A Step-by-Step Guide to Giving Beginners Guitar Lessons

A music teacher giving guitar lessons

Image Alt Text: A music teacher giving guitar lessons

There are several ways to organize a lesson plan for beginners who’ve just started playing the guitar. Regardless of how you teach, the main objective is to keep students excited and motivated.

This guide will discuss strategies guitar teachers can use to incorporate key concepts such as mastering precise finger movements across the fretboard and changing between chords effectively. The initial lessons can be used multiple times during the early stages of learning.

A music teacher teaching how to play guitar

Finger Exercises

For a thirty-minute class, you can start by teaching some basic exercises to warm-up fingers. Review a couple of scales relating to the song or solo you’re going to play. For example, the C Major Scale makes setting up a song in the key of C easier. It also helps students memorize the fretboard.

Single-Note Basics

For beginners, start with one single note – the most basic musical element of the guitar. During this lesson, single notes can be used to introduce concepts such as reading tabs, alternate picking, and note value.

Allowing Students to be Creative

Teach your student skill and let them be creative with them. For instance, many students often start practicing scales which increases their knowledge of the neck and gets their fingers moving. Once you reach the scale, let them make up patterns and melodies within the scales.

Strumming a chord will make them feel how different notes sound when played over that chord. Moreover, providing basic backing tracks will get them to listen to what they’re playing. That’s how they can improvise and feel like a real musician.

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Image Alt Text: A music teacher teaching how to play guitar

Fretboard Memorization

Fretboard memorization will make barre chords easier for students and allow them to take a chord shape. Once they’ve memorized the fretboard, they need to know the notes to that scale.

First, you can cover the sixth and fifth strings (the thickest ones) as they’re present where chord root notes will be located. Since the high and low E is the same, you can just go over the two strings to help your student memorize half the fretboard. The lesson should cover the following:

  • The notes of every open string in a typical tuning (E, A, D, G, B, E).
  • Notes for the first twelve frets of every string (mention the fact that they repeat at the twelfth fret).
  • Explaining that the sequence of notes is the same, but the starting point is different, based on the string.

Basic Intervals

Mentioning root notes can help you explain intervals because having an interval requires the player to have a root note. Once they understand this properly, intervals simplify a concept that can be difficult to put into words otherwise. You can introduce some theory even in the earlier stages, especially when it comes to interval spacing.

Two-Note Power Chords

This lesson is best suitable to discuss the perfect fifth as it can introduce your student to their first chord. Their first chord is a basic, two-note power chord (moveable across the fretboard). Once you cover the theory notes, help the student improve the physical aspect of fretting the chord and moving it from one fret to another.

Later, you can add notes to the two-note power chord and get them used to more complex variations.

Focus Less on the Theory

Instead of learning the theory, students find it easier to visualize and understand the guitar basics. The repeating notes across the fretboard develop muscle memory which requires no theory. Moreover, the songs students want to play on guitar are varied. As they play more, their guitar skills will get better over time.

Imparting Confidence

Since beginner guitarists have never learned to play before, you must encourage them to be confident. Make them realize that they can learn and play the guitar like their favorite artists.

Learning an instrument is largely associated with self-criticism and self-doubt. Removing these doubts in your student’s minds will allow them to work on their skills and practice consistently.

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