Beginning Guitar Lessons                 


“I’ve been taking lessons with Robb for over a year and I can’t say enough with how happy I’ve been. Besides being a great guy whom you feel comfortable with from day one, Robb possesses the rare ability found in only the best of instructors: he seeks out and leverages each student individual passion for music to foster accelerated, quality learning. Robb has structured my learning by using many of my favorite songs, which has made the development process exceptionally rewarding, and which leaves me hungry to learn more. I highly recommend Robb as a guitar instructor, and I’m looking forward to progressing further under his guidance. 

        — James Hawthorn (Business Law Student)

What is in it for you?

   My intention is for students to enjoy learning the skills, knowledge and practice habits that will empower them to fulfill their creative desires as self sufficient musicians for as long as they wishwith or without a teacher. By the end of the first lesson, students are making music. By the end of the beginning program, students are teaching themselves to play the music they enjoy.

   My philosophy first and foremost is that learning guitar be the student’s choice and  be enjoyable.

Enjoyment = time playing and practicing.

Time playing and practicing = improvement and more enjoyment...

The Teaching Methods

    My teaching methods have evolved since 1989 when I first began working with beginning students. For maximum progress I believe in starting with a plan that grows and changes according to the students needs and desires. In other words “the plan is not an authority that must be obeyed,” rather it is a tool that serves the student on his/her journey. Having said that, here is a little more about my teaching method.

    The beginner is learning what is commonly referred to as rhythm guitar. The basics of which can be summarized as follows:

    Strumming chords, fingerpicking chords, picking single note riffs and picking power chord riffs.

    The student begins by learning songs selected by both the student and myself within the context of Beginning Guitar Music. We use whichever style of rhythm guitar suits the current interest, abilities and needs of the student. For example, most mid to preteens often enjoy beginning with single note and power chord riffs for the following reasons:

  1. 1. It doesn’t require a full grown hand like many chords do.

  2. 2. It is more common in the music they listen and relate to.

“Easy Guitar Books”

    Music Publisher, Hal Leonard has published hundreds of “Easy Guitar” books with notes and tab. All of these books use the same ten basic strumming and fingerpicking patterns. The following lists what I teach my students that makes it easy for them to teach themselves to play the majority of the songs in these books:

  1. 1. How to form chords and play these patterns with confidence

  2. 2. How to read and understand the sheet music format. (Very basic music theory)

  3. 3. How to find, choose and order a book that contains the music for songs you like.

  4. This part starts now! To see a list of Easy Guitar Books by Hal Leonard click on the link, type easy guitar into the search box and press go.  You can also look for the label (shown to the right) on Easy Guitar books at your local music store. 

Sight reading for guitar: Tablature vs. Traditional Staff Notation

    I teach beginning students to read tablature, rhythm and chart notation. I don’t teach beginning students how to read traditional staff notation because in my experience, for the beginner, it requires too much commitment and is not necessary at this stage of their development. Here are a few good reasons why;

  1. 1. So much guitar music is available in “tab” format

  2. 2. A student can learn to read tab in one lesson.

  3. 3. A student can learn to play just about any song if they can read rhythm and chart notation in addition to tablature.

  4. 4. Those who get REALLY serious and want to become professional sight reading musicians can always learn staff notation later. It will be easier after they can read rhythm and chart notation.

Beginning Guitar Course Includes (but is not limited to);

    Playing complete songs and riffs that are enjoyable for the student.

Learning songs and riffs from Easy Guitar sheet music without the teacher

Below is a detailed list of the skills offered for the beginning guitarist. 

  1. I. Reading

  2. A. tablature staff

  3. B. rhythms containing

  4. 1.whole notes up to eighth notes in 4/4 and 3/4 time using rhythmic strumming while tapping your foot. (Rhythmic strumming means playing down on the down beat and up on the upbeat)

  5. 2. rests, ties and syncopated eighth-quarter-eighth using rhythmic strumming

  6. C. Easy guitar charts with repeat signs

  7. II. Strumming and Fingerpicking:

  8. A. chords in open position: A C D E F G  Am Dm Em  A7 B7 C7 D7 E7 and G7

  9. B. change chords while maintaining a basic strum and/or fingerpicking patterns

  10. C. play the ten EZ strum and/or finger picking patterns in straight and swing time

  11. III. Single Notes Riffs

  12. A. rhythmic pick with a flat pick while keeping your picking hand steady on the bridge

  13. B. palm muting

  14. C. use all four fretting fingers while playing in one position on the fingertips

  15. IV. Power Chord and Intervals

  16. A. notes on the fretboard by name and location

  17. B. double-stops including 3rds, 4ths, augmented 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths and octaves

  18. C. change chords while maintaining a basic strum and/or fingerpicking patterns

  19. D. play the ten EZ strum and/or finger picking patterns in straight and swing time

  20. V. Riffs, Licks and Songs that including the techniques, skills and knowledge mentioned above.

To schedule a lesson or for further inquiry Robb can be reached at the phone number and by clicking on the email address below.






Robert James Music

Free the music within

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Robert James Boswell * 720-298-5918 *                                                       * Boulder, Colorado

Guitar Lessons