info every lesson. You can give them exercises to help them to implement what you are teaching them so that they know how to use it better in different situations and alongside different things.

Teaching songs are good but if you go down that route (I rarely do) then pick the songs carefully as some can be easy for the most part and then have an extremely difficult part that can take the student ages to learn and can demotivate them.

As WizMystery said, working with an instruction book is a good place to start as the method is already there. I've had some great success with the Troy Stetina Rhythm GUitar method books for my metal students so I can highly recommend that.

All in all, just get stuck in. You will make mistakes in the beginning but as long as you are aware of them and learn from them you will be fine. If I can help you out just message me.
#7
Quote by sqrrloncrack
so i've been playing for 13 years, and i think i am ready to tackle having a few students. while trying to come up with a lesson plan of sorts, i realized that i've learned so much about the guitar that it's hard to choose where to start. obviously it will vary depending on where the students skill level is, but even still - there is just so much with technique and theory and chords and phrasing and soloing and everything else, i just don't know where to begin. any advice?


First off, to notice this right before you begin, makes you a smart teacher.

I have taught hundreds in my city, state and around the world for years, and one thing I can share with you, is that to make this stick you have to show them forward progress, and make the lessons relevant to them and meaningful so they will be inspired to practice. If you cannot get them to practice, you will fail as a teacher.

It's the old carrot and stick routine. The fact is many people are accustomed to something without effort, instant gratification has replaced the notion of working hard and patiently. This is the number one challenge you have to solve. On your own. I think the only way you are going to crack it is to get in their shoes and ask some hard questions. What would it take to reach you as a beginner? You have the advantage of knowing what you know now to determine what they need, but also what will they need to keep inspired and motivated and show real progress.

That's a tall order. But you have to do the homework and figure that out.

Best of luck to you.

Sean
#8
You'll find every student will be different, let them find their own path with your guidance, that s the role of the teacher. You must explain the why as well as the what and how.
#9
this is all good information. i have developed my own finger excersizes that i have found work wonders. but i am planning on using the guitar grimoire series, as i have learned a lot from them. i am still undecided though, because unless you have a general knowledge of music they get kind of confusing.


For the love of god please do not give your students the guirar grimoire. Id recomend the advancing guitarist in conjuction with either the berklee basic series (and eventually the modern method stuff) or the beginner hal leonard books (or if there's an essential elements series for guitar). But the guitar grimoire is terrible, your own handouts based on standard notation coupled with showing students what to do in lessons would be far superior, as would almost anything from berklee press, hal leonard or musician's institute (though i'd suggest an avoidence of tabs in the beginning).
#10
Quote by sqrrloncrack
so i've been playing for 13 years, and i think i am ready to tackle having a few students. while trying to come up with a lesson plan of sorts, i realized that i've learned so much about the guitar that it's hard to choose where to start. obviously it will vary depending on where the students skill level is, but even still - there is just so much with technique and theory and chords and phrasing and soloing and everything else, i just don't know where to begin. any advice?


well, for beginners a method book is a good place to start. Mel Bay book 1... or one of the many equivalents.

Also I should say that teaching is a skill that you'll get better at with experience. If you've been playing guitar for 13 years, I suggest jumping in and do the best job you can. You'll develop as you go. You can draw from the lessons you've learned from your teachers over the years. (assuming you're not completely self taught.... if you are Id reconsider teaching)
shred is gaudy music
#11
I teach what is called the 7 week primer, in 7 weeks the average student (that practices)
learns 1625 progressions in the key of c and 1 octave major scale and three simple melodies, one that starts on the root, one for the 3rd, one for the 5th. thats the first week. then repeat key of G for week 2, D for week 3 and so on thru the circle of fifths to F#. in 7 weeks they learn most important chords and how to transpose! to see the layout of this system go to youtube and search Rob Bourassa, go to his channel and you should find the 7 week primer!
very elegant! Good luck
#12
Quote by mattlarson142
I teach what is called the 7 week primer, in 7 weeks the average student (that practices)
learns 1625 progressions in the key of c and 1 octave major scale and three simple melodies, one that starts on the root, one for the 3rd, one for the 5th. thats the first week. then repeat key of G for week 2, D for week 3 and so on thru the circle of fifths to F#. in 7 weeks they learn most important chords and how to transpose! to see the layout of this system go to youtube and search Rob Bourassa, go to his channel and you should find the 7 week primer!
very elegant! Good luck



1625 progressions?
shred is gaudy music
#15
yeah, a jazz progression! also Chopin, Beatles, Bohemian Rhapsody, Jeopardy, I will survive, Bach, Paganini, Marvin Gaye, Christmas, and many more!!!
#16
I wouldn't teach scales to a beginning guitarist, it would become boring very quickly.

TS, I know you've been playing for a while, but do you think you have a good enough grasp on the instrument to teach people? What would you teach an absolute beginner on the first lesson?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#17
scales are boring, that is why I go with simple melodies. within a very short period of time the student starts hearing and playing (discovering) other melodies. Then they understand why they are important!
#18
Quote by mattlarson142
scales are boring, that is why I go with simple melodies. within a very short period of time the student starts hearing and playing (discovering) other melodies. Then they understand why they are important!


And you end with a whole heap of students playing happy birthday in Bb. Grats.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#19
Alan You are missing my point! They end up on a much firmer ground! and yes they can play it in Bb and the other 11 keys! as well as much more! They understand the fundamental relationship of scale to harmony which opens them to most any music! Most all can be boiled down to simple tonic sub-dominant and dominant! the sooner they realize that the sooner they discover music in their own way! Simple melodies are fixed in the ear, and can easily be flushed out! Granted pride can destroy them being open to this approach, but if they can put that aside... it works! from there work on chord substitution through these simple melodies I.E. minor four chord, sharp four diminished, circle of fourths, minor five to one 7 which leads to four chord, augmented and so on.
#20
For the love of god please do not give your students the guirar grimoire. Id recomend the advancing guitarist in conjuction with either the berklee basic series (and eventually the modern method stuff) or the beginner hal leonard books (or if there's an essential elements series for guitar). But the guitar grimoire is terrible, your own handouts based on standard notation coupled with showing students what to do in lessons would be far superior, as would almost anything from berklee press, hal leonard or musician's institute (though i'd suggest an avoidence of tabs in the beginning).


I agree, the grimoire is set up like a Mayan calendar/puzzle. I feel it is aweful! The advancing guitarist (Mick Goodrick?) Great book!!! A bit advanced but can be referenced for years!!! and funny! I don't avoid tabs, simply because I wouldn't play today if it weren't for tabs! Tabs let me do what I wanted! Although I understand the reservation about them! Method books are a bit of a double edge sword to me!
#23
Sorry Matt, I flat out refuse to read your posts. Whatever point there may be buried within is lost in a pointless rant.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#24
How is anything I said in this thread a rant? Alan... I do not care if you read my post or not! but obviously you are! And just because you don't get the point does not mean they are pointless!
#25
Quote by mattlarson142
How is anything I said in this thread a rant? Alan... I do not care if you read my post or not! but obviously you are! And just because you don't get the point does not mean they are pointless!


Oh I'm sure there's a point, but it could be better expressed in one or two lines, without a whole philosophical/anecdotal/existential thing going on.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#27
I didn't realize this forum was your personal soap box to tout the brilliance of Rob Barbarossa.

I have not much else to add to this except don't screw up your students; there's nothing worse than a teacher getting a student into bad habits.
#29
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
I didn't realize this forum was your personal soap box to tout the brilliance of Rob Barbarossa.

I have not much else to add to this except don't screw up your students; there's nothing worse than a teacher getting a student into bad habits.


I wonder how teaching my students their I vi ii V progressions in all 12 keys as well as simple melodies in all 12 keys could screw them up? please enlighten me!!!
#30
I was not talking to you!! The first part of my post was directed at you (i.e. the quip about Rob Barbarossa) and the second part at the thread in genera!!!!!! The latter was primarily meant in some sort of levity, but only partially as it could be taken seriously, seeing as a lot of teachers do pass on their bad habits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It had nothing to do with you or Rob Barbarossa (did it again!)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
#31
I apologize, I misunderstood. please forgive. Mr. Bondarossa helped me quite a bit. I feel indebted to him. (I did it too)
#32
I focus on chords primarily for beginning so that they have the ability to learn songs. I don't even attempt to start on simple one-note melodies until their scales are down, which comes after open and barre chords.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#33
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
I didn't realize this forum was your personal soap box to tout the brilliance of Rob Barbarossa.

I have not much else to add to this except don't screw up your students; there's nothing worse than a teacher getting a student into bad habits.


LEAVE MAESTRO BARBAROSSA ALONE
Don't tell me what can not be done

Don't tell me what can be done, either.



I love you all no matter what.
#34
Quote by AlanHB
I focus on chords primarily for beginning so that they have the ability to learn songs. I don't even attempt to start on simple one-note melodies until their scales are down, which comes after open and barre chords.


This is why I only do 1 octave open scales at first and melodies within them that are simple and familiar, open and barre right along with. 3rd week is their first barre chord. bmin. 4th week 2 barres and so on. Younger kids like 6-9 are best at melodies it seems because they haven't discovered cool yet... it seems.
#35
It should be a mixture of things. Scales are boring but if a student spends 3 minutes a day on scales it's no big deal. Just don't bombard them with scales they won't use in a long time.

It's important to always give them tunes or songs to play. They learn getting around the instrument with them and have fun at the same time. That they have fun and remain motivated is usually underestimated by many teachers.
#36
Hey Robert, you're new here so you might not be aware of this, but this thread is 5 years old. It's generally not great to bump up old threads (or "necropost") since it can turn out pretty confusing.

Just try to avoid posting in threads that haven't been active in months, unless it's some dedicated megathread.
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#38
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hey Robert, you're new here so you might not be aware of this, but this thread is 5 years old. It's generally not great to bump up old threads (or "necropost") since it can turn out pretty confusing.

Just try to avoid posting in threads that haven't been active in months, unless it's some dedicated megathread.

Oops, now I'm realizing that. Apologies

Yes I'm new here and quite new to forums too.
#39
I'm a private guitar teacher since around 12 years ago, and I'll gladly share tips with you! And after reading this do ask questions if you want to.

First thing I did when starting out was to categorize music knowledge in a way that students of all skill levels may understand. So for example we have things to know about the actual instrument, chords, reading sheet music, strumming, things revolving tones, reading tablature and so on. Then after that I sorted out in what order the content in each category should be teached in my opinion, for example when learning chords like how to read a chord chart and the most basic major and minor chords can be step one, then step two and so on.

Then after all that I tried out my first student, and started the lesson by asking what he knew of each category (after explaining them to him), and then I asked him to pick one thing he'd like to start with getting better at. Although obviously we started the lesson by talking about music and goals and life etc. to ease the tension when now knowing each other, but I mean after that part Also in advance I asked him to pick 5 songs he wanted to learn, so I prepared them with various difficulties and contents since I didn't know where we would start. Then with one part of theory to start with I chose a matching song that I could wrap in the theory with. Basically it always starts with either easy strumming on chords or picking on tablature on the songs, and each has many potential first steps for matching theory.

So a specific example for a start, one of the songs picked is Milow's Ayo Technology and they say the wanna start learning about chords. Okay, so let's do it. Maybe I start by showing how to read a chord chart, tell numbers of the fingers and so on, giving the name of the strings, explain what a fret is, and then show the chords. After switching slowly between the chords I explain beats per chord and say that's our goal to switch in a smooth rhythm and that tempo doesn't matter just make it smooth and so on.

Still to this day I follow those easy parts in the start when getting new students, and then from lesson 2 and on I always try to encourage them to be active in choosing both songs and theory, at the same time I tell them my advice what I think we should/could focus on at the moment. My general rule is to always try to mix learning songs with theory, that way theory makes sense and gets a purpose. And to go back to the "steps" of each "category", that's just a starting point, if they really wanna learn something a bit "higher" I try to make it work explaining it right then if possible, or atleast say "hey, we can learn that soon, but first to make that possible we must go into..". Also, I try to keep the lesson around 50/50 theory and playing, which is probably unlike many other teachers who generally play much more, or atleast what I've heard from others in my country.

The way I see it, there's so much to learn, so by letting them choose more (under my guidance of course) it's hard to go wrong. Some students I have to guide more than others of course, but the more they choose the better in my opinion. But of course this also means I need to teach them early to see the different "parts" of being a musician on the road to "musical excellence". So from the start the categorys is etched in thourougly.

Then an often overlooked part which took me a while to figure out I admit, is teaching the students how to structure their practicing. Small details we often as teachers see as obvious, it's not always as clear to the students, especially when deadling with younger people. So my advice is to not wait too long with talking about this, always double-check they know what and how to practice, plus how to find the information needed if they forget something.

So that's my philosophy in teaching atleast, I'm not saying it's the correct way, but it's MY way. And it works for me and my students.

I can explain further if this was a "too basic" of an overview, or if you're curious and just wanna know more just ask!
Last edited by Arzosah at Feb 2, 2016,
#40
Oops, just now read the previous post and realized this is a really old thread, damnit. Well, I've already spent the time answering so no point fretting over it now, might as well let it stand in case someone find my view helpful.
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