Bill Swick Bio PicBefore ever allowing a student to play a guitar, have a plan as to how the students are going to make a sound from the instrument. Are they going to use a pick, their thumbs or their fingers?

Most classroom guitar teachers do not agree how to start a class of beginning guitar students. Most orchestra and band teachers have a very good plan for the best way of teaching a student how to get a sound out of the instrument. For beginning guitar students, it is frequently left to chance. In a single class, some students will begin playing with the right thumb. Some will bring a pick from home.

Some teachers insist that students start out in classical position using classical right hand technique. Other teachers will provide picks for the entire class. However, the majority of teachers leave the technique of making a sound on the guitar completely to chance.

The natural way to get started is by using the right-hand thumb. That is not necessarily a bad way to get started. However, as a classroom guitar teacher, have a plan. Know how each student is going to attack a string and make a sound.

My high school program attracts students who have had 2 or 3 years of classroom guitar in middle school. I can always tell which students had effective teachers and the ones who did not. The students still playing all six strings with their thumbs come from programs where the teacher has no plan for the right hand. Fixing the right-hand technique after three years of bad practice habits is very challenging.

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