10 Professional Suggestions for Guitar Music Educators

10 Professional Suggestions for Guitar Music Educators

by Glen McCarthy




1) Join professional music organizations, i.e. American String Teachers Association, National Association for Music Educators, Guitar Foundation of America, etc.

2) Consider taking a guitar workshop from Teaching Guitar Workshops. This 1-week class will provide you with a guitar and 50 pounds of teaching materials and excellent instruction on how to teach in a classroom setting.

3) Align with local classroom guitar teachers.

4) If given a chance, attend any teacher in-services or professional development classes offering assistance with teaching guitar in the classroom.

5) Seek out a mentor.

6) Attend guitar ensemble festivals with or without students. This is a great opportunity to hear ensemble music and see how other guitar programs are organized.

7) Spend time on the internet seeking secondary guitar class websites. Take the best from the best and create your own image of a guitar class.

8) Build a guitar program vs. teaching a guitar class. Your program may include: weekly playing assessments, participating in solo & ensemble, participating in guitar ensemble festivals, scheduled concerts with themes, internal awards and programs for student recognition (i.e. Double Century Club, Perpetual Awards, Annual CD, Award of Completion, etc.), annual travel, field trips, guest speakers, a website, a club with officers, a parent organization group, etc.

9) Spend time on YouTube watching secondary guitar class videos of performances. Once again, this is a great source for ensemble music ideas, performance ideas, structuring of an ensemble, etc. YouTube is a tremendous resource.

10) Become familiar with the many websites related to classroom guitar and take full advantage of the many resources available at no costs. There is no reason to feel alone or unsupported. They are many resources and websites with helpful information. Remember that “free music” is not always what is best for your program.


Attend a Teaching Guitar Workshop this summer!


About the author:

Glen McCarthy retired from Fairfax County after 30 years as the director of the guitar program at Robinson Secondary School. Under his direction, the Robinson Guitar Ensemble was consistently awarded superior ratings at adjudicated festivals. In 1981 Robinson was the first recipient of the Guitar & Accessories Manufacturers Association’s award to recognize innovative guitar programming in the United States. In the 2003-2004 school year, he was nominated for Fairfax County Teacher of the Year.


Did this blog spur new ideas for your music program? Share them on Amplify! Interested in reprinting this article? Please review the reprint guidelines.

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.

Kristen Rencher. March 30, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)