Beginner Guitar Academics

The Guitar
Beginner Academics Syllabus


1.      To enrich and enhance the life of each student through music.
2.      To develop in each student a respect for music.
4.      To understand the basic elements of music: melody, harmony and rhythm.
5.      To experience music as a medium for individual expression.
7.      To foster the discipline and challenges of learning a musical instrument.
9.      To share the result in the form of live performance.

Students will learn both the melodic movement on the guitar as well as how to use the guitar as an accompaniment instrument. Right-hand techniques will be introduced and include playing with a flat pick as well as an introduction to Classical, finger-style. and hybrid-picking  Left-hand techniques will include learning index finger movement, proper positional finger placement and open position chords.  Introductory music theory and song writing will be discussed, taught and encouraged. Each student will be writing at least one of their own melodic linear compositions consisting of 12 bars.

The beginning level student will study and become well acquainted with the following Guitar Academics.


Identify and name the parts of the acoustic and electric guitar.
Know the difference bewteen a steel string acoustic guitar, a Classical guitar, and an electric guitar.
Understand string gauges for acoustic and electric guitar and develop a personal preference.
Know the meaning of the word “Dreadnought”.
Identify and recall fingerboard dots and spacings.
Identify the letter names and numbers of each string.
Develop correct posture and understand the reasoning behind good posture.
Develop correct left hand technique.
Be aware and use several contact points on and between the finger tip and finger pad.
Develop independence and strength in the left hand.
Prime finger placement on the fingerboard for sounding notes.
Understand pick thicknesses and the materials they are made of and develop a personal preference.
Demonstrate and use the favoured pick holding approach and execution used by most players.
Demonstrate each of the 3 methods of that approach that will be employed to further develop pick holding technique and preference
Flat picking (thumb straight).
Angled picking / thumb knuckle bent outward.
Angled picking / thumb knuckle bent inward.
Understand the Downward Pick Slant approach.
Understand the pros and cons of each picking method pertaining to tone.
Understand and employ at least 2 right hand anchor / pivot point techniques
Anchor/Pivot point finger placement.
Anchor/Pivot point palm placement.
Explain the advantages of anchor points and pivot points for picking.
Demonstrate right hand muting techniques.
Demonstrate the minimum movement picking principal.
Demonstrate 2 methods of free hand strumming
i.e.: Strumming using the Flat part of the pick (face)
i.e.: Strumming using an angled pick approach (edge).
Understand the pros and cons of each strumming method pertaining to tone
Understand the basics of rhythm consisting of accents, pulses, beats, and tempo
Understand and execute 10 different strumming patterns
Understand note values indicated by standard notation and stick rhythm used in Tablature.
Understand and read the Tablature system.
Understand and read Chord Charts.
Understand and read Fingerboard Charts.
Identify and use left hand fingering i-m-r-p, 1-2-3-4.
Learn basic fundamentals of musical notation and define:
– The 5 line staff
– Names of the lines and spaces
– Treble clef
– Bar lines
– Measures / Bars
– Understanding Common Simple Time signatures.
– Repeat signs.
– Whole, half, quarter, eighth note and rest values.
Understand symbols indicating up and down strokes.
Demonstrate 4 daily practice rudiments.
Understand Whole Tones and Semi-tones also known as Whole steps and Half steps
Know the Musical Alphabet.
Recite the Musical Alphabet ascending and descending.
Know the relationship between adjacent musical alphabetical notes
Know the names and placement of all the notes on all 6 strings on the entire fingerboard
Understand Enharmonic Equivalents.
Explain and demonstrate what a “sharp” is.
Explain and demonstrate what a “flat” is.
Understand and play 2 Diatonic Scales.
Understand the term Octave.
Understand, recite, and demonstrate the major scale interval scheme.
Understand and execute 5 major linear Diatonic scales: E major, B major, G major, D major and A major,
Know the solfeggio syllables for the major scale.
Understand, recite, and demonstrate the minor scale interval scheme
Understand and execute 5 minor linear Diatonic scales: E minor, B minor, G minor, D minor, and A minor
Know the solfeggio syllables for the minor scale.
Be able to successfully write their own melody using the linear major and minor scale.
Play songs utilizing a Pedal Tone.
Play 3 note major, minor and seventh chords on strings E, B, G.
Play 3 open power chords A, D, E.
Understand, recite and play a 12 bar Blues song arrangement.
Play a 12 bar song using major chords.
Play a 12 bar song using minor chords.
Play a 12 bar song using 7th chords.
Play a 12 bar song using combinations of major, minor and 7th chords.
Play a 12 bar using open Power Chords.

Understand 4/4 time.
Understand and execute where down strokes and upstrokes are played in a measure
Understand implied accents in 4/4 time.
Understand the note values, their duration for strumming patterns/rhythms.
Understand and execute 7 strumming patterns