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  #196  
Old 02-08-2019, 09:18 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Originally Posted by rlawton View Post
Hi Jim,

I’m a newly retired middle school music teacher and have taught countless guitar classes at the middle/high school level. There are so many directions to go here.

Is there a music program at this school? You might want to contact them to see if they have guitars somewhere in the district you can use. I know you’re only there for a short while but you might be able to start a “guitar club” that can continue. If there are no guitars I would look into a “go fund me” to get guitars kids can sign out.

Don’t buy cheap student guitars if you can avoid it. I taught classes with cheap guitars and all I did most classes was walk around and tune them. I ended up buying Martin backpackers (I know-not good) but they stayed relatively in tune and were quiet. Also, a good setup will really help.

Guitar classes are popular with music teachers so there is a lot of material online.

BTW, I am also an avid sailor and bought owned a Suncat awhile ago based on your recommendation on the trailer sailors forum.
Hi Rahn,

Small world, huh? I remember you from the TSBB. Thanks for the tips. My daughter just texted me - sounds like the group of kids she received permission slips from (except one) will have their own guitar. We'll see what they come up with.

Best wishes,
Jim
  #197  
Old 02-08-2019, 09:24 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Captain,

If memory serves (and that is questionable these days) . . . "Puff the Magic Dragon" can be approximated using just D, G and C.

I assume that 13 year olds would recognize it, . . . even if they may think they are too old for the song

Good luck,
Jim K
Thanks, Jim. Whenever I hear the song "Puff the Magic Dragon," I flash back to that scene in Meet the Parents.

I have no doubt that my daughter lives in fear of me saying, "Hey, kids, here's a little song I think you'll enjoy - it's by Eric Clapton... "It's alright, it's alright, it's alright..."

  #198  
Old 02-08-2019, 01:38 PM
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I'd probably start with Row Row Row Your boat--the lyrics are pretty easy and there's minimal chord work. Old McDonald Had a Farm would be a fun, and easy one for urban kids. Just a thought.
  #199  
Old 02-08-2019, 09:40 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Joan found a 3-chord Taylor Swift song (Shake it Off), that the kids may relate to. She has been doing research for me, as well.

Of course, going with the assumption that these kids have no guitar experience, we won't be starting out with playing songs. This evening, she did tell me that all but one of the kids has been in band... so, they should have some foundation and understand what practicing is all about. I am encouraged.

After Monday, I'll have a better idea of what I am in for.

Today, Joan and I hit up a couple more guitar shops, looking for a potential nylon string guitar. The woman is an enabler... I have been looking at guitars in the $299 to $600 range, she brought me a couple guitars and said, "Don't look at the price tag, just play it." One was a Taylor 312ce-n... it spoiled me for the lesser expensive guitars. I think I will take a break from my search for a few days. This evening, she has been looking at entry level guitars for kids. I may have said this before: "After Monday, we'll have a better idea of what we are in for."
  #200  
Old 02-08-2019, 11:00 PM
jdinaz jdinaz is offline
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My 9 year old grand niece started lessons last summer, when we visited, she wanted to play me what she had learned, I wasn't expecting much of course, but was surprised when she ripped into "Smoke on the Water" on her Daisy rock guitar. LOL one string, one finger, but it was enough to motivate her to continue. OK, ripping into it may be a slight exaggeration. She called last week and was asking about Telecasters. She may be hooked. I'm so proud.
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  #201  
Old 02-09-2019, 08:32 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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My daughter asked today if I would look at a guitar that one of her students will be using for the class - she said, "It looks like a toy, Dad." It is missing one string, and I told her I'd put a new set of strings on there if it will make the guitar better.

When I saw it... yep, it is a plastic toy. With steel strings. Purple, adorned with butterflies. I am not exaggerating: the strings were nearly 5/8 of an inch off the neck at the 5th fret. I had to tell her that strings were not going to make this toy playable. I tried to tune it up and couldn't get a playable chord out of it. No way would a small girl get anything but frustration trying to learn on this.

She asked if we could go to Guitar Center. I have to preface this with the fact that my sweet daughter is not a guitar player. She never had an interest. Doesn't care to be around boats, either. If you are wondering about a swap in the hospital nursery, she looks like a blend of my wife and me, with many of my traits. I love her passion.

We looked at a bunch of guitars today - I played them for her and gave her my impressions. Frankly, I played guitars that I wouldn't have given a second look at in my not so distant past. In the end, she liked the sound and look of a couple different Yamahas - one a parlor size, the other a Grand Concert size. I offered to pay for them, but she insisted that giving my time for the kids was more than necessary. This was out of her pocket. With the 20% off e-mail I had, it was just under $300. For two very decent guitars. I was actually quite impressed with the sound, set-up, and playability of the Yamahas. While she doesn't know anything about guitars, she put her finger on the strings of these and could see what I was talking about with these compared to that "toy" guitar. She and I had some discussion about the looks of the different guitars. She received some education today.

Added a package of picks. I'll bring a tuner, some extra strings, and some visual aids. I think we are ready for this first class on Monday. We'll see what the other kids bring in for guitars. And mostly what they bring for interest and passion.

Our son-in-law was fired up, too (he is also a teacher, at a different school in the same school district)... may be another budding guitar player in the family.

Volunteering in her class, I see the passion she has for not just teaching these kids, but helping them develop as people. No doubt I sound like a proud Daddy, but it is a treat to watch her work with "her kids."

Why else would I tell her "Sure," when she asked if I'd help with long division on Monday... after working with the kids on their Gravity Cruisers, and before the after-school guitar class?

"You know I'm retired, right?" "That doesn't mean I have unlimited time, it means I'm not supposed to be on someone else's schedule. Just saying."
  #202  
Old 02-10-2019, 07:56 AM
TheChicagoTodd TheChicagoTodd is offline
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Originally Posted by Captain Jim View Post
My daughter asked today if I would look at a guitar that one of her students will be using for the class - she said, "It looks like a toy, Dad." It is missing one string, and I told her I'd put a new set of strings on there if it will make the guitar better.



When I saw it... yep, it is a plastic toy. With steel strings. Purple, adorned with butterflies. I am not exaggerating: the strings were nearly 5/8 of an inch off the neck at the 5th fret. I had to tell her that strings were not going to make this toy playable. I tried to tune it up and couldn't get a playable chord out of it. No way would a small girl get anything but frustration trying to learn on this.



She asked if we could go to Guitar Center. I have to preface this with the fact that my sweet daughter is not a guitar player. She never had an interest. Doesn't care to be around boats, either. If you are wondering about a swap in the hospital nursery, she looks like a blend of my wife and me, with many of my traits. I love her passion.



We looked at a bunch of guitars today - I played them for her and gave her my impressions. Frankly, I played guitars that I wouldn't have given a second look at in my not so distant past. In the end, she liked the sound and look of a couple different Yamahas - one a parlor size, the other a Grand Concert size. I offered to pay for them, but she insisted that giving my time for the kids was more than necessary. This was out of her pocket. With the 20% off e-mail I had, it was just under $300. For two very decent guitars. I was actually quite impressed with the sound, set-up, and playability of the Yamahas. While she doesn't know anything about guitars, she put her finger on the strings of these and could see what I was talking about with these compared to that "toy" guitar. She and I had some discussion about the looks of the different guitars. She received some education today.



Added a package of picks. I'll bring a tuner, some extra strings, and some visual aids. I think we are ready for this first class on Monday. We'll see what the other kids bring in for guitars. And mostly what they bring for interest and passion.



Our son-in-law was fired up, too (he is also a teacher, at a different school in the same school district)... may be another budding guitar player in the family.



Volunteering in her class, I see the passion she has for not just teaching these kids, but helping them develop as people. No doubt I sound like a proud Daddy, but it is a treat to watch her work with "her kids."



Why else would I tell her "Sure," when she asked if I'd help with long division on Monday... after working with the kids on their Gravity Cruisers, and before the after-school guitar class?



"You know I'm retired, right?" "That doesn't mean I have unlimited time, it means I'm not supposed to be on someone else's schedule. Just saying."
Sounds like you have brought your daughter up very well and have very good reason to be proud! Well done, and have fun tomorrow!

Cheers...

Todd in Chicago
  #203  
Old 02-10-2019, 10:15 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Originally Posted by TheChicagoTodd View Post
Sounds like you have brought your daughter up very well and have very good reason to be proud! Well done, and have fun tomorrow!

Cheers...

Todd in Chicago
Thanks, Todd. She is a good kid... if you can call someone in their mid-40s "a kid."

She is kind, but firm. I appreciate that she takes no crap. She has been teaching for 19 years. When she and her husband made a change to this school district a few years ago, there were parents who transferred their kids from the old school district to this one so they would be in her class. She finds ways to reach kids... their test scores show it.

I see how much time away from school that she puts into the job. I used to have a work ethic like that.
  #204  
Old 02-11-2019, 10:08 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Well, the first guitar class is history. We started that after 3 hours of Gravity Cruisers (science) and long division with our daughter's Math Intervention group.

Certainly a variety of guitars, but they had one thing in common: no one knew how to tune 'em. In order to move things along, I tuned the guitars. One young lady said the guitar had been in their attic for over 15 years... nylon strings, and I'm pretty sure they were original.

Some discussion about the parts of the guitar, how to sit and hold it, and expectations (if you don't practice, I will be able to tell). I played parts of a couple "two chord songs" (yes, I did a Taylor Swift song) to give them a brief idea of how we can move on to learning songs as soon as they get a few chords down. And then went on to introduce them to "C" and "G"... there was a lot of "Oh, my fingers don't bend like that!" and "Ow - it hurts!"

"Time to toughen up those finger tips."



During it all, there was a certain amount of string strumming when I handed out a pick for each participant and a few "OK, no playing for a moment!" interjections from me.

No idea if any of them will stick with it, but there is "initial enthusiasm." We'll see how it goes.
  #205  
Old 02-12-2019, 12:56 AM
TheChicagoTodd TheChicagoTodd is offline
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Originally Posted by Captain Jim View Post
Well, the first guitar class is history. We started that after 3 hours of Gravity Cruisers (science) and long division with our daughter's Math Intervention group.



Certainly a variety of guitars, but they had one thing in common: no one knew how to tune 'em. In order to move things along, I tuned the guitars. One young lady said the guitar had been in their attic for over 15 years... nylon strings, and I'm pretty sure they were original.



Some discussion about the parts of the guitar, how to sit and hold it, and expectations (if you don't practice, I will be able to tell). I played parts of a couple "two chord songs" (yes, I did a Taylor Swift song) to give them a brief idea of how we can move on to learning songs as soon as they get a few chords down. And then went on to introduce them to "C" and "G"... there was a lot of "Oh, my fingers don't bend like that!" and "Ow - it hurts!"



"Time to toughen up those finger tips."







During it all, there was a certain amount of string strumming when I handed out a pick for each participant and a few "OK, no playing for a moment!" interjections from me.



No idea if any of them will stick with it, but there is "initial enthusiasm." We'll see how it goes.
Glad your first day is behind you. You have far more patience than I would....[emoji3]...hope things continue to progress.

Cheers...

Todd in Chicago
  #206  
Old 02-12-2019, 01:27 AM
jdinaz jdinaz is offline
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What! No fog machine? Looks like you have their interest and I think it's pretty cool to at least give them some exposure of what to expect. Good stuff.
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  #207  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:17 AM
rlawton rlawton is offline
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I am hesitant to post this as I don’t want to seem critical and I certainly commend you for your willingness to do this. I have learned a great deal from you over the years in the sailing forum so I will post this on the chance that I can help you. Here goes:

1. Start with E major first because it will be easier to do the changes between E, A, and D since you have “anchor fingers” between the chords.

2. I would start with strumming (after tuning, of course) a basic pattern on beats 1 and 4 very slowly to start, just open strings to get the strumming in their right hands.

3. They should learn finger numbers and string numbers as I would yell them out as they’re playing. This would drive me crazy because I also taught piano and the thumb was “1”.

4. I started with “Go Tell Aunt Rhodie” because of the simple chords and it’s easy to sing. I had tabs for the song which I would send to you but I escaped from NY to Florida. Before you think that a more “modern” song would motivate them more, teaching little kids for 12 years taught me that all music has value and is motivating if it’s played with musicality.

5. Don’t discount sites like justinguitar.com. He has many song recommendations and his beginner course is free.

My beginning classes would start with tuning by me (which is an important lesson for them to learn later), then I would introduce the material. Then we would all practice it together followed by individual practice as I circulated helping them individually. You will find kids who learn it easily so I would partner them with others who needed the help. Toward the end of class or if everyone was stuck, I would go back to whole class practice. I always ended my class with “performing” the song without pausing.

Just a few ideas of things that worked for me. I firmly believe that you can only teach who you are so what worked for me and my students might not work for you and yours.

I have lots of tabs and chord charts if you’re interested, though I won’t be home until early March.
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  #208  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:07 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Doesn't seem critical at all, Rahn. I gave them handouts with string names and numbers. This first class was a discovery for them, and for me. I appreciate your advice and will incorporate that as we progress.
  #209  
Old 02-12-2019, 10:24 AM
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This is a really sweet thread. The photo indicates that the students are awake and paying attention--that's a good start. Showing the photos to the kids might help keep the enthusiasm going.

I like the logic of Rl's E major recommendation.

Are there any singers in the group?

You keep this up and you could have a movie--we could call it The School of Rock.
  #210  
Old 02-12-2019, 11:51 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Hi, Evan. If I had to use one word to describe myself it would be: a really sweet guy.

No idea if there are any singers in this group, but as it progresses, I hope to find out. There certainly are plenty of talkers.

"You think this is hard - you should try to learn clarinet!"

"Clarinet? That is nothing. My lips still hurt from playing trumpet!"

Me: "Less talking, more finger pressing."

I didn't tell them about my first electric guitar... "You think your fingers hurt playing that guitar? Why, back when I was your age..." Nope, I thought it, but I didn't say it. Restraint doesn't come easy for me.

You might want to go easy on that "sweet" talk - I have a reputation to uphold.
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