Guitar Initiative

Guitar Initiative:
Supporting Students and Great Teachers


Guitar Initiative is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated the support of new or already existing guitar education opportunities for students in schools and in the community.  

Teacher training:  We offer training for any teacher to add a guitar program at their school. 

Instruments:  We can help obtaining instruments and materials for your guitar class.  

Summer Guitar Conservatory:   A four-day summer guitar camp for students ages 11 to 18.  Tuition is free for the student.  June 19-22, 2018.

Let us know how you would like to get involved in promoting guitar education in the Houston area!  

You can help!  You can make tax deductible donations to any of our programs, instruments for schools, teacher-training or Conservatory sponsorships.

Click here to donate to our instrument grant program campaign:


Or please visit our  Donate  page for more information on our latest programs.

Guitar Initiative Workshop Schedule Spring 2018

posted Sep 25, 2015, 2:06 PM by Edward Grigassy   [ updated May 12, 2018, 3:24 PM ]

Here are the dates and times for the free Guitar Initiative workshops for the SPRING SEMESTER 2018:

Thursdays, 4:30pm - 5:45pm, Bellaire High School, Room 263

Jan. 11, 18, 25
Feb. 1, 8, 22             (NO meeting Feb. 15)
Mar. 1, 8, 22, 29      (NO meeting Mar. 15)
Apr. 5, 12, 19           (NO meeting Apr. 26)
May 3, 10, 17           (NO meeting May 24, come see the student recital at Sylvan-Rodriguez Elementary instead! 5:00pm)

Major local guitar education events:

HISD All-City Guitar Festival, Feb. 24. 2018, Pershing Middle School, 8:30am - 3:00pm, FREE
Bellaire HS Guitar Fesitval, Apr. 23, 24 and 25, 2018. Evening concerts of beginning classes, start at 7pm, Bellaire HS Auditorium, FREE
Bellaire HS Guitar Fesitval, Apr. 26, 2018. Evening concerts of advanced classes, start at 7pm, Bellaire HS Auditorium, FREE
Bellaire HS Guitar Fesitval, Apr. 27. CLASS CONCERTS. Day time concerts each period, 8:30am - 2:15pm, Bellaire HS Auditorium, FREE
The Summer Guitar Conservatory, June 18-21, 2018 -- Pershing Middle School, FREE for the student, includes an Adult Class and a Guitar Teacher's Workshop.

Questions you may have:

1) Can I bring my children?  Yes.  They can participate in the guitar class (a great chance to work with new beginning students), or they can work on homework. 
 
2) Should I bring a guitar?  Only if you really want to bring yours.  We have a class set of full-sized guitars for us to use.  If you have children that will 
participate in the class, ages 6 to 13, you may want to bring a 1/2- or 3/4–size guitar for them.  We will teach classical guitar (right hand fingerstyle) technique 
on nylon-stringed guitars.

3) Do I need to know how to play guitar?  No!  We will be presenting the GuitarCurriculum.com program, created by Austin Classical Guitar society, 
and it does NOT require that the teacher knows how to play the classical guitar.  We will spend time every week learning basic techniques, and learning 
how to teach these techniques to new beginner students.  Our goal is to make sure you will always be several steps ahead of your student.

4) Do I need to be a music teacher?  Not necessarily.  Ideally you are familiar with how to teach note-reading, rhythms and how to conduct an ensemble 
(with or without a baton), but even without all this, as long as you have had some musical training, you are welcome to attend.  Special instruction is available 
to prepare you for the music content test for TEA, if you wish to add Music K-12 to your current Texas teaching certificate.

5) Can I add guitar to my existing program?  Yes.  We will discuss how to obtain instruments and the necessary accessories you will need for your specific 
situation.  As of now, we are beginning a fundraiser for this project, but ideally your school (or you personally) would help purchase instruments.

6) Where do I park?  You may park in the faculty parking lot entrance on S. Rice.  Bellaire H.S. is located on S. Rice and Maple.  This is about 2 blocks north 
of Beechnut on S. Rice in Bellaire.  The complete address is 5100 Maple St., Bellaire, TX 77401

7) Do I need to check in at the main office?  Not if you have a HISD badge.  Only adults (18 and over) that are not HISD employees would need to check in.

8) Other questions?  Call or email  Edward Grigassy:  832-693-8345,  egrigass@houstonisd.org

GuitarCurriculum One-Page: Order of Topics

posted Sep 22, 2015, 6:06 PM by Edward Grigassy   [ updated May 14, 2016, 2:00 PM ]

Here is a simple ONE-PAGE I made for quick reference.  

I call it an "Order of Topics," in other words, it's what to teach a guitar class, in order, from day one.  An itinerary of class lessons.

I follow this order with each class.  We only move on once the class has clear mastery of the topic at hand.  As the teacher, and rehearsal director, I am constantly checking visually for good technique (with straight wrists and proper finger motions).  As I conduct, I listen for good tone and give the students constant, gentle, focused feedback.  If I can use silent gestures to get students to correct inefficient or bad technique, I will gesture silently to the student.  It seems to be the fastest form of feedback.

I try to only use my guitar to MODEL HOW to do the new technique or to SHOW the students what the part sounds like.  Of course, I strive for modeling with good tone and good technique.  After modeling the part or technique, I prefer to switch to conducting the students WITHOUT the guitar.  The students need to learn to see the baton and to follow the beat.  It is so tempting to play along, but in most cases, my part on the instrument is not needed.  My role is better served with the conducting baton.

Notice that "following the conductor" is one of the first items you can have kids do at the very beginning of this itinerary.  You can do this any time with any phrase, scale, pattern or exercise.  It's fun for everyone! 

This order typically gets me all the way through a full year of beginning guitar (I see the kids once a day, every day).  Where you see the “Presentation / Performance” this means I recommend a performance for other students, the teachers, or a formal recital, depending on your situation.  And there are other pieces on the GuitarCurriculum.com website for Level  1, Level 2 and Level 3 students.  The more pieces your kids play, the more interest kids will have in the class and in the ensemble.

If your current class is in a different place on this timeline, or have not covered a particular topic so far, you can always go back in the list of topics and start there.

Basically this is a timeline for each class to be walked through.  This can also work as an itinerary for students that enter the classroom late.   You may even be able to have "up to date" students teach many of these concepts to the late arrivals.

In classes with grades, almost each item could be, or should be, a grade.

If you don’t see the kids every day, you can still try to get through all of Level 1 in one year!  If you don't get a group to Level 2, that’s O.K.  You are still giving them a great technical foundation with a solid i-stroke, p-stroke and m-stroke, AND they are learning how to follow a conductor.  

Thanks to the creative team at GuitarCurriculum.com, the pieces for Level 1 are very musical and the students and parents will enjoy them very much. 

Please let me know if you have any questions about any of this!  I'm excited to be sharing this with you all.

-- Edward Grigassy

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