At NAfME Headquarters, a Members Only Summer Guitar Workshop Helps Sharpen Professional Development Skills



Rob Pethel, an Atlanta music teacher and NAfME, member instructs in the Level 1 session
Guitar Instructor Rob Pethel, an Atlanta music teacher and NAfME member, is one of four instructors in Reston this week.



Playing guitar may be the answer for students who love making music but may not want to take part in traditional music performance programs. The Guitar Education Network’s  Teaching Guitar Workshops, are open each summer only to members of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). During the week-long workshop,  attendees will learn how to establish a guitar program or update their general music classes or guitar classes.


In the summer of 2013, workshops are being  held in a number of U.S. and Canadian cities from Halifax, Nova Scotia to San Diego, California to Wichita, Kansas, to Reston, Virginia, where NAfME is headquartered. GAMA (Guitar & Accessories Marketing Association) and its partners, NAMM (International Music Products Association) and NAfME, sponsor the annual workshops. Both Level I beginning classes and Level II advanced classes are bring held in Reston.


In addition to the week of instruction, program participants receive:

  • A free guitar to take back to school
  • Various guitar publications and accessories
  • Three graduate college credits from VanderCook College of Music 

Workshop instructor Rob Pethel, who teaches middle school instrumental music and guitar, says while many of teachers, such as himself a few years ago, use the workshop to establish a guitar program at their school. He now has a strong guitar program as his school that is supported by parents. He adds, though that many teachers also focus on the professional development aspects and on the networking opportunities with other teachers at the workshops. 

“In  a setting like this, teachers draw inspiration from one another and take renewed energy take back to the classroom,” he said.


Jacquie Lambertson, a music teacher as Bernadette School in Alexandria, Virginia, said her school PTO is purchasing guitars that she can use with the 7th and 8th graders, while the fifth and sixth graders will focus on ukuleles and the third and fourth will play recorders.

She said professional development for teachers during in the summer is important but she added, “Talking with other teachers is great, and  I am learning a lot but for me,  it’s really fun.” 


Music teachers take a break from Teaching Guitar workshops at NAfME headquarters in Reston, VA.
NAfME members take a break from Teaching Guitar workshops in  Reston, VA.


 Photo, text by Roz Fehr, NAfME Communications Content Developer