Here is a pdf copy of the Beginner Guitar Method Book that I created for my students here in Philadelphia. It’s offered free of charge. While I had a lot of fun developing it and learned a lot doing that, I no longer use it. In fact, I stopped teaching steel string acoustic and electric guitar and decided to focus on where my passion is. Classical Guitar Lessons, both for kids (using the Suzuki Method) and adults.
Keeping your child's guitar in tune is an essential part of creating beautiful music and, less obviously, maintaining motivation. An out-of-tune guitar can be a motivation-killer because an out-of-tune instrument sounds bad! If your child repeated plays with an out-of-tune guitar, they'll begin to attribute the bad sound as a lack of their own skill (rather than simply an out-of-tune guitar).
Because of this, it is essential to tune your child's guitar before each-and-every practice session.
You'll need the following items:
This should get the job done in most situations. However, your guitar will eventually run into a situation where you need to know the 100% solution. So bookmark this page. When you tune your child's guitar and it still sounds out-of-tune, come back read the whole page.
For parents of Book 1 students: You only need to tune the first 3 strings (at least, until we start playing with the thumb).
Warning for Guitar Playing Parents: On smaller instruments, some strings have been re-tuned to compensate for tension issues that crop-up when playing small strings. Because of this (and to ensure that your child is playing at concert pitch), please use the tuner when tuning your child's guitar. (Do not use the fifth-fret method or other methods of tuning the guitar to itself). Additionally, if your child is playing on a very small guitar or ukulele, do not tune the bass strings (unless they are playing songs or exercises which use the bass strings).
In this blog post, I'm going to share with you 3 of the basic Suzuki Principles. These principles are:
Of course, each item on this list merits an entire blog post (or series of posts!) on their own right. However, the idea behind this post is to get you up-to-speed on the Suzuki Philosophy as quick as possible
By the end of this post, you'll have a basic understanding of the importance of each of these principles and how to apply them to music lessons with your child.
Praise and Encouragement is an essential part of developing your child's motivation and desire to play. Think back to your enthusiasm and generous praise for every mumbled word your child attempted while learning to speaking their first words. With so much positive feedback, you child thrived. Recreating this encouraging environment is a key part of your child's success.
To do this, praise your child whenever they accomplish even the small goals. Do this both at home and in the lessons. During lessons, keep an eye out for the teacher's "cues for praise". For example, you can applaud when your child does a bow. This serves to reinforce the teacher's praise with something much more powerful; your own praise.
Praise and encouragement is very powerful in motivating young children. It also helps them stay on-task in the lesson and develops their internal desire for the instrument. Furthermore, when your child sees music as a place they can reliably turn for love and support, they will flourish both in lessons and in life.
Daily Practice is essential to your child's development. Consider the body-builder who goes to the gym 1-day-a-week and is disappointed by his results. Contrast this to the every-day body-builder. Incredible results are only achieved with the compounding effects of daily effort.
First of all, you need to know that a complete, well-balanced practice session consist of listening, review, preview, and skill development. Additionally, developing the ability to break your child's struggles into small, solvable problems. That's just the basics; we'll dive into details in other blog posts.
There are many types and styles of practice. As a parent, it is essential that you learn some of the basic styles of practice so that you can guide your child towards success during your practice sessions together.
There are many benefits to developing and using multiple practice styles. Not only will your child will progress much faster, but it will also help avoid BPS (Boring Practice Syndrome). Keeping practice interesting and progressing to new songs quickly will keep your child engaged and help them develop a sense of pride in their instrument.
Listening to Suzuki recordings helps your child develop an aural "image" of what they will be playing. As an illustration, imagine asking your child to draw a picture of something they've never seen (pun intended). The results would be inaccurate, to say the least.
Daily listening will help your child understand the song and know what sounds they are looking to get out of the instrument.
The Simple Version: Play the Suzuki album (specifically, the album for the book you're playing through) as background music during any activity.
The Super-Charged Version: (credit: Michelle Horner)
1) Make a playlist of the current song you're working on and the next 3 songs.
2) Listen to it as much as possible.
Daily Listening will teach your child what they're supposed to sound like. It will also give them a clear goal. Additionally, they'll develop an understanding of the song before they learn to play it, rather than trying to understand the structure and melody of the song while also trying to learn the notes. As a result, they'll progress much faster.
Now that you understand the importance of Praise, Practice, and Listening, use each of them as a routine part of your child's musical life. Be sure to keep an eye out for my next blog post. In it, I'll be rounding out our overview of the Suzuki Principles.
Many people came to my old website for my free PDF blanks of staff paper, tab paper, and chord charts. That page couldn’t quite find a home on my new website, but here on the blog those downloads can still reside:
There ya go! I hope they are useful to you.