Guitar homework? Isn’t that just called…practicing? Yes, practicing the stuff you cover in class will make up a significant percentage of your students’ homework. That being said, there are other, more creative homework assignments that can help strengthen their understanding and appreciation of guitar. (Put differently: guitar homework that doesn’t suck!)
(Little) Wing It!
Have your students listen to their favorite album or station and play along to the best of their ability. The more fun they’re having, the more likely they’ll be to practice on their own and continue with guitar. Have them play something they’ve taught themselves at home for the class. And if there’s anything that stumped them at home, this is a great opportunity to help them fill in the gaps.
Assemble a Jam Band
Playing in isolation can be frustrating and some students may have trouble self-motivating. Arrange a jam for your students (perfect for chords and leads). Even better, have them play with other instrumentalists and singers. If another instructor can help facilitate, all the better. The aim is for the students to give each other ideas and introduce them to playing in an ensemble.
Build a Guitar
Great for young players: Plywood…cardboard…rubber bands. Have your students build and decorate their own guitar at home. This will not only be fun, but it will give your students an appreciation of how their instrument is (more or less) constructed. It will also be a challenge to see who can make a guitar with the best sound and how it was achieved. If access to materials is an issue for some students, see if you can allocate some.
For those with basic crafting skills: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Rubber-Band-Guitar
For those with advanced skills:
Alternative Finger Dexterity Exercises
It’s easy to find stretches and exercises to limber up the fingers, but why not set down the guitar and do something totally different? Knitting and playing with a Yo-Yo are just two alternatives to your run-of-the-mill finger dexterity exercises. (Note: if knitting seems like an activity fit for grandmas, encourage your students to knit something they can give as a birthday or mother’s day gift.)