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Music 16A: Beginning Acoustic Guitar/16B Blues Pop, Jazz Guitar


Fall 2017 Syllabus


Beginning Acoustic Guitar - tentative schedule (under construction)

Week 1: 

Chapter 1, Getting Started

  • Parts of the guitar, seating positions

Lesson 2: notes on the fretboard/fingerboard

  • musical alphabet, half and whole steps
  • Accidentals–we won’t be playing these for a while
  • String names/numbers
  • Octaves

Lesson 3

  • Reading tab; Play some tunes
  • left hand position, technique

Lesson 4:

  • First Chords: chord chart, fingering, strumming, left hand position: Chords D, A, G

Appendix: Buy a metronome: working with a metronome (in class practice)

Lesson 5 intro: changing chords: muscle memory and minimum effort/pressure
• If you can see it, you can play it!


For next week: practice chords every day, using changing tech. Work on melodies with pick
• look ahead to new chords: E, C, p. 15,
• read Chapter 2, Reading music

Week 2

Lab: Chapter 1, Reading TAB

  • Mary had a Border Collie

Chord chart reading: C, G, D7
Review Counting

Review This Hammer’s too heavy

Review Lesson 4, Begin Lesson 5  strumming, 6 - changing chords, 7: Full Size Chords
Lesson 8: add E, C

Tuning: view online, in class practice next week.


Chapter 2 Reading Music: the staff p. 16
Learn notes on the 1st string, notes on the second string


  • Lesson 1: Notes and the Staff, Lesson 2: notes on the first string: pick exercise, notes on the 2nd string
  • Lesson 4, Time
  • Lesson 5, 3rd string: Oh Susanna!


Week 3: 

  • Read and watch Chapter 1: Tuning your guitar, p. 7
  • Chapter 2
    • Continue Oh! Susanna, p 20
    • Lesson 6: Rests - When the Saints Go Marching In p. 21
    • Lesson 7, Eighth Notes (p. 22) - (Ex 16, 17) 
    • Lesson 8: Notes on the 4th String - Ex 18, Old Joe Clark, p. 23
    • Lesson 9: Eighth rests and Dotted Notes- Ex 19, p. 24
  • Chords, Ch. 1:
    • Review switching chords; review Canadian Campfire Song
    • Begin Rock and Roll Wonder Dog, You move my Boogie Machine 

Week 4: Test 1: study all material from previous weeks. 


  • Chapter 2 Lessons 6-9, especially Oh! Susanna, Old Joe Clark, When the Saints... Ex. 19
  • Chords: Canadian Campfire Song, Rock and Roll..., You Move...
  • Tuning

Begin: Chapter 2

  • Lesson 10: Notes on the 5th and Sixth Strings Ex 21, 22, 23
  • Lesson 11: Sight Reading: Theme from 9th Symphony, Cluck Old Hen
  • Lesson 12: Adding Sharps and Flats - Ex 23, p. 27

Chapter 3: Begin Chapter 3, More New Chords: Lesson 1, Minor Chords . Learn

  • Heavy Fog
  • Heavy Fog, it makes me Happy

Mid term Week 5: all material from first four weeks! All concepts from first three chapters!


 Week 5 - Feb 10


1. This week, please continue to practice all chords and chord songs from first four weeks, including

  • Canadian Campfire song
  • Rock and Roll Wonder Dog
  • You Move my Boogie Machine. We'll play through them next week.

3. Chapter 3, Lesson 2: Bluegrass Chords (p. 31); G and C chords. 


Note Reading: 


1. Oh! Susanna, p. 20

2. Ch. 2, rests - Continue When The Saints Go Marching In, p. 21

3. Lesson 7, Eighth Notes (p. 22)

3. Lesson 8, Notes on the 4th String, p. 23: Old Joe Clark

4. Lesson 9, Eighth rests and Dotted Notes

5. Ode to Joy, p. 26



1. Ch. 2 Lesson 10, Notes on the 5th and sixth strings

2. Cluck Old Hen, p. 26 - some tricky rhythms, so be sure to isolate measures, count through clapping, and use metronome

3. Lessons 12 adding Sharps and Flats, and 13, Reading Key Signatures

  • begin Lesson 14, 1st and 2nd endings: Line Dancing on Mars, p. 29

 Week 6 - 7 

Chapter 3


  • Minor chords, p. 30 (Heavy Fog, Heavy Fog, it Makes me Happy
  • Revised Chapter 3, Lesson 2: Bluegrass Chords


  • Learn The One-Human Garage Band 
    • remember to keep finger 4 down as you change from G to C and back again
  • Chapter 3, Lesson 3: The Art of Strumming. 
    • Practice the strum patterns on one chord until you feel secure, then add changes
  • Lesson 4, Country and Bluegrass Strummming (p. 34);
    • Practice all chords on page 34: it will take time to gain accuracy, as well as knowing which string to find the root and fifth of each chord



Music 16B class activities

Week 1


From Beginning Acoustice Guitar

  • Introduce A minor pentatonic scale, 5th position
  • Introduce Beginning Blues Improvisation, p. 70. 

Week 2


Continue the blues in A, along with the A pentatonic minor scale, and the blues riffs that we began week 1. Practice trading solo and 12 bar chords for some time. Introduce "Pinch technique" on page 14 (Snyder book) - another way to play the 12 bar blues, this time in G.

  • practice moving the A minor pentatonic to the third fret, where the G minor pentatonic is found (p. 17 of Snyder book),

  • work on the scale and riffs to play along with Hesitation. Introduce fingerstyle technique

Finger names: pima

  • Introduce pima block chord, and ascending arpeggios, and then introduced the pattern for The Cruel War is Raging on p. 30.

  • Practice melody for Cruel War

Students should look ahead to Bridges on p. 31, both the arpeggio and the melody

 Week 3

  • Continue fingerstyle: Cruel War, Bridges
  • Continue Am Penatonic scale
  • Continue Blues, and shuffle in A
  • Begin "Pinch" technique, blues in G - Horizon, both chords and melody.





Lesson Videos

Beginning Acoustic Guitar






email icon Email: Ron Dunn
phone icon Phone: 408.864.8818



Last Updated: 1/23/18