This is the second update in my ‘Learning Tonality’ series, before moving on I would recommend reading part 1:
By Peter Nuttall and John Whitworth
I have found it very difficult to fault this series as an introduction to the guitar. It has been my go-to method for a long time. Some of the original compositions are very pleasing and the authors have broken down the difficulties of guitar playing with real pedagogical understanding of the instrument.
Whilst this book is very difficult to fault, one minor criticism I have is that does not contain enough unaccompanied melodies, which are so useful for aural development. But, this being said it, does address technical issues exceptionally well.
First Guitar Pieces
By Gerald Garcia and John Whitworth
This is a great little book of suitable material for beginner guitarists. I usually recommend it as a book for my grade 1/2 students to work on in their own time as most of the pieces are fairly self-explanatory.
There are some nice simple arrangements of folk songs from around the world, some simplified classical guitar studies and a couple of renaissance melodies. I particularly like the arrangement of the Japanese folk song 'Sakura' which requires fifth position playing but in a very accessible way.
Enjoy Playing Guitar - Time For two
By Debbie Cracknell
Whilst all of the books in the 'Enjoy Playing Guitar' series are very good and highly recommended, the duets book in particular is really well put together and a lot of care has been taken to keep both teacher and student parts interesting. Whilst the top part is usually the easiest, often the bottom part is within the students grasp too, which is great, because that means students can take the initiative and pair up in their own time. Debbie Cracknell seems to really understand the importance of a catchy melody which is why I rate her books highly.
Making The Grade Guitar - Book 1 + 2
By David Burden
The rationale behind this book is clearly that by using more well known melodies, it is easier to maintain student interest. In this respect it is a good idea, although some of the arrangements of pop songs are not that great, and the pieces are mostly from the mid-twentieth century so most children haven't actually heard them. That being said though, there aren't really enough books of popular songs/melodies arranged to be accessible to beginners. The best pieces in this book are actually the folk instrumentals rather than the pop pieces.
I would recommend looking at David's 'Certain Hits' series, they are a lot of fun, if sometimes difficult. More of David's books can be found at his website... www.gardenmusic.co.uk
By Celso Machado
This collection of guitar duet music is very enjoyable. The syncopated rhythms and diverse Brazilian forms are infectious, and furthermore Machado has a made the pieces to be very playable. There are some occasional little challenges in the parts, but the quality of the music justifies any difficulties encountered.
Machado's compositions for beginners and intermediates are generally excellent quality, sometimes they offer challenging tonalities but these shorter pieces offer a great context to absorb these sounds.
The Best Guitar Duet Book Ever
By Michael McCartney
This is a good book of duets but, although there is a vague attempt at some sort of difficulty grading throughout the book the pieces are often rather tricky after the first 4 pages. With some practice, the arrangements of some of the famous Disney songs are rather enjoyable, though this book is a rather strange collection of pieces from different styles and eras. Whilst most of the pieces are effective, a few of them are rather poor arrangements which detracts from the good ones.
La Guitarra Española (amongst others)
By Joep Wanders
Joep Wanders collections of pieces in various styles, such as this one, are fantastic resource. Especially when it comes to teaching/learning stylistic musical attributes and techniques. He has also published some great method books and duets. These pieces are consistently at a grade 2/3 level. I would recommend visiting his website and looking at his output of guitar teaching material for sale... http://www.joepwanders.com
Thank you for reading my short blog. As I mentioned previously, I'm interested in any other suggested teaching material so please let me know in the comments section below. :-)