Summer Camp with Teaching Guitar Workshops

Summer Camp with Teaching Guitar Workshops

Celebrating 25 Years of Teaching Guitar

By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

NAfME Council for Guitar Education Chair


Attention NAfME members! Are you interested in adding a new component to your teaching schedule? Are you interested in learning a new instrument? Are you interested in getting better at the guitar? Are you interested in making some new friends and colleagues this summer? Would you like a free guitar? Are you interested in having a support system that wants you to succeed? And most importantly, are you interested in making a deeper connection with your students? This summer, Teaching Guitar Workshops can fill many of those needs.

Former NAfME Council for Guitar Education Chair and Teaching Guitar Workshops (TGW) go-to guy Glen McCarthy shares his insights.


When were the first TGW created, and what need were you trying to fill? 

The Teaching Guitar Workshops started in 1995. It is a great example of industry, non-profit advocacy groups, and education working together to affect change and address the needs of practicing teachers. The National Association for Music Education, or NAfME (then, MENC), GAMA (the Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association), the NAMM Foundation (National Association of Music Merchants), and Duquesne University were the initial groups that started TGW. NAfME helped get the word out to their members. GAMA helped by supplying materials. The NAMM foundation helped with funding. Duquesne awarded graduate credit to the attendees.

TGW in its original inception was designed to help band, orchestra, and choral directors who were interested in implementing a guitar class in their music department curriculum. The weeklong workshop introduced sound pedagogy and techniques to make the guitar class a successful part of their school curriculum. TGW continues to evolve, to keep up with the latest trends in music education. We are now including ukulele in our curriculum. 


I am sure there are success stories and feedback from educators that TGW helped. Is there one in particular that is memorable and inspiring?  

Since 1995 more than 400 NAfME members have taken part in TGW, according to a recent audit report. That translates to more than 2 million students taking a guitar class who would not be involved in music education if not for TGW. 


How are the sites chosen? 

Nearly all of the sites are hosted by former participants and held in their schools. Locations have also included music stores as well as companies such as D’Addario and Martin Guitar. 


Who needs to be contacted if interesting in hosting a workshop? 

Contact TGW at


Is anything else necessary logistically?  

TGW is open to anyone who wants to host and can get a class of music educators involved. There are presently 10 confirmed sites for 2019, with 12 more tentative locations. Confirmed locations are listed on the website. Registration for NAfME members will be open soon. 


How many instructors are on board for TGW?  

There are presently 16 clinicians from various parts of the country. Many of our instructors are leaders in the field of guitar education, including with NAfME; in addition to being experienced classroom teachers, many have also been authors, researchers, and industry representatives.

Generally, the criteria to be a clinician include: 

  1. Must be teaching or have taught a multi-level guitar program in a primary and/or secondary school.
  2. Must complete TGW I and TGW II.
  3. Must be a proficient guitarist, able to play in the multi-style approach that is part of the TGW curriculum.
  4. Will implement the workshop criteria as presented by the workshop coordinator.
  5. Be a member of NAfME.
  6. Be able to teach TGW I & TGW II




What can a student expect to learn during the week of workshops? 

TGW promotes an inclusive approach to instruction, rather than a style-specific approach, so both finger-style and pick-style methodologies are explored. TGW I is designed to help you be successful if you have an introductory/level I guitar class. Of course, TGW will not turn you in to super guitarist, but you will have a much better understanding of pedagogy, scope, sequence, and pacing after taking the class. In addition, participants receive numerous method books and other materials to assist in setting up and running a guitar program.


What does a typical day look like at TGW?  

We start at 8:30 AM. Monday to Thursday there are six hour-long sessions with 15-minute breaks between each session and an hour off for lunch. We are finished at 4:30 PM. Friday is a half-day. 


What do you see for the future of TGW? 

As the demands on music educators continue to evolve, I anticipate that TGW will continue to evolve to meet the needs of NAfME members. As an example, when TGW first started, most participants were high school music educators. Now there are several primary teachers enrolled in TGW. The inclusion of ukulele has been directed to these educators and has been met with a lot of enthusiasm.


I heard there is free sheet music and other musical giveaways. 

This summer 2019 is the 25th anniversary of TGW. To celebrate, the members of GAMA have agreed to give every attendee who pre-registers a free guitar. Besides a free guitar, NAfME members will receive numerous methods and accessories. 


Where can you go to find more out about TGW?  

Go to the website:


About the author:

guitar council
Photo Credit: Jon Carlucci

Thomas Amoriello is the NAfME Council for Guitar Education Chair and also serves as the Guitar Education Chairperson for the New Jersey Music Education Association. He teaches guitar for the Flemington Raritan School District and Hunterdon Academy of the Arts. Tom graduated from Shenandoah Conservatory with a Master of Music Degree in Classical Guitar Performance. He is the author of the children’s picture books; A Journey to Guitarland with Maestro Armadillo Ukulele Sam Strums in the Sand (March 2019), both available from Black Rose Writing. He recently made two vinyl record releases on the H42 Records label of Hamburg, Germany featuring former members of Black Sabbath, Whitesnake, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force and more. 

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