About Guitar Church
The idea of Guitar Church started in 2004. Our church at the time, asked if I would coach a group of young people to become a youth worship band. The challenge was that all of them had little or no experience playing instruments. At the start, there were 7 of them, both boys and girls ranging in age from 9 to 17. They all learned together and from each other as I coached them. Within a year, they were up and rolling, playing in church. This experience, coupled with an epiphany that came from a guitar clinician encouraging people to start a guitar club was all I needed.
When I learned to play guitar as a youth, there were no tab websites, instructional DVDs or even teachers in my town for that matter. Alike others, I learned with my friends, listening to records and watching guitarists in bands at local concerts.
Guitar Church was built on this same philosophy. It is not a substitute for private instruction. In my opinion, it is better. It is learning from jamming with friends.
Music is a large part of the human experience. We hear it everywhere in our culture and the predominant instrument of modern music is the guitar. If the number of guitars owned in the Western World could be counted, they may in fact out number the pets we own.
Since the majority of our culture’s music is played on the guitar, it would reason that such a device should be harnessed for God’s purposes. Guitar Church was built to help people craft their God given talents and gifts. It was also made to become an effective outreach tool. Guitar Church bridges a way to reach people for the Lord through a common interest.
The Basic Concept
Guitar Church works on a 8 or 10 week cycle. It is designed for beginners, intermediate and advanced players alike. Each week, the group meets for two hours. In our opinion, Saturday’s from 10 am until noon works best. The first hour is a clinic attended by everyone. The clinic runs approximately one hour and is lead by a local guest speaker. The guest is a hired pro/semi-pro guitarist. Each week the clinic subject is on a related topic that is applicable for all levels and ages. The clinic is followed by a 10 minute break where light refreshments are offered for free. The remaining 50 minutes is given to ‘breakout groups’ where the members split into three levels. First, the beginners stay in one room with a hired instructor. The intermediate and advanced players are also broken into two separate groups. The clinician is typically invited to share with the intermediate class. A second instructor commits to working with the advanced. The teaching material is presented by slides, covering guitar knowledge, music theory, melody (scales/modes) and rhythm (chords, strumming/picking, timing) every week. Participants are distributed with customized handouts for each lecture.
Curriculum Slides for Beginners 10, Intermediates 20, Advanced 30, Bassists 40
Guitar Church Celebrity workshops draw many people to attend Guitar Church. For years Guitar Church has frequently called upon pros like Doug Doppler (Guitar Hero) and Caleb Quaye (Elton John Band) to serve in this capacity. Carefully selected, their professionalism and clear Christian testimony has left a legacy where ever they represent us. Frequently, host churches re-invite these pros to return for subsequent outreach events. Many churches have benefited by seeing the salvation of some who attend. In every case, the guitarists are always left with improved musicianship, knowledge and encouragement.