Guitar with a Capo
Congratulations! You made it through to the end of the year. Your guitar class had tons of very interested kids, but it’s not over! You’ve got a line of kids out the door who want to take guitar next year.

Take the summer to get a little better at guitar. It will make a big difference in your ability to teach and in your confidence level. Here’s a list of 21 things you can do that will help you get better……guaranteed!

1. Play!
Nothing will help you as a guitarist so much as simply picking up your instrument and practicing regularly (sound familiar?).
2. Jam with Friends
Playing with people will make you more sensitive to what and how you play. You don’t have to play rock music, just find one or more others who play or sing and work on some music together. Can’t find anyone else? Then play along with a CD, mp3, or record.
3. Download an App
There are so many great guitar apps that can help you learn. I know some of them cost $0.99, but crack open the piggy bank and do it! Try out 4 Chords Guitar Karaoke for a cool experience.
4. Take a Lesson
Yes, you’re a teacher, but we’re all still students on so many levels. Find a teacher and take one or two private guitar lessons. With your background and experience you will probably be able to translate the two sessions with an instructor into 8 new lesson plans. If time and money do not permit, visit
5. Attend a TGW
We are all over the U.S. this summer. Alumni pay less to repeat the course, if you want to re-live the magic. Hurry and register while we have seats!
6. Do Warm-Ups
You’re a musician, do I have to drill you on drills? You will get better if you do warm-up exercises.
7. Change Your Strings
You’re a busy teacher and I’m sure you don’t get to change your strings often, so take a few minutes to do it. Your guitar will sound like a room with a fresh coat of paint. Check out this primer on changing strings.
8. Look through Methods
Don’t get caught in a rut and use the same book for the next twenty years. Read some other guitar books and repertoire, you might get inspired and develop new lesson plans or teaching ideas.
9. Play an Electric with an Amp – If all you ever played was an acoustic, playing an electric will feel like going from a bicycle to a motorcycle. Strap on your six string, use the whammy bar, get some feedback going, and Kiss the Sky.
10. Effects
Try out at least three effects pedals – distortions, delays and phasers are my favorites.
11. Play a Really Expensive Guitar
Go ahead and grab it off the wall; instruments like to be played. There are some awesome, inexpensive guitar out there, but they probably won’t stack up to guitars that cost a few thousand dollars. You will feel the artistry under your hands. Check out the difference in sound
12. Try out Picks
Picks have different weights, textures, and materials. Try out an assortment and hear/feel the difference.
13. Learn Songs
Choose two songs that you want to learn (make it achievable – and do it)
14. Play!
This one is so important we needed to write it twice.
15. Learn 18 Notes
Learn the notes of 3 more frets on each string (18 more notes – 15 if you remember that the E string is both the 1st and 6th string).
16. Listen to Guitar Music
You can listen to classical, flamenco, blues, jazz, rock n roll, folk, metal – you name it and guitar has been there. I would suggest listening to all of the aforementioned genres. Your students will ask and you will be expected to give answers.
18. Learn About Guitars
Guitars are not just the domain of teenagers. Guitars are manufacturing, history, industry, and passion.
19. Learn TAB
TAB was not invented in the 80s by metal heads looking to annoy musicians; it’s been around for centuries. Go ahead and drink the cool-aid without judgment. If you try it out and don’t like it, at least you can speak intelligently about it to your class.
20. Use a Capo
This is a great guitar tool! Ask someone to sing a song for you and accommodate them by using a capo, then just live it up playing open chords. What could be easier?
21. Polish Your Guitar
How will a clean guitar make me better you ask? Treating anything with care will make you value that thing more. If that sounds like psycho-babble, then just try to wipe 10 months of junior high off your axe.

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