Giving Your "First Eight Guitar Lessons"

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More Than Eight Guitar Lessons!

There are way more than eight guitar lessons here suitable for adults and younger learners alike!

This section really looks at a framework that a guitar teacher can use to introduce key concepts such as developing a "vocabulary" of basic guitar chord shapes and the ability to change between those chords effectively as well as to intoroduce solo lines and more "advanced" technical and theoretical areas such as Power and Bar Chords.

The first lesson plan alone can be used over and over again during the first months of study with the only real difference being the utilisation of new chord sequences and backing tracks along with the introduction of more involved right hand strumming patterns
It is perfectly reasonable to say that this material can for the basis of lessons designed to take a guitar student through many months and even over a year of study with you.

The first part of the material that follows is a simple "two step plan" designed to help you give the first few months of guitar lessons to a complete beginner..............
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Teaching Beginner's Guitar: "A Two Step Plan"

Step 1:

Make your guitar students aware of the "best" guitar chords for a beginner

Step 2:

Give guitar lessons that make them familiar with the process of changing between those chord shapes (in time to a band)

It really is that simple

A short video (which even makes sense with the sound muted) looking at a series of guitar lessons for a complete beginner

The Video below looks at a series of lessons aimed at children with smaller hands but the reality is that apart from the "reduced" chord shapes (shapes played on four strings rather than over six to avoid stretches) used teaching children is largely the same as teaching adults. Learners of all ages need to develop the same skills.They need to play chords in time to music

The First Eight Guitar Lessons

The following material is an examination of the way that you might choose to structure a series of eight or so guitar lessons to an absolute beginner (by far the most common type of student encountered by guitar teachers)

Leaving the "art" to one side for a moment it might be a good idea to take a look at the physical act of playing the guitar and to distill that act down to a couple of "first principles"
It is important for you as a teacher to develop an understanding of what your student expects from the first few months of guitar lessons

When someone can't play the guitar at all they will most probably be delighted if after a few lessons they can develop.........

1: The ability to change between chord shapes with the fingers of the left hand

2: The ability to strum those chords (in time) with the right hand

The focus of the first few months of study should probably revolve around the "big idea" of having your student master the left (fretting) hand fingering and and some right hand strumming patterns for a set of guitar chords that are the easiest to form and which along with some right hand strumming patterns will allow them to play thousands of songs

Acheive this and it is very likely that not only will the student be delighted with their progress but that you will continue to get paid

The open chords contained within the basic CAGED Guitar System (C A Am G E Em D and Dm) allow us to do just that and are used by experienced guitar teachers all over the world to "kick start" their students into a playing career. It is no coincidence that these chords are also the ones chosen by the various organisations around the world who offer formal Qualifications/Grades in guitar

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First Guitar Lesson:

You can use this basic guitar lesson plan template over and over again to help your students to progress effectively?

The first lesson will be covered in some detail because it forms the template for a great many guitar lessons to come (using the same basic principles and methods but with different chords and more complex strumming patterns) This first lesson plan can be used to great effect over and over again with a novice player.

All you need to do as a teacher is to present your student with either new chords (drawn from the eight on the "first guitar chords" handout) Or use the chords that they already know from the sheet presented in different combinations and with more involved tempos and rhythms

Although the series of lessons presented on this page supposedly concerns itself with the "first eight lessons" the truth is that I have probably set out do cover too much ground in order to demonstrate the potential of the materials that I'm trying to sell to you (sorry!). The (happy?) reality is that the vast majority of guitar students will be more than occupied for the first few months of study by engaging with the process of .......

1: Mastering the eight chords that any novice should learn first

and developing the ability to

2: Change between those chords in time with music

Anyway............... here we go...........

Guitar Lesson 1:

advice on how to become a guitar teacher

Lesson Objectives:

1. Learn to form the G Em C and D chord shapes

2.Develop the ability to move between them

Talk to your guitar student

Before you get straight into the meat of the first lesson it is a good idea to talk a little about what the problem is (they can't play guitar) and how the two of you are going to combine in order to solve the problem
People like to know what's going on and like to feel that education is a process that they participate in rather than something that is "done to them"
Ask them how they feel about the idea that the first lesson will set out to create a situation whereby your student will be able to ...........

1. Understand the two areas (theory and technique) involved in the mastery of any musical instrument

2. Learn the shapes of four of the chords (G, Eminor, C and D) most suitable for a novice guitar player

3. Play those chords in time along with a (supplied) backing track

After getting the guitar in tune take time at the start to tell the student that to play any musical instrument (not just the guitar) properly involves a mastery of two important elements.  These two elements are the “Theoretical” and the “Technical” aspects of musicianship

Music Theory (and why we won't worry about it during early sessions)

The first of those elements mentioned above (Music Theory) covers some of the following questions

  1. Which notes do I play?
  2. Which scale will fit over a particular chord sequence?
  3. Which chords sound good together and why?


Technical Ability (and why we concentrate on developing it first)

Explain that theory is very important to a musician and let them know that these sort of questions will be discussed during future lessons but that at the moment there is very little point in knowing which notes and chords you would like to play if you can’t physically play them!
For that reason it's a good idea to let them know that the first lessons tend to be taken up with developing a physical capability on the instrument.

The First Guitar Lesson

First up give the student the handout featuring the G Em C and D chord progression.

Explain how the chord diagrams work and make sure that they know that the numbers inside the black dots refer to the fingers used to hold down the strings.

Ask them to refer to the handout, slowly form each chord in turn and strum it once in their own time.
Depending upon the individual this may take a little while.
During the lesson work toward a situation where the student can change between one chord and the next one

Ask them to play the chords first in the sequence presented on the handout (G Em C and D) and when they can do that mix the chords up a little (eg request that they play an D chord followed by a Em chord etc)

The idea is that the pupil develops an ability to remember the fingerings and play them without continued reference to the handout.

The handouts are great (I would say that I’m trying to sell them to you!) but it’s no good if the knowledge stays on the paper! Let the student know that what we are looking for is a situation where the chord names and the fingerings are available for instant recall.

When these changes are reasonably secure let the student hear the backing track “G Em C and D ”

The track features drums and a bass player going around the chord sequence.

Now ask the student to strum a single chord as each change comes around. The idea behind this is that having played a single chord the novice player has time (almost two bars) to get ready to fret the next one. 

Some students will adapt to this fairly quickly whilst others will take a little time to get to grips with the fingerings involved.

Now might be a good time to talk to your pupil about the following notion.

“You don’t learn to play guitar "during" guitar lessons-you learn to play "between" guitar lessons”

If an individual was able to play everything presented to them perfectly by the end of the lesson then it can be argued that the material was pitched way too low.

The object of a good lesson is to give the student a desirable (and achievable) outcome that they can work towards between sessions. If you explain this to them and have them understand it then they tend to feel a little less frustrated that they don’t play everything perfectly straight away.

For the students who pick up the changes early it is possible to introduce more involved strumming patterns. It is a good idea at this stage to be careful to restrict the strums to the early part of the first bar of each chord so that the learner will continue to have time to move between the chord shapes.

Towards the end of the session give the student a copy of the backing track on CD for private study (this usually goes down very well!) and ask them if there is anything that they do not understand about the material studied.

Before the lesson ends give the student a copy of the handout “First Guitar Chords” and tell them that it may be worth looking at the sheet before the next session as the chords used in the next backing track (Am Dm and E) are on it. You could even use a pencil to indicate which chords from the sheet are to be studied.

Finally: Check that your student knows what to practice before the next meeting

A minor D minor and E Guitar Chord Sheet

Lesson 2:

The Am Dm and E Chord Shapes and more involved strumming patterns

Three more chords and a new backing track this time with the chords of Am Dm and E lasting for only a single bar (requiring the student to form shapes a little more quickly)

The basic guitar lesson plan above (using G Em C and D) can also be used for this lesson. In fact it forms the basis of most of the first few months of study for a novice guitarist. All that is really required of the teacher is that he or she presents their students with a series of tasks which require them to change between the eight caged chords comfortably and at will.

If you ask your customers if they would like to get to the end of (say?) a couple of months of lessons with the basic ability to play thousands of songs (or at least recognisable fragments of songs) then they will probably say that they would be delighted

Giving them the opportunity to develop that ability by becoming able to move between a set of "user friendly" chords will get them there. Perhaps more importantly it will help them to realise that they can actually become guitar players rather than just wishing that they were? this has to be good for your business?

Lesson 3:

A to G With a "Rock" Feel

guitar chords A Major  to G major
This lesson introduces a new chord (A) whilst reinforcing the students ability to work with one of the chords learned in a previous session. The backing track for this one is more of a heavy rock thing and will work particularly well for students who aspire to be rock players.
This backing track (like all of the others) can also be used by guitar students learning Bar Chords and the handout relevant to this developmet is also shown above.

Beginners can use the track to practice forming the open chords of A and G (again playing single strums with downstrokes of the plectrum). From there they can progress to playing the same shapes with more involved strumming patterns. Later the backing track can be used for power chords (maybe with palm muting?) before moving on to full bar chords ans solo lines. Depending upon the tastes/aspirations of your student it is possible to keep going with the above system of playing and changing between chords using the backing tracks or to introduce the concept of single note playing for students who are (understandably) keen to develop soloing skills on the guitar

The backing tracks and handouts package features a total of twenty backing tracks and forty six handouts based around combinations of the chords that make up The Caged System and by the time that your students have worked their way through them they will no longer be beginners. The backing tracks can also all be used to develop players who are at a more advanced stage by using them to develop capabilities with bar chords and soloing etc

Guitar Lesson 4:

More advanced lessons: Playing Single Notes-The Em Pentatonic Scale

After introducing the Em Pentatonic scale it's back to the G Em C and D backing track.
blank guitar teaching diagrams
You can use some of the blank guitar neck sheets with tab (a few of which can be seen above) to help teach students short single note riffs and figures. The idea is that you teach stuff that both you and your student are comfortable with. It's just a little bit of trial and error really. If your student is having trouble with a lick then simplify it, conversely if they are picking the stuff up too quickly then complicate things and challenge them a little?

Get Everything that you need to start or improve a Guitar teaching Business for just $25.00

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Guitar Lesson 5:

Introducing Solos and improvisation: "A New Scale"(Am Pentatonic)

minor pentatonic scale
Having introduced an"easy" scale using open strings it might be time to up the ante a little with a one octave Am pentatonic scale (maybe starting at the D string at the 7th fret?)
Back to the Am Dm and E backing track for this one if you like (or the A to G progression for a "rockier" feel?) with more use of the blank guitar neck and tab handouts that will allow you to teach individual licks and phrases

minor pentatonic scale with bent notes

Guitar Lesson 6:

Bending Strings: "Introducing Single Note Bends"(Am Pentatonic)

Introduce the topic by showing the student some simple figures that rely on bending the D note(G string 7th fret) that is contained within the Am pentatonic Scale
You can use the Am Dm E backing track or the A to G backing track for this one

guitar power chords diagrams

Guitar Lesson 7:

Power Chords and Bar Chords:

It can be a good idea to prepare students for full bar chords by first helping them to become familiar with two note power chords
"The bar chord root finder" sheet can be used along with the A to G backing track again. Other backing tracks can be used as desired /applicable.
You can use the Am Dm E backing track or the A to G backing track for this one. At first ask students to sound the power chords only once as the chord changes

Guitar Lesson 8:

Muted Power Chords: "Muting Strings at The Bridge"

Right hand muting techniques (assuming that the student is right handed) with more involved strumming patterns (lots of downstrokes and an even eight to the bar rhythm)
As with the previous session you can use the Am Dm E backing track or the A to G backing track for this one

The lessons above use a combination of our pre prepared handouts and backing tracks

It is important to realise that students vary quite considerably in terms of how quickly (or slowly) they are able to develop skills or take on board information. It is quite possible (even desirable!) that as a teacher you may feel that a particular student might benefit from being introduced to some of the material from the next session. It is equally likely (and indeed desirable) that you might spend more than one lesson dealing with a particular chord sequence or fingering exercise. Please bear this in mind and regard the material presented above as guidelines rather than a rigid structure

If you're not sure if you are ready to start teaching guitar yet you might like to look at a page we have up here called Guitar Lessons: How Good Do You Have To Be To Teach?
You can also let your studet have printed A4 sheets containing the relevant BIG GUITAR GRIDS (the giant chord sheets that you can download free from this site). Alternatively you could just email the relevant chords to them as attachments and they can print them for themselves and stick them on the wall at home (saves ink?). Either way your student will be able to practice whilst sitting on their bed rather than having to have bits of paper lying all over the place.

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The "Deluxe" Package

Get All of our Resources in a Single $25.00 Download?

Over 300 printable Sheets and 20 backing Tracks in a single Download.... All of the teachwombat products

The "Deluxe" Package contains......................................................................

The Guitar Teacher's Toolkit

The "nuts and bolts of any guitar teaching business?
Scales, Open Chords,Power Chords, Bar Chords, Blank Necks, Empty Guitar Tab Sheets as well as Chord Grids and Fingering Excercises.
how to teach guitar More than 100 handouts featuring Scales, Open Chords, Bar chords, Power Chords, Major, Minor, Pentatonic and Blues Scales plus loads of blank neck, chord and tab sheets to ensure that you are never stuck for the materials that you need to get your message over?

You also get the business card designs and the guitar teacher's appointment/accounts pages to help you to administrate and promote your business

You also get...........

The Guitar Backing Tracks and Handouts Package
(great for teaching kids and adults alike!)

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Drop them onto CD's or email them to your Guitar Students?

An invaluable aid for teaching both rhythm and lead guitar." If they can't play in time then they can't play"

Plus 100 Giant (letter sized) Guitar Chord Grids

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Above you can see just some of the 100 "GIANT" (letter sized) Guita rChord Grids along with some "reduced" guitar chord shapes for use in kid's guitar lessons that you can come as part of the "Deluxe Download". Laminate them for display during group guitar lessons, or distribute them as "mini posters" to your guitar students (kids love them!). Alternatively you can just stick them up on your teaching studio wall?

The "Coolest Wallpaper on the planet?"

Below are some of our recently added Giant Guitar Grids for use by younger learners that have a "fun" element built in. Kids can colour the characters featured and stick them on their own walls as a study aid guitar lessons for kids, chords to colour

Also included as a "freebie" in the "Deluxe Download" is.........

The Bass Guitar Teacher's Toolkit

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Over 60 Handouts for anyone who already teaches (or who wishes to teach) bass guitar covering Scales, Chords, Fingering Exercises etc

Thats Over 300 Sheets and 20 backing tracks to Download and use TODAY!

Teaching guitar sure beats a day job?
The teachwombat guitar teaching toolkits give you just about everything you need to start or improve a guitar teaching business!

Only $25.00

Buy your guitar and bass teaching toolkits in complete safety via any major credit card (through paypal) or directly through your paypal account if you have one. If you choose to use a credit card, rest assured that we never see your credit card details as paypal do all of that for us.

When Paypal receive your payment you will be immediately invited to click a


You will be taken to a page from where you can download the guitar teaching products that you have paid for NOW!
In the (rare) event that something should go wrong with the order/download process just email me at
I will check the order and send you the links that will get you to your guitar teaching stuff.

Cheers! Rob!