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Table of Contents
Foreword .................................................................................... 3
Making The Guitar Class Work ................................................. 4
What Instruments To Use ........................................................... 4
Room Set-Up ............................................................................. 5
Tools To Have On Hand............................................................. 5
Tuning ........................................................................................ 5
Holding Position ........................................................................ 7
Warm-Up.................................................................................... 7
Layered Learning ....................................................................... 8
Chords or Melody First .............................................................. 8
Quizzes....................................................................................... 9
Rounds ....................................................................................... 9
First Ensemble Piece .................................................................. 9
Rhythms ..................................................................................... 9
Note Reading vs. Tablature ...................................................... 10
Strumming Techniques ............................................................ 10
Ensembles ................................................................................ 10
Application of Cross-Curriculum Material .............................. 15
Teaching Improvisation ........................................................... 17
Listening .................................................................................. 18
The Guitar Recital .................................................................... 18
Selecting a Private Instructor ................................................... 21
Stringing the Guitar.................................................................. 23
Music Educator’s National Conference
Music Contents Standards Grades K-12 ............................. 32
Lesson Plans ............................................................................ 34
Additional Lessons .................................................................. 58
Artists ....................................................................................... 59
Manuscript Paper ..................................................................... 60
Tablature Paper ........................................................................ 61
Blank Chord Diagrams ............................................................ 62
Seating Chart............................................................................ 63
Notes ........................................................................................ 64
The information contained in this supplement will be a valuable tool in showing teachers how to
apply the material contained in the Mastering the Guitar Class Method. This manual is designed to be used
in conjunction with the Mastering the Guitar Class Method. Rather than put excerpts from the student book
in this supplement, references will be given to pages in the method book containing the examples being
discussed. This will allow the entire example to be seen as it is presented in context. This supplement will not
only help the teacher effectively present the material in the class method, but it will also provide a springboard for creating original ways to teach music and cross-curriculum concepts.
A portion of this supplement is devoted to lesson plans. Ninety-six, fifty-minute lesson plans are
presented. In addition, suggestions are given for creating extra lesson plans. Although these lesson plans will
work well as they are written, they are not in stone, and the teacher may wish to modify them or create
original lesson plans by using various combinations of the “Content Categories” found on page 34.
Listening plays an important role in the guitar class. To assist the teacher is selecting high quality
guitar music, page 59 of this Teacher’s Supplement contains a list of guitar recording artists and the style of
music played by each. From this list, the teacher may select any recordings by these artists for the students’
Although the Class Method contains plenty of exercises, solos, and ensemble pieces, and supplementing the method book with other music is not required, some teachers may find that it will work
well to supplement the method with other ensemble pieces and popular music. Because of the “here
today, gone today” nature of popular music, specific popular tunes are not included. However, many contemporary styles are represented in the music contained in the method. The music in the Mastering the Guitar
Class Method was written to be timeless. The techniques are presented in such a way that it will be easy
for the students to see how to apply them to popular music. For example, when students learn strum
patterns for 4/4 and 3/4, they can be shown how to apply those strum patterns to other music as well as the
music contained in the method.
On the split-channel CD which goes with the Mastering the Guitar Class Method, the student parts
have been recorded on one channel, and the accompaniments have been recorded on the other channel. This
has been done so the students, by panning the recording, can play with the solo part, with only the accompaniment, or with both. On the vocal pieces, the melody is played instrumentally on one channel and the
accompaniment is played on the other channel. This way the student can sing the piece while hearing only the
melody, with the accompaniment, or with both.
Although the method book will work well with private students, this method was written to be used as
a class method. The amount and quality of the music, the inclusion of ensemble music, the quizzes, the crosscurriculum materials, and the Teacher’s Supplement will provide the instructor with ample material necessary for a successful guitar class.
Making the Guitar Class Work
There are many ingredients which go into making a successful guitar class. Four of the ingredients
which are crucial are: 1) an enthusiastic, optimistic teacher, 2) the use of a quality text, 3) using repertoire
which is educational, fun, and inspiring, 4) having a performance as the goal.
The teacher of the guitar class does not have to be a world class performer. Some of the finest guitar
players may not be the best teachers. However, many fine players are also outstanding teachers. The important factor is that the teacher’s level of proficiency be more advanced than the students. Besides, you have the
teacher’s manual…right? The guitar skills of many fine classroom teachers are slightly more developed than
the skills of the students and often teachers find themselves developing and refining their skills along with
the students.
Using a quality text can make the classroom experience more rewarding for the teacher and students.
The Mastering the Guitar Class Method has many features which make it unique and “user friendly.” This
method was designed so the teacher should not have to supplement the classwork with additional material.
The Mastering the Guitar Class Method contains accompaniment styles, solos, and ensembles. The techniques (accompaniment styles, note reading, etc.) presented in the class method can also be applied to music
from song books and sheet music.
The music selections chosen and written for the class method are interesting, fun, and should inspire
the students to practice. Because the repertoire is graded and has been and sequenced, it will motivate and
not overwhelm students.
Regardless of the size of the class, a performance should be the goal. Nothing will motivate students
more than the goal of having a performance. Concerning repertoire, there is enough material in this class
method for several recitals. Later in this supplement, some suggestions will be given for programming a
student recital.
What Instruments To Use
The Mastering the Guitar Class Method is written is such a way that any type of guitar can be used. In
the typical beginning class, there will be steel string, nylon string, electric, and maybe even a twelve string
guitar. It would be wonderful if the guitars were all uniform, but this is highly unlikely. Because the students
will be sitting in the standard folk sitting position, any guitar will do. Most guitars will play in the first four
frets and the material in this book will not extend beyond those frets. While it is not critical the students all
have the same type of guitar, it is important the students know the type of guitar they are playing. Have the
students look at page two and find the type of guitar they are playing. If a student has an electric guitar, you
may want to encourage him/her to buy, or borrow, an acoustic guitar. Another possibility would be to have
the electric guitar player(s) use small practice amps in the class. Be very cautious doing this because even at
low volume levels, the electric guitar may sound louder than all of the acoustic guitars combined.
If you have the good fortune of selecting or buying guitars for the class, it is recommended the students use standard size nylon string guitars. The nylon strings will be easier on the fingers. If they wish, they
can convert easily to steel-string and/or electric guitars later. Occasionally, a student has a guitar which is
“terminal” and will not play at all. This could be the result of a broken nut, a broken bridge, or the action
(distance between the string and the fret) is too high or too low. If this happens, take the guitar to a qualified
repairman. Be careful not to degrade the students, or their relatives, by being too critical of their instruments.
Room Set-Up
The guitar class will run much smoother if the environment is comfortable. The lighting should be
good and the temperature comfortable. It works well to have two students to one music stand, so the guitars
can be seen and heard. If there is room at the back or side of the class, have the students put their cases there.
There should be a blackboard or a whiteboard. The teacher should sit on a stool if possible. The elevation is
important in seeing the students and letting them see the teacher. The teacher should wear a guitar strap
while teaching the class. This will make it possible to move about the classroom and observe and help
Tools To Have On Hand
A few essential tools are necessary in the classroom. Keep an extra set of strings handy in case a
student or the teacher breaks a string. An electronic tuner, pitch pipe, or tuning fork will be needed. Although
the guitar will go out of tune between classes, if the class is tuned to the same pitch each session, it will be
easier to tune the guitars in future classes. Have extra picks, manuscript paper, and pencils. It would also be
good to have a string winder in case a string has to be changed quickly or a gear is difficult to turn. String
winders are available at any music dealership.
Although the students must eventually learn to tune their own guitars, the teacher should tune them
for the first several sessions. Tuning is difficult and will take practice. A method of tuning a guitar class
which is quick is sometimes referred to as the “beacon” method. This is done by tuning one class member’s
guitar to pitch, and then by having that same student play the first string (or others if needed) as the teacher
tunes the other guitars. The teacher can tune the guitars by matching the fifth fret (the fourth fret on the third
string) with open strings. The method is presented in the book on page 7.
A quicker method of tuning would be to match the first string open with the “beacon” guitar and then
match the second string, fifth fret to the first string open. Then, match the third string open (G) to the octave
higher G (first string, third fret). The notes are an octave apart, but easy to tune. After the third string is tuned,
match the fourth string open to the second string, third fret. Match the fifth string open to the third string,
second fret. Finally, match the sixth string open to the fourth string, second fret. Most of the music the
students will be learning first is in the key of G, so they will be playing a lot of open strings. As the teacher is
tuning the guitars, the students can be warming up softly. This will not interrupt the tuning process. Tuning
the class will become faster and easier with practice. It is important to expedite the tuning. The students (and
the teacher) will become impatient if the time to tune drags on.
Another fun method of tuning, which is unique to the Mastering the Guitar Class Method and helps
train the ears of the students, is to use the tuning portion of the CD which accompanies the class method
book. This method of tuning is unique because rather than having only the single open strings played on the
recording for pitch matching, there is also an accompaniment recorded for tuning.
In the tuning portion of the CD, one channel of the stereo recording has the open strings of the guitar
beginning with the first (smallest) string, E, then B, G, D, A, and E. Each note is played eight times. On the
other channel of the stereo recording is a rhythm track with rhythm guitar, bass, and drums. The accompaniment plays the following chords: Em, B7, G, D, Am, and Em. Each chord is played eight times, which is two
measures of each chord in 4/4. The recorded accompaniment is written below. After the progression is played,
there is a pause and the progression is repeated. Then, there is another pause and the progression is repeated
one more time.
//////// //////// //////// //////// //////// ////////
As the accompaniment is played, the students should play each open string on the guitar eight times.
The open strings the students are playing should match notes in the chords on the rhythm track. If the strings
are out of tune, the student should adjust the pitch while playing along with the accompaniment. Because on
the tuning portion of the CD the single open strings are recorded on one channel and the accompaniment is
recorded on the other channel, the teacher has the option of playing only the channel of the CD which has
single notes, playing only the rhythm track channel and have the students tune to the rhythm, or playing both
channels so the students can hear the single note they are tuning as well as the rhythm track. The tuning track
on the CD can be repeated many times to help the students learn to tune. While students are learning to match
the pitch, they are also learning to hear a particular note in a chord and keep time with a rhythm track.
Remember, the students should play each open string (beginning with the first string) eight times to match
the chords Em, B7, G, D, Am, and Em.
This method of tuning with the CD can be used each class period and also in recital as the students
warm up. The rhythm track actually turns the tuning process into an accompanied composition. On page 7,
students are shown how to tune without the rhythm track.
Holding Position
The holding position is presented on pages 5 and 6 of the Class Method. Although some students may
want to pursue classical style playing, which involves holding the guitar on the left leg with the left foot
elevated, it is recommended that the class hold the guitar using the standard folk sitting position. Changing to
the classical holding position later will not be a problem. Two of the most common mistakes with holding the
guitar are resting the left arm on the left leg and allowing the left-hand thumb to extend over the top of the
neck. Watch for these mistakes and correct them. Also, the five main reasons for a buzzing string are: 1) not
pressing hard enough on the string, 2) the left-hand fingernails are too long and are not allowing the flesh on
the tip of the finger to be pressed hard enough on the string, 3) not placing the left-hand finger close enough
to the fret wire, 4) the finger is on top of the fret wire, 5) tilting a left-hand finger and touching the adjacent
To play the music in this book, the students should either use a pick or the right-hand thumb. Use of
the other right-hand fingers will be presented in subsequent books. Using a pick or the right-hand thumb will
allow the students to focus on the left hand and reduce confusion. If the student uses the thumb rather than the
pick, he/she should use a rest stroke. This means that after the thumb strokes the string, it should come to rest
on the string below. This will set the stage for later fingerstyle technique. The right-hand position and the
pick holding position are shown on page 6 of the method.
Follow the directions given in the method book for holding the pick. Medium thickness picks are
suggested. Also, have the students use a medium-size pick. Do not have them use the small oval-shaped picks
or the very large triangular-shaped picks. When using a pick to play single notes, after stroking a string, the
pick should come to rest on the string below. This motion is similar to the rest stroke when using the thumb.
When playing eighth notes and strumming, the pick will probably not come to rest on the next smallest
The students will want to start playing immediately. A good way to have the students begin playing is
to start each session with some sort of warm-up. The warm-up portion of the class might consist of playing
old familiar music or using the warm-up exercise which is written on page 9. Regardless of the level of the
students, playing this warm-up can be an effective tool. The sequence can be repeated on each string and
played as fast or as slow as desired. It is also important to make sure the students know that when they are
practicing at home, they should begin each practice session with a warm-up.
Layered Learning
The term “layered learning” refers to presenting techniques in such a way that the fast learners do not
get bored and the slower learners are not overwhelmed. For example, if the students are learning to strum
patterns for 4/4 accompaniment, several strum patterns may be presented at one time. The students can select
a pattern which fits their playing ability, or is just beyond their skill level. The entire class can be playing the
same song, and yet different patterns for 4/4 are being played by different students. This sounds like it might
be chaotic, but it works. Another example of layered learning would be to have some of the students use more
difficult fingerings of chords while others use simple or more basic fingerings. Some students may play
simple G and C chords, while the more experienced students use more full-sounding versions of the same
Chords or Melody First
A troubling choice for many instructors is whether to have the beginning student learn chords or
single note melodies first. In this Class Method, the students play some simple single note solos on page 10.
This approach to playing the melody by number is very effective because it does not require note or tablature
reading. The reading process using these numbers is simple and uses recognizable melodies. The student
plays only one note at a time, keeping the required motor skill at an easy level. Don’t be concerned with the
rhythm other than giving each note one beat. The length of the pauses is random. You may want to conduct
the entrances after each pause, or assign a number of beats for each pause.
After playing a few simple single note melodies, the simple G, C, and G7 chords are introduced. The
strums are all down. Chords are introduced early because they are “guitarish,” and the students become
encouraged by playing them. The strums may be done with a pick or the right-hand thumb. Be sure the
students strum the correct number of strings on each chord. More advanced students may play the threefinger G, C and G7 chords. With the song “Marianne” on page 13, sing or play the melody for the students.
Encourage them to sing along after they are familiar with the tune. As with many of the instrumental pieces
in the method, the student should also practice the vocal pieces playing along with the accompanying
Tablature is introduced on page 16. It’s good to have the class learn tablature as well as standard
notation. Tablature has some advantages and disadvantages. By having the students learn tablature and then
standard notation, the hand-eye coordination used in playing the individual notes is developed somewhat by
the time they begin reading standard notation. Because tablature is simple and easy to understand, students
will be motivated by playing tunes early, and they will be comfortable with playing simple note melodies by
the time they begin learning standard notation.
The teacher needs to emphasize the importance of the students learning to read standard notation.
Emphasize that reading standard notation is essential in playing much of the music written for guitar, playing
music written for other instruments, communicating with other musicians, and understanding principles of
music theory.
Throughout the class method there are quizzes. These quizzes may be photocopied and used in class,
so they can be handed in and graded while the students keep the books. Or, the quizzes may be corrected
aloud in class. Some method books only include the quizzes in the Teacher’s Supplement. After being corrected and returned, the quizzes are often thrown away or lost. By having the quizzes in the students books,
the quizzes may be used as a review source.
The use of rounds is an effective first step in getting students to play ensemble music. When
playing rounds, students learn to listen to the other parts while focusing on their part. The class also learns the
importance of rhythm and staying together. The first round in the class method is “Guitaround” on page 18. In
this and the other rounds in the book, have the students first play the entire piece together. Then divide the
class in half or three to four groups, depending upon how many entrances there are in the round. In “Guitaround,”
after everyone has played the piece and become familiar with the tune, half the class should start at the beginning where the circled 1 is. Then, the other half of the class should come in at the circled number 2 (in the
second measure). With all the rounds in the book, the entrances for the different parts are indicated with circled
numbers. Repeat the round as many times as desired. The half of the class which began at the circled number
1 will end one measure before the half of the class which began at the circled number 2.
The First Ensemble Piece
“Where the Red Fern Grows,” on page 18, is the first piece in the class method which is written for a
guitar ensemble. This piece is written for three guitars. The first and second guitar parts only play on strings
one and two. The third guitar part plays only on strings two and three. The simple rhythms use notes which
get two and four beats. This ensemble is written in tablature. Rehearsal tips and descriptions of the ensembles
in the Class Method are given later in this Teacher’s Supplement.
Note and rest values are explained on pages 20-21. Quarter notes, half notes, and whole notes are used
in the exercises on pages 22 and 23. At the bottom of page 23 is an exercise introducing eighth notes. Some
guitar methods teach eighth notes later. By introducing them early and using verbalization, the eighth notes
are easy to understand, and the students will have ample time to apply them. Dividing the beat into two equal
parts is a basic concept which can be introduced early. Also, the students should practice eighth notes using
a pick. The principle of playing the first eighth note using a down-stroke, and the second eighth note using an
up-stroke is natural. Explain to the student that when tapping the foot to keep the beat, the first eighth note is
played when the foot is down, and the second eighth note is played when the foot is up. The pick direction is
the same as the foot direction.
Reading rhythms can be a stumbling block for many beginning guitarists. The more value placed on
reading the correct rhythms...the better. The eighth note rhythm studies on page 27 should be emphasized and
would make a good warm-up exercise.
Note Reading vs. Tablature
While tablature has some advantages (i.e. simplicity, useful when using altered tunings), it has several
disadvantages. Reading standard notation is a must for the guitarist who wishes to pursue studies on the
instrument. A knowledge of standard notation is critical in reading much of the guitar repertoire. It is also an
important skill for reading music written for other instruments (such as a vocal part), and in studying the
elements of music theory. Some guitarists feel overwhelmed by the concept of reading. Actually, there is no
big mystery to reading music. The note placements and values have to be memorized. If the concepts of
reading music are “spoon-fed,” the goal can be reached. Learning to read music in a class situation can be
advantageous. Peer pressure can be a helpful tool in learning to read. Also, using guitar ensembles and
rounds can be invaluable in learning to read.
Students may find the process of learning to read a bit laborious. The optimistic attitude of the teacher
and stressing the importance of learning to read can help the students get over the “learning to read” blues.
Other sources in teaching the students to read will occur when the teacher plays the accompaniments to the
pieces and has the students listen and/or play along with the CD which accompanies the class method.
Strumming Techniques
All of the strum patterns (including the down only strums) in the class method can be done with the
pick, the thumb and fingers, or the right-hand thumb only. Whether using the pick or the fingers (it is important when doing the up strum), only the smallest three or four strings are strummed. Students may have a
tendency to strum too many strings on the up strum. Remember, with the down strum, the appropriate number of strings for the chord are to be strummed. But, regardless of the chord played, always play only three or
four strings with the up strum. Swing rhythm is often used when doing strum patterns for 4/4 or 3/4 meter.
Often, strum patterns are played using swing rhythm. A basic description of swing rhythm is given on page
The guitar ensemble can be one of the most productive and rewarding elements of the guitar class.
There are many positive features associated with the students being involved with a guitar ensemble. The
ensemble provides the medium for the students to improve their music reading abilities, develop listening
skills, learn responsibility, and develop social skills.
The Mastering the Guitar Class Method contains many ensembles. Some are written in tablature and
some in standard notation. These ensembles are graded and contain techniques and concepts which have
been presented earlier in the book. Although the different guitar parts in the ensemble are fairly balanced in
the level of difficulty, in some of the ensembles, the Guitar I part is more challenging. When seating the
ensemble, group the students by parts with those playing the first guitar part on the conductor’s left side. If
the ensemble is large, many students can play the same part. Try to place an equal number of students on each
part. Two students may share one music stand. More than two students to a music stand will make the music
difficult to see and read. It works well to have the students seated in a semicircle. This allows the students to
hear the parts and also makes it easier for them to see the conductor. As is done in orchestras and bands, you
may wish to have auditions to determine the guitar parts the students will be playing. You may wish to have
these auditions several times during the year and rotate the seat assignments.
The guitar ensemble should be led by a conductor. The teacher may or may not use a baton when
conducting. Demand the same respect from the guitar ensemble that a band or orchestra conductor would
expect. Before beginning, be sure the guitars are tuned. At the performance this could be done before the
students are seated. The students could do some fine-check tuning before the conductor enters. As the teacher
(conductor) stands on the podium, or moves to the conductors stand, the students should place their guitars in
playing position.
This is not intended to be a text on conducting techniques. However, written below are some tips for
being an effective conductor of the guitar ensemble.
Make the beat clear.
Keep the beat pattern in front of you and easy to follow.
Make the beginning downbeat and the ending cutoff clean and exact.
At the end of the piece, have the students touch all of their strings so they cut off at the same time.
Be sure to cue the different parts on entrances.
Be aware of tempos and dynamics. Definitions for tempo and dynamic markings are found in the
Class Method on page 131. Discuss the tempo and dynamics contained in the piece with the students before playing.
7. At the end of the piece, give a definite cut off, and have the students remain in playing position until
the conductor’s hands are dropped.
8. In a performance, at the conclusion of each piece, the conductor should turn and acknowledge the
audience’s applause with a bow.
9. At the conclusion of the last piece on the program, acknowledge the ensemble by having them stand
and bow.
10. Then the conductor should bow. After the conductor bows to the audience, he/she should face the
ensemble and direct them to be seated. It is also appropriate before the final number on the program,
for the conductor to thank the audience for coming.
During the rehearsal, it would be good to have the separate guitar parts play their part alone, and then
combine the parts. To improve the student’s reading and listening skills, it would be good at some late point
to have all of the students play each part.
Sectionals are a valuable tool in learning parts. If different rooms are not available, students might go
to various corners of the same room and run through their part as a section. Section leaders could be assigned
to rehearse the group.
Some of these rehearsal and performance suggestions may seem obvious, but often the conductor of
a guitar ensemble will overlook them.
The next few pages contain descriptions of each of the ensemble pieces contained in this book.
Rehearsal and performance notes are given.
Where the Red Fern Grows (page 18)
This is the first ensemble piece in the book. It is important that the students count the correct rhythms
and listen to the other parts as they play their part. All three parts should be balanced in volume. Even if the
students have not made mistakes, have them practice beginning at number 6 a couple of times to get the idea
of finding and beginning at rehearsal cue markings. The students may use a pick or the right-hand thumb to
play the notes. However, it is important they all use the pick or the thumb, rather than some students using a
pick and others using the thumb.
A Wrinkle In Time (page 34)
This ensemble is written for three guitars and uses the notes on three strings. The parts are equal in
difficulty. Have the students observe the dynamic markings and the ritard at the end. The definitions for
tempo and dynamic terms are found on page 131 of the Class Method. Also, point out to the students the
tempo markings at the beginning of the piece.
Shadow of the Bull (page 37)
This ensemble is a bit longer than the previous ensembles in the book. The first and second guitar
parts are more demanding than the third. Make sure the long notes ring for their full duration.
Old Man and the Sea (page 50)
This is the first ensemble in the book written for four guitars. The first guitar part does not go lower
than the third string. The second, third, and fourth parts go to the fourth string. In measures 9-12, it is important that the parts which are not playing should rest. If a whole rest is written, the strings should be touched
with the palm of the right hand for that measure.
Charlotte’s Web (page 57)
In this piece, notice the second, third, and fourth parts are marked mp (mezzo piano), and the first part
is marked f (forte). The first part is the solo and the other parts are the accompaniment.
Star of the County Down (page 74)
Because of the dotted quarter notes and the eighth notes, the first guitar part is more difficult. It is
important that the eighth notes in the second guitar at measure fifteen be played in tempo. The piece begins
loud and softens at measure eight. Make sure the students come in forcefully at the beginning of this piece.
Morpheus (page 84)
Because of the slow hymn-like nature of this piece, it is important to play it legato (smoothly) connecting the notes and letting them ring for their full time value.
Greensleeves (page 87)
Be careful not to let the students rush this piece. Keep the rhythm steady. The bass notes should be
brought out. The tendency will be for the third and fourth parts to play too softly.
The Cay (page 92)
Watch the rhythms. The piece sounds even better with the addition of a fifth guitar part strumming the
chords using the pattern written above measure five. Before rehearsing the piece, go over the directions
(repeats and D.S. %). It is stylistically important that the eighth notes be played even, not with swing rhythm.
Bridge to Terabithia (page 110)
A fifth guitar part could also be added to this ensemble. The fifth guitar should strum the chords
written above the measures using a strum pattern for 3/4 meter. For the Cadd9 chord, the fifth guitar should
strum C. With the students, go over the first and second endings on page 1 and page 2 prior to playing the
piece. There are several places in this piece where the inner voices move. Be sure the inner voices are
Pachelbel’s Canon (page 116)
Now the ensemble will be qualified to play a wedding gig. The fourth part is quite simple, but the
other parts have some rather tricky moments containing eighth note passages. Be sure to keep the students
from rushing the eighth notes.
Acres of Bluegrass (page 126)
Notice the guitar three part does an alternating bass accompaniment beginning at measure six. Let the
students have fun with this one…the faster the better. All of the guitar parts should be played with a pick.
Have the students be cautious of the picking directions. The piece ends after measure thirteen.
Outsider’s Blues (page 128)
Notice in the guitar four part, the chords are strummed using the strum pattern which is written above
measure three. The piece can be easily explained to include solos. To add a section for solos, in the second
measure from the end (measure 26), the third guitar should only play the note written on the first beat (fifth
string, second fret) and let that note ring for four beats; guitars one and two should rest in the last two
measures or they could strum a B7 chord for two measures. Guitar four should strum a B7 chord for two
measures, rather than B7 and then E7. After changing the last two measures, repeat to measure fifteen.
Measure fifteen to the end of the piece can be repeated many times allowing students to take solos
using the E minor pentatonic scale. As the solos are being played, guitar three should play the power chords
as written and another guitar part (one, two, or four) can strum the chords. After the solos, play from measure
fifteen to the end as written.
On the CD which accompanies the Class Method, the second page is first played as written, and then
the second page is repeated two times with only the chords. This will allow the students to practice improvising over the accompaniment only, the second page is then played with the parts as written.
Application of Cross-Curriculum Material
A unique feature of the Mastering the Guitar Class Method is the inclusion of cross-curriculum material. Material involving math, art, reading, writing, history, geography, and cultural studies are included in
the class method. In this section of the Teacher’s Supplement, descriptions of the cross-curriculum materials
and suggestions of how to implement them will be given.
A music and math quiz is presented on page 28. This involves adding notes and rests. This quiz could
be expanded to include subtraction of beats and even multiplication of notes and rest values. Later, students
could also utilize math concepts by doing such exercises as determining the different notes possible on six
strings in the first four frets. The teacher should use the math quiz on page 28 as a springboard for other math
On page 83, the assignment is given to draw something creative using sharp signs. A similar assignment could be given later using flat and/or natural signs. Students could also be asked to draw characters or
scenes suggested by the titles or the lyrics to the pieces in the book.
Suggested readings are given under the titles of the ensembles and many of the other pieces in the
class method. These titles have been taken from the suggested readings for middle school students. Many of
the students will already be familiar with these books. If they are not, suggest that the students read the books.
Students could be assigned to give book reports to the class about the book which corresponds to the composition. To the instrumental pieces, students might even write lyrics which describe characters, settings, themes,
or situations in the book.
Often with the compositions in the class method, the mood of the book which is given as the suggested reading, will be depicted in the sound of the music composition. For example, The Cay, by Theodore
Taylor, is about an uninhabited island in the Caribbean. The composition The Cay on page 92 is written in a
reggae style. This style of music is very poplar in the Caribbean Islands.
On page 99, the students are shown how to write their own blues lyrics. This step-by-step approach
will teach the students about phrases and the blues form. They are given a melody on page 101 to which they
can write lyrics and title. The finished product will look like their piece has been published.
Students could also be encouraged to do some research and write about famous guitarists, composers
of guitar music, guitar makers, and other guitar related topics.
To the right of the titles of many of the pieces in the Class Method is drawn a map of the country from
which that music originated. Many of the pieces have descriptions of traditions associated with the culture in
the area where the music originated. An example of this would be found on page 109 under the title Sakura.
A definition of Sakura and how cherry blossom time is celebrated in Japan is given. Another example of
culture study is the description of Jewish Klezmer music on page 109. A brief history of Klezmer music is
given, the students then play the Klezmer piece, Terk in America. Because the Mastering the Guitar Class
Method is rich in music from other cultures (Japan, France, Mexico, Spanish, etc.), it should be easy for the
teacher to integrate multi-cultural activities and projects.
Throughout the class method, there are brief biographical sketches (including pictures) of well-known
composers such as the one of Mozart on page 10. The teacher may want to expand on what is provided and
have the students listen to other music written by the same composer. There are also brief descriptions of
periods in music history such as the one found on page 36 of the Renaissance period. The teacher could
discuss the music style of that time and have the students listen to other music examples from that period.
The class method presents background on musical styles, such as the description of the history of the
Blues on page 48, and the history of The Guitar in Spain found on page 54. Have the class read these sections
and bring recordings of other music in these styles for the class to hear. It is not necessary for the class to
always listen to guitar music. Emphasize to the students that it is important for musicians to listen to all styles
of music, not just music played on the guitar.
Vocabulary, Jargon, and Thought Questions
On page 64, there is a box around the words aspen, corpse, and briar. Have a discussion with the
students about the definitions of these words. On page 130 and page 131, there are definitions given for
words often used in music. As well as learning new words associated with music, encourage the students to
understand the meanings of the words used in lyrics which may be unfamiliar to them.
Jargon words are boxed on pages 43 and 78. Explain to the students that jargon is specialized vocabulary for a specific activity, sport, profession, etc. Although the teacher may assume the students understand
what the words refer to, often they do not. For example, students may not know that flapjacks are pancakes,
or that a bronco is a horse.
Thought questions are boxed on pages 48 and 79. On page 48 the thought question is, “What is the
Midnight Special?” Midnight Special is the title of the song on that page and actually refers to a train in
Texas. This train left Houston at midnight, going to San Francisco. The tracks of the train ran near the prison
at Sugarland, Texas. Legend had it that if the light from the passing locomotive shown through a prisoner’s
window, that prisoner would go free the next morning. Hence the words, “Let the Midnight Special shine it’s
light on me.” This is a traditional song, but was recorded by the group, Creedance Clearwater Revival. You
may want to have the students listen to that version.
The thought questions on page 79 are: “What is red-clay country?” and “Where are the Smoky Mountains?” Red-clay country actually refers to the area where the Smoky Mountains are located. The Great
Smoky Mountains get their name from the fact that they are usually covered with smoky mist or haze. They
are among the highest and most rugged in the Appalachians. These mountains create the boundary between
Tennessee and North Carolina.
By using thought questions such as these, it will be easy to incorporate cross-curriculum activities
into the guitar class.
Teaching Improvisation
Another unique feature of the Mastering the Guitar Class Method is the approach that is used to
teach the students to improvise. Many beginning methods do not even attempt to have the students
improvise. The approach to learning improvisation used in this class method will be easily understood
and provide a solid foundation for the students to understand a few basic concepts and actually be able
to create an improvised solo. Students will learn first to improvise a solo over the blues progression in the
key of E. The blues style has been chosen for their first experience in improvisation because it is simple, easy
to follow, fun, and popular.
The minor pentatonic scale is presented on page 113. The first minor pentatonic scale which is given
is the E minor pentatonic scale. This was chosen because it is in first position and contains some open strings.
Also, the students will know the chords for blues in the key of E, and this is the scale which can be used to
improvise solos to blues in that key. Have the students play the scale several times from low notes to high
notes and then reverse the direction. This scale should be memorized.
On page 114, no. 1 shows the basic twelve-bar blues progression in E. Have the students strum the
chords to that progression to get the feel and sound of the blues in E. The notes (tab) which are written in no.
2 on page 114 come from the E minor pentatonic scale. These notes will be used as a guide in helping the
students build a solo. Have the students play the notes which are written, and in the blank measures have the
students rest for four beats.
As the class plays the written notes and rests, the teacher should strum the written chords or play
power chords. The students could also solo to the E blues progression which is on the CD.
The next step is to have the students write (in tablature) in each blank measure the same notes that
were written in the previous measure. However, have the students change the rhythm. The order of the notes
should remain the same, but the rhythms will be different. After they have written one or two solos, have the
students play their written solos. The students could play, with the CD, the original written parts with the
addition of their written measures. Then, have them ad lib a solo using the same principle. Have the students
ad lib solo sections to the blues progression on the accompanying CD.
Next, no. 3 on page 115 has notes written every other measure. This time, in the blank measures, have
the students write notes using the same rhythm from the previous measure, but change the notes. The notes
which can be used should come from the E minor pentatonic scale. At this point, the order is not important.
However, large skips are not advised. Have the students play the solos they have written, Then have them ad
lib a solo using the same principle. This “fill in the blank” approach to building a solo provides guidelines for
the students. It is a type of call and response approach in written form. Here again, the students could play the
original written measures with the CD, plus their written measures.
Exercise no. 4 on page 115 allows the students to create a solo using any note from the E minor
pentatonic scale and any rhythm they wish. The guide is that they must begin each measure with a note
contained in the chord written above the measure. Although it is true that any note from the E minor pentatonic
scale will work with any chord for the blues in the key of E, some notes will sound better than others. The
charts on page 115 show where the chord tones for each chord are located. The chord tones match the chord
for the measure and are the most important notes to be used in the solo.
After having the students play the exercises on pages 114-115, have them create from scratch their
own improvised solo to the blues in E. They should use the notes contained in the E minor pentatonic scale,
but the order of the notes and the rhythms will be up to them. Encourage the students to “let their hair down”
and experiment in their soloing. They won’t learn to swim without getting in the water. Many beginning
improvisors are shy about getting started. Remind the students that most professionals did not sound great in
the beginning.
Bring recordings to class of several blues guitarists so the students can hear professionals improvising
blues solos.
Listening to music of various styles, artists, and instruments should be part of every class. One purpose of the guitar class should be to have the students develop an appreciation of all types of music.
Often, guitarists get a bit narrow in their listening habits. Listening to other guitarists is extremely important,
but it is also important to listen to a variety of instruments. Such listening can be an influence on music
interpretation and style.
Allow students to bring some of their favorite music from home for the class to hear. This may take
some previous screening by the teacher, but will allow the students to feel important and like they are contributing to the success of the class. As well as having the students listen to recordings, the teacher should
demonstrate and play not only the music contained in the method, but also other pieces in various styles he/
she is able to play. This not only helps the student set a goal to work towards, but it also establishes creditability for the teacher.
The Guitar Recital
A performance recital should be the goal of the guitar class. Nothing will get the students to practice
more than an upcoming gig (performance). A recital can take on many formats. In this section of the Teacher’s
Supplement, several tips will be given on making the guitar recital successful.
Generally, students will feel more comfortable at first performing in group situations. This is where
the guitar ensemble is valuable. The Mastering the Guitar Class Method contains many ensemble pieces
which will be suitable for a recital. You may also wish to use other pieces written for guitar ensemble.
As well as ensemble pieces, solos and duets could be included on the recital. The teacher could
accompany students playing solos, or the teacher could play the melody while the students play the accompaniment. Another possibility would be to have vocalists perform on the recital accompanied by one of the
students or accompanied by the guitar ensemble playing the chords. Other solo instruments such as clarinet,
flute, or violin could also be asked to perform with the guitars accompanying them. The important thing is for
all the class members to feel involved.
Do not have the students perform until they are ready. The recital should be a positive experience for
them. Some music students never want to perform because of a bad experience they had because they were
not prepared.
Schedule the recital well in advance trying to avoid busy evenings. By scheduling far enough in
advance and selecting music which the students will be able to learn, the goal of the recital can be reached.
Prior to the actual recital, you may wish to do a rehearsal/recital for another class in the school or friends of
the students. This is a good preparatory step for the actual recital. Constantly remind the students of the
upcoming recital and send fliers home to parents and friends well in advance of the event.
It is important that the students learn responsibility and concert etiquette as part of the recital experience. They should know to dress nicely, be prompt, and prepared. Have the students polish their guitars
before the performance and let them take pride in their instrument and accomplishment of performing.
If the audience is rather small, refreshments after the recital may be a nice touch.
Programs should be printed well in advance. Printed programs can take on many formats. Written on
the following page is a sample of a printed program which could be used.
Sample Program
Guitar Recital
Students of ________________
Date, Time
Composition Title............................................Composer
Title of Movement (if any)
Student’s Name
Selecting a Private Instructor
There is a strong possibility the teacher of the guitar class will be asked by students and/or parents
who would be a good private teacher, or where they can find a good private instructor. Written below are
some questions to consider when looking for a teacher.
1) Has the candidate/instructor had any formal training in teaching? While it is true that many great private
instructors have not had formal instruction in the art of teaching, many have. Universities and colleges
offer guitar pedagogy courses which train prospective private instructors how to teach. This training may
also include some form of “student teaching” in which the future teacher’s teaching is reviewed and
2) Did the teacher study privately at some time? If the teacher has at some time studied privately him/
herself, and had a positive experience with the teacher, there is a good chance the positive characteristics
of their teacher will be mirrored and passed on. You may want to ask who the teacher studied with.
3) Can the teacher play? It is not necessary for the teacher to be a phenomenal performer, especially if they
are teaching beginning or intermediate students. In fact, some of the finest players are poor teachers, and
some fantastic teachers are only adequate players. However, the teacher should be able to demonstrate to
some degree that which is expected of the student. The best combination is if the teacher can teach and
play. The old adage “those who can’t…teach” is not true. Those who can…can, and often are excellent
4) Does the teacher have a pleasant personality? It is important that the teacher be nice, understanding, fun,
patient, and set high standards. A good teacher should be understanding of the challenges faced by the
student, but a good teacher will also requires practice and dedication on the part of the student.
5) Does the teacher have a plan? Ask the teacher what book(s) he/she uses. While any text can be supplemented with other material, the teacher should use a good method book. They may recommend several
books for different styles.
6) Does the teacher have the students play in recitals regularly? This should be a must. Not only does it
show the teacher’s level of dedication, but it also shows the expectations of students performing, and
shows that the teacher understands the importance performance plays in the musical development of the
7) How much are the lessons? The price of private lessons will vary greatly from teacher to teacher and
from location to location. Check in the area and discover the average private lesson fee. If a particular
teacher charges a lot more, ask why. They may be charging more because of their teaching or playing
qualifications, or maybe it is ego. Be cautious of the latter.
8) Where are the lessons given? Does the teacher teach in a studio, in a store, at an office, at a school or an
apartment. If the teacher teaches at home, it should be done in an office, family room, or some space
which would be comfortable for the student and the parents of the student. If the teacher wants to
give lessons in his or her room at the frat or sorority house, look for a different teacher or
recommend the teacher teach in a suitable place.
9) How long have some of the students been studying with the teacher? If the teacher has been
teaching in the area for three years and the longest a student has studied with him/her is eight
weeks, something is probably wrong. A qualified instructor retains students.
10) Ask students who are studying with the teacher if they are satisfied and like the teacher. Don’t
be afraid to get references from the teacher and ask around the area (music stores, schools,
other music teachers) to check on the reputation of the teacher. After all, this is quite an
investment...both financially and otherwise. This teacher will be having a huge effect on the
life of the student.
Stringing the Guitar
There are several indications that a guitar is in need of restringing. An obvious sign is the strings are
beginning to break. Occasionally even new strings will break, but it is a rare occurrence. Chances are if one
string has broken, the entire set needs to be replaced. If the strings are fairly new, a single new string can be
purchased by telling a dealer what string number needs replacing and what type of guitar is being strung. As
a general rule, it is good to replace the entire set if the strings are old. Otherwise, it is like putting one new tire
on a car and leaving three bald ones. If a string is constantly breaking in the same place, even if the string is
fairly new, there may be a problem in the instrument. For example, the bridge saddle or the tuning post may
have a sharp edge. Problems such as these can be easily cured by a repairman.
When the strings are corroded or have lost their brilliance, the strings should be changed. Strings
loose their bright tone quality just by being in the open air. The “dulling” process is quickened when the
instrument is played frequently, especially by a guitarist with sweaty hands. Strings will last longer if they are
wiped on top and underneath after playing.
Another indication the strings should be replaced is when the string is difficult to keep in tune. If
chords in first position (the first four frets) sound in tune, and chords up the neck sound out of tune, it may be
the fault of bad strings. One method of checking the intonation (tuning) of a string is to push the string in the
twelfth fret and then play the same string open. The pitch in the twelfth fret should sound one octave higher
than the same string open. If the twelfth fret is sharp or flat to the open string, it could be a problem with the
placement of the bridge saddle, but it is most likely a bad string. Harmonics can also be used to check the
quality of a string. A harmonic is played by lightly (very lightly) touching a string with a left-hand finger
directly above the twelfth fret. Then, pick that string with a right-hand finger or thumb. The resulting “chimelike” sound is a harmonic. Harmonics occur on all six strings at the twelfth fret. The harmonic in the twelfth
fret should have the same pitch as when the string is pressed down in the twelfth fret. If the pitch, when the
string is pressed down in the twelfth fret, is sharp or flat to the harmonic, the string may be bad. With nylon
strings, a problem in the intonation of the string could be remedied by taking the string off, reversing the
string and putting it back on. For nylon strings, this reversal can cure intonation problems with new strings.
It is important that the correct type of string be used on the guitar. Nylon strings are used on classical
guitars and steel strings are used on folk guitars. Never put steel strings on a nylon string guitar. Silk and steel
is a type of string which can also be used on the steel string guitar. The advantage to the silk and steel strings
is that they are easier on the fingers. They will be easier to push than the regular steel strings. However, the
silk and steel strings do not sound as loud as the regular steel strings.
Regardless of the brand of nylon string selected, most students should use regular tension strings. Do
not use high, hard, light, or extra light tension strings. Also, select a set of nylon strings in which the treble
strings (one, two, and three) are clear, rather than died yellow, black, or some other color. The bass strings
should be silver-colored.
The set of steel strings should be light or medium gauge. Extra light strings will be difficult to keep in
tune, and heavy gauge strings will be hard to play and could damage the instrument. Use steel strings which
contain brass or bronze in the alloy. These strings will have a nice brilliance to them. Steel strings which
contain nickel are made for electric guitars and will not sound as good on an acoustic guitar as the bronze or
brass strings.
When changing a set of strings on the guitar, change the set one string at a time. That is, take off one
string and replace it. Then, take off another and replace it, rather than taking off all of the old strings at one
time and then putting on all of the new strings. Changing the strings in this manner will keep the tension on
the neck of the guitar. Having all the strings off the guitar releases all the tension on the neck. If this is done
frequently enough, the straightness of the neck could be effected.
When changing the strings on the steel string guitar, first, loosen the string. After the string is extremely loose, pull out the bridge pin as shown in photo No. 1. The bridge pin is the piece of tapered plastic
which holds the string in the hole. Remove the old string from the bridge pin hole. Unwrap the string from the
post on the head of the guitar and remove the old string. Next, insert the metal washer on the end of the new
string into the bridge pin hole. Replace the bridge pin with the groove in the bridge pin facing the sound hole.
After inserting the bridge pin, pull up on the string so the metal washer touches the bottom of the bridge pin.
Insert the other end of the new string into the post on the head of the guitar.
photo No. 1
Before bending the string at the post and tightening the string, make sure there is about 4"-5" clearance between the middle of the string length and the guitar as shown in photo No. 2. This will allow two to
three wraps around the post when the string is tightened.
photo No. 2
After inserting the string through the post and allowing some slack, bend the string on both sides of the
post as shown on strings 3 and 5 in photo No. 3.
photo No. 3
Photo No. 4 shows another method of fastening the string at the post. This method insures the string will not
slip. After the string is brought through the hole in the post, it is brought around the post and looped over the string at the
point where it entered the hole. Turn the gear to tighten the string. A string winder, which slips over the button (shown
in photo No. 4), can be used to make wrapping the string go faster. The posts for strings 1-3 should rotate clockwise,
and the posts for strings 4-6 should rotate counterclockwise. The string should wrap two or three times around the post
and should wrap from the hole in the post towards the bottom of the post.
(fifth string)
photo No. 4
(third string)
After the string has been tightened and tuned, pull the string straight up and cut off the excess string as
shown in photo No. 5.
photo No. 5
The Nylon strings are a bit trickier to replace because rather than using bridge pins, the strings have to
be tied at the bridge. Remove the old nylon string by loosening it and undoing the wrap at the bridge. Then,
unwrap the string from the roller bar on the head of the guitar. The roller bar is the round pole in the head of
the guitar to which the string is attached. The roller bar is connected to the gear. In a set of new nylon strings,
the treble strings may have a dye in one end, and the bass strings may have one end which is wrapped loosely.
These ends attach to the head of the guitar, not the bridge. Attach one end of the nylon string to the bridge by
tying the string in the manner shown in photos No. 6 and No. 7. Photos No. 6 and No. 7 show the step-by-step
process for tying the strings on the bridge.
In photos No. 6 and No.7, the first step for tying the string is shown on the first string. The string goes
through the hole, over the top of the wood, and then passes under the string where it entered the hole. The
second string in both photos shows where and how the string is wrapped. The third string shows how the
string is pulled tight. The fourth string in photos No. 6 and No. 7 shows the first step in wrapping strings 46. The string goes through the hole, over the top of the wood, and then passes under the string where it
entered the hole. The fifth and sixth strings show how the bass strings are pulled tight and secured. Notice
strings 1-3 use more wraps than strings 4-6. The bass strings do not need to be wrapped as much because the
coarseness of the string prevents them from slipping. After the string is tied, pull it to cinch up the tie.
photo No. 6
photo No. 7
After the string is attached to the bridge, it has to be tied on the roller bar. Before connecting the string
to the roller bar, allow 5"-6" clearance between the middle of the string length and the guitar. This slack in the
string will allow 4-5 wraps around the roller bar when the string is tightened. Photo No. 8 shows how the
string is attached. The fourth string in photo No. 8 shows how the string is attached to the roller bar. After
passing through the hole in the roller bar, the string is brought around and tied with a half-knot. The string is
then tightened by turning the gear so the strings wrap over the top of the roller bar.
photo No. 8
(third string)
(fourth string)
When wrapping the strings, strings 3 and 4 should be wrapped from the hole in the roller bar, towards
the middle of the head. Strings 1 and 6 should wrap from the hole in the roller bar, towards the outside of the
head of the guitar. Strings 2 and 5 should wrap so they stay towards the middle of the roller bar. Photo No. 9
shows this method of wrapping the strings. By wrapping the strings in this manner, they will run straight
from the roller bar to the nut on the guitar, rather than approaching the nut on an angle.
After replacing all the nylon strings, the excess string may be cut off or wrapped in a tight loop and
stored by the roller bar as seen in photo No. 9. Photo No. 9 shows how the excess string on strings 1, 3, 5, and
6 can be cut. Strings 4 and 2 show the excess string saved and coiled. By storing the excess string, the string
can be slipped back and retied if the string should break at the bridge.
photo No. 9
(third string)
(fourth string)
When either nylon or steel strings are first put on the guitar and tightened, they will stretch.
The nylon strings stretch considerably more than the steel strings. This makes it difficult to keep
the instrument in tune. Eventually, the stretch will go out of the strings and they will hold their
pitch. To help speed up the stretching process, after each new string is on and tuned, hold the string
in the middle and bend it from side to side as shown in photo No. 10. Pushing the new string on
any fret in the middle of the neck and then bending the string with the left-hand fingers will also
help take the stretch out of the strings. Be careful not to pull too hard and do not pull the strings
outward (away from the body of the guitar). Pulling the strings outward places too much tension
on the neck of the guitar. After bending the string, retune, play, and repeat the process. Be patient.
photo No. 10
In deciding upon the contents for the Mastering the Guitar Class Method, attention was given to
the Music Contents Standards for Grades K-12 from the National Standard for Arts Education,
which was developed by the Music Educator’s National Conference. Listed below are the nine
Music Contents Standards, with a description of each standard and how it is addressed in the
Mastering the Guitar Class Method.
#1 Music Content Standard: Singing alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
The Mastering the Guitar Class Method presents a wide variety of multi-cultural music, both in
solo form and in songs. The songs provide a means by which students can apply guitar accompaniment styles using strumming and fingerstyle techniques. The students should be encouraged to
sing along with the guitar accompaniments during both individual and group practice.
#2 Music Content Standard: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied
repertoire. The students will learn how to play solo guitar music and music for guitar ensembles
in a variety of musical styles. As part of the “Lesson Plans” in the Teacher’s Supplement, performance days are a regularly scheduled part of the curriculum.
#3 Music Content Standard: Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniment.The
Mastering the Guitar Class Method contains a section in which the students learn to improvise a
Blues solo over the 12-bar Blues progression. Students also learn a variety of accompaniment
styles which will allow them to play songs in 3/4, 4/4, and 6/8 meters. Improvisation is presented
in the Mastering the Guitar Class Method in such a way that the students learn to improvise within
given guidelines. Using a unique method of imitation, the students will learn how to improvise
using the minor pentatonic scale. Students are also encouraged to write their own original chord
progressions using the basic chords in a given key.
#4 Music Content Standard: Composing and arranging music within specific guidelines.
Within the 12-bar frame, students will learn how to write their own Blues lyrics, and will also
learn how to write an original Blues solo.
#5 Music Content Standard: Reading and notating music. The Mastering the Guitar Class
Method presents the reading of standard notation as well as tablature. Students will learn how to
play melodies using notes in 1st position, and learn how to read fundamental rhythms.
#6 Music Content Standard: Listening to, analyzing, and describing music. Throughout the
Mastering the Guitar Class Method students are given descriptions of the various styles of music.
In the Teacher’s Supplement, as part of the lesson plans, the students are required periodically to
listen to and analyze music. Suggestions for student listening are also given in the Teacher’s
Supplement, as well as in the Mastering the Guitar Class Method. As an addendum to the “Lesson
Plans’ contained in the Teacher’s Supplement, there is a suggested list of recording artists whose
music would make excellent choices for listening and analyzation.
#7 Music Content Standard: Evaluating music and music performances. The Teacher’s Supplement gives guidelines for the critique of student performances and a basic format for recitals.
Students will also evaluate music by describing style, texture, structure, etc.
#8 Music Content Standard: Understanding relationships between music, other arts, and
disciplines outside the arts. The Mastering the Guitar Class Method is rich in the abundance of
cross-curricular activities and cross-curricular material. Students will be able to see the relationship between music and other disciplines such as geography, writing, math, art, etc. The Teacher’s
Supplement also contains suggestions on how to implement cross-curricular material.
#9 Music Content Standard: Understanding music in relation to history and culture. Throughout the Mastering the Guitar Class Method there are descriptions of how the music is related to
history and culture. For example, with the piece “Sakura, Sakura” there is a description of the
meaning of the title and how the piece relates to the Japanese culture.
This portion of the Teacher’s Supplement contains 96 lesson plans, which can be used by the teacher. The
lessons can be modified, depending on the rate of progress of the individual class. While the lesson plans
contained in this supplement work well as outlined, the teacher is encouraged to modify them, and/or formulate his/her own creative lesson plans using materials from various sections. The following chart shows 21
different content categories from which lesson plans might be constructed. Because the attention span of the
students usually will not allow for a lengthy discussion in just one area, it is important when creating personalized lesson plans that the teacher use short segments of four or five categories during each class period,
rather than spending a long period of time focusing on one category. Class periods should be divided into
enough segments that the students, regardless of their playing level, will not get bored, and yet will not feel
Holding Position
Note Reading
Chords (Fingerings)
Accompaniment Styles
Alternating Bass)
Power Chords
(Including sectionals)
Stringing the Guitar
Notation and Terms
Invited Guests
Care of the Instrument
Discussions on players,
builders, and composers
The Blues
Cross-curricular Activities
(Math - History - Writing - Geography - Art)
Performance Preparation
For some class periods, or a portion of a single period, the students could put their guitars away and the teacher could
present information on topics such as buying a guitar, caring for a guitar, stringing a guitar, etc. If listening is part of the
class format for the day, students could play along with the CD that accompanies the Mastering the Guitar Class Method,
or they could put their guitars away and discuss the artists, composers, and/or music styles they have been listening to.
Recital preparation could also be a part of several lesson plans. As well as rehearsing music for the concert, logistics
of the concert could be discussed including: concert etiquette, how to enter and exit the stage, and what to wear.
The Mastering the Guitar Class Method contains material organized in such a way that students can move sequentially through the book. However, it may be advantageous for the class if the teacher skips from one section to another.
For example, the students could learn chording techniques (i.e., learning a strum pattern for 3/4 time), then move to note
reading, then do an ensemble piece, and conclude with one of the cross-curricular activities. There are many workable
combinations. The lesson plans contained in the Teacher’s Supplement already involve some moving from section to
section in the Mastering the Guitar Class Method book. This has been done primarily to maintain the interest of the
The first day of class is one of the more interesting and important days of the entire course. It is a time for
the teacher to get to know the students, and a time when students will get their first impression of the teacher. It
is also a good time for the teacher to establish some basic ground rules and to establish credibility with the
students. During this first class period, the teacher should also take time to explain what the goals and objectives
of the course are, tell students about the book they will be using (Mastering the Guitar Class Method), and
establish rules of safety such as where guitar cases will be kept during class.
On the first day the teacher should also determine the playing ability and individual music background of
each student. This can be done with a written questionnaire or through a short audition.
The Teacher’s Supplement contains a seating chart, which can be used or modified to seat the students.
Almost any seating will work for the first day of class; however, after the first day, when the teacher has had a
chance to evaluate the student music surveys and individual playing ability, he/she may want to assign seats
according to playing level. This type of seating assignment is especially important for later ensemble work.
Students with the most advanced guitar skills should sit together in a section for Guitar I, and so on down to the
Guitar IV part. It is also a good idea for the students to write their names on a piece of paper in large, bold letters,
and attach it to the music stand with a paper clip so their name faces the teacher. These name papers will allow
the teacher to see and learn the names of the students for the first several days of class. Each student should have
a music stand, or two students could share one music stand. The teacher can then move about the classroom
easily, and see the students’ hands better. The teacher should also use a guitar strap and sit on a stool in front of
the class. The use of the strap will allow him/her to move around the class and help students individually, as well
as move around at the front of the classroom as needed.
During this first day of class, students should place their guitars on their laps, and not attempt to put the
guitar in a holding or playing position until the teacher has had a chance to discuss the correct positions. Make
sure the students know they should not play their guitars until they are told to do so and are told what to play.
When lectures are being given, students should put their guitars away or set them on their laps with the face of the
guitar (and strings) touching their legs.
The first class period is also a good time to discuss the different types of guitars, as there will, more than
likely, be a wide variety of guitars in the classroom. If the teacher has a variety of instruments, he/she could bring
different types of guitars and discuss the appearance of the guitars, as well as some of their similarities and
differences. For example, the teacher could explain the differences between the steel string acoustic and the
classic guitar.
After discussing the different types of guitars, discuss the parts of the guitar. A drawing of the various parts
of the guitar can be found on p. 4 of the Mastering the Guitar Class Method. Rather than just telling the students
about these parts, the teacher should point to the parts on the instrument and have the student identify these parts
by looking at the drawing.
Explain to the students that they are going to be playing both fingerstyle and with a pick. Tell the students
they will need a pick after the first few class periods, and show them the size they will need to purchase. Explain
that a medium to thick pick is preferred over a thin pick because a thin pick has the tendency to bend before it
actually has a chance to stroke the string. The teacher could also explain that another name for the pick is the
“plectrum”, and that there were actually early guitar methods written for plectrum guitar, which meant that a pick
was used when playing the music in that particular method book.
Near the end of the first class period the teacher should play a piece on the guitar for the students. This
establishes credibility with the students. This selection does not necessarily have to be difficult, but it should be
a representation of what the students will be learning during the course.
The second day of class is critical because the students will learn the proper holding position of the guitar,
as well as participate in actual playing.
During this second day of class, as the students enter the classroom, make sure they put their cases or bags
to the side or back of the classroom out of the way. Again, if necessary, put two students to one stand, and have
the students place their name papers on the back of the stand.
At the beginning of class the teacher should walk around the room and tune each student’s guitar using the
“Beacon Method” of tuning. (For an explanation of the “Beacon Method” of tuning see p. 5). If there are
approximately 20 students in the classroom, it should only take 5-7 minutes to tune the guitars. The teacher
should tune all the guitars for the first few class periods. Eventually, students can tune their own guitars using
the CD. If students have guitars with strings that are worn, there is chance that the strings may break when they
are tuned the first day. Therefore, it is a good idea for the teacher to have extra strings on hand to replace broken
ones. Students can either wait after class, or come in after school to have the new strings put on, rather than take
time during class. To assist the teacher in replacing strings, there is a section in the back of the Teacher’s
Supplement on “Stringing the Guitar”.
After tuning the guitars, the teacher can once again review the parts of the instrument and then discuss the
holding position. The Teacher’s Supplement contains information and an explanation of the “Holding Position” on pp. 5-6. A discussion of the sitting position and the holding position for the right and the left hands
could take 15-20 minutes. After making sure that each student is holding the guitar correctly and has the proper
right-hand holding position, instruct the students to play the 1st string open several times. Then move to the
2nd string open, 3rd string open, 4th string open, 5th string open, and 6th string open, using only the right-hand
thumb and a rest stroke. After playing the strings open one at a time, have the students place their thumb on the
4th string and strum four strings open, explaining the strumming technique. After the students have done this
exercise several times, focus on the left-hand position. Explain the “First Warm-Up” exercise on p. 9. (Initially,
the “First Warm-Up” should be played using the right-hand thumb. The use of the pick will be discussed later.)
After doing this exercise on the 1st string, have the students repeat it on the 2nd string and 3rd string. Explain to
the students that they should do this warm-up at the beginning of every individual practice sessions.
7 min
3 min
5 min
10 min
5 min
15 min
5 min
Review “Parts of the Guitar”, p. 4
“Holding Position”, p. 5
“First Warm-Up” review, p. 9
“Reading the Music Diagrams” and “Left-Hand Fingers”, p. 8
“Solos by Number”, p. 10 (Use left-hand thumb only)
“Boil That Cabbage”, p. 10
“Lightly Row”, p. 10
Discuss “Care of the Guitar”, p. 4
5 min
5 min
10 min
5 min
5 min
5 min
5 min
10 min
“Mozart’s Melody”, p. 10
Include discussion on biographical sketch of Mozart, p. 10
Simple chords
“G Chord - EZ Form”, p. 11
“Brother John”, p. 11
“C Chord - EZ Form”, p. 12
“Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, p. 12
“Combining Chords”, p. 12
15 min
5 min
10 min
5 min
10 min
5 min
Discuss tuning
Have students tune their own guitars to CD recording
Discuss how to hold and use the pick, p. 6. From this point on students may use either
the right-hand thumb or a pick.
“Rock-A-My Soul”, p. 12
“G7 - EZ Form”, p. 13
5 min
5 min
15 min
10 min
5 min
10 min
“Playing Chords to Measured Music”, p. 13
“Marianne”, p. 13
“Learning to Read Tablature”, p. 15
“Tab Study 1st String” and “Tab Study 2nd String”, p. 16
“Minor Mood”, p. 16
5 min
5 min
5 min
10 min
10 min
15 min
Review previous material
“Tabbing Along”, p. 16
“Spanish Solo”, p. 16
Quiz, p. 14
5 min
10 min
5 min
10 min
15 min
5 min
Return corrected quiz
Review previous material
“Song of Joy”, p. 17
Discussion on Beethoven, p. 17
Listening: various selections of Beethoven’s music
5 min
5 min
10 min
15 min
15 min
Review previous material
“Adding the Third String”, p. 17
“Au Clair de la Lune”, p. 17
“Tab Quiz”, p. 17
5 min
15 min
15 min
15 min
“Guitar Ensembles in Tablature”, p. 18
“Guitaround”, p. 18
Assign guitar parts for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd parts in preparation to playing ensemble music
“Where the Red Fern Grows”, p. 18
Include discussion on the book, “Where the Red Fern Grows”
Discuss rehearsal cues on p. 18 by *
Sectional practice time
5 min
10 min
20 min
15 min
Review previous material
Rehearse ensemble
“Where The Red Fern Grows”, p. 18
5 min
10 min
20 min
15 min
Review previous material
Discussion on “Reading Standard Notation”, staff, clef, “Notes”, types of notes, “Rests”, the
time signature, etc., p. 19-21
Review and quiz students on “Reading Standard Notation”
5 min
15 min
15 min
10 min
5 min
Review previous material
Include “Where the Red Fern Grows”
“Our First Note - E” and exercises 1-5, p. 22
Review previous material
“3/4 Time”, “E in 3/4 Time”, and “# 2 and #3” , p. 23
5 min
10 min
15 min
15 min
5 min
Review previous material
“Eighth Note Review/Alternate Picking”, p. 23
“Hiking up the Mountain”, p. 23
“Don’t Step on Alligators!”, p. 24
“Cruising Down the Super Highway”, p. 24
“Start Picking Down and Up”, p. 24
5 min
5 min
10 min
20 min
10 min
Review previous material
“A New Note - F” and exercises, p. 24
“Combining Notes”, p. 24
“New Note - G” and exercises, p. 25
“Double Notes” and “Combining Notes”, p.26
Ensemble practice
“Guitaround”, p. 18
“Where the Red Fern Grows”, p. 18
5 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
5 min
10 min
Review previous material
“Review” and “Etude”, p. 26
1st string studies, p. 26
Review of G and C chords
“Music and Math Quiz”, p. 28
5 min
10 min
20 min
5 min
10 min
Review previous material
“1st String Studies”, p. 27
Listening: guitar CDs
5 min
5 min
15 min
15 min
10 min
Review previous materials
Notes - B and C and exercises, p. 29
D note and exercises, p. 30
5 min
5 min
5 min
5 min
15 min
15 min
Review previous material
“Using All the Notes”, p. 30
“C - B - C”, p. 30
“Three Fishermen”, p. 31
“Secret Garden”, p. 31
Review or listening
5 min
10 min
5 min
5 min
5 min
10 min
10 min
Review previous materials
“Rock Feeling”, p.31
“Drivin’ Pick”, p. 31
“Speed Study”, p. 31
“E Minor” and exercises, p. 38
Review and listening
Discussion on various styles of guitar music
5 min
5 min
15 min
10 min
10 min
5 min
Review previous materials
“The Tie” and “Dotted Half Note”, p. 32
“Sing Down the Moon”, p. 32
Discuss book or have student report on “Sing Down the Moon”
Review previous chord exercises and chords
“Musical Math Quiz”, p. 33
5 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
5 min
Review previous material
“D Chord” and exercises, p. 38
“The Cuckoo”, p. 39
“Sweet Sunny South”, p. 39
Review chords and exercises
5 min
5 min
10 min
15 min
15 min
Review previous material
Notes on 3rd string and exercises, p.33
“A Separate Peace”, p. 33
5 min
10 min
20 min
10 min
5 min
Review previous material
Divide students into parts for ensemble rehearsal
“A Wrinkle In Time”, p. 34
Chord review
5 min
5 min
20 min
10 min
10 min
Review previous material
“Review of First 3 Strings”, p. 35
“Running The Strings”, p. 35
“The Hobbit”, p. 35
“My Side of the Mountain”, p. 35
Listening: guitar music
50 min
PERFORMANCE TIME: Let students perform chord exercises or solos they have learned.
This is not a formal recital, just students performing for their peers.
5 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
5 min
10 min
Review previous material
“Swamp Buggy”, p. 35
“Solos on First 3 Strings”
“Renaissance Dance”, p.36
Discussion about Renaissance music
Listening: play recordings for students of Renaissance music
5 min
10 min
10 min
5 min
10 min
10 min
Review of previous material
“Full G, G7, and C Chords”, p. 40
“Will the Circle Be Unbroken?”, p. 40
Review chord material
Review note material
5 min
5 min
15 min
20 min
5 min
Review previous material
“Chanson”, p. 36
“Sourwood Mountain”, p. 36
“Oh Sinner Man”, p. 36
Discussion of other French music, French words, culture, make crepes, or have a parent
volunteer prepare crepes for the class. Perhaps the Home Economics teacher would be willing
to help.
“Shadow of the Bull”, p. 37
ENSEMBLE REVIEW DAY: Review all ensembles students have played to this point.
5 min
10 min
20 min
5 min
10 min
Review previous material
“Strum Patterns” and exercises 1-3, p. 41
Discussion of “Swing Rhythm”, p. 42
“This Train”, p. 42
5 min
10 min
10 min
20 min
5 min
Review previous material
Review of “Strum Patterns”, p. 41
“This Little Light of Mine”, p. 42
“Songs in 3/4 Time”, p. 43
“Amazing Grace”, p. 43
“Railroad Corral”, p. 43
Information on jargon, p. 43
5 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
15 min
Review previous material
“New Strum Pattern”, p. 44
“Simple Gifts”, p. 44
Discuss “Simple Gifts” and Shaker music
Discuss alternate endings, bottom of p. 44
Review guitar ensembles
5 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
5 min
10 min
Review previous material
“Two More Strum Patterns in 4/4 Time” and exercise #1
“The Cruel War”, p. 45
Discuss “The Red Badge of Courage”
Discuss Civil War and music of that time period
Listening: play recording of guitar music and have students write about what they hear in the
music (i.e., style of music, type of guitar heard, etc.)
5 min
10 min
10 min
25 min
Review previous material
New strum pattern for 4/4 time, top of p. 46
“It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More”, p. 46
Performance time
Have students perform for one another
5 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
15 min
Review previous material
“New Strum Patterns for 3/4 Time”, p. 47
“Las Mananitas/Morning Greetings”, p. 47
Discuss different aspects of strings, types of strings, brands of strings, how often strings should
be changed, etc., and some basic info about stringing a guitar. DO NOT show students how
to string the guitar at this time.
5 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
15 min
Review previous material
Listening: play examples of Blues music and explain that the students will be learning this
style at a later time.
Chord review
Have students write and perform an original chord progression using chords they know.
5 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
15 min
Review previous material
Blues and basic discussion of this style
“Midnight Special”, p. 48
Review ensemble music
5 min
10 min
5 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
Review previous material
“Tab on Four Strings”, p. 49
“Scarborough Fair”, p. 49
“House of the Rising Sun”, p. 49
“Malaga”, p. 49
5 min
10 min
20 min
15 min
Review previous material
“Old Man and the Sea”, p. 50
Review previous material
PERFORMANCE DAY: Have students perform ensembles for each other, or invite another class in to listen.
Review ensembles and assign some students to play solos.
5 min
5 min
15 min
5 min
10 min
10 min
Review previous material
“Notes on the 4th String” - D, E, and F, p. 52
“Morning Song”, p. 53
Discuss “Repeat Sign”, p. 53
“Cripple Creek”, p. 53
Listening: allow students to listen to guitar music
5 min
10 min
20 min
15 min
“Come With Me My Giselle”, p. 53
SPANISH GUITAR MUSIC: Bring Spanish guitar music for students to listen to, and discuss
the guitar in Spain. Discuss various techniques and history of guitar music in Spain, p. 54.
“Spanish Nights”, p. 54
5 min
10 min
15 min
10 min
10 min
“Four String Blues”, p. 54
“Number the Stars”, p. 54
Chord review
Note review
5 min
10 min
10 min
25 min
Review previous material
“A Story of Broken English”, p. 55
Review and ensemble rehearsal (sectionals)
5 min
5 min
15 min
20 min
5 min
Review previous material
“Rounds on 4 Strings”, p. 56
“Member of the Wedding”, p. 56
“And Then There Were None”, p. 56
“Watership Down”, p. 56
Ensemble “Charlotte’s Web”, p. 57
Discussion on ensemble music and review
5 min
10 min
5 min
10 min
15 min
5 min
Review previous material
New chords - “A minor and D7”, p. 60
“Molly Malone”, p. 60
Review ensemble music
Listening: Irish music
5 min
10 min
15 min
10 min
10 min
Review previous material
“A7 and E7 Chords” and exercises, p. 61
“My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”, p. 62
“Harvest Round”, p. 62
REVIEW DAY: Review material students have played to this point. Review and rehearse ensembles. Listen
to guitar music and/or have students perform.
5 min
10 min
15 min
5 min
5 min
10 min
Review previous material
“B7 and Bm Chords” and exercises, p. 63
“Land of the Silver Birch”, p. 64
“Barbara Allen”, p. 64
Quiz on chords and strum patterns
5 min
5 min
15 min
5 min
5 min
5 min
10 min
Review previous material
Ensemble rehearsals
“Cinq”, p. 65
“Cinco”, p. 65
“Summer of the Monkeys”, p. 65
Chord review
15 min
35 min
“Classic Rock Boogie”, p. 65
REVIEW AND PERFORMANCE TIME: General review. Allow students to perform for one
another. Teacher could also perform solo for students. Possibly invite a guest artist to play for
the students.
5 min
5 min
15 min
10 min
15 min
Review previous material
“Notes on the 5th String” - A, B, and C, p. 66
Discuss ledger lines
“Maniac Magee”, p. 66
“A String Study #1”, p. 66
Discussion on what to look for when purchasing a guitar
5 min
10 min
15 min
10 min
10 min
“Duet”, p. 67
“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”, p. 67
Discussion on Bach and listen to examples of his music
REVIEW DAY: Review all material learned up to this point.
PERFORMANCE DAY: Students perform on school assembly, for individual classes, or for parents at evening
10 min
40 min
Review previous material
VIDEO DAY: Mel Bay Publications has a wonderful collection of guitar videos in their catalog
which is appropriate for middle school students (especially the videos for “Guitar Legends Series”).
5 min
10 min
15 min
10 min
10 min
Explain 1st and 2nd endings, p. 68
“Hungarian Dance”, p. 68
“The Sally Gardens”, p. 68
“Rounds on 5 Strings”, p. 69
“Si Cantemo”, p. 69
5 min
10 min
10 min
25 min
“The Picking School”, p. 69
“Dotted Quarter Note”, explanation and “Study”, p. 70
“Across Five Aprils”, p. 70
“Call of the Ewes”, p.70
“Cumberland Ridge”, p. 70
5 min
10 min
5 min
15 min
15 min
Review previous material
“New Chords - A and E and Study”, p. 78
“I Ride An Old Paint”, p. 78
“Pay Me My Money Down”, p. 79
“My Home Across the Smoky Mountains”, p. 79
Ensemble rehearsals
PERFORMANCE DAY: Let students perform solos or duets for each other.
LISTENING DAY: Listen to the CD that accompanies the book.
5 min
10 min
25 min
10 min
Review previous material
“Drivin’ D”, p. 71
“16 G’s”, p. 71
“Down Shift”, p. 71
Listening: listen to CD that accompanies the songs listed above
5 min
10 min
15 min
10 min
10 min
Review previous material
“Notes on the 6th String - E, F, and G” and exercises, p. 72
“Low E Waltz”, p. 72
“Blow Away the Morning Dew”, p. 73
Review and listen to CD
Have ensemble sectionals.
Allow 10 minutes for performances.
Allow 20 minute for viewing a guitar performance video.
5 min
15 min
10 min
20 min
Review previous material
Listening: listen to CD
“Introducing the A Note” and exercise, p. 73
“Blow Ye Winds”, p. 73
“Early American Hymn”, p. 73
5 min
35 min
10 min
Ensemble rehearsal (sectionals and then full group)
“Star of the County Down”, p. 74
Listening: CD
5 min
15 min
10 min
20 min
Basic review of all notes and songs
“The C Scale” and velocity studies, p. 77
“A Review of the Basic Notes” quiz, p. 76
5 min
5 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
“Playing Two Chords Per Measure”, p. 80
“Peace Like A River”, p. 80
“Scotland’s Burning”, p. 80
Review of chords
Listening: CD
5 min
10 min
15 min
20 min
Review previous material
“America the Beautiful”, p. 81
“America”, p. 81
PERFORMANCE DAY: Students perform for one another or for other classes. Ensembles could also perform.
VIDEO AND LISTENING DAY: Watch guitar performance video and listen to recordings.
5 min
15 min
15 min
15 min
“Sharps” and exercises, p. 82
“Walking the Guitar”, p. 83
“Quiz”, p. 83
Encourage students to draw something creative using sharp signs
5 min
20 min
Review previously learned ensembles
20 min
“Morpheus”, p. 84.
Discussion of William Billings, p. 84
5 min
Review chords
EXAM: Create an exam which is comprehensive of all material previously presented in book, or an exam that
deals with just notes, chords, or a combination of both.
WRITING: Students should also be given the assignment to write a short paper on a topic related to the guitar
(i.e., a guitar player, composer, a guitar builder, etc.). Recommend some magazines, such as “Acoustic
Guitar Magazine”, or a website, such as the Mel Bay Website (www.melbay.com), where students can go
for information. Perhaps time could be allocated for the students to go to the library and/or computer lab
to do research. This assignment would be due in approximately three days.
5 min
15 min
15 min
15 min
“Power Chords”, p. 102
Power chord variation, p. 103-104
“Smithfield Boogie”, p. 105
5 min
10 min
15 min
10 min
10 min
Review previous material
“Greensleeves”, p. 86
“French Carol”, p. 86
Listening: CD
10 min
10 min
10 min
20 min
“Anitra’s Dance Theme”, p. 86
Review of previous ensembles
“Greensleeves” (ensemble), p. 86
5 min
10 min
20 min
15 min
Review previous material
“The Blues Progression” and exercise, p. 97
Listening: CD and Blues music
5 min
15 min
15 min
5 min
10 min
Review previous material
The Blues chord progressions, p. 98
Listening: CD
Listening: listen to other Blues recordings
5 min
10 min
35 min
“Baby Don’t Love Me”, p. 99
Discuss “Writing Blues Lyrics”, p. 99-100
Have students write their own Blues lyrics and fill in example, p. 101
5 min
15 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
“Blues Quiz”, p. 107
“Key Signatures” and study, p. 90
“Slane”, p. 90
“Far, Far From Home”, p. 90
5 min
15 min
15 min
15 min
Blues review
“Good Mornin’ Blues”, p. 106
Review ensemble music
5 min
10 min
15 min
15 min
5 min
Review previous material
Listening: listen to the following songs on the CD, then play them
“O Come, O Come Emmanuel”, p. 91
“Call of the Wild”, p. 91
5 min
10 min
10 min
25 min
“Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier”, p. 91
Discuss what a “cay” is. Possibly discuss the book, “The Cay.” Talk about islands or other
cross-curricular material.
Rehearse “The Cay”, p. 92. (Listen to CD recording of “The Cay”)
Discuss and listen to other Reggae recordings
5 min
20 min
15 min
10 min
Review “The Cay”, p. 92
“The Russian Folk Song”, p. 96.
Discuss Russian culture
Review previous material
5 min
15 min
10 min
15 min
5 min
Discuss Israeli song “Shabat Shalom”, p. 96
Discuss Israeli and Mid-Eastern music and cultures
“Flats and Natural Signs”, p. 107
“Accidentals” exercises, p. 107
“Benny’s Flat”, p. 108
PERFORMANCE DAY: Solo or ensemble performance time.
5 min
10 min
10 min
20 min
5 min
Review previous material
“Minor Pentatonic Improvisation”, p. 113
Improvisation exercises, p. 114-115
Listening: CD
5 min
15 min
10 min
20 min
Improvisation review, p. 114-115
Listening: Blues improvisation recordings
Divide students into groups and let part of one group play Blues accompaniment while the
other group improvises, and vice versa.
5 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
10 min
5 min
Review previous material
“Key Signature - One Flat”, p. 109
“Sakura, Sakura”, p. 109
Discuss Japanese culture and traditions in Japan
Listening: CD
5 min
10 min
15 min
20 min
Review previous material
“Terk in America”, p. 109
Discuss Klezmer music, Jewish culture, and Jewish Folk Music style
Listening: recordings of music from other cultures
5 min
10 min
15 min
5 min
15 min
Review previous material
Rehearse “Bridge To Terabithia”, p. 110
Discuss book, “Bridge To Terabithia”
Listening: Listen to recording of “Bridge To Terabithia”
Quiz: give quiz on latter part of material such as, the Blues, flats, accidentals, key signatures,
cultural information and traditions, etc.
5 min
15 min
10 min
10 min
5 min
5 min
Review “Bridge To Terabithia”, p. 110
Discuss “Syncopation”, p. 112
“Syncopated Strum Patterns” and exercises, p. 112
“Oh, Sinner Man”, p. 113
“True of False Questions”, p. 113
5 min
10 min
15 min
15 min
5 min
Review previous material
“Alternating Bass”, exercises 1 and 2, p. 122
“The F Chord”, p. 120
“Building the F Chord”, p. 120
5 min
10 min
15 min
5 min
5 min
5 min
5 min
“New Chords” - F and C7, study #1 and study #2, p. 120
“La Cucaracha”, p. 121
Alternating bass - “Exercises 3 and 4”, p. 122
“Freight Train”, p. 123
“Railroad Bill”, p. 123
“Nine Pound Hammer”, p. 124
5 min
10 min
15 min
10 min
10 min
Review previous material
“New Chords - Bf & Dm”, p. 120
“Comin’ Through The Rye”, p. 121
“Alternating Bass For 3/4 Time”, p. 125
“Silent Night”, p. 125
The number of lesson plans contained in this supplement may exceed the number of class days allowed.
If this is the case, feel free to omit some of the lesson plans, or combine lessons. As was mentioned earlier in
this book, these plans are not in stone. They may be modified and tailored to fit the needs of the class.
The Mastering the Guitar Class Method contains several guitar ensemble pieces which were not included in the lesson plans. Depending upon the rate of progress of the class, these ensembles could be
inserted in several places. It may also be possible to have extra-curricular or Guitar Club rehearsals after
school for the guitar ensemble, at which time these pieces could be learned. The extra ensembles are: “Acres
of Bluegrass”, p. 126, “Outsider’s Blues”, p. 128, and “Pachebel’s Canon”, p. 116.
On pp.131 and 132 there is a Notation Guide which contains information regarding notation signs such
as repeat signs and cue markings. There is also information regarding tempo and dynamic markings, as well
as definitions of various terms. These items could be inserted into lesson plans.
At the back of the book, students are provided with manuscript paper (tablature and standard notation).
Students should be encouraged to write their own music (single note melodies and/or chord progressions).
There is also a Chord Reference Chart at the back of the book where students can find additional chords to
add to their repertoire.
Emphasis should be placed on performance. There are several mini-recitals built into the lesson plans.
In addition to these performances, students should be encouraged to participate whenever a performance
opportunity arises. These might include family gatherings, church activities, and performances for other
classes in the school. The teacher may wish to investigate the possibilities of performances within the community, such as senior citizen centers. Performances benefit the students as well as the audience. There
should be at least one major evening recital each quarter in which the students perform in a more formal
setting. Parents and friends should be invited to this recital. There should be a printed program. The evening
recital could include soloists, duets, guitars accompanying other instruments, and guitar ensembles. Preparation for this recital could consume several class periods. The performance must be a positive experience for
the students, parents, and teacher, so take the necessary time to prepare well. The rewards will far surpass the
On this page are the names of many guitarists who have videos and/or recorded CDs which would make
excellent choices for the students to see and hear. The guitarists have been categorized by the style of music
they play. It is important that the students be exposed to a wide variety of music styles and players. As the
students listen to these artists, the teacher should encourage discussion and possibly have the students write
papers on such topics as the style of music they are hearing, the techniques being used (fingerstyle or pickstyle,
etc.), the type of guitar being played (acoustic, electric, etc.), and/or how the guitar is working with other
Manuel Barreco
Liona Boyd
Sharon Isbin
Christopher Parkening
Pepe Romero
Andres Segovia
John Williams
Chet Atkins
Danny Gaton
Steve Kaufman
Albert Lee
Brent Mason
Tony Rice
Doc Watson
George Benson
Kenny Burrell
Larry Carlton
Tal Farlow
Pat Metheny
Wes Montgomery
Joe Pass
Lee Ritenour
John Schofield
Johnny Smith
Mike Stern
Antonio Carlos Jobim
Gypsy Kings
Baden Powell
Bola Sete
Eric Clapton
Robben Ford
Buddy Guy
Robert Johnson
Stevie Ray Vaughn
Muddy Waters
Pierre Bensusan
Alex Degrassi
Tommy Emmanuel
Michael Hedges
Preston Reed
Martin Taylor
Guy Van Duser
Jeff Beck
Eric Clapton
Jimi Hendrix
Steve Morse
Jimmy Page
Carlos Santana
Joe Satriani
Steve Vai
Eddie Van Halen
Stanley Jordan
Earl Klugh
Lee Ritenour

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