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Guitar Class

Welcome to guitar class.  This site provides brief explanations of guitar class at Paulding.

Paulding Middle School                                                            Guitar


This is an exploratory class designed for students with no previous guitar or musical experience. 


  • What you will be learning: The fundamentals of music through learning to play the guitar.

  • How to read music in the treble clef, chord frames and tablature

  • Correct care of, tuning of and vocabulary for the guitar

  • Using the correct technique to play the various styles

  • Fundamentals playing in a group


Materials and equipment:

  • Most music and items will be handouts

  • A computer at home will allow access to the website we use in class to printout our music.

  • Picks, pencils and a folder

  • Optional: Guitar for home practice


The school district will provide:

  • A guitar to use in class. (To be returned in good condition).

  • 2 picks per quarter.  Additional picks will be 25 cents each.

  • At this time guitars must stay in the classroom.


Optional materials (nice to have, but not required)

  • Electronic tuner (this will save you hours of time over the year and will help you sound better too.  (Cost $15 - 25).

  • Music stand for home practice and a guitar stand.

  • Computer

  • Account with Songsterr or Ultimate Guitar

  • You may bring your own guitar (acoustic or electric) with Mr. Kirby’s permission and provided that there is an adequate case for it.  It MUST be stored in the back cabinets.



All instruction is geared to playing.  Each student who works consistently during the class periods and at home on the assigned music should be able to play fairly well at the end of the year. Grades, therefore, are geared to this concept. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 50%  Playing proficiencies, Performances and Written Tests

  • 50% Class participation/time usage & behavior that allows everyone to learn 

Please NOTE – because performances are towards the end of the grading period, the mid-term grade may not necessarily an accurate reflection of the students progress.  Bottom line if at the end of the grading period the student fails to perform their piece adequately then this may reflect negatively on their grade.  



You are responsible for your instrument.  Should anything happen to it then it will up to you, financially to repair and or replace the guitar or any other item.

School insurance does not cover lost or stolen instruments. 

Do not let anyone else use your assigned guitar.


Instrument Handling/Management

  • Guitars are to be placed back on the hooks every day

  • Guitars are to be handled carefully as demonstrated in class

  • Guitars are NOT available to take home.

  • Students/Parents will be liable for any damage to school-owned instruments and will pay for repairs or replacement beyond normal wear and tear.


Guitar class rules

  • Follow Mr. Kirby’s instructions

  • No food or drink (except plain water) in the room

  • All instruments in the room are to be treated with respect and care

  • Use only the instrument assigned to you.  You may not play any other instrument without prior permission.  This includes band instruments and the percussion equipment.

  • Music rooms are for music.  Any other activities belong elsewhere.





  • Respect one another. Allow everyone to learn.

  • Respect the instruments—they are not toys (even if they are fun).

  • Guitars (and mouths) should be at rest position when Mr. Kirby is speaking


Class Participation

  • Be in class and on time. On time means in your seat at the bell!

  • Please wait until you’re instructed to get any instruments.

  • This class is mostly about practicing.  Actively practicing means that you are staying focused on your music and not talking to your neighbor.  Throughout the class I may assist individual students or work with smaller groups.  During this time you should still be working on something.  I will be observing the class as I work with these individuals and deduct points as necessary.

  • When you are absent you are responsible for all materials you miss.

  • Please know that class participation/practice is connected to your performance grade.  If you can’t play your assigned piece because you didn’t practice not only will you lose points on your participation grade but you could also score low on your playing test.



  • There really is no homework in this class. .



  • You are required to have a pick and your sheet music at all times during class.

  • Keep all music and handouts in your binder unless Mr. Kirby has given you permission to remove it.


Personal hygiene

  • Hands need to be clean as to not dirty the instrument

  • Fingernails of the left hand must be kept very short to allow proper finger placement on the guitar.

  • Clothing must allow students to maintain correct body and guitar positioning.







Buying a guitar for home practice

What kind of guitar should I get? 


  • We use electric guitars in class but classic and folk non-electric guitars are fine to use at home.

  • Nylon strings are a lot easier on your fingers, but the fret board is a little wider, which may be difficult if you have very short fingers or small hands. Try before you buy.

    Steel strings are louder, but harder on your fingers.  The narrower fret board may make it easier for those with smaller hands—but more difficult if you have really big fingertips.

      Try before you buy.


  • Buy from a reputable company that will stand behind their product.  Really cheap guitars are often hard to play and even harder to tune and/or keep in tune.  You should be able to get a decent new beginning guitar for around $100.  You must have a case if you bring your guitar to school.


I already have a guitar—can I use it for class/practice?


  • It must be a guitar with six strings tuned E-A-D-G-B-E. 

  • If you bring it to school, it must have a case and you must leave it in the foyer during school hours.


Where should I buy a guitar?


Our local music stores have a good selection and will help you make a wise choice.  They may be willing to adjust the action and set the strap buttons for little or no charge if you buy from them.  Some stores throw in a few small-group or private lessons and/or accessories too.  Ask.


What size should I get?  (Yes, they do come in a few sizes)


Here's another reason to go to the local guitar stores.  They will fit you with the right guitar for you.  Most of the class guitars are 3/4 size. You do not need the most expensive guitar in the shop. They know this and they want you to come back to them for strings, accessories, books and if you continue—for your next guitar.  Be sure to let them know if you are on a tight budget.  Try before you buy.


Can I put steel strings on my classical guitar to make it louder or nylon strings on my folk guitar to make it easier on my fingers?


NO!  You can seriously damage your guitar by putting strings on it that were not designed for it.


Can I borrow an instrument from the school?


Unfortunately we do not have enough guitars to have one provided at home.  In order to practice you will need to purchase one for home.




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