One of the hardest things to do as a classroom guitar instructor with your beginning guitar players is to add new notes or chords and then jump right into a rehearsal. Those young little minds need some time to make those new connections. When I first started teaching, I’d make the rookie mistake and just PLOW THROUGH. Let’s get through this song! We’d get through, and what did I have to show for it? Basically …. a song that sounded nothing like what it was supposed to, frustrated students, and a disappointed teacher.
I’ve found that “chunking” really helps (hence the picture of good old Chunk from Goonies!) Here are my favorite chunks!
1. Assign partners to take ONE MEASURE. They are the master of that one measure, and they have 1 minute to get it perfect. We play the entire song as a class and they play their measure when we get to it. Excellent way to keep kids accountable, assess how they are doing, but most of all to break the information down into little bite-sized chunks (delicious)! It’s also good for students to follow along in the music and see how their measure fits within the larger picture.
2. Do the same with chords! Row one you are in charge of the D chord, row two you that the G chord, and row three you take the C chord.
3. This is great for adding a new note. Let’s say we’re adding a song that has the note G for the first time. Tell them….I want you to play this song that has our new note G in it….but I ONLY want you to play all the G’s….that’s it. Then reverse it. I want you to play everything BUT the G’s. Finally play everything!
CHUNKING …. it’s what for dinner….or …what you should be using in your rehearsal.