Archive for the ‘Teachers’ Category

Kid’s Guitar Chord Chart and Chord Flash Cards

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Just added: our new Easy Chord Chart for Kids! It uses only the top three strings of the guitar, making the chords much easier for little hands.

Kid's Chord Chart

Kid's Chord Chart

And Chord Flash Cards:

Chord Flash Cards

Chord Flash Cards

I suggest using the flash cards to play little games in order to learn the chords, rather than for drilling. Two of each chord are included. They can be used in a memory game, where all cards are placed face down and the student needs to find a pair. When they find a pair they have to play the chord correctly to keep them. Or sometimes I line them up on the floor and place a game piece on one end. The student rolls a die and moves the game figure. If they play the chord they land on correctly they stay if not they go back. Who ever gets to the end first wins. Or print two copies and play “Go Fish.” The possibilities are endless!

Woody Cartoon – Reading Music

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Our first educational cartoon is now available on our YouTube channel. It stars Woody, the mascot, and covers how to name the notes on the staff. Follow it with a game of Note Squish or Note Fish. The next part of the cartoon will cover rhythm. Let me know what you think! Thanks.

CAGED Worksheets

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

I put together some worksheets as a follow up to the CAGED videos from 2 weeks ago. Click Here to download the four page worksheet and answer key. They work on a basic understanding of the first step in using the CAGED system, namely finding the right CAGED shape for a specific area of the guitar.

CAGED System Worksheet

CAGED System Worksheet

For more on the second step of using the CAGED system, visit our Super Scale Trainer. There you can tie together arpeggio / scale patterns with CAGED shapes. For example a great first step towards mastering the CAGED system is learning to play all major arpeggios in all 12 keys. By using the CAGED system all 12 keys simplify down to 5 unique patterns. And those 5 patterns all tie in to the CAGED shapes, so it’s really not as much work as it sounds. More on this soon..

Motivating Young Students

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

The greatest challenge in being a guitar teacher is motivating students to practice. Unless a student has a goal or a deadline, practice usually falls by the wayside. So as a guitar teacher I have devised many ways to motivate students to practice and give them reachable goals. Recitals are always successful. I have also tried practice schedules with varying degrees of success. Recently I began looking around at other disciplines for inspiration. Sports often have similar requirements in terms of practice. They have an advantage in that they are usually made up of teams. The social pressure of a team is usually enough to get its members working harder. So I have made great use of small groups such as guitar quartets as well as a guitar orchestra I help run (visit ).

Belt Progress Sheet

Belt Progress Sheet

All of these help,  but I needed something more. Enter the Guitar Black Belt Program. Based on the system of belts used in Karate and other Martial Arts, I devised a system of belts starting with white and moving through various colors until the student reaches a black belt. Along the way the student has to accomplish various goals and tests in order to achieve a new belt. I customize eachs students “belt test” to fit their age and ability, but each has to practice and play something to pass. Practice includes both on-the-guitar practice and game time ( I have found the mental practice involved in the games of immense value, but that’s a topic for another day). I make each student earn 25 points and then pass a test. A beginner might earn points by practicing for 15 minutes whereas an advanced student might require an hour. Students can also earn points for playing the games for certain amount of time or getting a high score. After 25 points are earned the student takes their belt test. The tests might be playing a piece memorized or learning a set of scales, basically anything I really want that student to accomplish.

I enter all this on a sheet for them to keep track of their progress and then post it on a white board in my studio. Students often come in and see other students making progress towards a certain belt and are encouraged to do so themself. Below is a link to the page I use with my students.  Feel free to use it with your own students. Also I bought a set of ten colored ribbons at a local arts and crafts store (they cost about 50 cents each) and I tie these “belts” on the students guitar as an indication of their rank. The great thing about this system is that it provides the student with healthy competition, by comparing their work to other students, as well as goals tailored to their abilities. All in all I have found it a great motivational tool.

Download Guitar Belts Page PDF…