Building an absolute newbie guitar program

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Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by corbind » February 3rd, 2004, 4:30 pm

I think I have more questions for the forums than answers!  Ok, I'm thinking about teaching one or two people absolute beginning lessons in their homes in my area.  I live in a very small space so I'm willing to make the drive to their homes.

Anyway, I'm trying to put together some reasonable progression of what to each first, second, on and on.  Could some of you who have taught or have been taught toss some lesson plans down or at least sequence of learning?  That's a tall task but I want to make sure I instill positive growth in the couple of people I'll be teaching so that they get off to a great start.  Anyone want to share?  Thanks in advance!   ;D
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Re: Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by jane » February 3rd, 2004, 5:58 pm

Most people who are absolute beginners want to feel like they can play a simple song. At this site Horse With No Name is the simplest song. My teacher uses Eleanor Rigby. She picks simple songs that introduce a new chord or two into them on a gradual basis until you know all the basic chords, CAGED and a few others. My teacher uses a simple strum pattern, just UDUDUDUD, (not really a pattern), so you don't have to worry about strumming, just the chords and the changes.
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Re: Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by Rotten » February 4th, 2004, 6:28 am

Well im still a new player and a few things that discouraged me when i didnt know any thing were:
                  general guitar overveiw:what a bridge,nut, frets ect.. are.
                  general music definitions: differance between tabb and sheet music, and how to read them.
                  instructor patience:time to understand any theory/theorys taught.

I know i wanted to know why everything in theory worked. I think when you teach someone you want to show them a million different ways to look at one thing. let them find the best way to learn a particular subject and always encourge them to explore diferent avenues of approach. i hope i helped a little bit. goodluck!
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Re: Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by corbind » February 4th, 2004, 9:41 am

Patina, I hear ya.  Quite honestly, I used the straight up down 4x per measure pattern for a very, very long time.  These days if I play a “straight” pattern I like the sound of dudu udu skipping the down on the 5th beat.  Gives it a lazy feel.  It wasn't until after playing a year that I really started listening to songs I like on cd and actually hearing different patterns and copying them.  I think I will find about 20 easy beginner songs that have 3 chords and have a student pick one he/she knows and likes.  I still remember the joy of first being able to play a song I liked that was sounding remotely like the cd.

Hey Rotten, maybe you could help me out a bit this morning.  The three things you listed are things you really didn't want to know about right away because it was overwhelming?  So you did not want to know the parts of the guitar and the technical stuff?  Any feedback I get will help lots.  Just think about it.  Any stuff you all tell me here will help anyone I teach.  You don't want them to go through the bad things you endured when you were taught (or self-taught), right?

One thing I felt really embarrassed about when I took my first lesson was tuning a guitar.  I had no idea how to use my brother's ancient tuner.  It was not one of the cool, modern ones everyone has today.  So the teacher and I would try to tune up and I just felt so silly.
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Re: Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by markyesme » February 4th, 2004, 12:41 pm

D and A7.  Start with D and A7.  Easy to finger.  Lots of folk tunes use em.  Good for transposing later.

Then maybe a couple of other easy chords in D.  Em, G, A.  

After that you can transpose into A or E or G or C to teach some other chords and to show how songs can be done in different keys.

This, by the way, is how Happy Traum does it in his DVD lessons.

The other thing that would be good from the start, but causes issues with chord learning, is to learn to play melody lines.  Melodies, are easier to pick in C and G and maybe D (but with G and D you have to explain key signatures).  Chords, though, are easier in D, A and E (at least the common progressions like I-IV-V and the ever popular and folkie I-V7.)   Nonetheless, there is nothing better than being able to pick up a lead sheet.  Play through the melody a few times, then to sing it, then to play the chord accompaniment and then put it all together, without ever hearing a recording of the tune.  Very cool.  I spent hours on Saturday doing exactly this and taught myself probably 5 songs and sampled another dozen.

Thinking about it now, I think I would probably do this:

1. Teach parts of the guitar and what each string is.
2. How to tune them.
3. Where there notes fall on the music staff.
4. The Chromatic scale (great finger stretching...  further examination of music staff, fretboard exploration, lots of useful stuff, if not very musical).
5. How to construct a major scale.
6. C major scale (more good finger exercise, gets us ready to pluck melodies).
7. Simple C major melodies (I would use recognizable melodies, probably even with homework... sort of "Here are six well-known melodies, practice them, identify them")
8. Introduce key signatures.
9. Construct and practice G major.
10.  Repeat 7 with new melodies in G.
11.  Transpose a little between C and G (kinda tedious so I wouldn't dwell on it).
12. D major (yay! now we are in a key with cool easy chords and our fingers are ready to rock and roll).
13. Repeat 10 and 11.
14. Introduce intervals and chords. (thirds, triads, 7ths)
15. Construct D and A7.
16. Practice switching smoothly between them.
17. Work on first lead sheet with melody (to be worked out) and chord accompaniment.  This can be a known tune or an unknown one.  Both would be kinda cool as a beginning guitarist.

At this point, you can keep going with introducing scales, chords, circle of fifths, CAGED.

What do y'all think of that?
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Re: Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by TwistedFingers » February 4th, 2004, 12:48 pm

[quote author=markyesme link=board=theory;num=1075847440;start=0#4 date=02/04/04 at 12:41:30]D and A7.  Start with D and A7.  Easy to finger.  Lots of folk tunes use em.  Good for transposing later.

[/quote]

Lots of country songs use these two chords as well.
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Re: Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by hbriem » February 5th, 2004, 3:40 am

[quote author=TwistedFingers link=board=theory;num=1075847440;start=0#5 date=02/04/04 at 12:48:34]

Lots of country songs use these two chords as well. [/quote]

Isn't country music simply American folk music?

Or used to be, anyway.  Nowadays, it's more like disco with hats and hick accents.
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Re: Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by Rotten » February 5th, 2004, 7:51 am

Sorry corbind what i ment was those were things that i had alot of questions about. Those were the subjects my teacher should have spent more time explaining.

I think Markyesme has a good idea with writing out a priority list. I would also customize the order according to student needs.

Definitely start of with a good fundation. Guitar overveiw, musical definitions, chromatic scale, how to tune, ect...
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Re: Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by markyesme » February 5th, 2004, 1:56 pm

Helgi,  no "country" music would not be folk necessarily.  Country was always a style.  (Instrumentation, vocal styling, rhythmic and lyric structure and a required persona).  Country has gotten much closer to pop music nowadays, but many of those elements are still there.

Alan Lomax put a book out about North American folk music and the styles covered by our folk music record is quite broad.  Key influences: (the first two of these are very influential in country music) southern (difficult enough to describe but inherits a lot from English/Irish ballads and dance music, as well as African influences), western (inherits from a lot of forms, because this music was taken west by the people from the various regions in the east... often will have some Mexican influence in much of it through chord progressions, rhythmic set-up, etc), acoustic blues, sea chanties, gospel, hymns, and I must be forgetting a slew of others.   The biggest of these as far as influence on our folk music, would be the southern, western and blues.  The reason Mr. Lomax gives for this is that these were the demographic sections that were isolated either geographically or socially, and therefore had the opportunity to continue their folk tradition well into the 20th century.  Much of what must have been folk music in areas such as the Northeast have largely been forgotten by the American public, due to its displacement by a more organized popular entertainment offering.  Kind of a shame when you think about it.
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Re: Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by corbind » February 5th, 2004, 5:41 pm

Hey Mark, I just reread your post and I think it's good.  Lots of info there.  I'll have to try to get a consensus of what the "right" order should be.  I bet I'm going to learn much more by teaching others because I have to do so much research to get prepared!!!
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Re: Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by markyesme » February 5th, 2004, 10:15 pm

Thanks.  I am not a guitar teacher, so you would probably want to find one who could find the flaws in my ideas.  I have some experience teaching English as a Foreign Language, and this is kinda how I would have liked to have been taught (now in hindsight of course).
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Re: Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by hbriem » February 6th, 2004, 1:59 am

That's very interesting, Mark, although I would still say (rewording a bit) that "country is one of the many styles of American folk music".  How's that?

Anyway, you seem to be very knowledgable about folk and country music history.  How about writing an article about it for all the readers of Guitar Noise?  I'm sure you could make it very interesting.  Stick an old song in there somewhere and Bob's yer uncle.  What do you say?

Oh, and I think your proposed structure of beginner's music lessons is well thought out and would make a good course outline.  Another article perhaps?
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Re: Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by Musenfreund » February 6th, 2004, 7:06 am

[quote author=Helgi Briem link=board=theory;num=1075847440;start=0#11 date=02/06/04 at 01:59:03]That's very interesting, Mark, although I would still say (rewording a bit) that "country is one of the many styles of American folk music".  How's that?

Anyway, you seem to be very knowledgable about folk and country music history.  How about writing an article about it for all the readers of Guitar Noise?  I'm sure you could make it very interesting.  Stick an old song in there somewhere and Bob's yer uncle.  What do you say?

Oh, and I think your proposed structure of beginner's music lessons is well thought out and would make a good course outline.  Another article perhaps?[/quote]


A lot of contemporary Country is very much influenced by rock.  Indeed, sometimes it's hard to distinguish from rock except for perhaps a certain difference in vocal style.  I think there may be a difference between Country's originating in folk music and still being a type of folk music. Just as rock originated in the Blues but would today be considered its own genre.  I think a similiar argument could be made for country -- it originated in folk music but has developed as a distinct genre.  There's certainly some crossover, of course, just as there is between rock and folk music, for example.  But I'd hesitate to call rock a style of folk music.

Sorry, I'm late into this conversation and just picking up on one part of it I've overheard.  
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Re: Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by PsYcHoNIK » February 6th, 2004, 8:25 am

[quote author=Helgi Briem link=board=theory;num=1075847440;start=0#6 date=02/05/04 at 03:40:52]

Isn't country music simply American folk music?

Or used to be, anyway.  Nowadays, it's more like disco with hats and hick accents.[/quote]

*trys to retain laughter*

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Re: Building an absolute newbie guitar program

Post by markyesme » February 6th, 2004, 10:21 am

Musen,

That was pretty much what I wanted to say; I just failed to say it succinctly enough.  

On rock being folk, I would agree, except that IMHO, some rock songs have become folk songs, or are becoming them.  Any of those tunes that you whip out and the majority of the people start singing along... well, that's folk.  I would say the argument is more valid for older stuff (withstood the test of time and all) than newer stuff (maybe just a passing fad).

Helgi,  folk is definitely my interest.  Country (like rock, electric blues, jazz) just happens to often intersect my interests.  And I still love the songwriting on my modern country station, so it is in my rotation on the dial.  My folk interests include all of the Americas, and my knowledge is much stronger with regard to Central and South American stuff, but the past year I have been studying a lot about North American folk and have been falling in love with it (again? - much of it is familiar even if I wasn't paying attention).  Needless to say, I am very much a dilettante in regards to music in general and folk specifically.  If dilettantism isn't a barrier, then I would consider it an honor to write an article or series of articles on folk or even Latin folk.  Do you really think there would be that much interest?  I get the feeling that the public here is younger than I am, and pretty exclusive in its taste for metal/rock.  Kinda weird that it feels like I am becoming MORE open-minded as I get older; I always feared that the opposite would happen...

Mark :)
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