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GUEST,Marion guitar workshop concept - long (33) RE: guitar workshop concept - long 09 May 03

Hi Merritt, good idea for a thread. Here are some of my reactions:

1. What you have is definitely more than two hours worth of material, even for one-on-one
teaching. Is there any way you can make the teaching time longer, rather than the
curriculum shorter?

2. I think the idea of teaching them to think of chords as 1, 4, 5 etc. from the very
beginning is excellent, as is pointing out the common progressions. I wish I'd known earlier
that each song isn't a whole new thing to learn.

3. Another thing that I think would be good to introduce near the beginning is some ear
playing - just to demystify it a little. Once they know a 1 and 5 chord in some key, ask them
to mess around a bit and see if they can play "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" or
"Skip to My Lou" by ear - many of them will pleasantly surprise themselves. Once they have
a 1, 4, and 5 in some key, ask them to try teaching themselves Amazing Grace (tell them
which chord to start on, and tell them that the only options are G, C, and D or whatever).

4. I share Les' scepticism about the open D tuning - it would be fine during the workshop,
but would mess them up when they try talking with other novices, or getting key changes
by watching hands, or using almost any other instructional material.

If you want them to be able to play a song after 15 minutes of study (which they would
probably find very encouraging), I'd suggest you start with baby versions of
standard-tuning chords. If someone asks me to teach them to play something at a party or
something like that, I always start with baby C and baby G (each chord has only one finger
down when strumming only the top 3 strings), then a 1-5 song they can play with those.
Then, a normal D chord (perhaps still just strumming 3 strings to avoid confusion) to do a
1-4-5 song. Then they're hooked and you can show them the full version of those chords,
and go on from there.


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