The other day we published a piece by Bill Swick about the benefits of classroom guitar ensembles. Ensembles build teamwork, musicality, open opportunities for performances and helps the class bond. Beyond why ensembles are great Suzanne Shull had advice on how to scaffold a beginner ensemble and Glen McCarthy had some practical tips for ensembles.
If you haven’t started doing ensemble work with your class, it’s time to start…but you’re going to need music. We got you covered there. We reached out to a few of our publisher friends who gladly offered some recommendations and pdfs to get you started.
Hal Leonard: Essential Elements Guitar Ensembles
Hal Leonard recommended its, Essential Elements Guitar Ensembles series. The books feature ensemble sheet music and difficulty ranges of each are indicated. Covering a wide range of styles, the books in this series are written to be accessible to almost any level. They include standard notation (no TAB), chord symbols for an extra guitar to strum along, and concise charts that are expertly arranged. Check out this sample of Day Tripper by The Beatles.
FJH: Everybody’s Guitar Ensembles
FJH has a guitar ensemble book, Everybody’s Guitar Ensembles, that comes with free downloadable recordings. All of the music is carefully graded in progressive order of difficulty so that even beginning students can play with confidence. This book is an excellent supplement for any Grade 1 Guitar Method. New concepts are gradually introduced throughout the book. Four Tips for Ensemble Excellence are included. Each of the 25 arrangements include: 3 or 4 parts, chord names (for another guitarist, bassist, pianist, etc.), lyrics, charts of the Natural Notes in First Position and Chords Used in this Book, and a Glossary. A bonus: All pieces are adaptable to pick or classical style.
The book includes some great titles, including: Amazing Grace, Greensleeves, Jingle Bells, Malaguena, Ode to Joy, Scarborough Fair, and When the Saints Go Marching In. Check out this incredible pdf sample with the table of contents and a few songs!
Class Guitar Resources: Beginning Guitar Ensembles, CGR 20 and Beginning Guitar Ensembles CGR 21
Class Guitar Resources recommended, “Beginning Guitar Ensembles, CGR 20” and “Beginning Guitar Ensembles CGR 21”. Both books have tunes in a variety of styles, they are accessible to the typical first year guitar class, they do not require page turns, and contain strong musical and technique markings. There are about 12 tunes in a variety of styles. The songs are easy and accessible to the typical beginning guitar class. CGR has pdf samples O the Beautiful Treasures and Simple Gifts for you to check out online!
Full Disclosure: Hal Leonard, FJH, and Class Guitar Resources are all sponsors of the Teaching Guitar Workshops – making them super cool!