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Teaching Skills Teaching Skills > Teaching Troubleshooting > Guitar Teaching Tips > Using the guitar as a percussion instrument
Summary: Bite-sized chunks of wisdom that you can use to sharpen your teaching skills and increase your awareness.

Using the guitar as a percussion instrument

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Your students will often ask you to help them improve their rhythm playing.

In the early stages of learning they will complain about their right hand (strumming hand) being too slow, too lumpy or uneven.

The problem with their right hand is almost always their left hand!

They cannot yet change chords smoothly enough (unconsciously enough) to hope to get any continuity going with their strumming hand.

Here is a great exercise to help bring on the development of their right hand without having to wait for their left hand to evolve:

Get them to turn the guitar into a percussion instrument by muting all 6 strings with their left hand. Then play a song with a nice distinctive rhythm and get them to strum along on their muted guitar trying out different strumming patterns as appropriate.

This is a great trick with beginners, but is also a useful tool at any level if someone is experiencing difficulty with the rhythm of a particular song.

I also get my students to play along with me using a set of bongos to help them develop their natural sense of rhythm - great fun!

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