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Teaching Skills Teaching Skills > Advice to New Tutors > Little and Often
Summary: Advice for New Tutors - practise little and often, a principle applied to several areas of teaching guitar

Little and Often

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Beginners, especially small children, don't have much strength in their hands and therefore cannot be expected to hold down chords for too long to begin with.

In early lessons get your students to work in short spells. In between spells of physical work you can spend a minute or two (but no more) going over note names on open strings or demonstrating some of the finer points of optimum finger positioning. Get back to the physical work after no more than two minutes break however, because this is where the real progress is to be made early on.

At the end of the first lesson advise your student to practice at home in a similar manner - ie: Little and Often.

The same principal should be applied to your students' conceptual development. Having demonstrated one week why the names of the notes on the fretboard follow the chromatic scale (ideally by referring to the layout of a piano keyboard), don't just expect this knowledge to sink in and stick. Question your student two or three times each subsequent lesson thus: (tutor places finger on 6th string at 3rd fret)'What note is this?' or 'Play me a Bb on the 5th string'. You just do this at random during any natural pause in the lesson and you keep doing it two or three times per lesson until the student always answers correctly without hesitation.

In all three examples the 'Little and Often' principal is very effective.

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