Category Archives: Guitar Players

My Curriculum for 5th Grade Ukulele and 6th Grade Guitar

Review of Palmer’s “The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One”

I was the music instructor for 5th and 6th grades for the 2016-17 school year at Seattle Girls School. I created, developed, and taught my own curriculum, then evaluated two 6th grade guitar classes of 20 students per class and one 5th grade ukulele class of 14 students.

Since this was a new experience for me and I couldn’t find much help online, I thought I’d share a summary of the main points I covered, in case someone out there needs some general guidance. If there’s a need for more specific lesson plans or other materials for teaching guitar and ukulele to middle school students, I may publish a book of my worksheets and lesson plans. Continue reading

10 Reasons You Should Take Guitar Lessons with Susan Palmer

1) Teaching is my passion. Students sense this and they feel inspired to work hard.

2) My experience makes me a more effective teacher. I have been teaching individual (private) lessons and group classes in jazz, blues, and rock styles for over 15 years. I have been the guitar instructor at Seattle University since 2006. In 2010, I created and started teaching The Rock Project at Cornish College of the Arts. I also taught guitar and ukulele classes a couple times a week at Seattle Girls School for a year, and I run a private studio on Capitol Hill where I offer lessons and classes, as well as lessons via Skype/FaceTime. Continue reading

Common Chord Progressions

I had a basic chord diagram book when I was learning how to play guitar and the chords were grouped by key. I would spend hours playing chords in different combinations, and I would often stumble upon sequences that sounded like a song I had heard on the radio. Sometimes, it was easy to recall the name of the tune, and other times the chord progression just sounded *really* familiar. It turns out, there are a handful of chord progressions that are used in thousands of popular songs.

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The Best Apps for Guitar Students and Guitar Teachers

unnamed-23I’m often asked which apps I use and recommend to students and other guitar instructors. Here are a few that I really dig. I’ll keep updating this list as I discover more useful apps.

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200+ Jam Tracks on iReal Pro for “The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume Two”

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I was shocked to learn that Apple does not make computers with built in CD players anymore, so I inputed the music for all the jam tracks from my book, The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume Two  into the iReal Pro app. Besides giving students and fellow teachers a new way to access the play-a-long music from the method book, there are a lot of cool benefits for students:

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Awesome Small Scale Guitar Gear

I wrote a post a while back about a cheap 3/4 guitar I fell in love with at The Guitar Store. I still play that guitar (I actually now own 3 of them) and lately I have been finding more awesome small gear that I wanted to share with you. (I’m still looking for a really nice 3/4 guitar with a nut width about 38mm, and I’ll keep you posted when I find it.) Continue reading

The Guitarists of Seattle University

unnamed-20When you walk through campus at the beginning of the school year at Seattle University, you’ll see a lot of guitars. Besides the fact that the guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world, Seattle University is located on Capitol Hill, one of the Northwest’s most active music and art scenes. It makes sense why there are so many great guitarists here!

What To Get Your Guitar Playing Dad For Father’s Day

unnamed-35Around this time of year, I receive emails from some of my students’ families. They ask for Father’s Day gift suggestions for their guitar playing dads/husbands. I know my students well, so it is fairly easy to offer advice that I know will hit the mark. I have created a list  of some of my students’s favorite gifts they have received from family and friends. I hope this helps you shoppers get started, and fathers, message me if you’d like me to add a piece of your favorite guitar gear to the list! Continue reading

Improve Rhythm Accuracy And Time on Guitar

unnamed-65There are a lot of things guitar students need to practice, but being able to play in time is one of the most important. Audiences will forgive a few wrong notes but they can’t forgive bad time! (Because if you can’t dance to it…)

While some people seem to have a great natural sense of time, a lot of folks really struggle to find the beat and keep it, and simply practicing with a metronome sometimes isn’t enough. If you can’t do play in time, it’s going to be impossible to lock in with other musicians and play music that you (and other people) want to hear. Continue reading

How To Create Effective Music Studio Policies

unnamed-64Every business deals with customers who don’t pay their bills, and self-employed music teachers can be significantly impacted when this happens in their studios. Because many musicians earn their living by teaching lessons, it’s important for them to have solid tuition policies in place. Continue reading

It’s Time To Get Serious About Guitar

unnamed-62A big part of my job as a guitar teacher is to evaluate each student’s playing ability and understanding of music on the guitar. When I know where students are and where they want to go, I can create a plan to help them reach their goals. I thought it would be beneficial to create a short quiz to help guitarists see where their strengths and weaknesses are, and I thought I’d start with something fun. Continue reading

How To Create An Effective Practice Plan

unnamed-40You know you’ve got a good practice plan when you look forward to your practice sessions, you notice progress, and you feel a sense of accomplishment after you complete your session. Every music teacher will tell you that quality daily practice is important, so let’s make a practice plan that works for you! Continue reading

Why Aren’t You A Good Guitar Player?

unnamed-39Many guitarists tell me they practice every day but they are not satisfied with their rate of improvement. Most of those people just don’t understand what a good practice plan should look and feel like. Once you have a good plan in place and a good teacher to help you, you will be shocked at how much you can accomplish in a short amount of time. Continue reading

Small Guitars for Women and Kids

unnamed-60It’s true that female guitarists have a hard time finding good guitars. I’d probably own 10 guitars if I could find guitars that fit me. I’m about 5’5″ and my hands are proportional, but I’ve had some injuries that were at least partially caused by playing guitars that were too big for me. I’ve been playing and teaching guitar full time for over 15 years, and I know that most female guitarists would benefit by playing a guitar (or guitars!) that actually fit them. Continue reading