#5 What I’ve Learned from Teaching Music: Keeping the Group Involved

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With a beginner group of six students for guitar, the 1 hour lesson can be divided into four quarter segments, this is not an absolute but it gives you a grip on what you plan to achieve with individual and group tuition for each segment.

Here is a basic one hour lesson plan in four segments;
1…Memorising notes (progresses to scales) can include music notation, tablature and playing a melody on the instrument.

2…Chords, beginning with C & G7, explain how to practice, memorise and right hand strumming.

3…Guitar techniques, eg slide hammer on etc, spending some time on tablature, including licks, riffs  etc

4…Group performance, this is a piece chosen within the skills of a beginner, in this instance, something up to date preferably, for motivation. divide the group up with 2 on the melody 2 playing chords 1 on a riff, and 1 on the bass.

So now we have a basic outline to work with, but how do we keep them involved in the lesson?

In every segment there is always at least one time when they will all play together as a group no matter how rough it sounds, this is a great leveller and they are learning rhythm techniques from the outset. For example in section 1, note playing, I have three tracks of each song in the course book, at a slow medium and fast tempo so they can all get involved in playing along.

In section 2 I use the same three tracks for strumming along to the same songs. The most difficult skill for a beginner is changing from one chord to the next, to make this easier you can assign a chord to pairs two groups of three one playing C and one playing G7.

In section 3, guitar techniques, I use different tracks suited to the technique the students are learning and this is in the 12 bar blues format with only 2 or 3 licks to each study again you can give students who are good at lick (a) just to play lick (a) only and those who are good at (a) & (b) do both licks etc.

But section 4 is the absolute favourite, group performance, students come for the lesson and want to do this first but I always save it until the end to keep them focused on the music education involved in the lesson.
https://youtu.be/XufxFgpAuxk

Individual tuition is always needed and in every segment I always listen to what each student has been practicing and advice on improvement which nearly always is applicable to the whole group. 

When students are enjoying the lesson there is a great atmosphere in the room, I love this, when students get to know each other really well and me of course and this brings unique issues which don’t happen in a one to one lesson, I will discuss this in the next blog.

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