Bill Swick Bio PicTeaching and giving instruction is ineffective if students are talking and/or playing when instruction is being given.

As the Guitar Task Force Chair for the fifth largest school district in the U.S., I communicate regularly with our 62 guitar secondary guitar teachers and frequently do observations. The one thing that I witness far too much is students playing their guitars while the teacher is talking. It is all too apparent which teachers understand classroom management and those who do not. Teachers with strong classroom management skills will not tolerate guitar playing or talking when directions are given. This must be established from the very beginning of the school year and must be adhered to everyday with consequences that get more severe for multiple infractions.

Teachers who do not have strong classroom management skills often get very frustrated and want to quit teaching guitar complaining that guitar students do not know how to sit quietly when not playing. Having observed band and orchestra classes, students in those classes tend not to play while the teacher is talking. It happens far more in a guitar class.

It is safe to say, it is a natural tendency for guitar students to play their instrument while someone is talking to them. As a classroom teacher, it is imperative to have a “zero tolerance” for this type of behavior, or little will be accomplished during a class period.

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