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Welcome to Leon High Guitar!

Leon offers four levels of year-long class instruction to over 165 students annually. Classes are currently taught by Ed Prasse and Mike Wendeln. Guitar I welcomes all students regardless of previous musical experience. The first week content includes sitting/hand position, learning the D, G and A7 chords, and strumming songs. The Guitar II curriculum presents advancing performance techniques in areas of fingerpicking, string bending, upper position note reading and improvisation. Guitar III/IV executes a performance-based curriculum representing our philosophy of accepting a broad range of styles/genres of music. Technique development, theory and instruction is presented in order to play pieces in Classical, Rock, Jazz, Bluegrass, and Pop styles.

Please navigate the content of this site by clicking the level specific links in the left menu bar.

Guitar I Curriculum by Month

August- chord strumming and song playing
September- chord strumming and note reading
October- note reading and intro to bass playing
November- rehearsing in trio format- your first band!
December- trio recital and E barre chords

January- A barre chords and song playing with barre chords
February- TAB, rock riffs, Major scales, electric guitar performance
March- power chords, finger picking, riff recital
April- arpeggio finger picking, "Guitar Roar" performance
May- rehearsing in trios, trio recital, 5th position note reading, capo/transpsition

Guitar I Curriculum Description

The Guitar I curriculum assumes the student has had NO previous guitar playing or musical experience. We take absolute beginners through a journey of sequenced assignments covering a broad spectrum of playing techniques. The first semester introduces chord strumming, note reading and bass playing all of which culminate in a trio performance in December.

After barre chords are covered in December and January, the song strumming possibilities become seemingly endless. TAB is introduced to student next and the performance of popular riffs such as "Crazy Train", "Carry On Wayward Son", and "Don't Fear the Reaper". In March, all Guitar I students perform the riff of their choice at the "Leon High REAL Guitar Heroes" riff recital.

After a study of Major scales and the right hand im reststroke technique in February, full right hand arpeggio finger picking is studied in March and April. Guitar I students annually select finger picking standards such as "Dust in the Wind", "Tears in Heaven", and "Stairway to Heaven", amongst others.

In late April, Guitar I students perform in the annual guitar department recital "Guitar Roar". This recital is a display of the versatility of the guitar as music in the Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Folk, Bluegrass genre/styles are performed by students in Guitar I, II, and III/IV.

May holds a potpourri of topics such as upper position note reading, intro to improvisation, capo/transposition, and triad music theory are presented in addition to the final trio recital.

GUITAR I IS NOT EASY!! As you can see, we pursue a rigorous and relevant curriculum designed for skill development and performance. This is accomplished by the individual assessment of every student through a sequence of 20+ performance and skill based assignments. Care needs to be taken by the student to develop and master each item in the sequence. If done so, any student will be rewarded with fine playing skills, REGARDLESS OF TALENT!! The process creates success. The curriculum is quite structured, yet does not feel like "school" when a guitar is in your hands for 180 days!!

We us the "H.O.T Hands On Training First Year Guitar" book as our primary text and students have access to 7 volumes of songbooks and 8 volumes of riff books at their seat. Additionally, we have over 350 individual songbooks representing every style imaginable! Students purchase the primary text, as it is a consumable workbook, and keep it for further study. Leon has good quality guitars available for student use for $30 for the entire year. Most students make use of he Leon guitars here at school and play their own personal instrument at home. The inability to pay has never kept a Leon student from playing guitar. Please contact the instructors for more information.

After a successful year in Guitar I, many students enroll in Guitar II. Click here to find additional information on Guitar II.

After Guitar II, students seeking a serious study of the guitar enroll in Guitar III and then IV. Click here to find additional information on these advanced guitar classes.