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Help me design a guitar teaching curriculum

MikeVB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,813
I want to start teaching guitar lessons. But I've only had one lesson myself in the 29 years I've played. I learned by books, playing with others, watching performers and going home to try to do what they did, etc. So I don't have that experience to design a good curriculum.

I'm a good solid advanced-intermediate I suppose. Played lots of semi-pro gigs over the last decade. Very good timing, good knowledge of the fretboard, good knowledge of basic theory, chords, and scales across the neck. I read music in elementary school but not since and never to play guitar.

I'd appreciate help designing a step-by-step, lesson-by-lesson curriculum although it'll just be a guide as every student will advance at a different pace.

Also, how do you make it fun or keep it interesting for yourself and the students?

Thanks.
 

dangeroso

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,615
This is just my opinion, but I would find out what music your student listens to, and structure a series of lessons around actual songs that interest him/her.

When I taught lessons in the past, each session was an hour with a warmup exercise to be done before we started, a discussion of the lesson theory, an excercise that goes with the lesson using an actual song (if possible), and then near the end we always introduced or practiced a new tectonic (like hammer ons, or palm muting).

I always brought written out pages on the lessons, and they were to practice between lessons, of course.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
15,132
Yeah, I agree. I designed a curriculum BASED ON THE STUDENT'S NEEDS!

Students are going to come in with varying backgrounds and skills. You're not very likely going to be able to start at point A and going to point Z with everyone. You'll get beginners in that situation, but you'll get people who already play who need to go back and fill in gaps in technique, or knowledge, etc. or you'll get people who play better than you technically, but have no theory knowledge, or no "style", etc.

I usually spent the first lesson assessing a student's abilities, and gave them something impressive (a sales pitch in a way ;-) to take home - be it the opening to the James Bond thing, a little boogie bass line, etc.

My experience was also that you had the "traditional" student that was a kid whose parents wanted them to take music lessons and expect it to be taught like Piano lessons typically are (read music, play Bach, do a recital, etc.) and then you had the guy who's been trying to learn from books and videos for 40 years and you can teach him more in one lesson than he's learned in the 40 years. Then there are the hopeless cases whose money you feel bad about taking (though I relied on the income so I took it - with full disclosure which parents often appreciated but were happy to pay to keep their child doing something they enjoyed whether they'd actually get good at it or not).

You have to figure out what people know, and like, and want to do, and tailor lessons accordingly. If you try to go the classic German Piano teacher with a metronome and scales route, you're not likely to maintain an active roster unless you're so well-respected people are willing to do anything to study with you. Flexibility is key.

I knew my time as a teacher was getting short when every kid walked in, and instead of wanting to learn Smoke on the Water, Stairway to Heaven, Come as You Are, or, for that matter any SONG, they wanted to know if I could teach them the theme from Dark Crystal Halo Ops III...

So you try to work in the "real" stuff they need to know, but sweetened with the stuff they want to play. Every once in a while you luck out and get a winner though, and that makes it worth it. One of my kids went on to Princeton and got a Composition Degree and studied Classical Guitar.

A few others I've seen around town (and forgotten who they are but they all come up and say hi and how much they enjoyed lessons) usually ask if I'm still teaching - in fact, I had one student who took lessons as a youngster, look me up much later to take lessons with me again. Kind of cool when stuff like that happens.

Steve
 

frdagaa

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,470
Agree with what others said above. I would add that I think that I would plan a curriculum around expanding a student's playing on a few different levels simultaneously.

1. Finger dexterity
2. Fretboard knowledge including scales and chords
3. Songs
4. Ear training and musicality
5. Conceptual knowledge about music

These different areas are ordered from physical to mental. The first requires a guitar in your hand, the last requires no instrument at all, and can be obtained from a book.

Different players will be at different levels, but everyone can stand to expand and all of these areas. Keep them interested in songs they would like to play, etc. but don't neglect the other areas. I think lessons where you just physically demonstrate how to play a particular lick or song ad infinitum are really worthless in the era of YouTube.
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
22,908
This is just my opinion, but I would find out what music your student listens to, and structure a series of lessons around actual songs that interest him/her.

When I taught lessons in the past, each session was an hour with a warmup exercise to be done before we started, a discussion of the lesson theory, an excercise that goes with the lesson using an actual song (if possible), and then near the end we always introduced or practiced a new tectonic (like hammer ons, or palm muting).

I always brought written out pages on the lessons, and they were to practice between lessons, of course.
Ah, the old kowtow to the student method, not saying I haven't been guilty of trying to please a student by showing them a song they want to learn. How many other instrumental teachers do this for their students? Why should guitar teachers? Just asking. My piano teacher never did this for me thank goodness, though she did sight-read through Piggies, to my amusement.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
15,132
Ah, the old kowtow to the student method, not saying I haven't been guilty of trying to please a student by showing them a song they want to learn. How many other instrumental teachers do this for their students? Why should guitar teachers? Just asking. My piano teacher never did this for me thank goodness, though she did sight-read through Piggies, to my amusement.
To clarify, I don't think one should be "kowtowing" to students.

One should be "tailoring" the lesson to the student.

Big difference IMHO.

Steve
 

mip

Member
Messages
20
http://www.justinguitar.com

He's a wonderful guy with over 500 video lessons. He has a series of books that form a great foundation for guitar. He covers basic hand position stuff as well as appropriate theory, exercises and songs.

I'm in the same boat as you as far as my own musical experience and found his structured approach (along with some addons to be sure to capture and work on students' interests) worked very well.
 






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