IMG_0207“When I had the chance to teach at 4-5 grade level I chose to use guitar as the teaching device/instrument. Its combination of note playing and chord playing is what caused me to use it.”

Name: Leon Enneking
School: Batesville Middle School, Batesville, Indiana
Subjects Taught: General Music Elective/Guitar; General Music 7th grade rotation/World Music Drumming:Afterschool Gyil Ensemble(African Xylophone);Steel Band(at high school)
Number of Music Students p/Yr: 230
Number of Guitar Students p/Yr: 30(not counting private lessons)
Total Guitar Students: In 36 years, about 800

Teaching Guitar Workshops: Tell us a little about why you decided to teach guitar?
Leon Enneking: I have always been interested in guitar. I was in a garageband in middle and high school in the 60’s and early 70’s (this is when garageband meant you practiced in the garage.) Played bass in a band in college, but spent more time getting ready to be band director. Taught guitar privately during my teaching career, but when I had the chance to teach at 4-5 grade level I chose to use guitar as the teaching device/instrument. Its combination of note playing and chord playing is what caused me to use it. The administration was good with it since it was popular with the students.

Teaching Guitar Workshops: You studied with us in 1999, have you been teaching guitar since then?
Leon Enneking: I taught guitar privately during my whole career, but after the 4-5 grade teaching, I did not teach a class of guitar until this school year.

Teaching Guitar Workshops: You contacted us because you were interested in taking our Level II class? Why are you coming back to us after all this time?
Leon Enneking: Since I am now teaching a class in guitar, I felt that a refresher would be helpful.

Teaching Guitar Workshops: Describe a typical guitar class.
Leon Enneking: Once we get past the first couple of introductory weeks, we know structure class in this way. We do blues and blues variations using a 2- string boogie pattern. Students can solo/improvise a melody using the minor pentatonic over the changes. Next we do note reading, scales, and simple songs. Following that is a song where we work mostly on chords. We use a variety of styles; country, rock, pop, and others from 1900 to the present. We always end with an easier song that the students enjoy. This is a 40 minute class

Teaching Guitar Workshops: What is the most fun or rewarding element of teaching classroom guitar?
Leon Enneking: I get to sing, play guitar, and share what I love with my students.

Teaching Guitar Workshops: What is the most challenging element of teaching classroom guitar? How are you dealing with that challenge?
Leon Enneking: Trying to keep the quicker students engaged and advancing while bringing the slower students up to the level. For example, in the song “Amie” the advanced students are working on the leads/solos while the other students work on the chords and strumming patterns.

Any other thoughts or insights for teachers (currently teaching guitar or considering it)?
Leon Enneking: As with most teaching, if you understand classroom management, have a knowledge of the subject matter which is at least a little beyond the students, you can teach.

Teaching Guitar Workshops: What do you think would help you teach guitar in the future?
Leon Enneking: Techniques to emphasize note reading with a group. Ways to balance the desire of students to play songs which they hear and listen to with songs which teach skills needed to progress steadily.

Teaching Guitar Workshops: How has the Teaching Guitar Workshops Program helped your career?
Leon Enneking: They were a good introduction into teaching guitar to a group. They introduced me to several outstanding guitar teachers, who were very open to questions, and easy with their answers.

Teaching Guitar Workshops: Aside from guitars, what other products do use during your class?
Leon Enneking: Picks, capoes, stands, tuners, sound amplification, wireless mikes and wired mikes, guitar efffect unit, playback/recording devices, method books.

Teaching Guitar Workshops: Does the school supply the instruments?
Leon Enneking: We have a classroom set of 25 guitars including 12 steel string acoustics purchased this school year.