Don’t Fret — The Upsides of Teaching Guitar
If you consider that nearly 2,000 music teachers, representing nearly half a million music students became involved in learning guitar due to the efforts of some leading music associations, including GAMA The Guitar and Accessories Marketing Assn., NAMM The National Assn. of Music Merchants, and MENC The Natl. Assn. for Music Education, you would certainly consider this curriculum a success. The Teaching Guitar Workshops program was launched in 1995 and has enjoyed significant growth since its inception. In an independent survey, 92 percent of teachers started a guitar program after attending the Workshop, and 94 percent reported that the guitar program improved their career as teachers.
This month, SBO takes an in-depth look at school guitar programs and profiles a tremendously successful teacher, Bill Swick, director of the Las Vegas Academy Guitar Ensemble. Swick has been involved with the GAMA Teaching Guitar Workshops from the very early stages and believes that, “GAMA is working very hard to help band, orchestra and choir educators learn to teach guitar.” He currently has three guitar ensembles ranging from beginner to advanced, with 86 students enrolled. Additionally, Swick is quite an entrepreneur with his own publishing company and has written a variety of arrangements and methods for guitar. According to his Web site, Bill’s resume includes being chair for the Clark County School District Guitar Task Force, a member of the CCSD Cadre Task Force, and a member of the Guitar Foundation of America Education Committee.
The guitar’s attraction for many students is obviously its connection to popular music, but many students who have gotten involved have ultimately become interested in classical, Latin, jazz, and other more varied styles of music. Swick has worked for many years to develop a comprehensive, four-year curriculum and materials for teaching the guitar to include a well-rounded understanding of the instrument. The groundwork that GAMA has developed now makes it easier than ever before to launch a classroom music program,
With today’s uncertain economy, providing more musically intriguing options for students has the potential of generating more administrative and parental support for music programs as well as attracting students who might not normally be involved with the band or orchestra program. Take a look at this story, as we know you’ll find it compelling…