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  • Writer's pictureBryce Leader

Free Guitar Lessons for kids | Lesson 1 | Copy Play and Learn Guitar.

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

Teaching guitar to young kids with Copy, Play and Learn Guitar can be fun and rewarding. Best of all it's also engaging and educational. With a strong focus on note reading, kids can take baby steps as they learn to process pitch and rhythm and develop their finger dexterity.

This is the first in a series of reasonably short videos. There are 47 lessons in all so stay tuned, there are heaps more to come. If you get very enthusiastic, you might just want to buy the book. They are available from Angus and Robertson, Dymocks , Fishpond, Amazon and Booktopia or you can get the eBook from the Copy, Play and Learn Guitar site.

Using the Copy, Play and Learn Guitar method for the first time.

Setting up the student to Copy and Play

The goal of the Copy, Play and Learn Guitar teacher is to have young students start to develop awareness of how written music works and ultimately be able to respond appropriately to the signs and symbols that make up written music. As young children learn naturally by imitating a parent or teacher, teachers might start to teach a piece by asking the students to sing and clap the rhythm of the words (or notes) of each phrase the teacher has sung. After asking the students to identify the note names, these too can be sung to the backing track in place of the words. Teachers might want to again sing the note names as they play them. Depending on the student, teachers may also feel the need to sing the note names as the student “Copy’s” the phrase.

Developing dexterity of the thumb.

At the early stages of learning to play the guitar, young people respond well to being asked only to focus on one task at a time. In playing the first few pieces, students can focus on the movement of their thumb; picking a rhythm on the string in time to the recorded backing track.

1. Work that thumb

This piece introduces the Copy, Play and Learn technique as well as develop dexterity of the thumb.

The young child will not immediately be able to read music just because you’ve told them a few time-names, pitches and the location of those notes on the guitar. But, you will get the child to start thinking about how music works. Firstly, ask the student to repeat the rhythm of the piece. Most, if not all young beginners are familiar with the French (or Kodaly) time names of ta and ti-ti due to their exposure to them in classroom music. If you, yourself aren’t familiar with them, a Ta is a quarter note or crotchet, a Ta-aa, a half note or minim, a Ti-ti (or te-te) is two eighth notes or quavers. Familiarise the students with the rhythm by clapping it as you say or sing the time names along with the recording. You, as their teacher will sing and clap first. The student will copy you in the simile bars.

Next, tell the students the pitch of the notes; E and B. Sing the note names to the rhythm you’ve just clapped. You may want the students to clap the rhythm again, this time as you sing the note names. Ask the students to tell you which note they thought sounded higher; E or B. Hopefully they’ll tell you that E sounds higher. Then you can tell them that the high sounding notes are positioned toward the top of the stave and the lower sounding, B, a little further down.

Show the students where the two notes are located on the guitar. Play the notes in time and with the recording and have your students Copy you in the simile bars. Call the note names as you go.

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