Reply To: Some questions for guitar teachers

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I just moved from high school to elementary/middle school. I will have a middle school guitar class (guitars on on the way) but i will answer the questions from my experience with the high school beginning guitar classes I have taught:

1) We never really got to do any big performances in the two years I was at the high school. I was planning on incorporating some of the kids in the band spring concert this coming year, because I have seen that done by a colleague before and it can be a lot of fun for those kids…they like to perform too. I do have some “advanced” kids (the ones who come in to beginning guitar already able to play somewhat) and they liked Valentine’s Day when one of the school clubs would do serenades as a fundraiser…the kids loved showing off to their peers!

2) My favorite project is our end-of-year project. I hold off the unit on tablature until then. For the project, they choose any song they may want to learn and search online for the tabs. Then they work on it in class and perform for me as part of their final. They don’t have to do a whole song (some are very difficult) but even just a few licks. The kids love it, and I know they leave my class ready to find music on their own they might want to learn how to play.

3) Our school has a sister school in China. The teachers and administrators form the Chinese school came to visit last year for a week, and my admin made a point to bring them in to the guitar class to show our students off. It was great, with the Chinese delegates taking many photos with the guitar students. It ended with their head of school inviting me to visit their school in China.

4) Not beyond the Valentine’s Day serenades but hopefully soon. They do have the opportunity after my class to join our school music technology ensemble, and some have gone on to do that.