An Instrumental Music Facilitator's Role
Whilst I teach some well known songs and common chord patterns, it is very important for the student to develop the skills and understanding to eventually access or even create the music of their own choosing. My role is not to impose one way of playing or interpretting music but to suggest ways the students can approach their playing to bring out the best in them. This does obviously involve pointing out playing that can be improved but also gets the student to think for themselves once the options are given. The focus would be on technique (ways of playing the instrument) and how to understand, read and write the type of music they would want to go on and learn or write. This does involve learning set exercises and music in course books (with some choice over the music they select within this). Once some basic skills are learnt the student can apply more creative approaches to their practice and playing. To ensure students maintain improvement I encourage developing the skill of Self Assessment by learning some very effective assessment tools. Learning this skill isnt automatic for students, it has to be learnt. One thing that often helps this is by using a structured step by step course.
Its also important that the student's understanding of music and technique isnt too narrow otherwise their playing will not be able to adapt to their changing musical tastes. For example, once technique is set up at the beginning it is extremely difficult to change later when a student often shifts their interests to another style of music. A poor technique will also generally hamper their progress as well as produce a poor sound on their instrument.
Sometimes my role will be sometimes 'Instructional' (offerring technical advice, suggestions or methods that would help) and sometimes 'Enabling' ie helping the students develop their own judgement regarding their playing.
Benefits of doing 'Grades'
One method that works extremely well to establish a good foundation for learning is a 'Graded' approach (examples being RGT@LCM or Trinity ect). You can learn for enjoyment only or take up the exciting challenge of doing graded exams. Taking the exams can, if you need them, give you internationally recognised qualifications and UCAS points for University entrance. Grade 6 and above will give A level standard. But also Grades 1-5 gives recognised GCSE levels (see Ofqual Accreditation). I am a registered RGT tutor and have been teaching their syllabuses since 2007 (prior to this I taught Trinity College grades) and although I can never guarantee students will pass, I have a 100% pass rate with a vast majority achieving Merit or Distinction.
Grades gives yourself clear targets to aim for. Whether the exams are taken or not, students will greatly benefit from following a structured approach. I have found, however, that those who do take the exams often find that his gives them focus and something to aim for and will often greatly accelerate their learning.
The Courses and Book Requirements
1) Acoustic Guitar: 'The Guitar Way'* course (no exams and flexible),
2) Acoustic Grades (Exams optional and now available online):
RGT - LCM (University of West London) Acoustic Grades:
Books up to grade 8(Beginner to Advanced). Each book provides all that is required for each grade and exam. However I will send you either supplementary sheets or a free copy of my book 'The Guitar Way'. Grade books can be purchased from: http://lcmmusicshop.uwl.ac.uk/ or other sources such as Musicroom or Amazon.
Scales and arpeggios
Rhythm Studies (strumming)
Instrumentals (covering different acoustic guitar styles)
Creativity in playing
Musical Awareness and Knowledge
3) Electric Guitar Grades (Up to Grade 4. Exams optional and now available online):
RGT - LCM (University of West London) Electric Guitar Grades:
Books up to grade 4 (Beginner to Intermediate). Each book provides all that is required for each grade and exam. Grade books can be purchased from: http://lcmmusicshop.uwl.ac.uk/ or other sources such as Musicroom or Amazon.
Support Material for Guitar Courses
*'The Guitar Way' book: Developed over my years as tutor in schools and private tuition. Topics dependent on the needs of the student: I will send you a free copy of my book after the second lesson. Used as a course in itself is ideal for those students who wish a more flexible approach to their learning, especially if they want to mainly learn to play songs. However, it does provide alot of support material for those taking the Graded approach.
Development of Rhythm
Most common Pop song chord patterns
Popular finger-picking styles: Contemporary Acoustic, Folk, Blues, Alternating Bass, Classical.
Music Theory for Guitar
Developing good Fretboard knowledge
Self Assessment tools
Sight Reading skills and methods to speed up reading
Using Visualisation in playing, memorising and sight reading