10 Quick Things to Make Your Guitar Class Most Successful

10 Quick Things to Make Your Guitar Class Most Successful

by Glen McCarthy




1. Keep your expectations low and your compliments high!

2. Do not push through materials too quickly! (The Audience Knows the Answer Theory) or (Why does it always sound good when they perform as a group, but no one seems to be able to play individual parts on their own?)

3. Create the Desire for Mastery as soon as possible and keep it alive!

4. Create a realistic timeline. Know EXACTLY how many days of contact you have for the quarter, the semester and the year. Know EXACTLY how much material you will need to keep students engaged every minute of every class period. Too much material is ALWAYS BETTER than not enough! Know how many pages of materials the class can cover in one week in order to complete the method book(s) and fulfill the state curriculum.

5. Keep students engaged! The more they are playing, the better things will be!

6. No free time!

7. Classroom management – Caring for the instruments.

8. Classroom management – Do not tolerate talking or playing while you are giving instruction!

9. Teach, reteach and teach again!

10. Do regular performance assessments and do them in a way that they do not appear to be a “playing test.”


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.


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