Music 16A/B: Beginning Acoustic Guitar/16B Blues Pop, Jazz Guitar

Syllabus, Summer 2018

Beginning Acoustic Guitar - tentative Winter 19 schedule 

Week 1: 

Chapter 1, Getting Started

  • Parts of the guitar, seating positions 
    • most important elements: keep guitar neck horizontal or higher;
      if sitting in "classical" position, guitar neck should be at a 45 degree vertical angle;
      if sitting in "folk" position, guitar neck should be angled away from body at approximately 45 degrees, so that shoulder is relaxed, and arm is outstrteched slightly
    • left wrist should be straight, thumb kept behind guitar neck (can protrude above neck, but do not clasp the neck with the thumb.
    • keep fingers curved like "a bunch of bananas," play from tips, not pads, of fingers

Lesson 2: notes on the fretboard/fingerboard

  • musical alphabet, half and whole steps
  • Accidentals–we won’t be playing these for a while
  • String names/numbers (Elephants And Dogs Got Big Ears)
  • Octaves

Lesson 3

  • Reading tab; "Mary Had a Border Collie"
  • left hand position, technique

Lesson 4:

  • First Chords: chord chart, fingering, strumming, left hand position: Chords D, A, G

Lesson 5 intro: changing chords: muscle memory and minimum effort/pressure

• If you can see it, you can play it!Appendix: Buy a metronome: working with a metronome (in class practice)

For next week: practice chords every day, using changing tech. Work on melodies with pick

• look ahead to new chords: E, C, p. 15,
• read Chapter 2, Reading music

Week 2

Chapter 2 Reading Music: the staff p. 16

Warmup: fingers 4 3 2 1 at 5th position

  • Remember the "bunch of bananas"
  • play on fingertips
  • keep all fingers close to frets, without stretching out (move hand as you change frets)
  • keep thumb behind neck, between fingers 1 and 2
  • Use pick, pluck downstrokes on each note

Learn notes on the 1st string, notes on the second string

  • Lesson 1: Notes and the Staff, Lesson 2: notes on the first string: pick exercise, notes on the 2nd string
  • Lesson 4, Time - Whole, half, and quarter notes
  • Lesson 5, 3rd string: Oh Susanna!

New Chords: Assigned "Rock and Roll Wonder Dog," "You Move My Boogie Machine" 

 Week 3:

Chapter 2

  • Continue Oh! Susanna, p 20
  • Continue Lesson 6: Rests - When the Saints Go Marching In p. 21
  • Lesson 7 (p. 22), eighth notes
  • Lesson 8, Notes on the 4th String: begin Old Joe Clark

Chapter 3 - More new chords: 

  • Review all chords,
    • "Your Move My..." "Rock and Roll Wonder Dog," "This Hammer's too Heavy" "Canadian Campfires Song"

 Chapter 2

 Week 4

Test 1.

For the playing part, you'll be asked to play "Oh! Susanna," "When the Saints...," "Rock and Roll...," and "You Move My...." 

*you will play in groups of 3 or 4 people, so you need to be able to count, and play at whatever the group determines is an appropriate tempo (whatever the slowest player in the group prefers). 
*You will need to erase any letter names written in the music- you just need to know the notes.
*the grading criteria will be based on time-keeping, accuracy, proper fingering, use of the pick, and left hand position (especially not "clenching" the neck with your left thumb, and not touching the left palm to the back of the neck).

For the written part, here are the topics:

*Tuning. watch the video I've posted, and be able to describe what fret and string to play for tuning each string
*Identify all of the note names and values by their proper names; be able to write the counting underneath a short exercise; know the names of musical components (staff, time signature, etc)
*Identify the parts of the guitar
*Identify strings by letter name and number
*Identify notes by fret and string (1st, second and third strings)
*know the half and whole step relationship between notes, and the accidentals. 


Continue 4th String, Old Joe Clark - p. 23Begin
Minor Chords, p. 30, 31: Heavy Fog, Heavy Fog, It Makes Me Happy
For next week: Bluegrass G and C, p 31; The Art of Strumming, p. 32; Eighth rests and dotted notes, p. 24

Week 5

Warmup: fingers 4, 3, 2, 1 in 5th position. Keep all fingers close to string.

Begin Chapter 4: Basic Fingrpicking, p. 42. Read instructions carefully. Learn Arpeggio Patters 1 and 2, p. 43. 

  • Practice each chord separately; practicing on open strings (no left hand fingers) is most effective.

Continue Lesson 7: Eighth Notes. practice Old Joe Clark until smooth. Use up down picking as directed.

Continue Minor Chords: Heavy Fog, It Makes Me Happy

Begin Lesson 2, Bluegrass Chords: C, G, p. 31

Begin Lesson 3: The Art of Strumming; Learn Train of Dreams, using each strum pattern, p. 33

Begin Lesson 9: Eighth rests and Dotted Notes. We practiced clapping all dotted rhythms, measure by measure. Learn Exercise 19, p. 24.

 Friday, Feb 15 is a Holiday - NO CLASS. Please practice the material above diligently for this week; Look ahead to 

  • alternating Bass pattern 1 and 2 arpeggios, p. 44
  • Chapter 2, Lesson 10: Notes on 5th and 6th Strings. Learn all exercises on p. 25, Ode to Joy, Cluck Old Hen, p. 26
  • Chapter 3, Lesson 6 and 7: Syncopation. Learn Cadd9 chord, Strumming Through the Heartland

Week 7: Friday, Feb 22


  • learned the C major scale, p. 52
  • reviewed fingerstyle technique, practiced “block” chords, as well as the pima, pami arpeggio patterns along with patterns 1 and 2 from book
  • reviewed minor chords with Heavy Fog It Makes Me Happy
  • worked on syncopated strum, and Train of Dreams – using the tie, the C add9 chord and Strumming Through the Heartland, p. 39
  • If I recall, we played Old Joe Clark, p. 23
  • I assigned students to look at the 5th and 6th strings, p. 25

 Normally we would have a test week 8, but because of the holiday, it will be postponed until Week 9

 Music16B - Blues, Jazz, Pop Guitar


Week 3

  • Review Am Blues shuffle (Horne handouts)
  • Gee Blues, melody and moveable 7th chords
  • Begin Secondary 7th chords, "Horizon" - strummed version
  • continue C major scale, 2nd position
  • Fingerstyle: Continue The Cruel War is Raging 


Lesson Videos

Beginning Acoustic Guitar

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