Interning at the Teaching Guitar Workshops
Atlanta kicked off the summer Teaching Guitar Workshop (TGW) series, offering both level 1 and level 2 courses. Attendees consisted of educators from elementary, secondary, and even collegiate contexts. While some of the attendees from both levels of TGW stated that they had limited guitar playing skills, others had intermediate to advanced levels of playing. For those educators who were still “beginners” on the instrument, special attention was given to limit frustration, while reminding them of how many of the guitar students in their classes feel. Attendees who were proficient on guitar surely gained some new skills, but benefited most by being exposed to the wide range of classroom resources and teaching strategies. Especially helpful in this endeavor was level 1 TGW lead instructor Suzanne Shull, who brought a wealth of experience to the workshop.The level 2 TGW, led by Romana Hartmetz, gave those in attendance a hands-on experience, surveying a wide range of guitar resources, method books, multi-media, and pedagogical approaches. This encompassed a diverse selection of technical and stylistic considerations. The material covered in this workshop took the attendees deeper, exploring needs for intermediate and advanced guitar students who are often overlooked. While a number of level 2 attendees had a long history with guitar performance, others shared that they had been beginners when they took TGW level 1. For educators such as these, the guitar has become a secondary instrument that they may have never acquired had they never become in teaching guitar.
Perhaps the most inspiring part of the workshop was the new attitude and confidence that many attendees exhibited by the end of the week. Early in the week, some of the attendees admitted that teaching guitar was not their idea, but a requirement from the school administration. Seeing these educators progress to be truly excited about the possibilities of their new guitar class by the end of the workshop was amazing. Others in the level 2 workshop said that they felt more prepared to challenge the “guitar whiz” students in their classes than they previously thought they had nothing to offer. Regardless of the background or context of the TGW attendees, there was a general sense of excitement, inclusion, and openness throughout the week. Come this fall, many music classrooms will have teachers who are better equipped and well networked as a result of the Atlanta TGW.
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