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Monday, November 28, 2011

Getting the Most From Scales

I feel that my students benefit by "overlearning" a few fundamental skills, rather than skimming or surveying lots of skills.  The question becomes, how can I keep the students engaged while repeating a fundamental skill like the 17 natural notes?  Here are some ideas:
---The most obvious is to vary the right hand picking or fingering.
---The next most obvious is to vary rhythm figures such as dotted quarter/eighth.
---Less obvious, but very interesting and "fun" is to play the scale in:
-------Contrary motion.
-------Parallel octaves.

---demonstrate the skill in repeated notes.
---echo the skill.
---play in unison.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Learning Targets vs. Performance Goals

It is important that students know why they are working on a particular piece.  There is a difference between the "objectives" (learning targets) and the "songs" (performance goals), and students benefit when the learning targets are made explicit.  Here is an example of how this would look for the song "House of the Rising Sun"
The Performance Goal: to memorize and overlearn the song.
The Learning Targets:
---Fingerpicking the circular arpeggio, with roots on the D, A, and E strings.
---Playing chord progressions (Amin-C, C-D7, D7-F, Amin-E)
---Fingerpicking chord progressions.

Check for understanding:
Materials: paper & pencil.
Teacher demonstrates:
---Play the circular arpeggio, and ask students to identifty the skill: "the circular arpeggio".
---Finger the chord progression, and ask to students to identify the skill: "the chord progression..."
---Fingerpick the chord progression and ask students to identify the skill: "picking a progression"
---Sing and play, etc.....

Popcorn Reading

Students enjoy collaboration, and partner reading can be an enjoyable way to spend "time-in-text".  "Popcorn reading" is when two students read together - the more advanced student plays a note, and the partner echos or "pops" the same note.  The goal is to play the notes without a pause.  Rhythms can be ignored at first.  As the students progress, they can alternate notes, echo measures, or play in unison.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chunking: Breaking a Guitar Song Down to Fit the Individual

Students come into my guitar class with varied backgrounds and skills.  My goal of "engagement of all students" is accomplished by teaching the students how to "chunk" the material. 

Students should be encouraged to find their "learning edge", and working at the level where they can succeed.  In guitar class all these levels may occur simultaneously.  I will give two examples.  The first is on a sing-and-strum song, and the second on a written melody.

Chunking and Sing-and-Strum Song
1. Finger the left hand only
2. Strum the right hand only, while muting the strings with the left hand.
3. Finger pick the right hand only
4. Play the bass notes only
5. Strum whole notes, half notes or quarter notes, while fingering the chords
6. Strum the rhythm pattern only.
7. Strum the rhythm pattern and finger the chords.
8. Sing only, with goal of memorizing the words and melody for later use.
9. Sing and strum.
10. Sing and strum by memory.

Chunking a Melody or Ensemble (simultaneously)
1.  Play the key tones only.
2.  Play the first note of each measure only.
3.  Spell the notes.  (A,B,C etc....)
4.  Play the rhythm only on muted strings.
5.  Play the rhythm only on the key tone.
6.  If there are multiple parts, students focus on one part until they move to the next part.  7.  The advanced students can play through all the parts sooner.
8.  Advanced students can play two parts simultaneously.
9.  Remedial students can take time to write out the note names and fingerings using a reference chart.
10.  Advanced students can focus on tone, or playing in higher positions.

Ask you students to define chunking: Breaking a song down into skills that fit the individual.

Friday, November 11, 2011

In Depth Learning

In-Depth Learning

Students find comfort in repetition, and knowing what to expect.
On the other hand, too much exact repetition leads to "boredom".

A challenging and rewarding goal for me is to find interesting ways to look at a subject or skill from various angles and parameters - to emphasize different aspects of the same skill.

In my second year guitar class, we were working on a chromatic pattern that was presented in tablature - 121-232-343 - in the open position.  It didn't take long for the students to learn to play the pattern proficiently.  Rather than dropping the pattern and moving on to something else, in the spirit of in-depth-learning, I looked for way to build on the skill that they had established.  Further, in my class, I always ask, "how can I point the "stuff" I do towards music reading?"  The following is a list of the variations that I used.

1. I would play excerpts of the pattern, and have students write it out using sharps only.
2. I would play excerpts of the pattern, and have students write it out using flats only.
3. Play an excerpt a fifth away, and have student determine the interval.  Divide the class in two groups and let them hear the pattern in parallel fifths.
4. Have them finger and play the pattern on their guitar in parallel fifths.
5. Repeat the process in other intervals such as octaves, thirds and sixths.
6. Convert the pattern to a diatonic scale, and repeat the variations.
7. Play the pattern completely on one string, as well as across the neck.

As you can see, with a little creativity, I was able to create varied repetition of a single idea.  The students find comfort in linking a known skill to a new skill.  The objectives of finger independence was expanded to include, note reading, interval theory, and theme-and-variation.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Use Fingerpicking to Support Music Reading

How can I point the "stuff" I do in guitar class to improving music reading?  Nearly all guitar skills can "point" towards music reading in one way or another.  Fingerpicking is no exception.

1. Have students spell the C chord CEGCE and notate it vertically as a block chord.  For beginners you may notate it for them.  Do this on the left side of a stave.
2. Circle the bass note.  This represents the "thumb" (p)
3. Draw a bracket connecting the top three notes.  These will represent the fingers (i,m,a)
4. Draw the stems and beams for the ascending arpeggio. (More advanced students will not need you to draw the stems and beams.)
5. Students add the noteheads (from the block chord on the left).  Be sure they spell the arpeggio C-G-C-E.
6.  Do this for the chords in a song you are working on.
7.  Read and loop the arpeggios.
8.  Play the song.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Use Tablature to Support Note Reading

Tablature can be used to support reading. To do this it is essential
that students always 1) write in the note names, 2) recite and sing the note names while playing. If students simply play the notes without comprehending or hearing them, the tablature may create a diversion from note reading. As an additional exercise students may convert tablature into notation. The good thing about tablature is that it gets students "doing" music as soon as possible which is a positive step towards learning notation.
Recite (comprehend)
Write (comprehend)
Convert to notation (comprehend)
Sing (hear)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Learn Note Names and Strengthen Fingers at the Same Time!

Place fingers on the first string, with each finger above a fret.
Lift the F finger (first) then the G finger (third) while keeping the other fingers planted.
Repeat on each string.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What Kind of Guitar Should I Purchase for 3rd, 4th and 5th Graders?

It is ironic that working with younger children requires perhaps more teaching skill that working with older kids.

As far as the instrument goes, I recommend the Yamaha CGS Student Classical. It is 4/3 size, but the guitar is only the tip of the iceberg....

If you don't think children can be taught to play, I recommend you see the now famous video of the Korean Kindergarten Class

Notice the proximity of their head to the fingerboard. In order to achieve this magnificent playing position, they have custom chairs. In lieu of having the perfect size chair, you may place a box of some kind under their feet that insure that the guitar is UP. Nothing will get accomplished if the guitar isn't positioned comfortably. I cannot stress this enough.

You must be sure that parents are involved and that there are specific homework practice assignments. Be sure to cultivate the attitude of seriousness - the guitar is not a toy but a tool to develop stamina, dexterity, and spiritual character. Both parents and kids should know this from the outset.

To begin, with I like melodies on a single string.
Melodies on multiple strings may follow.
When it is time for chords, start with rounds using one chord.
For the right hand, open string rhythms and exercises should be practiced.

I personally advocate the use of a strap tied around behind the nut.
I have a nice section of single string melodies and beginning ensembles in my "Guitar Essentials" level one. You could check out my Mel Bay Book "Blues for the Young Beginner" which uses single string riffs throughout.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Should "General Music" be Renamed "Musical Arts" or "Music Literacy"?

Two terms frequently used in the field of English are "language arts" and "literacy". When I polled my colleagues at recent literacy conference on the question of renaming general music, the majority felt that "music literacy" was more appropriate than "musical arts", although good arguments were made for both.

The argument for of "musical arts" is that it is easier for kids to understand, and that the term literacy is overused. The standards for Language arts include: reading, writing, literature (repertoire), listening and media (computer resources). In my opinion, these standards correspond nicely with the educational goals of general music.

The argument for the term "music literacy" was based more on the pillars of (reading) literacy which include: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency. These pillars correspond to the music components of aural skills, notation, harmony, analysis, and technique.

The consensus of my colleagues is that either term, "arts" or "literacy" is more descriptive and positive than "general" which has a synonym of "hum-drum". I have not made up my mind yet. "Musical arts" implies making music, in a similar way to vocational arts implies making something . "Music Literacy", on the other hand, has a more academic tone to me, and music literacy surely describes the goal for our students to be "educated and cultured".

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tips for Simplifying Barre Chords.

There are multiple strategies available. Try this one:
F surf chords 11
F triad 211
F Ukulele 3211
F Nashville 33211
F Bare 1233211
--move the forms up the neck chromatically.
--Allow differentiation in the classroom based on skill level
--vary with fingerpicking, arpeggios, and rhythms.
For more on this subject see "Teaching Classroom Guitar" by Steve Eckels

What are Your Favorite Songs for Beginners?

First, we have to define "beginner".
For young beginners, melody on one string is best. I suggest Happy Birthday, The FIrst Noel, Star Wars and rock riffs like (Flaming Ice Cube). See my MEL BAY Book "Blues for the Young Beginner"
For older beginners start with 2 chord songs: Jambalaya, Ache Breaky Heart, Rock My Soul, He's Got the Whole World.
If two chords are too much, use one-chord songs. Round are good: Hey Ho Nobody Home, Row, Row, Row Your Boat etc.
For more information see "Teaching Classroom Guitar":^DB/CATALOG.db&eqSKUdata=160709388X

How Can I Reinforce Students' Knowledge of the Staff?

1. Choose a song for your proficiency test. For this example I will choose "Song of Joy".

2. Hand out copies of the song to your students.

3. Guide them in making a REFERENCE CHART of the notes within the range of the piece. For example, starting on the third string G A B C D E F G.

4. Have the add the fret and string numbers in "fraction notation". 0/3, 2/3, 0/2, 1/2...etc. ALSO add the alphabet letters- G,A,B,C...etc.

5. Have them use the reference chart to add fractions to all the notes in the song.

6. Hint: to save time and develop peripheral vision, students should do all the C's, all the D"s etc.

7. Students should "over-learn" and memorize the piece.

8. Later, play the piece using standard notation only (without fractions), but insist that their eyes are on the music and they SPELL the note names as they play.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tablature vs. Notation

There is an ongoing debate about the place of tablature in guitar education in the public schools. My view has evolved over the past ten years of classroom teaching at the high school level.

We are charged to teach "music reading". There are many good reasons for this including lifelong learning and brain development and others.

Can tablature be a step towards reading, or a handicap that prevents reading? In my personal development I remember being extremely thankful for tablature as a teenager because it expedited my ability to play great music. When I was ready, and my technique became automatic, I improved my ability to read music, during my late high school years.

From the standpoint of reading English, we talk long before we read, therefore a case can be made for doing "whatever it takes" to musically and technically "talk" before we read. "Whatever it takes" is going to vary based on the student's past experience and skill level.

The use of tablature is in my opinion not a curse but one tool on the journey towards musical success. a school music teacher I have made it my business to become an expert at teaching music reading on the standard staff. I have done this by studying what the reading experts do in the field of language and have presented "What Music Teachers Can Learn from Reading Experts" at our local reading conference.

In short, we do a lot of "stuff" during our class time. The question is, how can I direct all my stuff towards the goal of reading? In my classes all "stuff" involves and is directed to the goal of literacy. This includes melody, technique, improvisation, solo guitar, scales, fingerpicking, strumming and ensembles. To go into all the details is beyond the scope of this blog. But you can get a better idea by obtaining my Guitar Essentials and textbook Teaching Classroom Guitar.

So in summary, accept the fact that a percentage of students will not learn to read standard notation - and don't fret about it. With the other 85% use all the other "stuff" as a way to inch towards literacy. You have a good incentive to do so - "the better they read, the less you have to talk".
Steve Eckels

Guitar Song List (500 songs) by Skill Level and Key

---Table of Contents
4 Pillars of Vocal Technique
5 Skill Levels Overview

6 Skill Level 1 Melodies by Number
7 Flaming Ice Cube
8 Distorus Maximus
9 Skydiving Fish
10 Power in G
11 Amazing Grace, Hymn
12 Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
13 Love Me Tender, Elvis
14 House of the Rising Sun, Blues
15 On Top of Old Smokey, Western
16 The First Noel, Christmas
17 Scarborough Fair, English Folk Song
18 Star Wars, Movie Theme
19 Ghost Riders in the Sky, Johnny Cash
20 Bouree, Bach
21 Fur Elise, Beethoven
22 Play By Ear: Happy Birthday, Jingle Bells, Row Row Row Your Boat

23 Skill Level 2 - Getting Started
24 Lion Sleeps Tonight -C- Movie Theme
25 Blue Eyes Cryin’ In the Rain -C- Willie Nelson
26 I Walk the Line -C- Johnny Cash

27 Worried Man Blues -G- Carter Family
28 Folsom Prison Blues -G-Johnny Cash
29 Good Night Irene - G- Lead Belly
30 Tom Dooley -G- Folk

31 Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens - C- Blues

32 Jambalaya -D- Hank Williams
33 Ache Breaky Heart -D-Billy Ray Cyrus
34 Surfin’ USA - D- The Beach Boys

35 Let the Good Times Roll -A- Blues

36 Man of Constant Sorrow - E - Movie Theme

37 Eleanor Rigby - Amin- The Beatles
38 El Condor Paso -Emin-Simon and Garfunkle

39 Skill Level 3 - 2 Chords per Measure
40 Big Rock Candy Mountain -C- Movie Theme
42 The Bismarck -C- Historical
42 Blowin’ in the Wind -C- Bob Dylan
43 Brown Eyed Girl -C- Van Morrison
44 Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right -C- Bob Dylan
45 Feelin’ Groovy -C- Simon and Garfunkle
46 Farther Along, Dolly Parton -C-Dolly Parton
47 Friends in Low Places -C- Garth Brooks
48 I Still Miss Someone -C- June Carter Cash
49 Jamaica Farewell -C- Reggae
50 The John B Sails -C- Reggae
51 Margaritaville -C- Jimmy Buffett
52 My Home’s In Montana -C- Western
53 Obladi Oblada -C- Beatles
54 Streets of Laredo -C- Western
55 Under the Boardwalk -C-
56 Wildwood Flower -C-Maybell Carter

57 All God’s Critters Got a Place... -G- Bill Stains
58 Amazing Grace -G-, Hymn
59 Country Roads -G- John Denver
60 Down to the River to Pray -G- Oh Brother...
61 King of the Road -G- Roger Miller
62 Marine’s Hymn -G- Armed Forces
63 Mr. Tambourine Man -G- Bob Dylan
64,65 Stand By Me -G- Guitar and Bass
66 Take Me Out to the Ball Game -G-
67 Times They are a Changin -G- Bob Dylan
68 Where Have All the Flowers... -G- Pete Seeger
69 Yellow Submarine -G- Beatles

70 Battle of New Orleans-D- Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
71 Can the Circle Be Unbr...-D- The Carter Family
72 Home on the Range -D- Western
73 I’m a Believer -D-Neil Diamond
74 In the Pines -D- Lead Belly
75 Leaving on a Jet Plane -D- John Denver
76 Red River Valley -D-
77 This Land is Your Land -D- Woody Guthrie
78 The Unicorn Song -D-

79 Get Together -A- The Young Bloods
80 Git Along Little Doggies -A- Western
81 Oh What a Beautiful Morning -A- Oklahoma
82 Kumbaya -A- Folk Song
83 Silver Bells -A- Christmas Song

84 Blue Suede Shoes -E-Elvis Presley
85 Higher Ground -E- Gospel
86 Malaguena -E- Spanish Traditional
87 What I Say -E- Ray Charles

88 Ghost Riders in the Sky -Amin- Johnny Cash
89 Gilligan’s Island -Amin- TV Theme
90 Hotel California -Amin- Eagles
91 Jamin’ -Amin- Bob Marly

92 Secret Agent Man -Emin-

93 Skill Level 4 - Power Chords
94 Fortunate Son -G-Creedence Clearwater Revival
95,96 Jet Airliner -G- Steve Miller Riff Study
97,98 Johnny Be Good -G- Chuck Berry Scale Study
99 Joy to the World -G- Three Dog Night
100 Rockin Around the Chri... -G- Christmas Tune
101 Smoke on the Water -G- Deep Purple
102 Twist and Shout -G- The Beatles
103 Twist and Shout - The Beatles Triad Study
104 Wild Thing -G- Jimi Hendrix
105 You Really Got Me - G- The Kinks/Van Halen

106 Sunshine of Your Love -D-Eric Clapton
107 Sunshine of Your Love Riff Study

108 Jumping Jack Flash -A- Rolling Stones
109 Hound Dog -A- Elvis
110 Old Time Rock and Roll -A- Bob Seeger

111 Day Tripper -E- The Beatles
112 I Saw Her Standing There -E-Beatles
113 Pride and Joy -E- Stevie Ray Vaughn
114 Steppin’ Stone - E- The Monkees

115 Born to Be Wild -Steppinwolf- Emin

116 Skill Level 5 - Fingerpicking
117 Bonney Banks of Loch Lommond -C- Irish
118 Colors of the Wind -C- Pocahantas
119 Desperado -C- The Eagles
120 I Can’t Help Falling... -C- Elvis Presley
121 Let It Be -G- Beatles
122 Love Can Build A Bridge -C-
123 Love Me Tender -C- Elvis
124 Morning Has Broken - C- Cat Stevens
125 The Rose -C-
126 Simple Man - C- Lynard Skynard
127, 128 Titanic Theme -C- Movie Theme
129 Today -C- Irish Rovers
130 What a Wonderful World -C- Louis Armstrong
131 Wind Beneath My Wings -C-

132 Danny Boy -G- Irish
133 December -G- Collective Soul
134 Every Breath You Take... - G- Sting/The Police
135 Every Breath...Bass Part
136 Every Breath You Take - Riff
137 Freebird -G- Lynard Skynard
138 Hallelujah -G- Leonard Cohen
139 Imagine -G- John Lennon
140 Let it Be -G- Beatles
141 Time of Your Life -G-Green Day
142 Time of Your Life -Riff

143 Banks of the Ohio -D- Bluegrass
144 Blue Moon of Ken.. -D-Bill Monroe, Bluegrass
145 Give Yourself to Love -D- Kate Wolf
146 Inch By Inch -D-John Denver
147 One Last Breath -D- Creed easy
148 One Last Breath -D- Creed
149 Vincent -D- Don McClean
150 What It’s Like -D- Everlast
151 Wonderful Tonight -D- Eric Clapton

152 Here Without You -Amin- 3 Doors Down Riff
153 House of the Rising Sun -Amin- The Animals
154 House of the Rising Sun - Duet
155 Scarborough Fair -Amin- Simon and Garfunkle

156 Behind Blue Eyes -Emin- The Who
157 Behind Blue Eyes -Riff
158 Cemetery Gates -Emin- Pantera
159 Nights in White Satin -Emin- The Moody Blues
160 Scarborough... -Emin- English Folk Song Duet
161 Stairway to Heaven -Emin-Led Zepplin
162 Wish You Were Here - Emin- Pink Floyd
163 Wish You Were Here - Emin- Lead Guitar

164 Skill Level 6 - Faster Tempos, Triads
165 All You Need is Love -C- Beatles
166 American Pie -C- Don McClean
167, 168 Desperado -C- The Eagles Duet
169 Free Falling -C- Tom Petty
170 I Will -C- The Beatles
171 We Shall Overcome -C- Civil Rights Song
172 White Christmas -C- Christmas Song
173 Yesterday -C- The Beatles Duet

174 Bridge Over Troubled.. - G- Simon & Garfunkle
175 Frosty the Snowman -G- Christmas Song
176 Heart of Gold, Neil Young -G- Neil Young
177 La Bamba -G- Richie Valens
178 Lean on Me - G- Al Green
179 My Girl -G- Smokey Robinson
180 My Girl - Bass
181 Sunshine on My Shoulders -G- John Denver
182 Wild Word -G- Cat Stevens

183 Here Comes the Sun -D-The Beatles
184 Keep On the Sunny Side -D- Oh Brother...
185 Moon Shadow -D- Cat Stevens
186 Sweet Home Alabama -D- Lynard Skynard
187 Sweet Home Alabama -Triad Study

188 The Wind -D- Cat Stevens
189 With A Little Help From My Friends -D- Beatles

190 Jingle Bell Rock -A- Christmas Song
191 Travelin Band - A- CCR
192 For What It’s Worth -E- Buffalo Springfield

193 Sounds of Silence -Amin-Simon and Garfunkle
194 Walk Don’t Run -Emin- Surf Guitar

195 California Dreamin’ -Amin- Mammas and Papas

196 Skill Level 7 - Barre Forms
197 All My Lovin’ -C- Beatles
198 Blue Christmas -C- Christmas Song
199 Rocky Mountain High -C- John Denver
200 San Francisco, Flowers in... -C- Forest Gump
201 Sittin on the Dock of the Bay -C-Otis Redding

202 Leroy Brown -G- Jim Croce
203 Proud Mary -G- Credence Clearwater Revival
204 Tequila Sunrise -G- The Eagles

205 I Can See Clearly -D- Jimmy Cliff. Reggae
206,207 I Can See Clearly - Duet
208 I Wanna Hold Your Hand - D- Beatles
209 In My Life -D- Beatles
210 Take it Easy -D- Eagles
211 Wedding Song - D- Paul Stookey

212 Pretty Woman -A- Roy Orbison

213 Under the Bridge -E- Chili Peppers
214 Under the Bridge - Riff

215 Happy Together -Dmin- Forest Gump
216 In A Gadda Da Vida -Dmin- Iron Butterfly
217 Layla -Dmin- Eric Clapton
218 People Are Strange -Dmin- The Doors

219 Skill Level 8 - Passing Chords
220 Annie’s Song -C- John Denver
221 Bojangles -C- Jerry Jeff Walker
222,223 Bojangles -Duet
224 City of New Orleans -C-Steve Goodman
225 Don’t Know Much - Sam Cooke/James Taylor
226 Dust in the Wind -C-Kansas
227, 228 Dust in the Wind -Duet
229 Have Your Ever Seen the Rain? -C- CCR
230 Landslide -C-Fleetwood Mac
231, 232 Landslide - Picking Study
233 Lonestar -C- Nora Jones
234 Tenessee Waltz -C Country Standard
235 The Weight -C- The Band
236 When A Man Loves a Woman -C-
237 Yesterday -C-The Beatles
238 Your Song -C- Elton John

239 The Best of My Love -G-The Eagles
240 Blackbird, Beatles -G-
241 Dancing in the Moonlight -G-Movie Music
242 Puff the Magic ..... -G- Peter, Paul, and Mary
243 Puff the Magic Dragon Picking Study
244 You’ve Got a Friend -G- Carole King
245 Redemption Song -G- Bob Marley/Reggae
246 Tears in Heaven -G- Eric Clapton

247 Fire and Rain -D-James Taylor
248 How Sweet it is... -D-James Taylor
249 You Are the Woman -D- Firefall
250 Michelle -A- The Beatles

251 Gypsy Anthem -Amin- Gypsy Jazz
252 Riders on the Storm -Emin- The Doors

253 And I Love Her -Dmin- The Beatles
254 Time in a Bottle -Dmin- Jim Croce
255,256 Time in a Bottle - Duet
257 While My Guitar Gent... -Dmin George Harrison
258,259 While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Bluegrass Tunes
260 Charlie and the MTA -C-
261 I’ll Fly Away -D- Oh Brother Where Art Thou?
262 Rocky Top -G-
263 Rolling in My Sweet Baby’s... -G- Bill Monroe
264 Shady Grove -Emin-
265 Sourwood Mountain -C-
266 Wreck of the Old 97 -G-220

267 Skill Level 9 - 6th, 7th and 9th Chords
268 Cattle Call Waltz -C- Western
269 Cattle Call Waltz Jazz Chords
270 Down on the Corner - C - CCR
271 Heartbreak Hotel - C- Elvis Presley
272 Limbo Rock -C- Caribbean
273 Peace Train -C- Cat Stevens
274 White Christmas -C-
275 Your Cheatin’ Heart -C- Hank Williams

276 Blue Hawaii -G- Elvis Presley
277 Crazy -G- Patsy Cline
278 Don’t Know Why, Nora Jons (G)
279 Hey Good Lookin’ -G- Hank WIlliams
280 I Hope You Dance -G- Inspirational
281 In the Still of the Night -G- 1950s the Platters
282 Jazz Blues in G major and minor
283 Jazz Blues in Flat major
284 Ring of Fire -G- Johnny Cash

285 Blue Christmas -D- Christmas Tune
286 Cold Cold Heart -D- Hank Williams
287 I Can’t Help it if I’m.... -D- Hank Williams
288 I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight -D-Bob Dylan
289 Let it Snow -D- Christmas Song
290 Only You -D- 1950s/Platters

291 I’m So Lonesome I ... -E-Hank Williams
292 Susie Q -E-Credence Clearwater Revival

293 Black Magic Woman -Amin- Santana
294 Black Magic Woman - Riff
295 Hava Nagila -Amin- Israeli Folk Dance
296 Minor Swing -Amin- Gypsy Jazz
297 Summertime -Amin- George Gershwin

298 I Shot the Sheriff -Emin- Eric Clapton
299 I Shot the Sheriff - Riff
300 Moondance -Emin- Van Morrison
301 Moondance -Duet
302 Evil Ways -Gmin- Santana

303 Skill Level 10 - Jazz Chords
304 The Christmas Song -C- Mel Torme
305 Georgia On My Mind -C-Ray Charles
306 Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas -C-
307 Oh Suzanna -C- James Taylor reharmonization
308 Somewhere Over the Rainbow -C- Duet
309 Somewhere Over the Rainbow -Vocal
310 I’ll Be Home For Christmas -G-
311 Satin Doll -G- Duke Ellington
312 Sleepwalk -G- Richie Valens

313 Carolina On My Mind -D- James Taylor
314 Twilight Time -D- The Platters

315 Color My World -F- Chicago

316 Sweet Georgia Brown - B flat
317 Winter Wonderland -Bflat

318 Polka Dots and Moonbeams - Duet
319 Polka Dots and Moonbeams - E flat Frank Sinatra

320 Europa -Amin- Santana Duet
321 Light My Fire - Amin- The Doors
321 Light My Fire - Duet

323 Section 11 - Guitar Solos

324 Star Spangled Banner
326 Andante in Amin, Ferdinando Carulli
328 Romanza, Spanish Traditional
330 Leyenda, Isaac Albeniz
334 Bouree in Emin, Bach
336 Lagrima, Francisco Tarrega
337 Greensleeves, English
338 Carol of the Bells, Russian
340 Pachelbel Canon, Pachelbel
342 Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
344 Malaguena, Spanish Traditional
347 Concerto De Aranjuez, Josquin Rodrigo
350 Fur Elise, Beethoven
351 Moonlight Sonata

354 Is Anybody Out There, Pink Floyd
356 Nothing Else Matters, Metallica (easy version)
358 Nothing Else Matters (standard version)
360 Sanitarium, Metallica
361 To Live is to Die, Metallica
363 Stairway to Heaven, Led Zepplin (easy version)
365 Stairway to Heaven (standard version)
367 Over the Hills and Far Away, Led Zepplin
368 Thunderstruck, AC DC
369 Dream On, Arrowsmith
370 Always With Me, Always With You, Joe Satriani
371 Boogie Shuffle, Steve Eckels
373 Yesterday, Beatles
374 Blackbird, Beatles
377 Classical Gas, Mason Williams
380 Diary of a Madman, Ozzie Osbourne
381 When You Wish Upon A Star, Disney Theme
383 Georgia, Ray Charles
385 Sign, Eric Clapton
388 Somewhere Over the Rainbow
390 Miserlou - Surf Guitar
392 Pipeline - Surf Guitar
393 Tequila - Surf Guitar
394 Wipe Out - Surf Guitar

395 Section 12 - Famous Riffs
396 Emin - Smoke on the Water, Deep Purple
397 Emin - I Shot the Sheriff, Eric Clapton/Bob Marley
398 Emin - Gold Finger
398 Emin - James Bond Theme
399 Emin - Enter Sandman, Metallica
399 Emin - Iron Man, Black Sabbath
400 Amin - In a Gadda Da Vida, Iron Butterfly
400 Amin - Sunshine of Your Love, Eric Clapton
401 G - La Bamba, Richie Valens; My Girl, Smokey Robinson

Reference Pages
402 Alphabetical Chord Reference
403 Quick Start Chord Progressions
404 Plectrum Rhythm Study
406 Finger Picking Patterns

2007 Additions:
407 Amarillo by Morning, George Straight (D)
408 Daughters, John Mayers (D)
409 Do Re Mi, The Sound of Music (C)
410 Don’t Fence Me In, Texas Swing (D)
411 Kansas City, Blues (A)
412 Me and Bobby Mcgee (C)
413 Purple People Eater, Novelty (E)
414 Route 66, Nat King Cole (E)
415 San Antonio Rose, Texas Swing (G)
416 Wayfarin’ Stranger, Spiritual (Amin)
417 Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd (G)
418 Why Georgia , John Mayers (G)

2008 Additions:
418.2 Autumn Leaves, Jazz Standard (Amin)
419 By the Rivers of Babylon, Reggae (G)
420 Colorado Trail, Western (C)
421 Don’t Know Why, Nora Jones (Bb)
422 Fields of Gold, Sting (C)
423 Gone Forever, Three Days Grace (Bmin)
424 Good Hearted Woman, Waylon Jennings (D)
425 Hey Jude, The Beatles (425)
426 I Can’t Get Started, Bix Biderbeck (A)
427 I’m Yours, Jason Mraz (G)
428 Iris, Goo Goo Dolls (D)
429 Keep Your Hands on the Plow, Spiritual (Amin)
430 Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Bob Dylan (G)
431 Lemon Tree, Reggae, Peter, Paul and Mary (D)
432 Luckenbach Texas, Willie Nelson (D)
433 Me and Bobby Mcgee, Janis Joplin (C)
434 Morning Has Broken, Cat Stevens (G)
435 My Own Two Hands, Jack Johnson (G)
436 My Own Two Hands, Reggae Version, Jack Johnson (Emin)
437 Okie From Muskogge, Merle Haggard (C)
438 Oh Darlin,, The Beatles (A)
439 On the Road Again, Willie Nelson (C)
440 Run for the Roses, Dan Fogelberg (C)
441 Scarborough Fair, Simon and Garfunkle (Amin)
442 Seven Spanish Angels, Willie Nelson (D)
443 Stardust, Nat King Cole (G)
444 Sway, Michale Buble (Amin)
445-446 Tears in Heaven, Clapton, Solo verson (G)
447-448 Tennesse Flat-top Box, Rosaanne Cash
449 The Very Thought of You, Tony Bennet (Eb)
450 Touch of Gray, Greatful Dead (A)
452 Wherever You Go, Girl Band (G)
453 Wade in the Water, Spiritual (Dmin)
454 Wayfarin’ Stranger, Spiritual (Emin)
455 Simple Gifts (D)
456 Route 66, Nat King Cole (E)
457 Fly Me to the Moon, Frank Sinatra (A)
458.1 Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Israel Kamakawiwo’ ole (C)

2009 Additions
458.2 Beauty and the Beast (vocal), Disney (A)
459-460 Beauty and the Beast (instrumental), Disney (A)
461 Cat’s in the Cradle, Harry Chapin (E)
463 Crazy On You (solo intro), Heart (Amin)
464 Daydream Believer, The Monkeys (G)
465 Eye of the Tiger, Amin
470 Four Strong Winds, Neil Young
471 Harvest Moon, Neil Young
472 Huron Carol (Emin)
473 I’d Rather be with You (C)
474 It’s Now or Never, Elvis Presley (G)
475 Jumper, Third Eye Blind (F)
476 Laura’s Theme, Movie Theme
477 Needle and the Damage Done, Neil Young (D)
478 Norwegian Wood, The Beatles (D)
479 Ohio, Neil Young (Dmin)
480 Say it Ain’t So, Weezer
481 Simple Man, Lynard Skynard (Amin
482 Sitting Waiting Wishing, Jack Johnson (Amin)
483 Three Little Birds, Bob Marley (A)
484 Under the Sea, Vocal, Disney (G)
485 Under the Sea, Instrumental, Disney (D)
487 Up Around the Bend, Creedence (D)
488 Venus, Shocking Blue (Emin)

2010 Additions
489 All Along the Watchtower, Dylan (C#min)
490 Cold Shot, Stevie Ray Vaughn
491 Collide, Howie Day (C)
492 The Cruel War, Peter, Paul and Mary (G)
493 Fool For You Anyway, Foreigner (B)
494 Hey There Deliliah
495 On the Beach in Hawaii, Ziggy Marley (Amin)
496 I Believe in You, Don Williams (G)
497 I Don’t Need No Doctor (riff), John Mayer (E)
498 If I Had a Hammer, Peter, Paul and Mary (C)
499 I’ll Follow You Into the Dark, Death Cab For Cutie (C)
500 Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier Peter Paul and Mary (Emin)
501 The Joker, Steve Miller (G)
502 Monsters, Band of Horses (D)
503 More Than a Feeling (riff) Boston (D)
504 New Soul, Yael Naim (C)
505 Play That Funky Music White Boy, Wild Cherry (E)
506 Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac (Amin)
507 Star of the County Down, Celtic traditional (Amin)
508 Star Spangled Banner (Eckels arr.) (E)
511 Sweet Child of Mine, Guns and Roses (B)
512 The Metal (riff), Tenacious D (E)
513 Under the Sea (easy version), Disney (G)

2011 Additions
514 100% Cowboy (D)
515 Across the Universe (C)
516 Ballad of the Green Beret (G)
517 Chicken Fried
518 The Call (C)
519 Deck the Halls (Christmas) C
520 Go Tell it on the Mountain (Christmas) D
521 I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Christmas) A
522 Rudloph the Red Nosed Reindeer (Christmas) G
523 Up on the House Top (Christmas) G
524 We Wish You a Merry Christmans (C)
526 Come & Find the Quiet Center (D)
527 Crazy Train (Aminor)
528 December, Collective Soul
529 Don't Go Breakin' My Heart (G)
530 Hallelujah with Notes (G)
531 Hey There Delilah (D)
532 If I Die Young (C)
533 If I Were a Carpenter
534 Mamma's Song (G)
535 More Than a Feeling
536 Pay Me No Money Down (G)
537 Shooting Star (A)
538 Skinny Love (Amin)
539 Wake Me Up When September Ends
540 Waltzing Matilda
541 When You Say Nothing at All (C)
542 Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (A)
543 Yellow Submarine with Notes (G)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How Can I Get the Most of of My Method Book?

I like a method book that has several levels combined into a complete method.  This way you can go into greater depth on a given subject.
I strongly recommend making an index of the following:
Scale pages:
Rhythm pages:
Improvisation Pages:
Fingerstyle Pages:

This way your and your students can follow a topic with greater ease and depth.
For a curriculum, I use my own.  Guitar Essentials & Ensembles.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

How do you teach beginners to tune their guitars?

Thank you for the question. I have a lot to say on the subject, but will address only a couple of basic points here - 1) shortcuts 2) non-shortcuts.

1) Shortcuts - be sure to encourage students (and parents) to purchase electric tuners; find out which students already know how to tune and assign them to be tuning assistants.

2) Non-shortcuts -
-----Student need to learn the pluck/turn. Have them practice "plucking" one string in eight notes while simultaneously "turning" the corresponding knob. Teach them to pluck loudly so they can really hear the change in pitch.
----Once they can "pluck and turn" they can learn the tuning song: A-maze, A-maze, A-ma-zing, A-maze. Using echo imitation, have them use the song Amazing Grace as the basis for tuning - A-maze - E/A; A-maze -A/D; A-ma-zing - D/G/B; A-maze - B/E.

Finally, it is important to have realistic expectations. For many students, successful tuning will be the grand finale of the semester, not something that occurs during the first week. There are many ways to break the process down and give them small success. One way is to play an out of tune E & A and ask them to give you hand signals indicating the need to go higher, lower or stop.

Teachers should use "ear tuning" when tuning the guitars. As a voice exercise, learn to sing E A D G B E. Practice tuning until you can tune a guitar in 15 seconds or less. If the room is noisy, put your ear directly on the neck and you can hear it like a charm.

For more details I recommend my book "Teaching Classroom Guitar" (menc/Rowman and Littlefield) and some of the exercises in my curriculum "Guitar Essentials". Visit and for more information. Sincerely, Steve Eckels

Saturday, July 30, 2011

How can I work with 35 elementary students in a 40 minute period?

That is a really tough environment.  That size group is larger than anything I have experienced.

Is there any way you could 1) break them into two groups 2) get a large band room?

Since there are so many, open practice time might lead to chaos, so leading a group activity would probably work best.

My best advice would be to spend time working on melodies played on a single string - Happy Birthday, (see the table of contents of my Guitar Essentials Level One for song titles) etc.  Teach them by singing the fret numbers and having them echo you.

They are almost too young for chords, so working on the melodies accomplishes several objectives (see Teaching Classroom Guitar published by MENC). When you are ready to read music - you may want to use tablature first since it will get things moving faster (See guitar essentials contents). 
If you feel adventurous, you could remove all the strings, but the first string, and have them master the "monochord" - this is the name of the instrument that Pythagoras did his experiments on.  It means "single string".

If you leave all the strings on you should be able to do "string percussion" exercises such as echo imitation etc.

Stay with each song until it is mastered.  The students will benefit from "over learning" the piece.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What Do You Think of Youtube as a Learning Tool?

In regards to learning, the downside of youtube is that students try to play things that are not appropriate for their learning level.  I had one student who goofed around with one youtube example and never learned to play the whole song, and I feel he missed lots of the fundamentals which would have taken him further in the long run.  A comparison is someone trying to get medical advice from the internet.  While a certain amount may be helpful, there is no substitute for finding a "sensei" and being a disciple.  I do have a youtube channel where I demo proficiency skills that are are part of a learning sequence.  The skills are part of my "Guitar Essentials" which I use in my High School Classroom.

What is a Good Ear Training Exercise?

One of my favorites:
Play an Eminor chord with no beat.  Have the student play each note of the chromatic scale, on the first string.  Have them notice the relationship of the note to the chord.  The student should rate each note as a "green light", "yellow light" or "red light".  Have them remember the ratings and do an improvisation on one string.  For more information see my book "Teaching Classroom Guitar" published by menc.  See my webstie

Resources Available to Teachers

Steve Eckels MA, NBPTS Presents:
Teaching Classroom Guitar
Distance Learning
At your convenience!

License curriculum folios for unlimited use in your school for only 99.00 each level.
Ensemble folios only 75.00 each.

Each level includes an innovative approach to reading, accompaniment, rhythm, guitar solos, ensembles, final exams & more.  For complete contents visit www.guitarmusicman or  For personal assistance 406-257-6878.

______Classroom Essentials Level I (72 Pages)
______Classroom Essentials Level II (65 Pages)
______Classroom Essentials Level III (61 Pages)
______Classroom Essentials Level IV (53 Pages)

______Guitar Ensembles - Classical
______Guitar Ensembles - International Folk Songs and & Holiday

______Textbook & Desk Reference $49.00 -  "Teaching Classroom Guitar"
            (MENC & Rowman & Littlefield, or

Internet Resources:
Video Demonstrations -Youtube                                                               FREE
Audio Clips - MySpace                                                                             FREE
Blog Discussion -                                     FREE
Twitter & Linkedin                                                                                    FREE

Supplemental books by Steve Eckels: Blues for the Young Beginner, Christmas Encyclopedia, Modern Method for Fingerstyle Guitar, Global Adventures, and more.    Available at, or

For more information:
Personal Assistance - 406-257-6878
Order forms -
facebook - SteveEckelsGuitarist
Blog -
Youtube - Eckels1
Myspace - Eckels1

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Teaching Classroom Guitar" Text & Desk Reference Contents

Teaching Classroom Guitar
A Handbook for Classroom Teachers
By Steve Eckels

Table of Contents

4 - Preface
7 - About the Author

Part One: Introduction
8 – Effective Planning, 1
14 - Assessment Techniques, 2
23 - Applying the National Standards for Music Education, 3
29 - Use Your Strengths, 4

Part Two: Preliminaries
30 - Preparations, 5
35 - Quick Start: The First Week, 6
48 - Hand and Body Positions: Learning How To Learn, 7
54 - The Right Hand: Using the Thumb and Pick, 8
61 - The Left Hand, 9
68 - Strength and Motion, 10
78 - Teaching Individual Tuning, 11
83 - Group Tuning Techniques, 12

Part Three: Music Reading
85 - The Natural Note Scale, 13
89 - Music Reading, 14
102 – Ensembles, 15

Part Four: Chords and Accompaniments
109 - How and Why to Teach Power Chords, 16
114 - Playing Bass, 17
117 - Teaching Chords, 18
124 - Strumming, 19
131 - Chord Progressions, 20
139 - Fingerpicking, 21
148 - Teaching Songs, 22
155 - Teaching Singing and Playing, 23
160 - Barre Forms and Transposition, 24

Part Five: Intermediate Skills
169 - Improvisation, 25
176 - Student Combos, 26
179 - Teaching Music Theory, 27
185 - Teaching Jazz-Chords, 28
189 - Teaching Solo Guitar, 29
196 - Tablature, 30
198 – Hammering-on, Pulling-off, and Two-Handed Tapping Techniques, 31
203 - Using Reference Frets to Understanding the Entire Neck, 32

Part Six: Remedial Techniques
206 - The Capo for Transposition and Ease of Play, 33
209 - Benefits of Teaching Melodies on One String, 34
212 - Using Riffs for Educational Purposes, 35

Part Seven: The Guitar Room, Guitars and Independent Study
216 - Setting up the Guitar Room and Equipment, 36
220 - Guitars and Accessories, 37
225 – Independent Study, 38

227 Glossary of Guitar Teaching Terms

Appendix #1 - Assessment Forms
238 – Student Assessment Checklist
239 - Class Participation Self - Assessment
240 - Sample Essay and Questions
243 – Instructor Feedback Form
244 - Skill Self-Assessment
245 – Self Reflection Form
246 - Proficiency Scoring Worksheet
247 – Practice Portfolio Requirements (final assessment)

Appendix #2 - Curriculum
248 – Guitar Essentials - Skill List for Four Semesters
252 - Lesson Plan Worksheet
253 - Curriculum Overview for Four Semesters
254 - Sample Syllabus
256 – Lesson and Practice Record

Appendix #3  - Blank Grid Diagrams
257 – Small Chord Grids
258 – Medium Chord Grids
259 - Lyric Sheet with 6 small grids
260 - Lyric Sheet with 12 small grids
261 – Building Jazz Chords by Scale Degrees/Grid and Staff
262 - 12 Fret Chord Grids

Appendix #4 – Blank Staff
263 - Six Stave (Large)
264 - Eight Stave
265 - Jumbo staff (transparency)
266 - Large tab
267 - Medium tab
268 - Tab-Staff-Grid Conversion Paper

Appendix #5 – Worksheets
269 - Blues Songwriting
270 – Blues Progression Practice Chart
271 – Blues Progression Worksheet (I, IV, V)
272 - Concert or Listening Interview  (questions)
273 – Parents Interview
274 – Student Interview
275 – Music Reading Practice Checklist
276 – Sing Along List and Chord Theory
277 – Singing Warm Up Checklist
278 - Songwriting Categories
279 - List of Popular Guitar Songs by Skill Level, Artists and Keys

Appendix #6
Publishers of Class Guitar Materials

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Guitar Essentials Level 4

205. Contents Level 4

Reference Charts
206. 15 Essential Chords
207. Note & Rhythm Reference Chart
208. Rhythm Equations-eighth notes
209. Rhythm Equations-sixteenth notes

Chromatic Studies
210. Chromatic Scales: keys of C, G, D, A, E
211. Tarrega Chromatic Sequence
212. Chromatic Octaves

Second Position Studies - Root 5
213. Second Position C Scale & Intervals, Root 5
214. Root 5 Moveable Major & Minor Chords
215. Root 5 Seventh & Diminished Chords
216. Root 5 Altered Chords

Second Position Studies - Root 6
217. Second Pos. G Scale & Intervals, Root 6
218. Root 6 Major & Minor Chords
219. Root 6 Seventh & Diminished Chords
220. Root 6 Moveable Altered Chords

Improvisation with Tablature
221. Blues Training Riff in G
222. Accompaniment & Bass Line in G
223. Using a Bass Line as the Melody in G
224. Moveable Training Riff in Eminor
225. Bass Line in Eminor
226. E minor Bass Line up one Octave
227. Jazz Blues in A

228. Rhythm Studies
229. Pop Style Rhythm Patterns

Right-Hand Arpeggio Studies
230. Right-Hand Patterns for Fingerstyle Solos
231. In the Style of Puff the Magic Dragon
232. Building a Fingerstyle Solo: Greensleeves
233. Music in Two Parts:
             In the Style of Pachelbel Canon

234. Happy Birthday Level III
235. Happy Birthday in Tab
236, 237. Mario Theme Duet
238, 239. Mario Theme in Tablature
240. Spy Riff in Dminor
241. Spy Riff in Tablature
242. Jam Session in Aminor
243. Jam Session in Aminor in Tablature

Singing and Playing
244. You are the Sunshine of My Life
245. Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Solo Guitar
246. Flight of the Bumble Bee in Tablature
247. Somewhere Over the Rainbow Tablature
248. Ode to Joy - Beethoven
249. Allegro - Giuliani
250. English Dance - Carcassi
251. Etude in Aminor - Carulli
252. Celtic Folk Song (Loch Lomond)
253. Minuet in G - Bach

Final Exam
254. Second Position Scales
255. Fifth Position
256. Solo Guitar
257. Fingerpicking
258. Rhythms

Guitar Essentials Level 3

143. Contents Level Three

Reference and Strength
144. 15 Essential Chords
145. Natural Notes and Rhythm Reference Chart
146. Slurs and Strength
147. Chromatic Study

148. Rhythm Equations-8th notes
149. Rhythm Equations-16th notes
150. Rhythm Reading:
            E & F Blues Scales, C Chromatic Scale

151. Interval Study in Open Position
152. Thirds, Sixths & Tenths, Up the Neck
153. Tenths Across the Neck & Fingerpicking
154. C Chords With Color Tones 4-6-7-9
155. G Chords With Color Tones 4-6-7-9
156. Triad Progressions for Fingerpicking

157. Notes on All Six Strings & Speed Patterns
158. Scales Using Three-Notes-Per-String
159. Chromatic Octaves

Improvisation in Fifth Position
160. Riff in A
161. Rock Style Bass Riff in A
162. Shuffle Style Bass Riff in A
163. Latin Style Bass Riff in A

164. Strumming in the Style of Hotel California
165. Strumming in the Style of Ghost Riders
166. Picking in the Style of Blowing in the Wind
167. John Denver Picking
         in the Style of Leaving on a Jet Plane
168. Click Picking in the Style of My Girl
169. Fingerpicking in the Style of Sleepwalk
170. Fingerpicking in the Style of Santana's Europa

171. Happy Birthday Level III
172. Happy Birthday in Tablature
173. Star Spangled Banner
174. Star Spangled Banner in Tablature
175. The Marine's Hymn
176. The Marine's Hymn in Tablature
177. Spy Riff in Aminor
178. Spy Riff in Tablature
179. Jam Session in Eminor
180. Jam Session in Eminor in Tablature

Solo Guitar
181. Andante by Sor
182. Andante, Part 2
183. Allegro by Giuliani
184. English Dance by Carcassi
185. Minuet in G by Bach
186. Romanza, Spanish Folk Song

Singing & Playing, In the Style of...
187. Black Magic Woman
188. Don't Know Why
189. I Shot the Sheriff
190. I Shot the Sheriff Riff Study
191. Let the Good Times Roll
192. Light My Fire
193. Summertime

Final Exam
194. Rhythms: 8ths
195. Rhythms: 16ths
196. Intervals & Chords
197. Tenths & Solo Guitar
198. The Chromatic Scale & Chromatic Octaves
199. Fingerpicking

200-204 . Dictionary of Chromatic Intervals

Guitar Essentials Level 2

77. Contents

Reference Charts
78. 15 Essential Chords
79. Natural Notes and Rhythms
80. Rhythm Equations
81. Rhythm Equations (no answers)

Slurs & Strength
82. Slurs (Hammering & Pulling)

83. Major Scales C, G, D, A, E & Rhythm Reading
84. Using Reference Tones & Neighboring Tones
85. Notes on all Six Strings & Speed Patterns
86. Major Scales in Sharp Keys
87. Major Scales in Flat Keys

88. C-A-G-E-D Theory & the Capo
89. Chord Family In C with Tab
90. Chord Family in G with Tab
91. Chord Families in D minor & A minor
92. Barre Chord Progressions & Triads
93. C Chords with Added 4, 6, 7, 9
94. Inversions of Triads with Fingerpicking
95. Triad Progressions: I-IV-V

96. Riff in Eminor
97. Blues in G & G minor
            Using Moveable Jazz Forms
98. Pentatonic Blues in G minor
            (3 Octaves) with Tablature
99. Moveable Blues Riff in G and G minor
            With Tablature
100. Improvisations with G major
            Pentatonic (3 octaves)

101. Root-5 Bass, and Bass Runs
            In the Style of Johnny Cash
102. Frailing & Bass Runs
            In the Style of Johnny Cash
103. Travis Picking
            In the Style of Dust in the Wind
104. Fingerpicking in ¾ time,
            In the Style of Annie's Song

105. Happy Birthday (Level 2)
106. Happy Birthday with Tablature

Sing & Strum, In the Style of...
107. I Can See Clearly Now - Triads & Barre Forms
108. Don't Know Much - Color Tones
109. Have You Ever Seen the Rain? - Passing Chords
110. My Girl - Triads
111. Stairway to Heaven
            Barre Chords, Fingerpicking
112. Tears in Heaven - Passing Chords

Solo Guitar
113. Greensleeves
114. Silent Night (with intervals)
115. Andantino by Carcassi
116. Etude in Amin by Carulli
117. Loch Lommond, Celtic Folk Song
118. Moderato by Giuliani
119. Ode to Joy by Beethoven

Note Dictionary
120. The Low E String
121. The A String
122. The D String
123. The G String & Review
124. The B String
125. The High E String

126. Diatonic Intervals

Final Exam
127. Sharp Keys
128. Flat Keys
129. Barre Chords and Passing Chords
130. Barre Forms
140. Rhythms
141. Fingerpicking
142.  Natural Notes on all Six Strings

Guitar Essentials Level 1

Here are the contents for Guitar Essentials Level One

1. Contents

Reference Charts & Tuning
2. 15 Essential Chords: Reference Chart
3. Natural Notes and Beat Values
4. Subdivisions of a Measure
5. Rhythm Equations
6. Rhythm Equations (no answers)
7. Tuning Using the Open Strings

Melodies On One String
8. Flaming Ice Cube
9. Happy Birthday, Jingle Bells
10. The First Noel
11. My Country 'Tis of Thee
12. Love Me Tender
13. Yankee Doodle

Right Hand Technique, Scales & Chords
14. Right Hand Variations for Scale Practice
15. The Natural Notes and Mini-Scales
16. Mini-Scale Looping, Intervals
17. Alphabet Chord Drill & Fingerpicking Patterns

Chord Progressions, Strumming & Spelling
18. Key of C - basic down-strokes
19. Key of G - root-strum
20. Key of D - root-strum with eighth notes
21. Key of A - root-strum with eighth notes
22. Key of E - syncopated strum
23. Key of Amin - root-strum with eighth notes
24. Key of Emin - fingerpicking the circular arpeggio

Chord Drills
25. Theory: Major & Minor
26. Theory: Major & Seventh
27. Chord Drill: Common Shapes
28. Blues Progressions in 8 Keys

29. Rhythm Figures and Counting
30. Combing Scales with Rhythms

Power Chords
31. Open Power Chords & Blues in A
32. Moveable Power Chords: Root 6th String
33. Moveable Power Chord: Root 5th String

34. Pull-offs in the Style of Thunderstruck
35. G minor Pentatonic Scale: extended box form
36. G Blues Scale Riff
37. Famous Rock Riffs

Barre Chords
38.  Barre Forms Based on E-Chord Shapes
39.  Barre Forms Based on A-Chord Shapes

Songs: Melody and Accompaniment
40. Key of C - On Top of Old Smokey
41. Key of G - This Little Light of Mine
42. Key of D - Red River Valley
43. Key of A - Michael Row the Boat Ashore
44. Key of E - Hound Dog Blues
45. Key of Amin - Fingerpicking Scarborough Fair
46. Key of Amin - Fingerpicking House of the Rising Sun
47. Key of C - Fingerpicking Let it Be

48, 49. Happy Birthday & Happy Birthday in Tablature
50, 51. Pachelbel Canon & Pachelbel Canon in Tab
52, 53. House of the Rising Sun &... Rising Sun in Tab
54, 55. On, Oh Flathead & On, Oh Flathead in Tab

Sing and Strum,  In the Style of......
56. Joy to the World - Power Chords
57. You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog - Power Chords
58. Hotel California - Pinch Accents
59. Scarborough Fair - Fingerpicking
60. Simple Man - Fingerpicking
61. Yellow Submarine - The Shuffle Beat & Triads

Solo Guitar
62, Malaguena
63. Silent Night
64. Fur Elise, Excerpt
65. Moonlight Sonata, Excerpt
66. Estudio by Aguado
67. In the Style of Stairway to Heaven

Final Exam
68. Note Recognition & Scales
69. Chord Spelling and Recognition
70. Note Values, Rhythms & Counting
71. Natural Notes on 6 & 5, & Power Chords
72. Finger Picking

73, 74, 75. Glossary of Music Reading Terms

76­­. Essay - Good Manners and Learning

Do you ever have beginners who show an interest but soon get discouraged by the work it takes early on?

 This is a great question.  Accept the fact that a percentage 10-15% will not be able to stick with it.  Allow them to listen and enjoy the environment but don't expect 100% success.  With the other 85%, provide a series of small successes.  Be sure there is laughter.  Some students have already made lots of progress with tab and will not slow down to learn reading.  They should have tab.

When possible, incorporate reading in chord work, rhythm work and everywhere.  I would encourage you to obtain my materials and book "Teaching Classroom Guitar".

Monday, July 25, 2011

Which should I teach first, chords or melodies?

Chords are comprised of notes, so I believe that simple melodies and "mini scales" be taught first.  A good example would be "Happy Birthday" played entirely on the first string.  A scale can be as small as three notes (e,f,g) on the first string.  Once the fingers are moving around I present the C, F, and G.  The F is abbreviated-f,a,c,e and so is the G-g,b,d,g,b,e.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How can I find guitar students?

One of the best ways to generate students is to give a class at the local community college. You can meet lots of people that way. Also, creating a nice brochure and distributing it to school music teachers is a good idea. Finally, if you can have a booth at local fairs you can meet lots of people - try to play at the fair too. Good luck--you can do it!

Can someone who is self taught, teach someone else to play?

Can someone who is self taught teach someone else to play?

There is a big difference between teaching and playing.  The trick to teaching is trying to remember the steps of the "learning ladder" that you went through when you were learning.  If you simply show the student what you are playing, you may create a "pedagogical leap"
(skip a step) and thereby create frustration.  Try to invent some exercises that are derived from the skill sets used to play the music you are trying to teach.  Convince the student that for them to succeed they need to make a commitment to success.  Best Wishes.
Steve Eckels