If I Ruled the World, Everyone Who Wanted to Learn The Guitar Would Have To Begin with Classical Lessons!

The Concept of the Concept.

When music educators discuss “the concept” they are loosely referring to the students general overall understanding of everything. In terms of your average guitar student, someone between the ages of 14 and 30, they have already developed a very good concept by being music fans, joining bands and general playing activities associated with the craft. This means they comprehend song structure, improvising, dynamics, and the general musical interplay associated with properly executed and interesting music -having absorbed these ideas through a sort of osmosis a good many don’t need this ‘concept’ to be taught or explained to them.

The Quandary of Teaching Elementary School Guitar Students.

In my experience very few students on the elementary school level exhibit any clarity in regards to “the concept”. Although they enjoy the popular music of the day, trying to teach them modern guitar techniques, songs, and important ideas -the things that make those lessons meaningful and educational such as song form, chord function, improvising, music theory and chord scale relationships are normally far outside of their purview. Taking the approach of professional level musical training in modern idioms with elementary school students has rarely worked out very well for me with of course a few notable exceptions as several of my former elementary school students have become very successful in the music business; however they were born to be musicians.

I of course am aware that many elementary school students are burning up YouTube with Van Halen covers, Django Reinhardt impressions and blues mastery but these kids represent those far from the norm, far from average.  Pointing to children like those internet sensations as a viable approach to music education equals pointing to lottery winners as a model for personal financial success –it can’t happen to everyone.
classic guitarist

Every Student Deserves To Be Exposed To Classical Guitar

Classical Courses Of Study Make Sense To The Young Mind

When I taught general music on the elementary school level I was impressed with the progress students could make when they participated in the band and orchestra program, they were engaged, they understood what they were doing and they were absorbing sound musical principles as a result. Granted most of this training was simply music reading and sight singing but if you’re a fellow educator reading this article you don’t need me to tell you the importance of these two courses of study.

cadences and patterns 2

Classical Music Is A Good Way To Impart Elements Of The Musical Concept To Younger Students

I have taken this approach to heart so much so that I now refuse to take elementary school students unless they will study classical guitar with me first. The results are of this practice are that I keep students longer, give them a better education, they are more engaged in what they are doing and just like all those kids from the elementary school music programs they develop musical minds and a solid concept. When you think about it, classical music is the perfect vehicle for imparting the concept of “the concept” to youngsters because they are learning to be self-contained music makers, capable of playing complete and coherent pieces of music as well as absorbing all the essential bits of music theory, constructs and ideas that classical guitar composers use to do their work.

Call Me Crazy

I believe there is a magic to classical music, it can impart  a sense of beauty and artistic sensibility simply by following any one of the traditional methods currently available, playing the pieces with sincerity and dynamics, and developing a nice little repertoire.

Solo Guitar Playing by Frederick Noad

Solo Guitar Playing by Frederick Noad


p.s I prefer Frederic Noad but anyone you like will do just fine.


2 thoughts on “If I Ruled the World, Everyone Who Wanted to Learn The Guitar Would Have To Begin with Classical Lessons!

  1. I love your articles? What do you suggest to toughen up your fingers to learn to play guitar?
    I tried once but my fingers are arthritic and hurt too much. Now I can control the pain but still need an excersize to make them tough. help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *