Guitars: The school should own a classroom set of matched instruments. Most veteran guitar teachers recommend nylon string (classical) guitars. for many reasons. Nylon String Guitars:

  • Are much easier on beginner’s fingers.
  • Can play all musical styles.
  • Tend to break less frequently than steel string guitars.
  • Can be easier to repair than steel-string guitars.

Storage: Lockers and/or Racks. Both personal and school owned instruments will need to be stored. Practical solutions include hanging the instruments on the wall, using a rack system, or using lockers.

Guitar Stand: A guitar stand for the instructor is useful for securing your guitar and allows you the freedom to move around the room without the instrument.

Podium: A platform or riser is something to consider; it will allow students to see you better as you model proper posture and technique.

Music Stands: 1stand per student is optimal, however seating students 2 or 3 per stand can work. Stands that are shorter than standard music stands are available and will also allow you to observe the students right and left hands for quick assessments.

Footrest/Footstool/Supports: For proper playing position you need to elevate your left leg with the waist of the guitar resting on the leg. You want the guitar neck to have an upward angle of approximately 45 degrees; guitar footrests and guitar supports are designed for this purpose. Alternatively, you can use 4″x4″ deck posts cut into 10″ blocks or 2″x4″s cut into 6″ lengths fastened together to accommodate varying heights. Foam yoga blocks also work well.

Straps: Using guitar straps is another way to achieve good posture. Strap buttons can be purchased at your local music store. Installing the buttons is easy for your local guitar luthier. Classical guitar straps are also available, and do not require strap buttons.

Sound and Video system part 1: A sound system with inputs for a microphone (it will stress your voice trying to talk over 30 students playing guitar) and your guitar is recommended. It should also have an input for an audio source, such as an iPhone or Android phone, or be Bluetooth enabled. There are several downloadable apps worth checking out that can manipulate digital music to aid your teaching; for example, allow change the speed of a song without changing the pitch, or change the pitch and not the tempo of digital music.

Sound and Video system part 2: If you use electric guitars and/or a bass in class or performances, make sure you have plenty of guitar cables of various lengths. You will also need to have a ready supply of cables, adapters, and dongles for your smartphone, laptop, DVD/Video, metronome, or other devices.
A projector and screen or smartboard system are great ways to show your students exemplar performances of guitarists, and guitar related videos. There are many recordings available on sites such as YouTube and Vimeo.

Methods books: Go to to find publishers who are GAMA members. This is a good start to identify guitar publishers and methods; you can also ask your local music merchant for recommendations. It is best to accumulate a variety of different books over time, and pick and choose the exercises that support your curriculum.

Tuners: Clip-on headstock tuners are accurate and easy to use; they pick up the vibrations of the instrument and are not affected by ambient sound in the room. There are also several guitar tuner apps for smartphones available for students who have one.

Drum Machine: Rote practice is more fun with accompaniment. Consider adding a rhythm track to the daily practice routines in your classroom. Drum machines are available with pre-set beat patterns and styles in both ‘old school’ physical form and smartphone apps. You can also find high quality backing tracks on YouTube.

Capos: If you will be playing contemporary music in class, you will likely need a classroom set of capos. Make sure you purchase the appropriate capo for nylon (flat fingerboard) or steel-string (convex fingerboard) guitar.

String and Fingerboard Maintenance: String Change Kit: peg head support block, string winder and string/wire cutter, needle-nose pliers, extra strings (1st for steel strings, 1st and 4th for nylon), bridge pin puller (for steel). Note: many string winders have a slot that is to be used as a pin puller. If you are changing several strings a “chuck” is available for a variable-speed-reversible drill. There is a (specific for guitar) drill-type string-winder available.

Guitar Maintenance: Use sewing machine oil or liquid graphite to lubricate guitar tuners. Most classical guitars don’t have truss rods (most steel strings do). Have appropriate “allen wrenches” for truss rod adjustments, these usually come supplied with the guitar. Use your local music store as a resource to repair your instruments if you are uncomfortable “repairing” guitars. Damage to guitars should be repaired with wood glue not epoxy.

Replacement Strings: Negotiate with your local dealer to get the best possible prices for strings in bulk. Purchase numerous 4th and 1st strings for nylon string. High E & D are usually the first to break. New high E, B, and G nylon strings take several days to hold their pitch. On a steel string high E & D are the 1st to go.

Picks and Nail Care: Use standard size picks in medium to hard guage. Thin picks are not recommended. For playing fingerstyle: to shape the nails, a glass nail file, nail clippers, 500 – 800 grit sandpaper (finishing paper). Classical guitarists have been known to use pieces of ping pong balls and super glue to replace a broken nail.

Staff paper: Both 5 line and 6 line (tablature) as well as blank chord grids are available commercially and can also be found on various websites.
Sanitizing Hands and Instruments: Here’s a great resource: Recommend that your students wash their hands before class especially after lunch. Think about pizza, French fries, and orange slices on the guitar strings.

Assessments: Develop performance-based rubrics that correspond to your curriculum. Consider including written/digital tests to assess student’s understanding of concepts. It will reinforce what they are playing.

A Mirror: A full-size mirror is a great way to reinforce your instruction, as students are able see themselves playing. They can easily see the adjustments and their posture and technique as you critique their performance.

Additional Instruments: Consider adding acoustic and/or electric bass, electric guitars, and other fretted instruments like ukulele, mandolin, dobro, and banjo. Don’t forget keyboards and percussion!

You Can Do It!!! You are a music educator. You can stay one step ahead of your guitar students. If you have a budding “Rock Star” in your class, use that student as a resource. There are numerous online guitar methods that are very useful. Teaching Guitar Workshops (TGW), cosponsored by GAMA, NAfME, and NAMM offers a weeklong professional development opportunity to get you started and/or enhance your existing program. Summer of 2024, live/in-person classes will be offered in numerous locations as well as a virtual option. For more info go to