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Course Catalog > Professional Development > Personal Enrichment

Introduction to Guitar  

Master basic guitar skills and become the musician you've always wanted to be.

Learn to play guitar, and become the musician you've always wanted to be! In these fun and informative lessons, you'll build basic guitar skills step-by-step with the help of hands-on exercises, audio and video recordings, and detailed illustrations.

The classical guitar skills you'll master in this course will allow you to play any style of music, from hard rock to country-and-western. And that's not all! Good guitar players know that the secret to making beautiful music is to practice, practice, practice—so that's what you'll do. You'll make rapid progress as you follow a carefully planned practice schedule that reinforces each new skill you learn. Whether you're a beginner or an intermediate student, this course will take your musical talent to the next level. By the time you're finished, you'll be well on your way to becoming a skilled guitar player.


Requirements:

Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.
  • You will need a guitar in good working condition and an adjustable footstool for correct positioning. It's advisable to purchase a metronome for developing your rhythm skills and a music stand so you can practice in a correct playing position.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or newer.
  • Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.

Other:

  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Prerequisites:

There are no prerequisites to take this course.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Master basic guitar skills and become the musician you've always wanted to be.

Start Making Music With Your Guitar

In the first lesson, you'll learn the fundamentals for making music with a guitar. You'll get to know your instrument, realize the benefits of the proper playing position, explore methods for tuning, and discover how to achieve the correct right-hand position. You'll also learn a few playing techniques for producing clear, beautiful notes. This is the first step toward becoming a guitar player. By the end of the lesson, you'll be sitting comfortably and playing notes on your guitar!

Beautiful Tone and Rhythm

Want your guitar to sound as beautiful as it looks? In this lesson, you'll learn basic techniques for creating beautiful-sounding notes when you play. The lesson will talk about basic music notation and rhythmic note values and how to interpret those rhythmic note values so that you can play your music in rhythm. By the end of this lesson, you'll be reading and playing guitar music!

Open Your Mind to Open Strings

In this lesson, you'll learn how to identify bass and treble string notes on the music staff and about the concept of arpeggios for finger picking the bass and treble strings. You'll explore how to play simple music studies in rhythm and learn how to recognize new music notations and rhythmic values. Of course, you'll have multiple opportunities to apply these new understandings throughout this lesson, and you'll continue to develop your overall proficiency.

Playing Music With Your Left Hand

You've got the right hand down. Now it's time to learn about your left hand. This lesson will teach you how to establish the correct left-hand position and the details that go into pressing your left-hand fingers against the strings. You'll also learn to identify the E1 string notes on the music staff and begin playing simple exercises that include open strings. After that, you'll be introduced to stretching exercises that will enhance the range of motion in your fingers. Finally, the lesson will discuss a few new music notations and terms!

Playing Music on the E1 and B2 Strings

In this lesson, you'll discover new notes on your B2 string and examine the details that go into creating harmony between the B2 and E1 string notes. You'll learn how to combine your newfound notes together with open strings to play more complex music, allowing you to improve your skill level. You'll also learn about the musical term legato, the facing repeat sign for music with multiple endings. And you'll discover a new time signature, the concept of the pick-up note.

Playing Music on the E1, B2, and G3 Strings

In this lesson, you'll begin by focusing on the G3 string. You'll learn notes on the G3 string, be able to identify their location on the music staff, and then practice creating harmony between all three treble string notes to play more beautiful music. You'll learn about rests and their corresponding symbols, find out about music in two voices, and discover techniques that will allow you to gain more control over the way your music sounds.

Sharps and Flats in New Rhythms

This lesson will discuss accidentals (sharps and flats) in music. You'll learn to identify their symbols and apply them to play more interesting and beautiful music. You'll also learn about sixteenth notes and the associated rest symbol, and do an exercise so that you can apply this rhythmic value. You'll conclude the lesson by examining a scale and learning why scales are important to your development as a guitarist.

Playing Two Notes Together

This is where things really get exciting! In this lesson, you'll examine techniques for playing two notes together. You'll discover a new time signature and various ways of playing this rhythm in music. You'll learn how to use guide and pivot fingers to create smooth chord transitions and continue to build on your skills by learning new music and right-hand exercises.

Understanding Open String Equivalents

This lesson will discuss open string equivalents, and you'll learn to identify their location on the music staff and on the fret board. You'll also take a look at a few new notes and discover other possible ways of playing two notes together to further understand the value of playing with correct right-hand fingering. You'll examine how to read other repeat markings and signs that direct you through the music. Finally, the lesson will conclude with a technical exercise to help build your coordination and develop the stretch range of your fingers!

Tempo Terms and Volume Control

In this lesson, you'll learn more about tempo and how it's used to create musical expression. You'll continue to build on your understanding of correct left- and right-hand fingering, examine triplets, and learn how to count and play this new rhythm in various time signatures. The lesson will then discuss volume, and you'll learn how you can use it to add expression to your music. Of course, you'll also continue to develop your overall coordination. See you on the inside!

Volume and Musical Expression

In this lesson, you'll learn about dynamic markings so that you can further express your music. You'll examine the technique for playing three notes together and continue to build on your understanding of correct right-hand fingering. You'll also discover ways to minimize unwanted sounds that naturally occur when you're playing, and then practice a new exercise that will help to increase your skill level.

Playing Expressive Music

In the final lesson, you'll be introduced to dynamic tempo terms that will help you artistically express your music. You'll find out how accenting notes can define the melody and reveal other hidden voices in the music to add nuance and interest. You'll discover how to play four notes together and study some techniques for strumming through the strings so that you can finish a song with flare. You'll also take a look at a final song that incorporates many of the terms and techniques you've learned in this course so you can continue practicing and improving your skills!



Edward Burns has an extensive musical background as a professional performer, instructor, composer, and recording artist. He has published two guitar methods and composed several guitar technique studies designed to develop specific skills. Burns has also taught guitar and music theory courses for colleges, music academies, and conservatories.

 

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