Guitar Classes



Instructor: James Smith, Jr.  
Young Beginner  11:00-11:30
Advanced Beginner   11:30-12:00

All classes are music focused with emphasis on the guitar. Students are encouraged to learn other instruments; specifically the piano because the guitar has its foundation in piano.

QUOTE: There can be no milk, cheese, or butter until the cow is milked. Milking the cow is a fundamental step to obtaining foods from milk. Guitar rudiments are fundamental to progressing as a guitar player. This applies to the professional as well as the beginning novice. j smith

FUNDAMENTAL RUDIMENTS: Reading a book is an acquired skill that requires a focus on fundamentals and practical application of those fundamentals. Playing the guitar is exactly the same.


By the end of the school year all students must

(1) Be familiarize with the definition of music

(2) Know the parts of the guitar

(3) Be able to tune their own guitar

(4) Be familiar with and able to describe a few general music terms because this allows communication of instructions between the student and the teacher. (Terms are introduced from the simple to the complex depending on the level of the class.)

(5) Guitar music principles are reinforced using simple melodic phrases that can be found in most simple songs. Students will learn new melodic phrases and learn to read those phrases on the guitar or piano staff (song books or sheet music). Students will be encouraged to write their own phrases and demonstrate them.

(6) Chords are not taught as a major focus. (It becomes a handicap. This will be address in depth as classes are being taught.) Chords are introduced in increments of two, three and four note melodic phrases. Advanced chords (altered scale degrees) are reserved for Intermediate and Advanced levels

(7) The major scale is a starting rudiment and must be practiced. It is the foundation for all songs. Songs will be taught from the notes of the major scale. A focus on minor scales may or may not be addressed; depending on the progress of the students.

(8) Note taking in #2pencil is required. Additionally students must bring Pencils and erasers A loose leaf notebook with lined paper. Handouts must be kept in this notebook for reference and preparation for testing. All guitars must have straps All guitars must be in a case or a soft protective bag Tune guitars prior to the start of class A music stand will not be required for the first 3 to 4 classes as communication foundation and terms will be stressed

(9) Written, oral and practical (demonstration) evaluations will be administered and used to gauge student progress.

(10) Play the guitar requires strong fingers, wrist, dexterity and fingertip calluses. It requires the ability to make movements with the right hand and left hand independently. Strength is developed by physical exercise -



Instructor: James Smith, Jr.  12:00-1:00

The intermediate student is expected to have moderate experience with playing the guitar. They should have no difficulty tuning their guitar or naming the parts of the guitar. They should have mastered the basic requirements mentioned above.

Intermediate students are expected to know how to play a major scale (minimum)

Know the open-string note names in standard tuning

Navigate the fretboard of the guitar in standard tuning by note names

Navigate the fretboard of the guitar in standard tuning by scale degrees Knowing the basic twelve chord shapes will be helpful using the 1st 3rd and 5th scale degrees. (This will be taught and emphasized in class)

The major focus of intermediate guitar is (Practice is essential)

(1) Reading single line melodic phrases on the guitar staff of the piano staff

(2) Reading and playing songs introduced by the teacher

(3) Hearing the interconnectivity of scales, chords and song movement

(4) Chord rhythms Students who miss class or fail to practice and review the notes taken in class and the handouts will likely fall behind.

The class will continue to progress with the most eager students.



Instructor: James Smith, Jr.  1:00-2:00

The advanced student is expected to have the skills of other levels under their control. A little time will be give to allow adjustment to the teacher and the class material "a little time"!

This is a more complex study of the guitar and music written for the guitar. Students will be introduced to more guitar styles and famous guitarists from various genres.

Introduction to Country, Blue Grass, Jazz, Blues, & Rock will play an important role in student development because other styles have develop out of these styles. They all have similarities that will be beneficial to understand.

Students will be encouraged to sharpen their music dictation skills from hearing a song to transcribing the song on the guitar staff.

Eye-flow on the guitar is much different than most other instruments. Thus guitarist try to rewrite or minimize the confusion that can result between hand, eye, music page, fretboard hand and picking hand.

Hearing and playing chord progressions (songs) in major and minor keys will be explored (time permitting) if student progress warrants.

Ear training will be stressed as much as reading the notes on the staff because one must learn to feel and anticipate the flow of the music in addition to just reading.

Playing in duet and other group forms will be explored and encouraged. Timing is critical in group play. Students must learn to hear themselves within the structure of the song with other players and b-l-e n-d.

Practice of the hand-eye coordination, i.e., sight reading will be stressed and evaluated. Practicing slowly with the metronome is like crawling before you walk before you run before your fly.