#1
So I've been a guitar teacher for a while now but it always seems so awkward trying teach beginners. I simply don't know the best way to start them on the instrument. Normally the first thing I'd teach someone is the open chords and how to use a metronome and then we'd work our way into learning simple songs, correcting bad fretting technique (usually I don't focus on picking technique until we get into scales and improvising), etc., but I don't know if teaching someone a few chords will give them the right foundation to really blossom into a great player. I realize its purpose is somewhat to "hook" the student by making him/her able to jump in and play songs in a few weeks, but that seems a bit, I don't know, superficial?

Another guitar teacher that I talk with from time to time tells me that he starts people off by singing the major scale and teaching the notes to it, so that his students understand how different scale degrees work together. I like the idea of this approach, because I tend to like to think in terms of scales myself, but I fear that it will be difficult for a beginner to grasp, because my experiences with scales and truly using them well didn't come along until I had built up a substantial knowledge base of music theory.

So, guitar teachers of the internet, how do you approach teaching beginners?
#4
you are not going to get many productive responses in this sub forum, m8.

starting off with chords is actually really difficult for a beginner methinks. i tried it with a few students and it did not work well. start of with notation single note lines to build up technique and dexterity and finger strength. then go into chords, maybe when they get 1st position stuff down.

while they are learning notation, to "hook" them, let them take a basic solo while you play fun progressions under them. just teach them the shape for the major scale and let them have at it. that will keep them interested enough to keep going through the actual notation and all.
Last edited by Will Lane at Mar 10, 2016,
#5
Will Lane might be on to something here. I'm self taught, but started by learning the chords. It was a real bitch. Maybe I'd have not dropped the guitar for a decade if I hadn't been so put off by the experience (was too poor to afford a teacher, didn't have any friends that played). I gave my nephew a couple lessons last year after I bought him a nice little Yamaha. I printed a chord diagram, explained how the chord diagrams work and showed him how to strum. I hear he rarely picks up the guitar. (I know that is little more than a "hands on" Mel Bay experience, but I only see the kid a couple times a year because he lives 800 miles away).

Maybe the best is a little compromise? Teach a couple chords so the student can thrill themselves by learning a song or two, then primarily work on technique?
Last edited by TobusRex at Mar 10, 2016,
#7
Quote by Will Lane at #33873966
you are not going to get many productive responses in this sub forum, m8.

starting off with chords is actually really difficult for a beginner methinks. i tried it with a few students and it did not work well. start of with notation single note lines to build up technique and dexterity and finger strength. then go into chords, maybe when they get 1st position stuff down.

while they are learning notation, to "hook" them, let them take a basic solo while you play fun progressions under them. just teach them the shape for the major scale and let them have at it. that will keep them interested enough to keep going through the actual notation and all.



This is pretty good advice.


Most chords are really hard for beginners, especially if it's the first thing you try to teach them. Try teaching them easy single note melodies, like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Happy Birthday, Ode to Joy, etc. This will keep them fairly interested in the beginning, because they will be learning things they know, and also build their finger strength. I also like to have beginners work on simple exercises like a chromatic scale. Then introduce easy chords one at a time. I usually start with E minor, E major and A minor. It will take them a while, so let them know that they shouldn't be frustrated if it takes them multiple weeks or months to learn some chords.

Also have them work on strumming patterns with just one chord to give them something else to work on besides just their fretting hand. Eventually, you can start giving them short chord progressions to work on, which takes even longer because they have to learn to switch between the chords.


Having them get a book that teaches how to read simple notation is also a good idea, because they can keep learning melodies from the book while they are also working on chords. And then they also learn to read music, which most guitar players can't really do.