Each year, more and more music teachers who were hired to teach Band, Choir and Orchestra are being asked to teach guitar. It is common for many music teachers to know little or nothing about playing or teaching guitar. Here is a list of skills which will be very helpful in running a successful guitar class. Many of these skills are the same for any music class. Others are guitar specific.
1) Know the 18 notes in first position and be able to play them with correct fingerings
2) Be able to model good left and right hand technique including playing with and without a pick
3) Be able to model good posture and hand positions
4) Know how to tune a guitar
5) Know how to change a guitar string
6) Have some experience for minor repairs, i.e. straightening a neck, replacing a nut or saddle, replacing machine heads
7) Possess strong classroom management skills
8) Be well organized and have a Curriculum Map, a Backwards Assessment Model, weekly lesson plans, follow the Curriculum Engine and have an understanding of the state curriculum
9) Be able to write and follow weekly lesson plans
10) Be able to write and keep current a class handbook which describes expectations and lists consequences for not meeting standards both in performance and behavior
11) Prepare far more material than you may think necessary. Keep in mind, for every ounce of technique, there should be a pound of application.
12) Have a daily ritual that is consistent from day to day, i.e. start with tuning, followed by a warm-up, play some scales, have a right-hand exercise, review the previous day’s lesson, include some quick visual assessments by having students demonstrate what was learned the previous lesson, introduce a new lesson, end with a closing exercise. Every class should have a beginning, middle and an end and should include a warm-up, a review, a new lesson, and a closing activity.
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