6224560801_6f006eb790_zIt’s been a long summer – thank goodness – but now you’ve got to teach guitar again. If you need a little refresher, you’re not alone. No worries! We’ll get you in shape for your new crop of eager guitar players. Let’s get down to some fundamentals.


Let me guess: You haven’t touched your guitar since the school year ended. OK, you’re forgiven. The instrument has 6 strings (see Bryan Adams below) that may need tuning. The notes are: E, A, D, G, B, E and numbered: 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Can’t remember that? OK, your students probably can’t either. You can try going the route of Sol – Do going from 6 – 5 (eg – E – A), etc., but you might get tripped up at the G – B. Instead, try these acronyms:
• (make it cute) Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears
• (make it dangerous) Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie
• (inject some history) Eventually America Defied Great Britain’s Empire
• ….when you’re in class challenge your students to come up with a great acronym and send it to me!

Finger Pickin’ Good

Before you teach guitar, warm up your fingers. Getting your hands around the instrument will give you the confidence to get up in front of your students and teach. In this video Shelley Brobst demonstrates a warm up for the class with an i – m pattern. This will test your right and left hand coordination and it alternates i-m picking. It will also stretch your hands, wrists and fingers.

Single String Scales

In this video Rob Pethel demonstrates a warm up pattern for playing a major scale on a single string. Something that’s great about this: the scale pattern is the same on all six strings – gotta love guitar. Use this as a refresher for the notes from the open strings to the 12th fret!

Strum Up Some Music

Guitarists do lots of strumming…especially beginners. Different strumming patterns are great because they can make the same 3 chords into a brand new song (see Richie Havens below). This video from GuitarSkills.com will give you the basics – the up-strum, down-strum notation should make sense to you strings players out there. Also, strumming is a great way to bring out the rhythmic nature of the guitar for you and your students.

Chords Barre All

If you can’t remember every chord shape, download a pdf like this one. Still can’t – or don’t want to – remember all those chords shapes – then cheat! Learn barre chords instead. You will only need a couple of chord shapes backing up your index finger and a strong will to zip up and down the neck of the guitar. Here’s Rob P’s awesome series on Barre Chords.

Bassline Scavenger Hunt


Teaching Power Chords


Building the Power Chord


Completing the Barre Chord


Barre Chord – Bottom to Top


Putting it all together, Rob takes the class through the bass note, power chord, add the pinky, add the middle, lay it down…you’re done!

I hear the school bell ringing…gotta go teach guitar!