Classroom Difficulties

I need to read some books. Specifically, I need to read about how to teach a father and son to play guitar when they have very different skill levels and learning styles. The father is learning chords through youtube videos (which I encourage) and working at changing between them for different songs he is interested in learning. The son thinks chords are too hard and only works on single string songs (Smoke on the Water; Louie, Louie; Seven Nation Army; etc.). I’ve tried to combine their interests with Ring of Fire by Dad playing the chords and son playing the solo, but last night was our third class that included that song and there was not a lot of progress on the solo.

Luckily (and rightfully so), the Dad wants to work with his son…to help him! So they are going to work on it together for next week. And I’m not trying to say that they are doing a bad job, if anything I’m doing the bad job. The difficult thing for me is that I don’t know what I’m doing. The original goal was to offer a free 6 weeks of lessons to people I know want to learn guitar. This was to be a taste and then they could go from there. The problem is I now feel responsible for their long term growth and learning!

So, anyone who has taught out there, how do you handle a class with different skill levels? I know what I would do for a fencing class, but my inexperience here seems to prevent me from translating that into more effective teaching here.  Do I stop everything and work on one thing till it is perfected? Do I introduce new stuff more slowly? I want to keep things interesting and moving, but I don’t want to leave anyone behind.

Oh, man! Teaching is hard!

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2 thoughts on “Classroom Difficulties

  1. “I know what I would do for a fencing class”. And why would it be different for a guitar class? Go with your gut instinct and I bet you’ll come up with the right answer.

    And the number #1 piece of advice I could give is that you are NOT responsible for their long term growth and learning – they are. Your responsibility is to be there to help, support and facilitate.

    • Ha! Good point. Although for a fencing class, my first step would be to have an assistant coaches work directly with the struggling student. 🙂

      I think I’ll basically create two curriculums for the different learning styles. But you’re right, it is up to them to learn. I just worry that I am not providing proper support, nor facilitating their learning. Thanks for the advice!

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