Thursday, December 16, 2010

WLA Christmas Concert 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 7 PM • Wednesday, December 22, 1 PM
Winnebago Lutheran Academy Gymnasium
475 E. Merrill Ave., Fond du Lac, WI
Click here to see the Concert Program (PDF)

Mass Choir
Carol of the Child
Hope for Resolution

Freshman Choir
Comfort, Comfort All My People
Sing Noel
Sing to the Child

Mass Choir
O Holy Night
Hallelujah (Chorus from Messiah)

Viking Choir
Prepare Thyself, Zion
The Gift
The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy

Band / Offering
In the Bleak Midwinter

Joy to the World

Mass Choir
Night of Silence
Gloria with Lux Venit

Traveling Choir
Fantasia on Christmas Carols
This Christmastide (Jessye’s Carol)
Go Where I Send Thee!

Mass Choir
Freedom is Coming

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Traveling Choir Cancelled for 12/12 @ St. Paul's, NFDL

Due to the impending blizzard (and a forecast of 12-16" of snow that has YET to start) I have just cancelled Traveling Choir's performance at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, North Fond du Lac, WI for Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010.

I'm looking to reschedule the performance for either 12/19/10 or at a midweek Lenten service in spring.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

East Regional Choralfest will be Live Streamed

Good Morning!

A bit of information that you will want to share with others.  Especially with distant relatives that have a desire to watch the concert from home via the internet.

The Choral Festival concerts will be live streamed on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.  We thank Martin Spriggs and the technology staff at the WELS synod administration building for their assistance with the streaming.

Here is the link for more information:

We will also be televising the concerts live on local cable.  An archival video of each concert will be made available to each school.

Special thanks to Kevin Buch (MLHS Admissions Director) for lining these services up and to Scott Reinhard (MLHS Development Director) for securing funding for these broadcasts.

God Bless,
Joel P. Ungemach
Director of Choral Music
Assistant Principal: Curriculum & Supervision of Instruction
Manitowoc Lutheran High School
4045 Lancer Circle
Manitowoc, WI  54220
School Website:
Phone:920-682-0215 Ext. 380
Fax 920-682-2363

Saturday, October 23, 2010

WLA Fall Choral Concert – Spirituals

This concert will go live at 7:00 PM, Sunday, October 24, 2010 Central Standard Time (GMT-6)

Fisk Jubilee Singers, 1871
If it weren’t for the nine members of the Fisk University Jubilee Singers going on choir tour in 1871 to raise money for their dilapidated Nashville freedmen school, the world might never have heard of the Negro Spiritual.  The original Fisk University, the Fisk Free Colored School, occupied an old, hastily built, Union army hospital in downtown Nashville in the 1860’s. After the Civil War, the school rapidly grew to over 1000 freed slaves who were eager to learn, but by 1871 Fisk was so poor that the black students and white faculty both believed that they would have to close down.  All except for their choir director, George White, who believed that if he could raise $300 from an audience of black people in Atlanta and Memphis, that he could organize a profitable choir tour of Ohio and New York and help Fisk University stay open. Little did those nine singers know that when they left on tour that three years later they would not only have had sung at the White House for President Ulysses S. Grant but also in London for Queen Victoria!  The Fisk Jubilee Singers raised over $250,000 in three years and helped pay for Jubilee Hall, which, along with Fisk University, stands to this day.

Jubilee Hall, Fisk University, Nashville, TN
What also stands till this day is the enduring legacy of the Negro Spiritual.  Born out of the slaves’ African culture of music and song being such an integral part of their entire society that they could not help but sing even when enslaved in America, the Negro Spiritual has not only become the roots of American Jazz, Blues, and Gospel music but also has lived on by itself as its own unique musical art form.  Thousands of spirituals have been written down over the years and have become so engrained in American folk and sacred music that many today have forgotten that these same spirituals were the “Sorrow Songs” of the Negro Slave of the the 1800’s and brought back painful memories of a life of slavery when they were sung.  Yet, through those painful memories comes a message of faith and hope in Jesus, the Savior of the world, who endured whipping and torture just like the slaves. If he could deliver Daniel from the lion’s den, then why not every man?


Go Down, Moses
African-American Spiritual, arr. David Cherwin
Erin Jacobs, Dan Moldenhauer, John Kammueller, Eric Post, Tom Knuth, Patrick Marchant, soloists


Ain’t That Good News
African-American Spiritual, arr. Moses Hogan, ed. John Purifoy, adapted by Janet Klevberg Day
Follow the Drinking Gourd
From the children’s book Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
All Night, All Day
African-American Spiritual, arr. Dale Witte


Little David, Play on Your Harp
African-American Spiritual, arr. Moses Hogan
Deep River
African-American Spiritual, arr. John Leavitt
Jacob’s Ladder
African-American Spiritual, arr. Daniel Kallman; Jordyn Wege, solo


Livin’ on a Prayer
arr. Mac Huff; Libby Adelmeyer &  Matt Diederichs, soloists


Down By the Riverside
African-American Spiritual, arr. Kirby Shaw; Stephanie Meyer, solo
Hush! Somebody’s Callin’ My Name
African-American Spiritual, arr. Brazeal W. Dennard
There is a Balm in Gilead
African-American Spiritual, arr. William Dawson; Megan Galske, solo
African-American Spiritual, arr. Kirby Shaw; Rachel Thiesfeldt & Allison Schulz, solo & duet
Elijah Rock
African-American Spiritual, arr. Moses Hogan


Jester Hairston

This concert could not have happened without the following donations:

Manitowoc Lutheran High School - StageRight tiered 3‘x8’ platforms
Camp Philip - speakers, lights, dimmers, control surfaces
UW-FDL - control booth platforms
Andy Sehloff - amplifiers
Mike Rosenfeldt - HD video camera for streaming

Thursday, October 7, 2010

WLA Homecoming Skit Night 2010 Live Stream

Tune in here after 6 PM on Friday, October 8, 2010 for a live stream from WLA's gymnasium of Skit Night 2010.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Traveling Choir Season Poster 2010-2011

Today was Picture Day at WLA which means that this is the first time Traveling Choir has worn their outfits and has had their picture taken in them!  It also means that I can finally publish the poster of TC's 2010-2011 church performance schedule.

You may download a poster to print for yourself.  I am going to be printing posters and having them sent to all the WLA Associaiton congregations and grade schools as well.  If you would like a poster and can't print it yourself, please contact me by email or call me at WLA at 920-921-4930 ext. 310.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

MLC Compline 8-23-10

Martin Luther College, The WELS College of Ministry in New Ulm, MN, live streamed their evening Compline service from August 23, 2010.  I composed the liturgical music for this setting of Compline many years ago.  It's nice to hear it used!  What a beautiful chapel to worship in!  Thanks to MLC Audio for recording it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

2010 Orientation Day Handouts

Just in case someone lost theirs (and parents wonder what we talked about in class), here are the handouts for all my classes from WLA's Orientation Day 2010.

Freshman Choir
Music Technology | Music Tech Lab Policies
Viking Choir
Traveling Choir | TC Church Schedule 2010-2011

Just a reminder that Picture Day is September 2, 2010 and all choirs will have their pictures taken! Check our the Concert Attire on each choir's handout for what they should wear for Picture Day and every concert.

Friday, August 13, 2010

WLA 2010-2011 Concert Season Poster

UPDATE 8/16/10 – The time of the 12.22.10 Christmas Concert was corrected to 1:00 PM and WLA's address was added to the bottom.
Click the poster image on the left to download or print the WLA 2010-2011 Fine Arts Department Concert Season poster.  I will be handing them out at the K-12 inservice on Monday, August 16, 2011 to the teachers of the WLA association. I will be sending posters out to all the association churches once school starts.  If you are a WELS church in the WLA Association and don't get a poster, please call me (920-251-4490) or email me ( and I will happily send one to you.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Traveling Choir Church Schedule 2010-2011

I've just completed the 2010-2011 Traveling Choir Church Schedule.  Click here for the link on Google Docs.  From there you can print a hardcopy for yourself.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

East Regional WELS Choralfest 2010

Start planning ahead to see the WLA Academy Kids perform at Manitowoc Lutheran HS Nov. 12 & 14, 2010 for the East Regional WELS Choralfest!  A Facebook group has been formed for anyone to join and get updates about this annual choral event.  Joel Ungemach is the host director at MLHS and has provided to following information:

1.      The festival weekend is November 12-14, 2010.
2.      The clinicians for the weekend are Paul Kassulke and Jon Pasbrig (both former MLHS directors)
3.      On Saturday we will be welcoming Five by Design as our “Artists in Residence”
a.      Vocal clinic at MLHS for our Choral Fest participants
b.     Show at the Capital Civic Centre in downtown Manitowoc.

God’s blessings to you!

Joel P. Ungemach
Director of Choral Music
Assistant Principal: Curriculum & Supervision of Instruction
Manitowoc Lutheran High School
4045 Lancer Circle
Manitowoc, WI  54220
Phone:920-682-0215 Ext. 380
Fax 920-682-2363

Monday, August 2, 2010

Choral Concert Themes

Recently, I had the opportunity to share some of the reasons why I program my high school choir concerts using themes with the other WELS high school choir directors at our 2nd "Annual" WELS Choral Dialogues.  I like themes because they are a creative challenge.  Sometimes it's following an idea, like "Song of the Civil War" or "Rhythm".  Sometimes, it's following a composer, like Mozart, Gershwin, or Paul Manz. Other times the idea for a concert comes from a word, like "Light" for a sacred Christmas concert, or a certain piece of music becomes the central focus for a concert, like Eric Whitacre's Lux Aurumque.  The following is a partial list of concert themes I've tackled over the years at Winnebago Lutheran Academy.  Where I have them electronically, the programs for each concert are linked.

Work Songs, Slave Songs and Spirituals (Fall '10)
Rhythm - one of the elements of music, suggested by Ritmo (Dan Davison, Walton)
“His Truth is Marching On” - The Civil War in Song
Cole Porter
“By George!” - George Gershwin
Mostly Mozart
“Presidents, Politics, and Parties” - Campaign Songs of the American Presidency
“Good Words, Good Music” - Famous poems set to music
Jackson Berkey
Van Gogh’s Starry Night
American Song/South Dakota Shadows

Hymn Festivals:
Paul Manz
Jaroslav Vajda
Irish Hymns
Holy Week
“Dangerous” Hymns
Shape Note
Paul Gerhardt
The Life of Christ

Sacred Christmas:
Celtic (coming Christmas '10 or '11)
Light - centered around Eric Whitacre's Lux Aurumque
“Come and Worship” - Each verse of Angels from the Realms of Glory gave a section to the concert
"Tidings of Comfort and Joy" - Isaiah’s Prophecies fulfilled
"Night of Miracles, Night of Grace" (highlighting a newly designed Christmas mural)
"For Unto You is Born This Day"

Proposed Secular Concert Themes:
  • Due East: Nor'easter (Stephen Chatman)
  • Due East: Minke Whale (Stephen Chatman)
  • Due East: Farewell Nancy (Stephen Chatman)
  • Due East: Fishing (Stephen Chatman)
  • Waternight (Eric Whitacre)
  • Wade in the Water (Traditional Spiritual)
  • Lukey's Boat (Stephen Chatman)
Video Game Soundtracks (coming May 22, 2011)
John Williams
Daysongs (songs that are about the day)
TV Shows/Movie Themes
An Award Winning Night (Songs which have won awards)
Sentimental Journey (Songs of WWII)
Color (songs about colors)
Blue (Blue Moon, Blue Rondo alla Turk, The Blues, etc.)
Minnesota's 150th Anniversary (anything to do with MN)
Wacky/Strange Songs
Aspects of Love (a Valentines Day concert)
Underground Railroad

Hymn Festival Theme Ideas:
K. Lee Scott
Richard Hillert
Richard Proulx
Isaac Watts
Martin Luther (2017 - 500th Anniversary of Lutheran Reformation)
Christian Worship Supplement
Russian "Hymns" (April 10, 2011)
Welsh Hymns
American Hymns
English/Victorian Hymns

Sacred Christmas Concert Theme Ideas:
Voices of Christmas (from the point of view of each of the Christmas characters)
Prophecies of Isaiah

Sacred Concert Ideas:
The Church Year in Song

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tentative Traveling Choir Schedule 2010-2011

This morning I emailed the pastors of the WLA Association whose churches are listed below asking them to confirm the following dates for the WLA Traveling Choir to sing at their congregations this school year. I am posting these dates to aid WLA families and students in planning their schedules for the upcoming school year. I do anticipate some changes (there always are!), so don't cast these dates in stone yet. I'll post confirmations and changes as I get them.

2010-2011 Traveling Choir - First Draft 7/26/10

October 3–Zion, Theresa (8:45 am, communion) and Emmanuel, Hartford (10:15 am, non-communion) CONFIRMED
October 17–St. Peter’s, Kekoskee (9 am, communion) CONFIRMED
November 7–Martin Luther, Oshkosh (8 and 10:30 am) CONFIRMED
December 5–St. Luke’s, Oakfield (8 and 10:15 am) CONFIRMED
December 12–St. Paul’s, North Fond du Lac (7:45 and 10:15 am) CONFIRMED
December 15 (WEDNESDAY NIGHT)–Good Shepherd, Fond du Lac (6:30 PM) CONFIRMED
January 9–Faith, Oshkosh (10 am) CONFIRMED
January 16–Redeemer, Fond du Lac (7:45 and 10:15 am, communion) CONFIRMED
January 23–Grace, Oshkosh (8 and 10:30 am) CONFIRMED
February 13–Grace, Waupun (9 am) CONFIRMED
February 20–Bethlehem, Oshkosh (9:15 am) CONFIRMED
February 27–St. Paul’s, Brownsville (8 and 10:30 am, non-communion) CONFIRMED
March 27–St. John’s, Fox Lake (8 and 10:30 am) CONFIRMED
April 3–St. John’s, Princeton (8 and 10 am) CONFIRMED
May 1–Trinity, Hartford (10 am, communion) CONFIRMED
May 15–Zion, Kingston (8:30 am) CONFIRMED and St. Paul’s Manchester (10 am)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Did the Underground Railroad run through Fond du Lac, WI?

This was an unintended interview. I had just been researching the connection between the Underground Railroad and Fond du Lac, WI's Octagon House at the FDL Library. I rode my bike over to the FDL Octagon House just to take a picture of the outside and noticed that the owner was in and taking tours. I didn't want a tour, just more information about the hidden rooms and passageways in the house, namely, could she corroborate that the Underground Railroad came through Fond du Lac, WI. Marlene Hansen, the owner of the FDL Octagon House, brought me into the house and proceeded to tell me everything she knew about the connection between her house and the Underground Railroad. It was much more than the Fond du Lac Public Library had! (unedited recording)

Interview with Marlene Hansen about Underground Railroad & the FDL Octagon House by Dale Witte

Monday, July 5, 2010

Teaching Guitar Workshop - Day 3

If Day 1 was 1st Quarter and Day 2 was 2nd Quarter, end of the first semester, Day 3 (yesterday at the time of writing) was the 3rd quarter, or the 1st quarter of the 2nd semester of a year long guitar program.  I don't think I'd ever get to these topics in my Music Technology guitar unit, but if I would ever get a full blown guitar class started at WLA, I'd a have a very good idea of the progression of topics in a guitar curriculum.  That and a number of methods books that we'd referenced have teacher's manuals with full blown 180-day lesson plans, complete with performance rubrics, quizzes, and tests.  Everything a guitar teacher and student needs!

Session 1 - Warmups and LH/RH Exercises

Rob started us with tuning to a CD, I think the 1st track of the Essential Elements CD, but probably any CD that comes with a guitar methods book has a tuning track on it.

Mel Bay's Classical Guitar Method Grade 1 (p. 11) - Daily Left Hand Exercises and Daily Exercises (p. 77).  One of the things I learned is that the 5th position on the neck of the guitar (when the 1st finger is in the 5th fret box and every finger falls in the next ascending adjacent fret boxesis a good position to warm up in because the frets are spaced closer together than the 1st position (when the 1st finger is in the the 1st fret box).  These exercises involve lifting a placing the four fingers of the LH on the strings independently of each other in various orders and combinations from the 1st through 6th strings and from the 6th to 1st.

Right Hand Staccato Exercise: downstroke, stopping the string vibration by upstroking and stopping the pick on the underside of the same string. Then upstroke, stopping the vibration with a downstroke that only rests on the string.  Practice in slow succession, then gradually increase speed.

H.O.T. First Year Guitar (p. 31) - mastery of the note names should be accomplished by the end of the 1st semester (Shelley made this the 1st week's performance assignment by Friday).  Use trio exercises (pp. 32-35) to reinforce. Have students name the 1st note name, string, fret and finger (e.g. E 6-O) before starting so you know they know where they are starting on the neck, OR have them name all the notes in these exercises in the same fashion before they play.  If they can name them, they can play them because the brain needs to know where to place the finger to sound the note!

Jerry Snyder Guitar School Method 1 (p. 95) - chromatic scale warmups.  1st position is the "workout" position.  Use 5th position for warmups.  Beginning student should use quarter notes.  More advanced students can play eighths, triplets, or sixteenth notes.

Essential Elements for Guitar, Book 1 (p. 65) - eighth notes downpicking with foot.  Downpick and up-pick symbols are identical to string bowing downbow and upbow symbols.  RULE: Downpick on downbeats. Uppick on upbeats!

Mel Bay's Mastering Guitar Class Method (p. 77) - C Scale. Practice in 4-note groups ascending and descending using the Downstroke/Upstroke Rule.

Session 2 (Shelley) - More Advanced Fingerstyle Accompaniments

Shelley uses a plastic sheet protector as a poorman's whiteboard to hand out to her guitar students.  Inside is a colored sheet of paper with three vertical neck diagrams and three blank staves on one side with a giant neck on the other side.  Overhead markers can be used to write "answers" on these sheet protectors.  Cooperative learning- check that your neighbor has the same answer (by colored sheet).

Jerry Snyder Guitar School Method 1 (p. 20) Theory: I/Tonic "Home Key", IV/Subdominant, V/Dominant "Way, way far away from home" chord names. Roman numerals may need to be taught if a math teacher hasn't taught them to students yet. Review full G C D.  (p. 21) Mute Strum Technique: Use the fat side of RH to quickly mute the strings after strumming.  Make the mute strum chord very short.  Swing eighths (p. 22).  Demonstrate swing strumming rather than explain it.  Kids will catch it faster by listening.  Add the mute strum "Boom chunk"technique to swing eighths (challenging!)  Just a Closer Walk with Thee (p. 23) New: (p. 38) Minor Principal Chords in Am: Am, Dm, E7.  (p. 41) 

Essential Elements for Guitar, Book 1 (p. 64) Wayfaring Stranger Dm, Am and C = 1st and 2nd fingers common! 

H.O.T. First Year Guitar: The "E" Progression (p. 14) New chord: B7.  Trick to playing B7: First play a D7 chord.  Move the D7 shape up two strings and add the 4th finger.  E-->B7 = 2 is common! Comin' Round the Mountain (p. 102) - practice E, A, B7

Essential Elements (p. 83) E7 Good Morning Blues (E E7 A7 E B7 A7 E)  Cool!  Play with shuffle feel.

Jerry Snyder Method: (p. 45) Scarborough Fair use fingerstyle accompaniment: root (p) - strum (ima) - strum (ima).  (p. 46) Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child: plucking arpeggios in 4/4: p - i- ma - i

Jerry Snyder Teacher's Manual (p. 72) Spanish Theme (awesome advanced finger study!)

Session 3 - (Rob) Power Chords

21st Century Guitar Method, Alfred EL03842CD (p. 34) Why play "power" chords? Because 3rds (in chords) don't work well with electric guitars and distortion. This seems to speak to also why a guitar class should play nylon string acoustic guitars rather than rock out on electric guitars.  "Power" chords drop the 3rd of a triad, rendering the "chord" neither major nor minor, but just an open 5th (aka a "perfect 5th"). "Power" chords are "the chord" of rock and metal music.  Want to sound like the real deal? Gotta play the style!

(p. 44-46) Blues Boogie Pattern I was SO EXCITED to see this pattern in print! It's the same pattern I taught my Music tech students when we did our Blues Project! (affirmation...Yes! *fist pump*).  We learned the A5, D5, and E5 power chords separately, adding the A6, D6, and E6 "power chords" by adding a 4th finger to the same string that the 2nd finger was playing the original power chords. Switching back and forth between X5 and X6 power chords gives a Chuck Berry feel! The whole progression was playing in The Boogie Progression (p. 45) and put into a song in Old Time Rock and Roll (p. 46), a culmination of learning the I, IV, V progression on power chords in A.  We played the rhythm guitar part, but the melody was also written in notation and TAB for more advanced students.

Metronome Practice: Rob recommended using incremental metronome practice for teaching chords and notes.  When learning a song (i.e. chords), start slowly (eg. 90 bpm) and gradually increase the tempo by 10 bpm increments until you hit your performance tempo (or the CD accompaniment tempo).  When learning a melody (i.e. notes), step up to performance tempo by 5 bpm increments.

Jerry Snyder's Guitar School Teacher's Guide (Alfred 18474 Book and CD).  180 day lesson plans!!! Plus pp. 49-96 are reproducible!!! This is GOLD! Student Survey (p. 49): Rob uses this on the first day of school with his guitar class.  He welcomes them to his room, checks their schedule, tells them where to sit, and they get writing on this survey while he checks students in.  No guitars are out. Silent Activity. (p. 77) E Minor Pentatonic Scale: one of the most used scales in Rock and Blues improvisation. Here's the pattern on 1st fret (1st position) from 1st string to 6th string (fret numbers first, letter names 2nd):

  1. 0-3 (E, G)
  2. 0-3 (B, D)
  3. 0-2 (G, A)
  4. 0-2 (D, E)
  5. 0-2 (A, B)
  6. 0-3 (E, G)
The A Minor Pentatonic Scale is the $1,000,000 idea: a moveable version of the minor pentatonic scale (i.e. if you just memorize the pattern, you can move it to any fret and, thereby, any key)! You don't have to know the name of note to play in any given key if you know this pattern, all you have to know is the root.  Then a riff or motif you know how to play using the pattern will work on any root in any key! Here's the pattern on the 5th fret (5th position) from 1st string to 6th string (fret numbers first, letter names 2nd):
  1. 1-4 (A, C)
  2. 1-4 (E, E)
  3. 1-3 (C, D)
  4. 1-3 (G, A)
  5. 1-3 (D, E)
  6. 1-4 (A, C)
Ways to practice:
  • ascending
  • descending
  • ascending-->descending in groups of three notes (1, 2, 3; 2, 3, 4; 3, 4, 5; etc.)
  • ascending-->descending in groups of four notes (1, 2, 3, 4; 3, 4, 5, 6; 5, 6, 7, 8; etc)
  • ascend in one position (e.g 5th) and descend in another (e.g. 6th)

Session 4: Moveable Power Chords (Shelley)

H.O.T (p. 42-43)  Unit Three: Playing Bass.  The power chords that Rob taught in session 2 work when the root is on an open string (E5, A5, D5).  Knowing where the root and 5th are for any note makes a moveable power choir.  From the root pitch, the 5th is one string toward the floor and two frets toward the bridge.  This shape can be slid around the neck. Played with 1st and 3rd fingers, moveable power chords enable you to rock out in any key on any root, such as 25 or 6 to 4: A5, G5, F#5, F5, E5 (sounds like Green Day's Brain Stew) or Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit: F5, Bb5, G#5, C#5.  

We also learned the F chord (strings 1-4, barring strings 1 & 2 at the 1st fret) and played The Old Grey Mare (p. 105).  Half the class played root/5th alternating half notes while the other half strummed the chords.  The same procedure was applied to p. 42-43 above.

Session 5: Q and A

1. Restringing guitars
  • steel string (Mel Bay's First Lessons Beginning Guitar, Learning Chords PLaying Songs p. 36)
  • nylon (Basic Classical Guitar, p. 7)
2. Integrating Pop Songs in Guitar Class: If you want to play pop, rock, or anything modern, chances are you have to buy from Hal Leonard because they own the rights to nearly every song.  Hal Leonard Easy Pop Melodies (notes, 3 levels) and Easy Pop Rhythms (chords, 3 levels)

3. Why to use a Capo:
  • to raise the pitch of a song for a singer
  • to stack chords between two players, creating a rich voicing (one player on Open C, the other with the capo in the 5th fret playing a G chord)
4. Classroom guitar storage:
5. What kind of guitar should I buy?  The kind with 6 strings. Thanks, Shelley! :)

Session 6 - Ensemble Playing

The last session of the day was devoted to playing through ensemble literature with small groups and selecting a piece to play for the concert on Friday (Day 5).  Our group narrowed it down to two pieces: Strawberry Moon and The Cay.  We liked the sound and groove of Strawberry Moon, but we likes the length and challenge of The Cay.  We ended up picking The Cay and playing it on Day 5 for the class.  Good thing too: another group picked Strawberry Moon! :)

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Teaching Guitar Workshop - Day 2

    Yesterday was really a quarter's worth of material.  By the end of the day today, we've gone through a semester's worth of material which should be taught in a guitar class that meets every day.  Why do I continue to write out what we did? So I know what could be taught in a semester guitar course and so that I remember what I was taught! The day was divided into the following session topics:

    Session 1 - Picking Techniques (Rob), types of picks, rest stroke (picking a string with the pick coming to rest on the next string), 5th position chromatic four-finger warmups, down-upstroke (a.k.a. "alternating picking", pick down on downbeats & up on upbeats, foot tapping helps you feel the down-up of picking

    The 21st Century Guitar Method 1 (Aaron Stang, Alfred EL03842CD)

    Songs used to illustrate picking techniques:

    • Folk Song, Flamenco Fantasy, The Blues Beat (p. 9) - 1st string melodies; practicing the rest stroke distance , a great CD makes s simple melody come alive
    • Aura Lee, The Boogie Shuffle (p. 11) - 1st & 2nd string songs, practicing rest stroke
    • Oh, Susanna (p. 15) - playing on strings 1, 2, & 3, practice slowly at first
    • Ten Little Indians (p. 22) - down-upstroke

    Session 2 - Two Octave Natural Note Scale (Assignment), stretching,

    I found the guitar methods book for me: H.O.T. First Year Guitar (Nancy Lee Marsters) What makes it so great? It's written by a former choir director who explains many things that a guitarist would take for granted but which a new player would treat as "secret techniques".  For instance, Nancy teaches you how to move your fingers from one chord to another in a progression (sliding, lifting, moving, etc.).  It may sound like a small concept, but unless the student (or the teacher) learns the smoothest transitions from chord to chord they will not be able to move quickly from one chord to the next.  The red teachers manual has lesson plans, quizzes, and proficiency tests. Our class learned the "A" Progession transitions (p. 12) and practiced that progression playing The Camptown Races (p. 100).

    Shelley gave the 30 students in the Level 1 class the assignment of testing out on a 2 octave natural note scale from E 6-0 to G 1-3 by Friday.  The pattern of frets and strings is as follows (ascending):

    6th string: 0 - 1 - 3  (E - F - G)
    5th string: 0 - 2 - 3  (A - B - C)
    4th string: 0 - 2 - 3  (D - E - F)
    3rd string: 0 - 2       (G - A)
    2nd string: 0 - 1 - 3 (B - C - D)
    1st string: 0 - 1 - 3  (E - F - G)

    Students would tell her when they were ready to "test out" and go 1-on-1 to a corner of the room during break and play the 2-octave natural note scale in 1st position while calling out the fret numbers.  Special prizes were given to the students who also could call out the note letter names as well.  This is the first assignment she gives her beginning guitar students in the first week of school.  They must also test out by Friday of the 1st week.  The prizes for our Level 1 class? A star post-it on the head of our guitars if we could call out the fret numbers while playing the scale and a sticker on our name tags if we could name the letter names as well.  These scale patterns are shown on p. 22 of H.O.T. First Year Guitar in chord charts and on p. 31 in notation.

    Essential Elements

    New Chords: full C, Em, full G (with alternate fingerings)

    Songs used:

    • This Land is Your Land (p. 15) - review transitions between simple C - simple G - D7
    • Hound Dog (p. 18) - down-up stroke, "Power of One" (if a beginner can't strum all the beats, play the new chord on beat 1 and use the other beats to move to the new chord), common note between D7 & C
    • Eleanor Rigby (p. 24) - full C and Em (using "rock on" fingers); use your arm to pull in on the chord shape instead of squeezing your fingers to make the notes/tone solid
    • Strum Builder 5 (p. 30) - syncopated strums 1 & 2, keep the strum going, just miss the strum on a tie or a longer note (eighth note subdivision)
    • Teach Your Children (p. 36) - practicing syncopated strumming
    Session 3 

    Rob illustrated LH hand positions for playing scales (parallel) and for playing chords (rotated) using page 10 of the Mel Bay Modern Classical Guitar Method (Stanley Yates, Mey Bay MB21548BCD). He reminded the class that nothing should touch the neck of the guitar except the thumb on the back of the neck and the fingertips on the fretboard.

    Rob told us that H.O.T First Year Guitar is a method book which is intended to be taught sequentially from the beginning to the end of the book and is appropriate for 2nd year middle school guitar student or a high school guitar student.  We then practiced pp. 32-35 which have melodies using groups of two adjecent strings (6-5, 4-3, 2-1) which are then combined in a trio.

    Essential Elements continued to be the most used book of the workshop.

    Songs used:

    • Fourth String Warm-Up, Four Horsemen (p. 32) - notes on the 4th string
    • The Riddle Song (p. 33) - range of melody, chord transitions, piano chord at end (simple G)
    • Fifth String Warm-Up, Blues Bass (p. 46) - notes on the 5th string (reading ledger lines)
    • Sixth String Warm-Up (p. 52), Bass Rock (p. 53) - notes on the 6th string, string skips
    • Strum Builder 7 (p. 44) - bass/strum patterns

    Session 4 - Fingerstyle

    Shelley started by showing the class a quiet tuning method for a large group. She tuned her guitar first (she and Rob both play on nylon string acoustics) and then instructed us to place our guitars on our left legs with the neck straight up in the air. Since sound travels faster through a solid than through air, she told us to place our left ear on the shoulder of the body and listen as she played a string on her guitar. We could tune very softly using this method because we didn't have to play loudly to hear our own instruments.  The only problem was making sure we were adjusting the correct string peg because the neck was vertical and not in the same orientation as normal when tuning.

    Jerry Snyder's Guitar School Method Book 1 (Jerry Snyder, Alfred 17879) Shelley introduced fingerstyle picking and correlated it to classical guitar instruction (p. 63-65). The fingers of the right hand are given Pima abbreviations:

    • Thumb = P (ulgar)
    • Index finger = i (ndice)
    • Middle finger = m (edio)
    • Ring finger = a (nular)
    • Pinky = chicitita (rarely used)
    We then practiced alternating "i" and "m" fingers playing two eighth notes on each string, ascending and descending strings.  Since the Middle finger is longer than the index finger, it is normally used to "ascend" from strings 6 to 1. The reverse is true when "descending" from 1 to 6: "i" goes first.  The Prelude (p. 72) was used to illustrate Pima fingerstyle playing. It is a beautiful little duet which gives the student a real feeling that they are playing beautiful classical guitar music.

    H.O.T. First Year Guitar, Unit 6 (pp. 61-64) further illustrated fingerstyle playing.  The exercises on p. 63 help the student practice using a rest stroke for their thumb (P) while playing free strokes with ima fingers.  Shelly demonstrated that the ima fingers should touch the meat of the palm every time and not just dangle in the air.  If one finger play, the others should come along with it to touch the palm.  The rest in these exersizes helps the student prepare their ima fingers back on the 1st-3rd strings and their thumb (P) back on one of the bass strings.  Page 64 give further arpeggio and chord changing practice. 

    Why should a first year guitar student learn classical guitar (a.k.a. "fingerstyle") technique? Because their are many pop and modern songs which use this technique.  One that was demonstrated was Hey There Delilah. We also played Time is on My Side (p. 66) in the The Essential Elements book using a pimami argeggiation.  I couldn't sing along when I played because I had to concentrate too much on chord changes and fingerpicking.  The second time through was better :)

    Session 5 - Qusetions and Answers

    Throughout the workshop, students have been encouraged to write their questions on sticky notes and place them on a tag board on the wall for Shelley or Rob to answer later in the day.  Questions this afternoon were about the structure of a typical lesson.

    Rob plans 50 minute lessons in 10 minute increments because middle school students can't concentrate on one topic much longer than 10 minutes at a time.  His time plan looks like this:

    • 5 min - warumup
    • 5 min - review something fun or that the class plays well
    • 10 min - notes, RH techniques, picking
    • 10 min - chords
    • 10 min - ensemble playing
    • 10 min - pop melody/ rhythm, fingerstyle/classical

    When deciding what should be in a typical daily plan, Rob thinks about the following skills that a guitar student needs to work on each day:

    • notes vs. chords
    • new vs. review
    • ensemble
    • styles
    • pick vs. fingers
    • playing test every Friday
    Rob seats his class guitar student in rows of six, with three chairs on each side of a center aisle, about four rows deep.  Shelley runs three columns of two chairs each.  Both seatings allow for easy division of the class into duets (part 1 one side of the aisle, part 2 on the other), trios (Shelley's is by column, Rob has to divide the chairs on the aisle into the 2nd part with the outside two chairs becoming the other parts) and quartets (by row from front to back).  

    Both Rob and Shelley number each seat, stand, and classroom guitar so that they can handle papers and classroom management issues.  Shelley goes further by naming each guitar with a famous player's name (Jerry Snyder's Guitar School 1 Teacher's Manuel, p. 7 - Listening Activites for names and styles). This allows the guitar to become a "person"al item for the student and have built in listening activites and writing lessons based on that guiartist's name.  Shelley groups styles in her three column setup by duet partner (e.g. pop, classical, country across one row).

    Rob shared the mantra "Ask and ye may recieve. Don't ask and you won't get it" and "If you steal from one person it's called research. If you steal from many it's called research."

    A number of websites were shared:
    • Music Publisher's Association (copyright)
    • CAmbridge Guitar Ensemble (Shelley's ensemble she plays with in England)
    • - GAMA ensemble video featuring Rob's school
    • Teaching Guitar Workshops Facebook page

    Session 6 - Small Group Ensemble Playing

    Books with guitar ensemble pieces:

    Guitar Ensembles, Beginning Level, 2nd ed. (Nancy Marsters, Class Guitar Resources CGR 20)
    Guitar Ensembles, Advanced Beginning Level  (Leo Welch, Class Guitar Resources CGR 40)
    Essential Elements for Guitar, Book 1 (Will Schmid & Bob Morris, Hal Leonard HL00862639)
    Guitar Expressions, Student Edition (Aaron Stang & Bill Purse, Alfred EMCG1002)
    Mastering the Guitar, Class Method Level 1 (William Bay & Mike Christiansen, Mel Bay MB97121)
    Jerry Snyder's Guitar School Ensemble Book 1 (Jerry Snyder, Alfred 19461)
    The 21st Century Guitar Ensemble 1 Student Book (Sandy Feldstein & Aaron Stang, Alfred EL03955S)

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    Teaching Guitar Workshop - Day 1

    Today, June 28, 2010, was the first day of Level 1 Teaching Guitar Workshop at Olympia Resort in Oconomowoc, WI.  I wanted to take this course last summer, but I didn't get my registration in early enough and all the workshops around the country filled up before I knew it.  This year I got my registration in early enough and was thrilled I was accepted!

    I wanted to take this class because three semesters ago I started teaching my Music Technology students how to play guitar to help them be able to listen for chord changes in the loop-based song creation they were composing.  So I bought a guitar, taught myself three chords (G, C, & D) and determined to teach my students the same.  Well, three semesters later, we have added many other chords, a number of songs, and are attracting a lot of students who want to take Music Tech just to learn how to play guitar!

    Rob Goldsmith
    Rob Goldsmith, one of the two instructors, told us the mantra of this workshop: "We learn in four days what it takes a year to teach our students." With that in mind, I wanted to remember what I was taught by blogging about it, also so that others might learn about the Teaching Guitar Workshops and possibly take the plunge to teach guitar to their students.  As Rob also said today, "Guitar is the new recorder!"

    The day was divided up into six sessions with a basic concept taught or illustrated in each session. I was juggling a guitar, about 20 methods books, a pencil, and a folding music stand. I found out that "rest position" (putting the guitar strings down on your lap) provides a good writing desk in a pinch!

    The first book we worked in was Essential Elements for Guitar, Book 1 (Will Schmidt & Bob Morris, Hal Leonard).  The first session dealt with the basics of rest position, playing position vs. classical position, right hand strumming position ("hitchhiker hand"), parts of a guitar (acoustic and electric), left hand finger numbers, how to read a chord chart, playing "in the fret box" vs. playing "on a fret", and playing easy C and G7 chords.  And that is just pages two through five in Essential Elements for Guitar, Book 1!

    When reading a chord chart, the vertical lines (left to right) correspond to the strings of the guitar (closest to the ceiling to closest to the floor).  The horizontal lines represent the "nut" on the top followed by each of the frets below. A number on a string, in a fret box, indicates the left hand finger number (pointer is 1 through pinky is 4, which is not the same as piano fingering) placed on that string. I learned two mnemonic devices for remembering the string names that I have never heard before:

    • Every Apple Does Go Bad Eventually (Rob)
    • Elvis Ate Drugs. Good Bye Elvis (Shelley)
    and two mnemonic devices for remembering the (treble clef) staff lines that guitar notation is written on that I have never heard before: 
    • Elvis Goes Boogieing Down Freemont
    • Elvis' Guitar Broke Down Friday
    Shelley Brobst
    Can you tell my two guitar instructors either grew up in or taught in the Las Vegas school district for the majority of their teaching career? They are Rob Goldschmidt and Shelley Brobst

    Since this workshop is designed to enable music teachers to become better guitar instructors for their music classes, the focus is always on teaching techniques.  One of the most common techniques used today was echo playing: the teacher played a short example which was immediately echoed by the class. This method works for a new chords, new notes, and simple "improvisation" motifs using limited number of notes.

    Teaching a new chord:
    1. Teach your students how to read a chord chart so they are not dependent on you to translate the symbols for them.
    2. Place your fingers on the fretboard in the order of numbers on the chord chart.  Ideally this will happene all at once, but for very beginning students place one finger at a time, playing that string, checking for a full, ringing tone before moving on to the next finger.
    3. After all fingers have been placed, strum each string of that chord one at a time, making sure all strings vibrate freely and are not muted by misplaced or flattened fingers.
    4. Echo play each of the strings one-at-a-time for you students so the students know how each string should sound before they play their chord.  This teaches the students to listen critically.
    5. If any strings are muted, the student should "become their own teacher" and try to figure out why their string or chord doesn't sound right and try to fix their own problem before asking a neighbor or the teacher for help.
    6. If a string buzzes, move that string's finger towards the body of the guitar, right up to the next fret, but not on top of it.  This is not always possible with all chords when they have more than two strings fretted.
    7. Once the student is comfortable playing the chord, add a drum machine pattern to play the chord with.  It's much more fun that just playing to a metronome! The student should also get used to tapping their foot along with the beat.  
    Chords taught today: simple C, simple G7, D7, A7, simple G, E5 (power chord)

    Notes taught today: G (3rd string, open), A (3rd string, 2nd finger, 2nd fret–a.k.a. "2-2"), B (2nd string, open), C (2nd string 1-1), D (2nd string 3-3), E (1st string open), F (1st string 1-1), and G (1st string 3-3). 

    Rob developed the "verbal shorthand" of naming the finger and fret (e.g. "2-2" for 2nd finger, 2nd fret) so that it wasn't such a mouthful to tell his middle school students where to put their fingers when playing a note or a chord since three things must be said: which string, which finger, and which fret.  I'm going to try to use his verbal shorthand with my own students because I've stumbled over my own words when trying to describe the same thing for my Music Technology students.

    There are four transitions possible when moving from one chord to another:
    1. Relative transition (ex. D to A7: lift 3rd finger of D chord, move 1st & 2nd fingers one string up keeping their shape)
    2. Guide finger (ex. simple G to D7: the 3rd finger slides on the 1st string from the 3rd fret on the G chord to the 2nd fret for the D7 chord – ex. Hush, Little Baby)
    3. Switching or exchanging fingers (ex. simple G to simple C – ex. John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt)
    4. Common finger (ex. C & D7: keep the 1st finger down on 2-1 for both chords – ex. John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt)
    When learning to read "real" music notation, it is helpful for beginning students to vary their practice technique to include the following methods:
    • "say and play" (say the note name while playing that note)
    • "sing and play" (sing the note name while playing that note)
    • "name the fret" (say the fret name while playing that note)
    Above all, go slowly, playing on one string with a limited number of notes in various rhythmic patterns in order to "put in the reps" and burn that note position into the player's memory.  For new guitar students it is very important to build in a lot of repetition so that their muscle memory takes over (in the future) for their thinking speed (which is very slow at the beginning).  The amount of "time on instrument" also will make huge difference in the amount of material that can be covered in a semester's guitar course.  If the guitar class meets every day, much more material can be taught than if the class only meets once or twice a week.  Likewise for the student, if they are practicing at home as well as learning during guitar class, they will progress faster than if they only have access to a guitar during class time.

    Ensemble Playing

    Every guitar student should be able to play every part of an ensemble piece because every guitar student can play the full range of the instrument on the very first day of class.  For this reason, it is very easy not only to build ensemble playing into every class period using books like The 21st Century Guitar Method Guitar Ensemble 1, (Sandy Feldstein and Aaron Stang, Alfred), but also having students play both chords and notes.  The fun comes when you pass the parts around from section to section, such as the following progession of learning a two-part ensemble song:
    1. Everyone plays part 1 with CD accompaniment.
    2. Everyone plays part 2 with CD accompaniment.
    3. Count off every other person 1-2-1-2, etc.  1's play part 1, 2's play part 2 with CD.  
    4. Play 1-2-1-2 by row.
    5. Play 1-2 by duet (this is the goal of ensemble playing!) with CD
    If a CD accompaniment is unavailable either the teacher or more advanced students (or both) can play the accompaniment from the chords provided.  In this way, the piece can be practiced slowly and gradually sped up over the course of many days until it can finally be performed with CD accompaniment.

    Method Books used today:

    Essential Elements for Guitar, Book 1 (Will Schmidt & Bob Morris, Hal Leonard). This book interperses the teaching of chords and notes and includes 141 songs which illustrate and reinforce every concept which is taught. Comes with professional accompaniment CD.

    Songs Played–Concepts Taught:
    • He's Got the Whole World in His Hands (p. 7) – simple C & G7 strumming
    • Rockin' Robin (p. 22) – picking notes, reading melody notation
    • Surf Rock (p. 22) – ensemble playing, chord group (D7 & G) vs. melody group
    • Au Clair De La Lune (p. 26) – 2-pt. melodic ensemble playing (described above)
    • Can You Feel the Love Tonight (p. 28) – 2-pt. melodic ensemble playing
    The 21st Century Guitar Method Guitar Ensemble 1, Student Book (Sandy Feldstein and Aaron Stang, Alfred EL03955S).  This book correlates with a methods book and helps teachers fulfill the National Music Standard of ensemble playing.  Each song in this book has three-part guitar with optional piano, bass, and percussion parts.  Each ensemble part is on a different page, not all scored together on separate vertical staves in a full score.

    Songs Played–Concepts Taught:
    • Love Somebody (pp. 3-5) – 3-pt. melodic ensemble playing

    Mastering the Guitar: Class Method Level 1/Beginning Elementary through 8th Grade (William Bay & Mike Christiansen, Mel Bay MB97121). This method book, besides being a complete guitar method for all eight grades, contains some songs which correlate to novels which middle school students may be also reading: Where the Red Fern Grows, A Wrinkle in Time, Charlotte's Web, The Old Man and the Sea, and Bridge to Terebithia.  Some of the early lessons have similarity to other string methods (Suzuki violin and fiddling) with lots of note practice and phrases which help students play rhythms (e.g. "Hiking Up the Mountain" for eighth, eighth, eighth, eighth, quarter, quarter).

    Songs Played–Concepts Taught:
    • E Study #1-5 (p. 22) – rhythmic variety on a single note in 4/4
    • E in 3/4 Time #1-3 (p. 23) – rhythmic variety on a single note in 3/4
    • Play F, E-F, E-F in 3/4 Time, F Study #4 (p. 24) – rhythmic variety using two notes
    • Play G (p. 25) – rhythmic variety on a single note in 4/4
    • Etude (p. 26) – note reading E, F & G on 1st string with accompaniment
    • B Study #1-2, B-E, C Study, B-C-C-B, 3/4 CB (p. 29) – rhythmic variety using two notes
    • Play D, D-B-C, Using All Notes (p. 30) – gradual, sequential note repetition and drill
    • Secret Garden (p. 31) – suggested reading: Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    • A Wrinkle in Time – (p. 34) guitar ensemble in 3-pts., "hot shots" in your class can either help beginning students or they can learn to play one of the three parts "in position"  (play three times, switching parts each time)
    • Shadow of the Bull (p. 37) – guitar ensemble in 3-pts., suggested reading: Shadow of a Bull  by Wojciechowska (play three times, switching parts each time)
    First Lessons – Beginning Guitar: Learning Chords/Playing Songs (William Bay, Mel Bay MB20000SET) comes with Accompaniment CD & Lesson DVD. Teaches only chords and strumming patterns.  Transitions between chords is a natural lesson for every new chord and song selection.  Every song's starting note is given in a chord chart to advocate singing while playing guitar. Includes information on how to restring a guitar.

    Songs Played–Concepts Taught:
    • Pay Me My Money Down (p. 19) – "relative" transition from D to A7
    • Auld Lang Syne (p. 21) – adding the G chord to D & A7

    The FJH Young Beginner Guitar Method: Exploring Chords Book 1 (Philip Groeber et al., FJH G1019)  Includes many tips for the young guitarist that might be assumed by older students. Interestingly enough, also teaches a simple E minor chord (string 1-3, all open)

    Songs Played–Concepts Taught:
    • Hey, Ho, Nobody Home (p. 6) – simple Em "1st song", includes melody line for teacher
    • Hush, Little Baby (p. 15) how to mix beginning & advanced players on the same song: beginning students strum "simple G", advanced strum alternate voicing of G or D7 or modifying strumming pattern to allow beginning players to drop a strum on beat 4 (or 3, or 2) to allow for more time to shift to the next chord and yet always "hit the new chord on 1"; practicing going back and forth between G & D7 using a guide finger.
    • John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt (p. 16) – how to attack a new song: "how many chords are in this song?", practice changing from one chord to the next before playing the whole song; guide finger transition G-D7; finger exchange G-C; common finger C-D7
    • Amazing Grace (p. 17) – five chords! G, G7, C, Em D7 Good chord review/culmination piece.  Don't know/remember a chord? "Look it up!" 
    Jerry Snyder's Guitar School: Method Book 1 with CD (Jerry Snyder, Alfred 17879) Interestingly enough, even though this book has a page on tapping your foot while playing, it is very extensive and advanced.  For advanced middle school of high school level players. Section 1 is all about Chords and Accompaniment. Section 2 seems to go backwards to note reading and learning to read music.

    Songs Played–Concepts Taught:
    • Rhythm Drills (p. 65) – useful for practicing rhythmic variation using any note
    • Notes on the First String (p. 66) – further repetition to enhance muscle memory
    • Mist (p. 67) – a simple song with teacher or CD accompaniment using the notes E & F
    • Chelsie (p. 68) –  simple song with teacher or CD accompaniment using the notes E, F & G
    Guitar Expressions: Student Edition (Aaron Stang et al., Alfred EMCG1002) A high gloss, full color, spiral bound methods book which incorporates theory, vocabulary, cross-curriculuar opportunities, and assessment forms. 

    Songs Played–Concepts Taught:
    • Flamenco Fantasy (p. 19) – 3/4 new musical style, all notes on 1st string
    • Notes on 1st & 2nd Strings (p. 26) – say the fret # while playing the note
    • Flamenco Fantasy (Duet Part) (p. 27) – all notes on 2nd string

    Other Topics Discussed/Taught/Demonstrated today:

    "No Fault" Improvisation (Essential Elements, p. 76): Over an E5 power chord, the teacher plays two notes on the 1st string (E 1-0 & G 1-3) in different one-bar rhythmic patterns that the students echo by ear. When they are comfortable, gradually add the following notes:
    1. Over an E5 power chord, the teacher plays two notes on the 1st string (E 1-0 & G 1-3)
    2. add D 2-3
    3. add B 2-1
    4. add A 3-2
    5. add G 3-0
    Echoing the teacher "makes the vocabulary" of improvisation because the bar motifs that the teacher improvises for the student become "words" which can be strung together (without an echo) to make an improvised solo. Using a restricted set of notes, always starting on E 1-0 gives enough parameters to be predictable enough not to be totally overwhelming.  A variation on this could be an advanced student playing the part of the teacher while the class echoes them, or pairing up student with one being the teacher and the other being the echoer.  This would be more successful after echoing the teacher many times.

    Tuning (Essential Elements, p. 92): Just like my first Suzuki violin teacher did for our group violin lessons, the guitar teacher is encouraged to tune the student's guitars for them at least for the first 9 weeks of instruction so the student develops their ear of what an in-tune guitar sounds like (and thereby what each string sounds like in relation to each other string when in tune) before every trying to tune a guitar on their own.  Once starting to tune that guitar by themselves, students are encouraged to first learn open-string tuning, using a reference CD or electronic tuner.

    Direction Terms (Essential Elements p. 92): What seems natural to the music teacher is not necessarily natural for the beginning guitar student, especially when numbering strings or frets or discussing higher or lower pitches in relation to higher or lower strings.  Since the strings are numbered 1-6 from the string farthest away from the player (little #, little string) to the string closest to the player (big #, big string), and with the highest string being counterintuitively "on the bottom" of the fret board and the lowest sounding string being "on the top", it becomes beneficial to talk to the student in terms of directions such as "towards the floor" and "towards the ceiling" or "towards the body" or "towards the head" instead of referring to "higher" or "lower". 

    Fun Song of the Day: Iko, Iko (Dr. John version) – D, A7 (C bridge)

    For the first half of the day I felt pretty good. My background and self-taught methods seemed to be validated, but by the afternoon, it became apparent to me that I was lacking in both note reading and the muscle memory necessary to cleanly land notes of the G Mixolydian scale (GABCDEFG).  It felt like I was back in my first year of group adult Suzuki violin lessons all over again.  But that's okay. In one day we accomplished everything that I currently teach my Music Tech students in their guitar unit.  I can't imagine what is next!