3 Ways to Create a Guitar Culture

3 Ways to Create a Guitar Culture

Article Originally Posted on Teaching Guitar Workshops


Level I and II Teaching Guitar teachers rock out at NAfME headquarters in Reston, Virgnia.
Level I and II Teaching Guitar teachers rock out at NAfME headquarters in Reston, Virgnia.

There are few things that have as strong of an impact on culture than music. Many students use music as a symbol of their personality. Tapping into this social element has the potential to affect local school culture, too! Here are three ways you can create a guitar culture at your school.

1) Bring your students into the process.
You do not have to control everything. Let your students have input with regard to music selection. Who knows, maybe you will discover something in the process. By giving your students a voice, they become stakeholders in the program and develop a loyalty to the guitar class.

Here’s a bonus: You may find that your students pay more attention to your lessons when they know that you will reciprocate! You want your class to be the kind of place that students look forward to coming, and a place they belong.

2) Look for gigs!
Formal concerts are fantastic, but these are more frequently attended by friends and family members of the performers – not the general student-body. Do not exist in a vacuum! See if you can hold strategic performances in a hallway, invite other classes to join you on special days, and take advantage of social media. Videos of students in action- both in large groups and individually- can be seen by hundreds or even thousands if the content is compelling. This is also a great way to catalog your class’s repertoire. And, leave the door open so that passersby can hear your great music.

3) Think like a marketer!
Try branding your guitar class. Start by having your students come up with a name for the class. Then let them enjoy the democratic process and vote on it. Next, develop cool t-shirts for your groups that they can wear not only for concerts, but any day. How about getting the school logo printed on some picks? Use wristbands with your program’s name on them in different colors. Get inventive with this one: maybe you can have the wristbands correspond to the martial arts belt colors. Reward students when they “meet the next level” – black belt in guitar?!?! They will be proud of their accomplishments and publicize your program with everyone they meet.

Music has the power to drive culture, and guitar programs are exceptionally well suited to harness the energy. Take advantage of it!


Find a Teaching Guitar Workshop near you and register today!

Enroll by January 1, 2018, to save $100! Use promo code EB2018 at checkout.

About Teaching Guitar Workshops 

Teaching Guitar Workshops will be located in various locations around the country each summer. Graduate Credits and letters stating clock hours will be available. NAfME members should apply today!

For more information visit www.GuitarEduNet.org or contact TGW at 212-795-3630.

Get Guitar in Your School with Teaching Guitar Workshops!

Robert Sulkow, Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association Inc.

About the author:


Dr. Rob Pethel is a musician, educator, and creator of the Blue Guitar curriculum (www.blueguitar.us). He began his formal music studies at Georgia State University (GSU), earning a B.Mus. with a concentration in classical guitar under John Sutherland in 2002. Rob received a M.Ed. from Auburn University in 2010, with research focusing on guitar pedagogy, ethnomusicology, and public education. In 2015 he successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation at GSU, which investigated the field of guitar education.

Rob is involved with guitar education on many levels. In 2008, he initiated a classroom guitar program at Sutton Middle School of the Atlanta Public Schools where he continues to teach. Rob has also taught undergraduate courses at GSU in guitar and general music. Though entrenched in the study of music and music education, Rob maintains a personal passion for music performance. He plays with various groups in a range of styles including bluegrass, latin, rock, and classical.

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.

Brendan McAloon, Marketing and Events Coordinator, February 19, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org).