Reply To: Middle School Guitar class

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I started a guitar program in my school two years ago. It was intended for high school, but the schedule wouldn’t allow it. I just added it to my fifth, sixth and seventh grade general music classes. For the fifth grade I chose Hal Leonard publishing, Guitar for Kids. For grades six, seven and any high school students who wonder in I use some of the lessons in the Guitar for Kids, but mostly use Essential Elements.

I find that children are larger that what I think. I have 10 3/4 classical guitars, 1 3/4 acoustic guitar that I got with a workshop that I string with steel strings, and 10 full size acoustic that put nylon strings on. Currently my sixth grade class uses all of the full sized and only four of the 3/4. I have one class with five left handed children in it, two of which play left handed so a few of my guitars are strung lefty for them.

Fifth grade meets weekly and it’s a slow process. I don’t spend the entire year on guitar. Sixth grade meets daily for half of the year, and I spend about a quarter of the year on guitar. They move somewhat faster than fifth grade. Seventh grade has music for a quarter of the year and I spend about 3 weeks on guitar. They progressed twice as fast as the sixth graders, and this was their first year on guitar. High school students who come on their own with no experience move at lightening speed compared to my seventh grade students. I find the difference is in the time spent on their own on guitar. High school students don’t need so much monitoring, but middle school students seem to need me to hold their hands for nearly every second that have the instruments. They aren’t great at individual practice, but do work fairly well in small groups.