Guitar Lessons

THE NEW SCHOOL GUITAR METHOD

Musical learning should be an enjoyable and challenging experience, and great emphasis is placed on this – while pressing forward to musical excellence.  Games are used extensively throughout the learning process, and rhythmic solfege (konokol) is used as a means to learn syncopated and precise rhythmic phases.   Music theory and notation is woven into the course material.  The parent (or adult family member) attend the guitar lessons, and initially learn the material along with the child in order to help coach and encourage them on a daily basis.

Daily listening and singing, with the repertoire recordings, are key to developing the ear and musical ability.    Over time, the students will learn to read and write standard music notation, and will eventually move into private lessons and ensembles.  The playability of the student’s guitar is very important.  A quality ¾ size guitar works well for very young students, and a recommended ¾ size instrument list will be provided at the parent orientation, along with additional info on the class.

The New School Guitar Method leverages the prior work of pedagogy greats:  John Wooden (recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, record breaking UCLA coach, and author of the Pyramid of Success), Jack Petersen (pedagogical architect for jazz guitar and jazz improvisation at Berklee, University of North Texas, and University of North Florida), and  Shinichi Suzuki (classical violin & early childhood education innovator).


CHILDREN’S ACOUSTIC GUITAR  — New School Method

(weekly semi-private lessons and group sessions)
For ages 5  to 10

LEVELS: I, II, III

This children’s guitar course has proven to be a very fun and effective way for children to learn to play the guitar  – with a pick, starting at a very young age.   Music education not only helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning, but also improves teamwork skills, discipline, creativity, academics, and self-expression.

The New School Guitar Method was developed by Richard Spencer when he began teaching his young children to play diverse music by great musicians.  The repertoire includes folk songs, Duke Ellington, Bach, U2, Kenny Burrell, Bob Dylan, Dvorak, and others – and particularly the artists whose lives provide an outstanding model for young people to be inspired by.

The lessons use frequent teaching games, and meet in a 45 – 60 minute weekly session for a group of 3-4 children of similar ages.  The child’s parent (or adult family member) also attends the lessons, and acts as the child’s music coach during the week.  There is also a monthly 45 – 60 minute combined group class (up to 12 students) in which the children play through the material they have learned, and participate in music theory games and activities.

CHILDREN’S ELECTRIC GUITAR

(weekly semi-private lessons and group sessions)

For ages 6 to 10

LEVELS:  III, IV

(Prerequisite for this course is the Children’s Acoustic Guitar class or equivalent.)
This course is a continuation of the Children’s Acoustic Guitar class, and has proven to be a very fun and effective way for children to learn to the  guitar  – with a pick, starting at a very young age.   Music education not only helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning, but also improves teamwork skills, discipline, creativity, academics, and self-expression .

We use the New School Guitar Method, which was developed by Richard Spencer when he began teaching his young children to play diverse music by great musicians.  The repertoire includes folk songs, Duke Ellington, Bach, U2, Kenny Burrell, Bob Dylan, Dvorak, and others.

The lessons use frequent teaching games, and meet in a 45 – 60 minute weekly session for a group of 3-4 children of similar ages.  The child’s parent (or adult family member) also attends the lessons, and act as the child’s music coach during the week.  There is also a monthly 45 – 60 minute combined group class (up to 12 students) in which the children play through the material they have learned, and participate in music theory games and activities.


Guitar Classes for Teens and Adults

ACOUSTIC GUITAR

INTRODUCTION TO THE GUITAR
LEVELS: I, II

For students who have had no experience with the instrument.  Fundamentals of the guitar will be demonstrated through the use of popular, contemporary tunes.  Emphasis will be placed on basic chords, various methods of strumming and finger-picking, tuning the guitar, etc.  Because different faculty teach different styles, we will attempt to get certain classes to specific playing styles.  Repertoire will include songs by current artists, and classic artists such as Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Neil Young, etc.  The aim of the course is to allow the student to begin to play for his or her own enjoyment and as introduction to more accomplished playing.

 

LEVELS: III, IV

This is designed for the student who has either completed the Introduction to the Guitar course or who has equivalent experience on the guitar.  The emphasis is on improvising basic guitar techniques such as strumming and basic picking, and introducing the student to playing along with others with basic two-part arrangements.  Basic Travis picking will also be covered.  The material is the same type of folk and rock styles listed in introduction to the Guitar.

 

INTERMEDIATE ACOUSTIC GUITAR

LEVELS: III, IV

This class is designed for students who already have basic knowledge of the instrument.  The student will be introduce to open tunings, fingerstyle techniques, mixing melody and chords, basics of harmony, barre chords, fundamental scales, flatpicking, etc. The purpose is to expose the student to a variety of styles that will both increase proficiency on acoustic guitar and prepare him or her for a more advanced and/or specialized course.  Repertoire will include popular, folk, rock and blues tunes.

 

INTRODUCTION TO FINGER STYLE GUITAR

LEVELS: III, IV

Introduces the student to both traditional and contemporary fingerstyle repertoire and techniques.  Finger style guitar gives the student an opportunity to use the guitar as a solo instrument and as accompaniment for singing.  Travis picking leading to voicing of full melodies supported by independent bass lines will be taught.  Repertoire will be taken from traditional artists such as John Hurt, Leadbelly, etc. and contemporary performers such as Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor.

 

FINGER STYLE GUITAR

LEVELS: IV, V, VI

These courses are designed for the student who wishes to treat the guitar as strictly a solo instrument.  Emphasis will be placed on creating independent bass lines against melodies and exploring decorative techniques (pull-offs, hammer-ons, slides, etc.).  Theoretical concepts will be discussed and related to arranging for finger style guitar.  Music of artists such as Fahey, Kottke, rev. Gary Davis, Merle Travis,  and Chet Atkins  and various arrangements of popular and standard tunes will be explored.  Also, basic folk and blues ragtime progressions will be covered.

ELECTRIC GUITAR

NOTE: Amplifiers are provided by the New School for students with electric instruments. Those students are requested to bring their guitar cords with them to class.

BLUES GUITAR

LEVELS I, II, III, IV

In addition, artists such as T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Gary Clark, Jr., Muddy Waters, etc. will be discussed.  Also the impact of the blues on rock, jazz, and pop musicians will be explored.  Basic theory and techniques will be examined, along with a study of the expressiveness and tastefulness found in great blues guitar playing.

 

BASIC ROCK SKILLS

LEVELS: II, III

The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to basic guitar technique through application to rock tunes.  We will begin by covering barre chords and simple scales and work up to improvisational skills.  Recordings will also be used as models for study.  Examples will be drawn -from classic rock & roll through contemporary rock, using artists such as Chuck Berry, the Beatles, the Stones, etc.

INTRODUCTION TO ROCK GUITAR

LEVELS: III, IV    

This course is designed for the student who has completed Basic Rock Skills and/or is currently playing on an equivalent level.  Materials will be presented that will develop fluency as a soloist and rhythm player in the rock idiom.  Attention will be focused on the development of technique for right and left hands, ear training as applied to improvisation, basic theory and its application, etc.  The student will also explore the “tricks of the trade” used by various artist to produce special effects.  Music covered will include songs by such artist as the Beatles, Clapton, Hendrix, Page, Jimmy Page, Rolling Stone, and others.

 

CONTINUING STUDIES IN ROCK GUITAR

LEVEL: IV, V, VI

This series of courses will continue to develop materials and concepts presented in Introduction to Rock Guitar.  These will include development of scales and modes and their application in improvisation.  The student will also learn solo transcriptions by such artists as Clapton, Hendrix, Jeff

Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Johnson, etc.   Attention will be focused on understanding theoretical concepts that underlie various artistic styles.  Students will work in an intensive playing situation learning multiple guitar arrangements and improvisational skills.  Performance tips and discussions of equipment and effects will be included.

 

COUNTRY/ROCK / POP GUITAR

LEVELS: III, IV, V

This course is designed for the intermediate guitarist in the country/rock idiom.  Studies will include the development of scales, double stops, melodic patterns, fill and their application in improvisation. Music of artists such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Doug Sahm, Jerry Jeff Walker, Redd Volkaert,  and Brad Paisely  will be incorporated.

 

INTRODUCTION TO JAZZ GUITAR

LEVELS: III, IV

This course will develop basic skills in the jazz idiom.  Emphasis will be placed on a thorough understanding of the guitar through application-oriented studies of chords, scales, harmony and their relationships.  The student will also learn methods for developing technical expertise and establishing a productive practice routine.  Studies will include artists such as Kenny Burrell,  Pat Martino,  Pat Metheny, Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow Les Paul,

 

CONTINUING STUDIES IN JAZZ GUITAR

LEVELS: IV, V

This course will deal with more complex scales and their related chords, chord-melody techniques, and melodic pattern while utilizing standard jazz tunes and music from contemporary jazz guitarist.  The student will also learn and analyze solo transcriptions of the jazz greats.  Additional attention will be given to the further development of technique and ear training.

 

JAZZ ROCK/FUSION

LEVELS: IV, V, VI

This course is designed for the student who has previous playing experience and wants to be exposed to jazz-rock/fusion  music.  Different jazz-rock tunes will be covered with emphasis on lead guitar and improvisation.  Chord progressions, rhythms, scales and licks pertaining to jazz-rock music will be discussed.  Repertoire will draw from artists such as

Larry Coryell, Al Dimeola, Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin, John Abercrombie, Allan Holdsworth, Pat Metheny, etc.

 

ADVANCED JAZZ GUITAR

LEVELS: V, VI

Designed for players already proficient technically and possessing a good knowledge of music theory, who seek new approaches to interpretation while improving their knowledge of the instrument.  Studies will include intensive transcription studies, ear training, melodic and harmonic analysis, and contemporary improvisation techniques while drawing on players as mentioned in the previous jazz guitar courses.

 

CLASSICAL GUITAR

 

INTRODUCTION TO CLASSICAL GUITAR

LEVELS: I, II, III

Intended for the serious beginning student interested in pursuing classical guitar studies.  Emphasis will be placed on proper right and left hand positioning, correct sitting posture and familiarization with the fingerboard through various exercises.  Study of selected pieces will draw from composers such as Sor, Carcassi, Milan, and Giuliani.

 

CLASSICAL GUITAR STUDIES

LEVELS: IV, V, VI

For the intermediate to advanced student.  Emphasis is on refining student’s technique especially in the areas of tone production, sight reading, dynamics and precision and ensemble playing.  Study of selected pieces will draw from composers such as Bach, Villa Lobos, Dowland,  and Handel.