Which Order Should You Teach Things In?

First Eight
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free guitar teaching syllabus

Guitar Lesson Syllabus

Free Guitar Lesson Plans

Perhaps the only thing that keeps us in business as guitar teachers in these days when information on playing guitar is all there for free on the internet are the facts that students can ask us questions when they don't immediately get an idea or concept and that as guitar teachers we can see where they may be going wrong (before they know it) and help them to fix it now.

The following material is an examination of the way that you might choose to incorporate some of the teachwombat.com guitar teaching materials into your business.

It looks at developing a (flexible) programme of guitar lessons geared towards the complete novice (perhaps the single most common type of student faced by guitar teachers).

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 guitar 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 following material as guidelines rather than a rigid structure.

Guitar Teacher's Lesson Plans and Resources

free beginners guitar teaching syllabus

    Objectives of first guitar lesson

1. Understand the two areas involved in the mastery of any musical instrument

2. Learn the shapes of four 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

Theory vs Technique.

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 they sound good


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.

Using Printed Handouts.

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 a repeated chord sequence of two bars of each chord G, Em, C and D which is downloadable now as part of the Guitar Teacher's Toolkit)

The backing 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 Easy 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.

You can also let your student have printed letter sized sheets containing the relevant BIG GRIDS (the giant guitar chord charts 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 guitar student will be able to practice whilst sitting on their bed rather than having to have bits of paper lying all over the place.

Guitar Teacher's Resources

The plans for the next seven guitar lessons for a beginner

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The Guitar Teacher's Toolkit

 How To Teach Kids Guitar
100 printable sheets dealing with Open Chords-Bar Chords-Scales- Modes- Blank Fretboard and Chord Grids Teaching Diary and Business Card Designs

The Backing Tracks and Handouts Package

 How To Teach Kids with Guitar Backing Tracks
35 backing tracks and over 80 chord sheets and handouts to go with them An invaluable aid designed to help you to teach both rhythm and lead guitar to younger and older students alike Great for helping to develop a good sense of timing (which will last a lifetime) in a novice player

The Kids Guitar Teaching Package

 How To Teach Kids Guitar, Chords For Children
More than forty sheets designed to help you to Teach Guitar to Children This material is designed to run alongside the "Backing Tracks and Handouts Package . All of the material that you need in order to teach kids to play guitar. Chord Charts, One finger (reduced) chord diagrams. An opportunity to start any young would be guitar player off the right way!

Plus 100 Giant (letter sized) Chord Grids

 How To Teach Kids Guitar Chords
laminate them in order to help you to teach group guitar lessons, distribute them to your students or just stick on your teaching studio wall? The "Coolest Wallpaper on the planet?"

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The Bass Guitar Teacher's Toolkit

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

Over 350 Sheets and 35 Backing tracks to Download and use TODAY!

Everything you need to start or improve a guitar teaching business! It's all there!

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