Engage Students with Guitar, Part 1

What can the guitar bring to your music classroom?  NAfME hosts a Teaching Guitar Workshop at the National Center for Music Education in Reston, Virginia.

NAfME member Matt Gerry signed up because “my dream from the time I decided to teach was to be able to bring guitar instruction into the music classroom. Here in Salina, Kansas, the idea was totally new and radical.”

Benefits of the Level I Class:

One of the many benefits Gerry found in the Level I guitar workshop was how to get started. He wrote a grant and received a classroom set of guitars. “I was able to get things rolling right after I finished the class.”

Other benefits were

  • Tips on managing the classroom when teaching guitars. “That really saved me a ton of headaches,” says Gerry.
  • Help in developing the approach for teaching guitar. “We learned many teaching techniques for the guitar that have been invaluable,” says Gerry.
  • Walking through dozens of guitar methods books to help decide what book would match your students best.
  • A free guitar
  • Graduate credit
  • Practical tips such as naming guitars after famous guitar players. “My students are always excited to find out that their guitar for the year is Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton, or Jimi Hendrix.”

 Gerry says, “You just can’t go wrong.”


Benefits to the Students:

  • “Having guitar as part of my general music class has been fabulous!” Gerry says. The students are 100% engaged and are really proud of their accomplishments.”
  • Improved music literacy—“Note-reading skills for students who are not band and orchestra students many times can be a struggle, but with the guitar as motivation, many of these students are excelling in ways I would have never imagined,” says Gerry.
  • Increased interest in and appreciation of music—“So many of my students tell me they got a guitar for Christmas or their birthday and they’re really eager to continue learning the instrument,” Gerry says.


To learn more about the guitar workshops, visit Get Guitar in Your School!

Matt Gerry teaches at South Middle School in Salina, Kansas.

The NAfME Guitar Education Team receives generous funding from the Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association (GAMA) and the International Music Products Association (NAMM).


Linda Brown, August 20, 2008, © National Association for Music Education