#1
I'm going to start teaching my cousins how to play guitar. Their dad
is willing to pay me, so I thought I'd better form some kind of lesson plan.

One key component of being left-handed is that it is easier to teach right-handed
students. There's the mirror effect. It not only helps me teach, but helps the pupil
learn faster.

I worked this up a few nights ago (yeah, just a draft people)

Guitar Lessons

Introduction
a. parts of guitar and how the parts work
b. tablature and terminology
c. tuning and styles of picking

Music
a. which guitars used in different styles
b. famous guitarists of those styles
c. techniques used by those professionals

Chords
a. basic open chords; fingering/strumming
b. barre chords and power chords
c. minor vs. major - using your ear

Simple Songs
a. songs that have 3 chords throughout
b. strum patterns
c. classic riffs

Changing Strings - possibly the hardest part of learning guitar
a. types of strings on each guitar (nylon, steel, nickel, blah, blah)
b. gauges of strings
c. installation of strings, stretching, tuning, and possibly intonation

Other
a. guitar amplifiers
b. guitar effects
c. misc equipment - picks, polish, strap locks, etc.

Advanced
a. bits of music theory - circle of fifths, playable chords in key, song structure.
b techniques - mutes, pinch harmonics, whammy, vibrato, rakes, trills, bending.
c. scales - minor, major, pentatonic and everything in between.
d. solo improvisation in key

Things to add
a. students personal goals; songs students wish to learn - suggested by supersac

What do you think?
Comments for improvement on this lesson plan will be much appreciated,
as long as they aren't harsh or overcritical. Thanks.
Last edited by blakeg14 at May 1, 2011,
#2
Looks fine to me. It's a good basic outline of what they should need to start learning the guitar.

The amount of time it's going to take to get through all this is going to be directly related to the amount of practice they put in while you're gone. So unless you plan on teaching the same things over and over, make sure your cousins practice on their own...

Trust me. I taught a friend of mine how to play. It took her months just to get down the basic A E D chords because she wouldn't practice.
#3
good might also ask the student what they want to learn and what songs they would like to play to give them goals that way the student doesnt feel like they are learning useless information
#4
Quote by supersac
that way the student doesnt feel like they are learning useless information



mhmm.


the biggest reason that people stop taking lessons is because they feel like they aren't learning anything they can use.


this is also the reason i failed biology, language arts, algebra, and social studies.
#5
All good topics to address, but as has been previously commented the most important thing is to keep your student's interest. Without meaning to be too Macchiavellian about it, find out what your student wants to learn and then use those concepts to teach a broad spectrum of things. If you know your student is heavily into punk music for example, use that as a stepping stone to teach them a wide range of techniques - use it in a cross-genre sense so that they can see where the music style evolved from. This sort of idea gives them a reason to engage and as such will motivate them to learn, improving the efficiency of your lessons.

No-one who is starting guitar wants to hear about WHY an electric guitar does what it does, they just want to know HOW to make it sound like the music they like. It's a long-term strategy, but use your student's interests to teach them not only what they think they want but also what they will need to progress as a musician.

T
#6
forget a syllybus, in my personal experience, good teachers teach to your needs, not a syllabus. i've had both, and learned much more from teacher who can identify what to do and help you with that (and of course, have a long-term gameplan of somesort, but not a uniform one for each student) then teachers who teach off a syllabus (feels impersonal, and helps less).
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
#7
Quote by Ragu35
...


Thanks!
Yeah, I agree. They should have a sufficient amount of practice time due to it being
summer break soon, but it is completely up to them. Most kids would rather sit around learning the controls to video games, so my lessons must be fun and
dedicated towards their goals (as supersac mentioned).

There's 3 of them - 2 younger kids (boy and girl) with no music experience, and 1 girl about 16 with 4-5 years of marching/concert band experience.
It'll (obviously) be easiest teaching the one with musical experience, because she
really WANTS to play.

Quote by supersac
...


I find that very true. The only way to learn is by playing music you like, so the preference of the students is a key element in being successful. When I started,
I wanted to learn classic rock and did just that. I didn't sit around learning to
read music and classical notation because I didn't have the same appreciation
for that type of music at the time.

Quote by rickyj
...


Definitely. Algebra was tough for me, so I can relate. The only reason I passed
is because my parents would kill me if I didn't.

Quote by TommyRack
...


Ah, so tailor the plan for each student and their personal goals? I see.
I did...

Quote by tehREALcaptain
...


Hmm.. true. This was put together as a long-term game plan. Pretty much what
TommyRack said.
Last edited by blakeg14 at May 1, 2011,
#9
also,
I think scales should not be considered 'advanced', but should be taught with everything else (when there learning basic chords, teach them the basics of the major scale)--and that melodic single note playing should be taught before chords. also, you can start improvisation (nothing crazy), when you teach the major scale--have the student try to make melodies when you start teaching them the scale. moreover, teaching about what guitars are used in what styles, anything about amps, pickups etc. idiomatic techniques and famous guitarists should be done later--and I think that you shouldn't neccesarily teach too much history (aside from a quick aside here and there) in a private lesson---the focus should be on playing the guitar. also teach triads in the open position, diatonic to the major scale before worrying about open chords (IMO it should go major scale-in thirds-triads in a couple basic keys--Like C, G, F, Bb, D before you worry about open or barre chords). do you plan to teach students to read music? if not, maybe you shouldn't be taking there money?
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
#10
Quote by tehREALcaptain
also,
I think scales should not be considered 'advanced', but should be taught with everything else (when there learning basic chords, teach them the basics of the major scale)--and that melodic single note playing should be taught before chords. also, you can start improvisation (nothing crazy), when you teach the major scale--have the student try to make melodies when you start teaching them the scale. moreover, teaching about what guitars are used in what styles, anything about amps, pickups etc. idiomatic techniques and famous guitarists should be done later--and I think that you shouldn't neccesarily teach too much history (aside from a quick aside here and there) in a private lesson---the focus should be on playing the guitar. also teach triads in the open position, diatonic to the major scale before worrying about open chords (IMO it should go major scale-in thirds-triads in a couple basic keys--Like C, G, F, Bb, D before you worry about open or barre chords). do you plan to teach students to read music? if not, maybe you shouldn't be taking there money?


I'm not professional, therefore I won't be able to successfully teach them how to
read sheet music without them being bored to death, with one exception and that
being the clarinet player. It isn't their money, it's their step-father's money. He'll
be happy with them learning the basics. It's solely up to the pupil to commit himself/
herself to practicing.

You act like I've been studying music for 20+ years. They just want to play, man. They don't want to be professional at it. I put the scales and things last because that would be the hardest part for them to grasp due to lack of musical
experience (exception being the clarinet player).
Last edited by blakeg14 at May 2, 2011,
#11
This is a really interesting thread, im currently writing my final year dissertation on guitar teaching. A couple of good books to read are 'Teaching for quality learning' by John Biggs and 'The inner game of music' by Green, B. and W. Timothy Gallwey.
#12
Quote by robhill33
This is a really interesting thread, im currently writing my final year dissertation on guitar teaching. A couple of good books to read are 'Teaching for quality learning' by John Biggs and 'The inner game of music' by Green, B. and W. Timothy Gallwey.


Thanks for the recommendations!
#13
Quote by blakeg14
They just want to play, man. They don't want to be professional at it. I put the scales and things last because that would be the hardest part for them to grasp due to lack of musical
experience (exception being the clarinet player).


I completely have your back dude. I always teach chords first, because it allows them to play songs, which is the reason that people pick up a musical instrument in the first place. If you get your student playing songs, they'll enjoy themselves a lot more than attempting solos with scales they don't know how to use.

I am honestly shocked at the amount of users on this site who have been playing for 2-3 years, and can shred and sweep, but have the inability to play a simple four chord song if given the chord sheet. You do have to ask at that point "well, what can you play really?".
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#14
Quote by AlanHB
I completely have your back dude. I always teach chords first, because it allows them to play songs, which is the reason that people pick up a musical instrument in the first place. If you get your student playing songs, they'll enjoy themselves a lot more than attempting solos with scales they don't know how to use.

I am honestly shocked at the amount of users on this site who have been playing for 2-3 years, and can shred and sweep, but have the inability to play a simple four chord song if given the chord sheet. You do have to ask at that point "well, what can you play really?".


Thank you!
Yeah, I could teach them scales, but they would get bored with it fast.
Simple songs with 3-5 chords are best for starting. Seriously, using the I-IV-V
pattern, I could teach them a million songs and they don't even have to know
what that means.

That's true. When I began, all I learned was the shapes, until I started learning
theory. I really want to teach them the open chords, then move up to sus4
chords. I've found those useful many songs. "Free Falling" by Tom Petty is a
great example. It's easy to remember. Also it's one of those songs people
hear and instantly know who it is. Another example, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn".
Last edited by blakeg14 at May 2, 2011,
#15
'm not professional, therefore I won't be able to successfully teach them how to
read sheet music without them being bored to death, with one exception and that
being the clarinet player. It isn't their money, it's their step-father's money. He'll
be happy with them learning the basics. It's solely up to the pupil to commit himself/
herself to practicing.

You act like I've been studying music for 20+ years. They just want to play, man. They don't want to be professional at it. I put the scales and things last because that would be the hardest part for them to grasp due to lack of musical
experience (exception being the clarinet player).


I don't mean teach them to sight read broadway charts--I mean show them the staff, and have them play shit like mary had a little lamb. if your not teaching them cause YOU can't read--maybe you shouldn't be teaching, and you should refer them to a competant teacher. I think you should think about how every instrument except guitar and drum set is taught--its pretty much presumed that they wont be getting into legit repetoire until at least the second year--until then they work on technique, reading, scales (like 1 major scale every couple weeks---nothing too intense), instrumental knowledge, and the basics--while learning music contiously (stuff like mary had a little lamb, hot cross buns etc.) to develop a sense of melody. they are non-musical because they have not yet been taught to be musical--its your job to teach them musicallity, not to use the lacktherof as an excuse to be a crappy teacher. if they want to learn a song, track it down, and transcribe the vocal melody to notation, and then teach them that, and the chords in simple triads for the time being.
If they don't want to learn to read, and theyre 14, 15, 16 or older, then thats there perogitive, but if your teaching kids, theres no to not give them a good musical foundation. they wont be great at chords starting out (In my experience, learning chords starting out can be really discouraging for a student whose just starting out), it makes more sense to show them the building blocks of music and musicianship, and then worry about chords later.
Chords aren't the basics, the building blocks of music (time, melody, harmony), the basics of there instrument (notes on the neck, good technique--learned through melodies and a bit of scale practice), musical phrasing, melody and reading are the basics.

I am honestly shocked at the amount of users on this site who have been playing for 2-3 years, and can shred and sweep, but have the inability to play a simple four chord song if given the chord sheet. You do have to ask at that point "well, what can you play really?".


I'm not (sweeping is more sport then music anyway). I'm more shocked when you meet someone whose been taking lessons for 1-6 years, who doesn't know where a C is, identifies scales by shape, has no conception of diatonic notes in each key, and how to spell scales (not talking about dominant diminished or anything, but like, the D major scale) and can't read hot cross buns off a staff. thats shit that a 7 year old piano player has no problem with.
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
Last edited by tehREALcaptain at May 2, 2011,
#16
Quote by tehREALcaptain
I'm not (sweeping is more sport then music anyway). I'm more shocked when you meet someone whose been taking lessons for 1-6 years, who doesn't know where a C is, identifies scales by shape, has no conception of diatonic notes in each key, and how to spell scales (not talking about dominant diminished or anything, but like, the D major scale) and can't read hot cross buns off a staff. thats shit that a 7 year old piano player has no problem with.


I think by that level it should all be conquered, but I'm under the impression that chords are more "useful" when asked to play a song than scales. But I get your point, and it's a good one. Perhaps an element of it is personal preference, but I feel that being able to play a simple I - IV - V in A major is more important and satisfying then being able to play a simple melody in the A major scale.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#17
I think by that level it should all be conquered, but I'm under the impression that chords are more "useful" when asked to play a song than scales. But I get your point, and it's a good one. Perhaps an element of it is personal preference, but I feel that being able to play a simple I - IV - V in A major is more important and satisfying then being able to play a simple melody in the A major scale.


id say it depends, but generally id put them equally, in terms of when someone is at the level you or I is at. but, when your just starting chords are a bitch, and if there the first thing you work on, frusteration will ensure. moreover, if you teach a kid to play melodically (through simple melodies), they'll get the sound and phrasing of those melodies in their ears, and, if they work with a metronome, they can work on their timing as well--so when they learn to play chords, they come out phrased well, with good tone and time. I can see where your coming from, as far as functioning in a band setting, i agree with you--but i think that for building a foundation, melodies, the basics of notation and a small amount of scales (which are where chords spring from) builds a stronger one.
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
#18
Quote by tehREALcaptain
I can see where your coming from, as far as functioning in a band setting, i agree with you--but i think that for building a foundation, melodies, the basics of notation and a small amount of scales (which are where chords spring from) builds a stronger one.


That's probably what spurns the differences between us in relation to this. Everything I do is for the purpose of being in a band, whilst you may have some different goals on your table. In the end it's just different approaches really. Neither wrong or right, just preference.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#19
Quote by AlanHB
That's probably what spurns the differences between us in relation to this. Everything I do is for the purpose of being in a band, whilst you may have some different goals on your table. In the end it's just different approaches really. Neither wrong or right, just preference.


Seems we all have different goals set for our students. You teach someone how to
play in a band, I just have to teach them how to play. They don't want to spend a
lot of time on reading music, tabs are far more practical for people that just want to
play the guitar.

Everyone has their own opinions. Arguing isn't needed here. Thank you everyone
for all tips. Hopefully, my students and their parents will be happy with my methods,
or the stepfather of the students will have his money refunded.
Case closed. Court dismissed. Meeting adjourned.
Last edited by blakeg14 at May 3, 2011,
#20
Teach them something cool so they can get inspired/more motivated
Tell 'em that if you learn to play *insert song name here*, panties will drop.
Woffelz

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#21
Quote by Woffelz
Teach them something cool so they can get inspired/more motivated
Tell 'em that if you learn to play *insert song name here*, panties will drop.



It isn't all dudes. In fact, there's only 1 male of the 3 I'll be teaching.
#22
Quote by Woffelz
Teach them something cool so they can get inspired/more motivated
Tell 'em that if you learn to play *insert song name here*, panties will drop.


Yep, motivation and good perspective would be nice... who knows they want to be pro
#23
Quote by bernardlefty
Yep, motivation and good perspective would be nice... who knows they want to be pro


Sarcasm is awesome.