Q's for Guitar teachers -- beginning guitar

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by jay42, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. jay42

    jay42 Member

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    My SO has this idea that I should teach her to play the guitar. I'm not sure that I'm the teacher type, however, I'm willing to give it a shot. As such, I only know my own experience as a kid and I realize that model may not be appropriate.

    1) what guitar ? I started with a nylon string guitar and after a time, stepped up to a steel string acoustic with silk & steel, then regular acoustic strings. I see her strumming, not fingerpicking, but it's hard to predict. I'm not sure a parts-o-caster is the best choice.

    2) what approach? I was taught A & D, then played Michael Row The Boat Ashore....and so on. I don't know if teaching chords for songs is a good or unbalanced approach. (She's probably not going into be-bop.)

    3) books ? I had a songbook and no theory for a long time.
     
  2. Swain

    Swain Member

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    How about teaching her 3 Chords. G C D. Then, add the Em Am Dm Chords. Maybe a B7 after that.

    With G C D, show her how to strum a couple of tunes she likes. No old fashioned stuff. Brand new tunes.

    While she's learning ther chords, teach her how to play some simple Melodies. Again, not old stuff. Current stuff, or older stuff that she chooses. She doesn't need to learn whole songs yet. Just Riffs, Chorus Melodies, etc.

    And get her a new guitar of her own. $150.00 can get her an electric or acoustic that's pretty decent for a beginner. And be sure that she picks it out. Give her 5 or 6 to choose from, both acoustic and electric.

    And most importantly............

    Teaching family can be a dicey proposition. Tread very carefully! Don't push at all. She may never play, but you were there when she asked.

    And lastly, introduce her to a Guitar Instructor. Hand her a Gift Certificate for a Month's worth of Lessons. She may stay with that Instructor instead. (Preferred, believe me!). And at least, she'll have gotten past some Beginner's hurdles without the "pressure" of disappointing her SO.

    Okay, really last.........

    Show her how to play the Root Notes to some fun jamming song. Then, jam with her. She needs to immediately have the thrill of playing with others. And she can do the "Index Finger Plays The Roots Only" method to help her get into the Groove.

    Make it fun! She's not a Pro, and probably never wants to be one. Fun is more important than anything else.

    Good luck!
     
  3. JonR

    JonR Member

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    What sort of music does she like? Is there a guitarist (or singer-guitarist) she admires?
    Don't buy her an acoustic if she's a rock chick. But if she's into Joni Mitchell or whoever, best not to get her a Strat...
    As I'm sure you remember, nylon strings are easier on the fingers than steel - but then the stretches on a Spanish guitar are bigger - so comfort plays a part too.
    I always start with melodies, not chords, because tunes only require one finger at a time. Again it depends on her tastes, but learning a simple, well known tune (no chords) can feel like a big accomplishment.
    Learning chords presupposes singing - otherwise you're not really doing the song; a chord sequence on its own is pretty dull. (Good idea to persuade her to try singing, if she doesn't already.)
    I mean, you can move on to chords pretty quick, if her fingers can manage it. But for some, they need to get the fretting principle down first, on single notes.
    I definitely prefer songbooks to theory books. That's how I started too. If you learn songs, you pick up important theory concepts automatically (without being aware of it).
    Always work with songs she likes, that she really wants to be able to play (or sing). If she's not sure, play her some CDs, inspire her. Make sure the songs are simple enough to be within her reach, of course.

    Teaching a close friend (esp your SO!) can be problematic, so let her set the pace. Encourage her without pushing her. (You should know her well enough to know if she'll respond better to you imposing a regime, or if it's best to let her control her time, choose the teaching sessions when she feels like it. Obviously, impress on her the need for regular practice to improve - some know that, some find it hard. But it has to stay fun, of course. If you value your relationship... ;) )
    The hardest thing for a beginning teacher is to remember how slow you have to go to start with. There will be things you'd forgotten about.
    You also have to organise the information in a rational, linear way (info that you have in your own head in a big mass, some of it subconscious).

    BTW, check she cuts her fret-hand fingernails right back! (I get so many girl students who won't, and they wonder why they can't play...)
     
  4. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    I agree with all of this, except the notes vs chords thing. I always start newbies out with chords, unless they are asking for something specific that requires single notes. My goal is to get them playing tunes asap. I ease them into single note stuff as we go.

    Sounds like a cool way to bond with the SO's kid, which if handled well, will go a long way with both. Good luck
     
  5. jay42

    jay42 Member

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    Wifey sings and while I don't know the tunes she likes, I can tell they're pretty simple. Interesting and good ideas -- especially letting her pick a guitar. I would not have thought of that.
     
  6. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Ah, I misread. SO, not SO's kid.
     
  7. JamminJeff

    JamminJeff Member

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    Oh god...I mean, gosh.

    The positive answer is share your love for it, that way she won't bitch so much when you spend time ALONE playing music or playing in band. Maybe, just maybe, she won't bitch so much about why you have 5 guitars, effects, amps, etc. It's like a woman explaining tampons to a man.

    Your Guitars = her diamond ring is too small, the furniture didn't get replaced, on and on and on and on and on and on..................shoot me now if I ever have to listen to that babble.

    Now for the real answer, DON'T DO IT !

    Set her up with lessons, let her pick out an instrument that fits (we all understand this) and encourage, and support her, etc., just don't try to teach her. Be a guide, not a teacher.

    Yeah, yeah, we get it. You love her. We've all been there, are there, will be there, etc. Men are stupid when it comes to women but eventually we start waking up. It's usually too late when we do.

    My last teacher, an excellent one, had (had) a wife who also played and teached. Both are stellar players/teachers. In a nutshell, it's VERY rare for a man and a woman (who's married or in a serious relationship) to mutually be immersed in music, let alone one teaching the other.

    Holy mother of dumbassery. 15 years ago I would have given a naive answer and been supportive of it.

    Do what you will. Don't say I didn't warn you. Protect your sacred right to play music without a woman messing it up. They do, the have, they will.

    One that is truly cool about all aspects of a musicians life is worth marrying or is lying, big time. Kiss her feet or run like hell !
     

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