Budget cuts in education have schools all across the country looking for ways to fund fine arts education. In Texas, House Bill 5 is causing schools to look for new fine arts offerings while keeping costs as low as possible. If this sounds like the situation in your school district, I may have just the solution for you!
Guitar programs are popping up in schools all across the nation because they are easy to start and cost effective. They also teach students the same skills offered in more traditional music programs. Most states have guitar solo and ensemble events already in place. So why aren’t we teaching guitar in the public schools as much as other musical disciplines? I think it’s fear of the unknown. Let’s correct some of the misconceptions about guitar programs.
Records show as many as 90% of guitar students were not in music before entering a guitar program. Adding a guitar program to your school can grow your fine arts program by drawing students unreached by other programs. The majority of guitar programs I’ve studied draw students who aren’t involved in music at school. This gives us the opportunity to expose them to the same life lessons and benefits our other music programs teach. As an example, I teach in a small school and 50% of my guitar class is not in another music program at our school. But they’re learning and performing music every day, and they love the class!
A class set of 30 guitars costs less than one tuba. Here’s where the affordability part kicks in! Band and orchestra instruments are expensive. This fact of life will drive some students away from your program. But a guitar program can reach these same students! A student can buy a new, student-level nylon string guitar for as little as $100. You can find a used guitar for even less. When comparing the cost of a guitar program to band and orchestra, the cost is minimal. This is a cost benefit to the school and to the lower income students in your district.
Many of these classes are being successfully taught by non-guitarist music educators. It’s true! In an ideal setting this wouldn’t be the case, but it does work every day. It works because the same general music skills used to teach choir, band, and orchestra relate to teaching a guitar class. There is also an abundance of guitar learning resources available for free! Just do a quick YouTube search for guitar lessons and see what you come up with. Yes some of it is junk, but there are also quite a few highly skilled guitar teachers that share instructional videos on the web. Need more help? I would be shocked if you couldn’t find a single teacher at your school who plays a little guitar! Ask them for some help because seriously, who wouldn’t want to take a little time at work to play guitar? Or better yet, check out GuitarCurriculum.com! I use their curriculum in my guitar class because of its quality, ease of use, and flexibility for students of different ability levels. It’s very affordable, too!
If your district is looking to add a new fine arts program that reaches new students, is fun and exciting, and is cost effective, then a guitar program may be just the answer you’re looking for!
Discussion Question: Does your school offer a guitar class? If so, post the name of the school, city, and state in the comment area below!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Advocacy information taken from GuitarCurriculum.com.