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Best Practices for Guitar Education

GFA Mastery List of Skills

for teaching classical guitar


 Students will strive to master the following.

1. Play a classically constructed guitar when playing music that was composed for that instrument.

2.  Sit in an ergonomic position that promotes good posture and easy access to the guitar for both left and right hands. A footstool or other device may be used to position the guitar in the most efficient position.

3. Use both hands in a manner that prevents injury in part by avoiding extreme extension and/or flexion of the wrist.

4.  Play with minimal tension.  Students should learn to play without using unnecessary muscles to perform a task.  

5. Read staff notation and tablatures.  

6. Learn from a well-sequenced curriculum for the guitar classroom that has been approved by the relevant board of education and fulfills national standards.

7.  Learn repertoire from various musical periods and genres.  Modern and historic performance practice should be addressed.

8. Learn guitar history to include the evolution of construction of the instrument and biographies of important performers and composers  (current and historical) for the instrument.

9. Participate in local, state, regional, and national events.

10. Have access to a library of solo and ensemble guitar music.

11.  Have access to high quality instruments, replacement strings and tools for necessary repairs.

12.  Be involved in and perform regularly for the local community.  

13.  Attend guitar concerts and guitar festivals.

14. Tune with multiple methods to include: Unisons at 5th/4th frets, open string intervals (4ths/3rd), harmonics, electronic tuners, and reference string tuning.

15. Demonstrate fingerboard logic by using references at the 5th fret, 7th fret, 12th fret and movable patterns.

16. Use right-hand finger-style technique for repertoire composed for this technique.

17.  Identify guitarists who are models of excellence, and emulate those guitarists as a starting point toward achieving a high level of playing and ultimately developing an individual musical voice.

Special thanks to Sean Beavers, Josinaldo Costa, Petar Kodzas, Bill Swick and Kevin Vigil

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