How to Teach a Guitar Class Using Worship Guitar Class
DVD’s or Videos
The DVD’s or videos are appropriate for age 9 through adults. It seems to work better to have the kids separate from the adults. I would recommend 9 – 12 in a class, then 13 – adult in another. Teenagers and adults are a terrific combination. I find that the teenagers practice more because they want to play better than their parents and the parents also practice more because they don’t want their kids to play better.
Choirs are a great place for guitar classes. Bethel Lutheran is one of the churches I taught worship guitar classes. Here’s what the Music Director has said about their experience…
“Jean Welles led our Pastor and several members of our choir in a summer guitar class at our church. Through the use of praise songs, our class was able to learn enough to lead the congregation by the end of the summer. Since that time, the guitar group has continued to accompany praise songs and hymns at various church services throughout the year.
The class was fun, and it was so rewarding to see how they have continued to play together even over a year later.
This has added to the worship life and music at our church, and given those playing a sense of giving and sharing which has enriched their lives. Jean’s classes were always fun, supportive, and Christ centered so that each class became a worship experience as well as a learning one. Jean has been a blessing to us.”
– Terry Cupples, Music Director, Bethel Lutheran Church
What follows is how I teach and conduct my classes. You are most welcome to use any of the ideas here. Much of this can apply to any class. Perhaps you are already teaching this way too.
The classes are fun, because the students become family. It is very common that people don’t want to leave after a class. Many times students have stayed an additional hour just to continue sharing and fellowshipping.
On the first class, while I’m tuning the guitars, I ask everyone to introduce themselves and tell us just a little bit about themselves… where do they fellowship, what work do they do, do they have a family.
The next step is crucial. WE PRAY. I pray for the class the first week or two, and then ask a different student each week to pray. We thank God for being with us and pray that He will help us focus on Him. We pray that He will help all the students learn the guitar easily and that He would help me teach.
I have often been utterly amazed at how quickly the students learn… but it’s because we never start a class without prayer. I talk about that in the videos too. Every time a student sits down to practice they should pray for God’s help… always.
Now the video can start. The first lesson starts with a brief introduction about what they will learn and how God is so worthy of worship. Then I talk about the parts of the guitar and how to hold it and tune it.
The first chords are A and E7. After the chords are introduced, this is a good place to turn the video off and have the students actually play the two chords. I would suggest four strums on each chord and changing them back and forth a half dozen times.
Watch how the students are sitting and help them hold the chords with the techniques taught on the DVD or video. After they have changed the chords a bit, play the rest of the lesson one from the video.
Now have the students play the song ‘He’s got the whole world’ together, very slowly. (The DVD’s have a practice session and you might want to have them practice in the class with this portion of the DVD.)
If time permits, I love having the students play it individually. Everyone sings while one student plays. This also bonds them together. Everyone is a ‘cheerleader’ for the every other member of the class. It doesn’t matter how slowly they play; it is an excellent practice.
Two of the students have started leading worship after three lessons, and many more after just a couple months. Playing solo begins to give them the confidence that they can do it. God didn’t make us shy… given a loving atmosphere and tremendous support anyone can blossom.
OK, that’s lesson one. Sometimes at the end of the lesson I’ll pray for every student by name. That God would bless their desire to worship Him and that He would help them with their worship times and other needs that have come up in the class. The students really appreciate this.
Lesson Two and On
The format for the lessons is the same as lesson one. For the other lessons I will ask if there are any praise reports while I’m tuning. Sometimes people share their concerns, a loved one in the hospital, etc. We immediately stop and pray for them.
Broken down a class could look like this:
1. Tune and share
3. Practice the song from the previous week
4. Learn the new chords, or strumming patterns (DVD or video)
5. Practice the new chords, or strumming patterns
6. See the new song (DVD or video)
7. Practice the new song together (Can be done with the DVD practice section.)
8. Have each person try the song solo, with everyone singing.
9. Pray again, or just give hugs.
As a teacher, one of my main prayers over all my teaching years is just that God would love the students through me. He is love. This is an easy one for Him.
PS. Books are now available for the Four Volumes. This will reinforce what students see in the videos, plus the copyrights are paid. Scroll down on that page to see the bundled books.