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robsulkowtgw

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Reply with quote  #1 
I have 25 kids in my guitar class and I'm finding it unmanageable...maybe it's the noodling. How many kids is too many?
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Rob - GAMA
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Muzed

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Reply with quote  #2 
I have been having success using 1 guitar to each pair of kids.  I make the students work together and help each other out, then we switch.  There student without the guitar is responsible for checking their partners finger positions and listening to the sound.   I often say. . .turn to your partner and play the  (?) chord for them slowly.  or  try that rhythm pattern while your partner claps it.  Another bonus is the kids complain less about their fingers hurting. 
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erikherndon

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Reply with quote  #3 
At my last school, an inner city middle school in Atlanta, I averaged 30 students to a class. At my new school ( I currently teach 3-6) I am averaging between 15-20. It is definitely more manageable with a slightly smaller class size but I find being prepared and having several different goals each class helps keep things structured and manageable.
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Glen McCarthy

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Reply with quote  #4 
How old are the kids in your class? If it is an Elementary Class keeping them on task is more of a challenge than the same number of High School kids. Keep your class busy with motor skill exercises for both the left and right hand, pick-style and finger-style exercises, playing songs with chords (can they sing too?), work on reading notes and tablature. 
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ndemland

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Reply with quote  #5 
I have 24 in my high school class (grades 10-12) and am finding it difficult to give each kid as much attention as I would like (also, holy noodling!). I am fortunate to have a large classroom with a flexible configuration (i.e. no built-in risers), and have found that how I set up the chairs can make a huge difference, although I haven't found the magic set up yet. I used to set them up in a U-shape so that I could have direct access to the kids face-to-face, but I think it made it easier to be social. This year, I have them in four rows of six students, with a wide aisle down the middle for me to walk in, and that has helped somewhat, although it can be hard to navigate. 
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robsulkowtgw

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Reply with quote  #6 
That's a pretty big number. Is it specifically the noodling that makes it difficult? Can you draw on any classroom mgmt techniques from your other classes?

I've been talking to a lot of teachers about noodling - check out Matt Gerry's article  - http://www.guitaredunet.org/noodling-grrrr/

Quote:
Originally Posted by ndemland
I have 24 in my high school class (grades 10-12) and am finding it difficult to give each kid as much attention as I would like (also, holy noodling!). I am fortunate to have a large classroom with a flexible configuration (i.e. no built-in risers), and have found that how I set up the chairs can make a huge difference, although I haven't found the magic set up yet. I used to set them up in a U-shape so that I could have direct access to the kids face-to-face, but I think it made it easier to be social. This year, I have them in four rows of six students, with a wide aisle down the middle for me to walk in, and that has helped somewhat, although it can be hard to navigate. 

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robsulkowtgw

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Reply with quote  #7 
Great strategies! You are definitely turning something that most would perceive as a negative (not having enough guitars) into a positive!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muzed
I have been having success using 1 guitar to each pair of kids.  I make the students work together and help each other out, then we switch.  There student without the guitar is responsible for checking their partners finger positions and listening to the sound.   I often say. . .turn to your partner and play the  (?) chord for them slowly.  or  try that rhythm pattern while your partner claps it.  Another bonus is the kids complain less about their fingers hurting. 

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scorch

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Reply with quote  #8 
The maximum size of a class probably depends on a few things, like their age, classroom procedures, and management techniques. Mine are in the 25-30 range and they are easy to manage because they are mostly juniors and seniors.

I schedule in enough free time with their instrument each day that hopefully they get the noodling out of their system. But I do have one tip to share, and that is that I never speak over the noodling. I play the "charge" fanfare on the piano, and they answer that by saying "charge!" That's my attention signal, and I think it's important that I play it on the piano because it's a different sound that cuts through the noodling. If I want to stop the noodling dead in its tracks for an extended period, I always call for resting position and that ends it right there. There will always be a few holdouts that don't want to go to resting position, but I always insist on 100% compliance.
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robsulkowtgw

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Reply with quote  #9 
Musical cues help! I've heard about rhythmic statements, chords progressions, etc. Never Charge!, but I'm not surprised that it works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scorch
The maximum size of a class probably depends on a few things, like their age, classroom procedures, and management techniques. Mine are in the 25-30 range and they are easy to manage because they are mostly juniors and seniors.

I schedule in enough free time with their instrument each day that hopefully they get the noodling out of their system. But I do have one tip to share, and that is that I never speak over the noodling. I play the "charge" fanfare on the piano, and they answer that by saying "charge!" That's my attention signal, and I think it's important that I play it on the piano because it's a different sound that cuts through the noodling. If I want to stop the noodling dead in its tracks for an extended period, I always call for resting position and that ends it right there. There will always be a few holdouts that don't want to go to resting position, but I always insist on 100% compliance.

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mattgerry

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Reply with quote  #10 
25 is just about right for me.  I do agree that the level of the students makes a big difference.  For students brand new to the instrument - that's almost too many.
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