Beginning Guitar Prepares for Second Semester


 “I thought It was just such a great idea to [teach] beginning guitar as well,” Beginning Guitar teacher and assistant choir director Matthew Radford said. “Because there are students that I am fairly certain that I would never see without this class.”

Radford has been playing guitar since his senior year of high school, never taking any lessons for it. By never learning it formally, Radford thinks that’s what makes teaching guitar different for him compared to other teachers.

“There’s a unique element of all of us learning together,” Radford said. “I tell them on day one, I don’t claim to be the best guitarist ever. My primary reason for going to school is voice and piano, but I’ve loved guitar for the past decade. I feel like it’s a really unique experience for me because I can share how to play the guitar in a unique way.”

For example, in November, guitar students were able to choose any song they wanted to play for Radford as a grade. This allows for a very individualized experience that’s far different than traditional classes, despite it being tricky for new players.

“After a few months of doing guitar, they all were very nervous, but I said in two weeks, you’re gonna play any song for me and just go,” Radford said. “I guided them through the process, but I found that when they were doing that song project, I was learning about their individual music tastes. I was also able to see where each of the students were shining and where they needed a little bit more help.”

This second semester, Radford hopes to have the class branch out a bit. In the past, beginning guitar has been focused on only the teaching aspect, but that may soon change to include performing as well.

“I’m trying to somehow get the choir and the guitar [students] to do something together,” Radford said. “I’ve thought about how I could get the students that are really excelling and really wanting to take on more in that class, give them an opportunity to do something with the choir if that [plan] falls through.”

Even for those who are not looking to perform in a concert, the class is a great way for students to express their creativity, pick up a new hobby, or just take an engaging fine arts credit.

“I don’t want to say we’re relaxed because we’re serious about what we do, but we do it in a way where there’s not a lot of pressure,” Radford said. “[This class] is not something that’s meant to be calculus or anatomy. I designed the class so that it is a break in their day.”