The quick answer is preparation and flexibility.


Know your short and long term goals for the class. Have more than what you might need if they pick things up quickly but don’t push it if they are not grasping the concepts. Begin with something they enjoy that will bring them to focus. Review the previous lesson or skills they will need for new material. Introduce new material and give them time to work it out. Give them focused and guided practice time and make them accountable i.e., perform what they are working on. Review the concepts of the day, check for understanding then play something fun. (Include note reading and chord playing every day!) Every teacher/district has set formats and jargon, but here is the “meat” of a 80-90 minute class:

– 5-10 min: Tune Up – Tune In = students arrive, tune guitars, hum & strum a familiar tune with CD accompaniment (check TGW tune lists)
– 10 min: class warm up = rhythm of the day, play backs, fretting exercises, hammer-ons, scales, I IV V etc.
– 10 min: review previous lesson, check for understanding
– 10 – 15 min: introduce new material (remember 1 hand/concept at a time!)
– 10-15 min: individual or duet focused practice of new material ie: “when you come back you will share what you have done”, observe
– 10 min: regroup & share, check for understanding
– 5–10 min: next step, additional material &/or application of concept to different material
– 5-10 min: individual or duet focused practice as above
– 5 min: regroup & share, check for understanding
– 5 min: wrap it up with another favourite tune

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