Last year I really stepped up my drum curriculum. I went from one outdated lesson book and supplementing with Groove Essentials for a few advanced students to a more thorough and modern lesson book, lots of great supplemental material, videos, and weekly playalongs. We've focussed on rudimental studies and relied heavily on technique. The focus hasn't been as much on WHAT you play, but HOW you play it. 

This is natural and healthy for a teacher. As I grow as a player and educator, my methods and curriculum may change. As new books are made available, they will be worked into the curriculum. Please do not read that I am flip-flopping methods and ditching everything for something new and shiny. 

For drum students, it all comes down to rudiments, technique, and coordination. From the most simple task to the most complex, everything relies on the above three things. 

Which brings me to guitar...For some reason, there is a real lack of resources for guitar education. Don't get me wrong, there are TONS of method books and songbooks. But most of these are pretty awful. They focus on strange methodologies, are overly simplified or overly difficult, and there aren't many that focus on technique. I'm not sure why this is as there is a wealth of resources available for other private instrument lessons (piano and drums, for instance). 

For years, I have been using Mel Bay's Modern Guitar Method for beginners and I still think it is the best place for beginners to learn the fundamentals of music, gain finger dexterity, and learn the basics of the instrument. I have supplemented with other books for different genres when students reach a certain level of mastery (for example, Christopher Parkening's Classical Guitar books for those interested in classical/fingerstyle guitar). 

I think that variety is the key but, especially with my teenage students, I need to have something systematic and methodical to work through. Teaching random songs and techniques is fun, but it leaves a lot of holes in one's playing and is difficult with the attention span of most teens. I need something concrete that we can work through and accomplish. 

So, I've been researching for a few weeks and have narrowed down the list to a few books that I'll be trying out this semester. I'm fairly confident that one of them (Total Rock Guitar) will become the new lesson book for my intermediate students interested in rock guitar, while the others will be great supplemental material. 

So, here is the list of books that I'll be working through for the first few weeks until lessons begin. You can expect to see brief reviews of my initial thoughts on each book soon. 

In no particular order...
Guitar Fretboard Workbook 
Guitar Aerobics 
Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar 
Total Rock Guitar 
Chord Tone Soloing 
Rhythmic Lead Guitar The Advancing Guitarist

Feel free to check these out on Amazon and let me know what you think. Reviews coming soon! 

Patrick Morris
9/16/2011 01:07:03 pm

ha im your old student and rightnow im learnig shuffle beats andbosa nova

9/16/2011 02:33:09 pm

Patrick, Great to hear from you and that you're still learning and growing! Keep up the great work!


Leave a Reply.