Music – Lessons, Chords, and Theory

Centuries ago, the only way that most people heard music was if they and their neighbors made it themselves. Now, anyone can hear any music anytime and anywhere. Has that made us moderns less likely to sing and play ourselves? If it has, let’s stop the trend. We need to make music. 

By Mark D. Harris

Learning music theory for any instrument can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be here are some lesson ideas, experiences, and images to help young students decipher the mysteries of music.

Basic Guitar Lessons

Since I lead music for children with voice and guitar at our church, I am sometimes asked to teach children how to play the guitar. The topics that we cover during each of the first six lessons, each intended to last 30 minutes, are below. Beyond what is listed, we use a variation of the Progressive Beginner Guitar book.

Lesson 1

  1. Parts of the guitar
  2. Types and styles of guitar
  3. How to hold the guitar
  4. How to strum (up and down)
  5. Strings – E-A-D-G-B-E
  6. Right hand techniques (playing one string, two strings together, three strings together and in sequence)
  7. How to tune the guitar
  8. Practice playing one, two, and three strings together and in sequence

Lesson 2

  1. Review
  2. What is a chord? (Major, minor, seventh)
  3. The G major chord
  4. The D major chord
  5. Open strings and fretted notes
  6. The quarter note
  7. Practice making and playing G and D chords and transitioning between the two.
  8. Play a song with the G and D chords.

Lesson 3

  1. Review
  2. The half note
  3. The C major chord
  4. The quarter and half rests
  5. Practice making and playing G, D, and C chords and transitioning between them.
  6. Play a song with the G, D, and C chords. For example, Silent Night
  7. Homework – Practice everything noted above.

Lesson 4

  1. Review
  2. E major and A major chords
  3. The whole note and whole rest
  4. The eighth note
  5. Practice making and playing G, D, C, E, and A chords and transitioning between them.
  6. Play a song with these chords.
  7. Homework – Practice everything noted above.

Lesson 5

  1. Review
  2. B major and F major chords
  3. Eighth note rhythm pattern
  4. Practice making and playing G, D, C, E, A, B, and F chords and transitioning between them.
  5. Play a song with these chords.
  6. Homework – Practice everything noted above.

Lesson 6

  1. Review
  2. The fourth string
  3. D, E and F notes
  4. Minor chords (Dm, Em, Am)
  5. Practice making and playing all known chords and transitioning between them.
  6. Play a song with these chords.
  7. Homework – Practice everything noted above.

Aids to Teaching and Learning Music

Piano Chords
Guitar Chords
Staff Chords
Musical Counting

Reach the nations with music and the arts. Discover how at: The Church, the Arts, and Shaping the World for Christ.