Bill_Burke_360In my high school guitar class, I have learned that the organized student has a better success rate in mastering guitar skills than one who is not. Over the course of the year my students may receive 75-100 handouts for the class. These include instructional material, songs, graded student work – quizzes, tests, compositions, journals, etc. Practicing skills and reviewing is essential. Reviewing material, songs, and techniques that have been previously covered in class is facilitated by organization. Time wasted searching for materials distracts the student from the task at hand. For instance I may assign a song for practice at home. If all of the student’s handouts are bunched together in a folder, when they flip through looking for the song, they may not find it, or another handout may attract their attention. Hence, they might then never get to the assigned song. Another application: I may pass out a song arrangement in the first quarter as we are working on strumming. Later in the year, after we have studied some finger style guitar, I may call that tune again in class, to now be played in this new accompaniment style. Finding the tune quickly is important to the pacing of the class. Being organized has helped me as well. As an example I have a binder organized of all the songs I can play solo style – without accompaniment. Should I get a call to play a solo gig, I can grab my binder and voila! – Songs I haven’t played in ages are suddenly right in front of me. Another binder of mine has group tunes – several copies of each song that can be used at a jam session or played as a group. Here is the notebook organization handout that my guitar classes receive: GUITAR NOTEBOOK ORGANIZATION Organization of your notebook is critical to your success. The notebook consists of three parts: • A Binder (3 ring) to collect and organize material. (Collecting handouts, etc. in a folder is a temporary step before inserting material in your notebook.) • Paper to take notes each day – loose leaf paper or a spiral bound tablet with daily entries. • Manuscript paper or a booklet – for use in writing / copying music Recommendations: • Use of plastic sheet protectors is an excellent way to insert pages and organize, and avoid pages tearing out. • Table of Contents page – telling the reader where to find the various parts of your notebook. • Use tabs with headings to sort material. Songs Instruction (handouts explaining concepts, etc., reference material like chord charts, etc.) Class work – tests, quizzes, homework Manuscript Journals– Dates should be entered for each class day with notations about what was covered. In addition and most importantly there should be entries with personal reflections. Number your top entries Notebooks may be collected and held overnight, so it is not recommended that you have a multiple subject notebook. Please look at the syllabus and the Notebook Grading Guidelines for more information. The notebook grade is weighted heavily, in terms of total quarter points. It is due within the last two weeks of the quarter. The specific date is announced in class and posted on blackboard.

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