GuitarCurriculum One-Page: Order of Topics

Post date: Sep 23, 2015 1:06:03 AM

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 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, 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