11 Ideas for a Big Guitar Program on a Tiny Budget

You Can Budget to Teach Guitar

By GuitarEduNet Editors, Teaching Guitar Workshops

Article Originally Posted On Teaching Guitar Workshops

You’re a teacher . . . even better . . . a school music educator! You have navigated budget cuts and lived to tell the tale, you are used to ambiguity (communicating through dots on a page), and you know you’re going to have to figure out how to run your classroom guitar program in adverse conditions. What to do!?!?

First: We’re here to help you through it – you’ve got friends.

Second: Don’t panic . . . take a deep breath. Guitar classes can generally be started for less than the cost of a tuba.

Jupiter Images | Creatas | Thinkstock

Third: Read these 11 ideas and recognize that success is within reach.

  1. No guitars
    Have your students bring guitars. This option is less than ideal because it’s less democratic. However, most people can find a guitar that someone decided to entrust to their closet or under-bed storage. If you go this route, watch out for the kids who bring in broken guitars that won’t stay in tune and the guitars that might not be . . . well . . . guitars (i.e. – toys). If they can’t ever get a good sound from the guitar, it’s a recipe for failure.
  2. No Money $$
    If you don’t have guitars or other materials, use DonorsChoose.org or other sites like it. We recommend DonorsChoose.org for one reason, IT WORKS! So many of the teachers who have been through TGW tell us that they scored the money for their classroom guitar program through DonorsChoose. Check it out for your class.

    smutnypan | iStock | Thinkstock
  3. No Footstools
    Use a wooden block, a shoe box, some text books, a cement block (probably tough to drag/procure).

  4. No Sheet Music
    Write out lead sheets. Start with sites like Ultimate-Guitar that have the chords and lyrics written out and break out those solfege skills.

  5. No Extra Strings
    Charge a materials fee and buy strings in bulk.

    guitar pick
    yanyong | iStock | Thinkstock
  6. No Picks
    Try a pick punch stamp. These basically punch pick-shaped holes in different materials. For about $20 you can have all the picks you want and you’ll be recycling.

  7. No storage
    Guitar hangers are your answer; you might even use coat hooks and string.
  1. No stands
    Why would it be awesome if all of your kids had guitar stands? Because it would make it harder for them to noodle. This video is more along the lines of guitar storage, but stands would be great.
  1. No Money $$$ Again!
    Have your guitar class sell T-Shirts to raise money and awareness for your program. Your custom designed T-shirt will raise morale and much needed cash!
  2. Admin Won’t Buy In
    You definitely want a curricular spot, so this is far less than an ideal situation. What to do? Start an after-school club! If your coursework has legs, it will gain popularity. Kids and parents will want it and the Admin will follow.

  3. No tuners
    Free tuners online and in apps.

Some of these suggestions are so easy and some require you to be handy. Let us know your budget-crunch story below in the comments!

Still don’t think you can do it? Then attend a Teaching Guitar Workshop next summer. You’ll gain the skills and the confidence you need to teach a successful classroom guitar program . . . for Elementary School, Middle School, High School or even University level! Enroll by January 1, 2018, to save $100! Use promo code EB2018 at checkout.

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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.

Catherina Hurlburt, Communications Manager, April 27, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)