After School Guitar Club Guide

By Jennifer Coleman,2014-12-28 13:34
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After School Guitar Club Guide

    After School Guitar Club


    Featuring 10 suggested after school music making


    Using GITC’s Open G Guitar Method

    This project has been created by

    Jessica Anne Baron in collaboration with Kalani

    And has been funded entirely by

    The International Music Products Association



    Guitars in the Classroom trains general classroom teachers as well as specialists and school staff to make and integrate music with guitars into the daily lessons and activities of children and students from birth through high school. This is our primary mission. However, many teachers who train with us wish to start after school guitar clubs and classes. We consider supporting teachers to accomplish this goal as a secondary mission. We hope to continue to develop resources from within the Music Products Industry to make these clubs easier to launch.

    GITC received guidance, support, direction and funding from NAMM, The International Music Products Association to create the materials contained in this guide. We believe it can be beneficial for anyone interested in sharing the joys of making music with children. Once need only possess a few very fundamental guitar skills and some basic experience leading children in group activities to succeed in running a guitar club with this guide.

    The approach is inclusive, non-competitive, light-hearted and fun. It starts with guitars tuned Hawaiian style in Open G tuning (D-G-D-G-B-D) because this allows children as young as three to strum over the open strings and sing right away. No fine motor skills are required to begin playing. Everyone succeeds from the beginning and no practice is necessary.

    The activities and lessons in this guide are truly designed to stimulate children‟s musical creativity.

    They are unlike activities you will find elsewhere because they do not teach traditional guitar lessons.


    Instead, they approach the instrument percussively and artistically, inviting experimentation, exploration, discovery, and improvisation.

    They do not ask students to produce right answers, but to find many ways to approach each invitation or challenge in order to create something unique and personal. From this point of departure, learning to make music can become something highly individualistic rather than prescribed. In today‟s musical world this is definitely a plus.


    Some people would call this guide more of an introduction to making music or guitar readiness than actual guitar lessons, and they would be correct to do so! These activities are intended to help ALL students participate in an after school guitar club, discover the ease and creativity of making music, and develop a hunger to learn much more.

    For these reasons, the sessions are easy to run because everyone feels included and encouraged... each time, every child “wins.” But these sessions can also be

    challenging to run because they get kids excited, plugged in, and highly expressive. So having your tools and tricks for group management ready at the onset of each meeting will prove really helpful.


    Once students accomplish basic guitar skills such as holding a guitar, knowing the names of its parts, counting and strumming a rhythm, singing while strumming, setting a rhyme to a rhythm and music, and changing the sounds of the strings by varying volume and pitch, learning to play more chords and scales will come easily.


    Then it will be time to include more traditional guitar education materials. These are widely available at your local music store, or online.

    This after school guide provides you with the instructional tools to help students reach that point. The magic in getting kids trying and playing guitar is giving them a great, fun, easy start...and GITC hopes that these materials will help you do this for each and every child.

    Sessions and the activities in them are meant to be used and organized in any way you wish. You can run sessions as a whole, select one or two parts of them, mix and match parts of different sessions, or just use our ideas as a springboard for your own. There is no “right” way, but many excellent ways to run an after school guitar club meeting. We trust you will find your own.




     When you call on participants, ask for “quiet


     Invite your participants to identify and practice a

    cue to freeze such as a handclapping pattern or

    noticing the lights go off and on once. Use this

    cue to bring quiet whenever you need to.

     Only entrust guitars to participants who show they

    are quiet, focused and ready to receive them.

     Ask participants to put instruments down when you

    are talking, or when they are listening for others

    for an extended period.

     Always help children understand how to show respect

    to the instruments, one another, and you. This

    looks like taking care of guitars, complimenting

    one another‟s ideas, and helping you straighten up

    after the club meeting ends.

     Take time to process what participants are thinking

    and feeling with frequent open-ended questions such

    as “what did that sound like to you?” or “how did

    that sound make you feel?”

Record your sessions, write down the participants

    creative ideas on a large surface everyone can see,

    and create a music book representing the musical

    creations that come from your club.



     The optimal group size ranges from 8-14 students.

    If you want to include more than 14, please be sure

    to find an assistant.