The guitar fretboard is a board with a set of metal bars. They divide the length of the neck into certain divisions called “frets.” Pressing a string behind any bar shortens its length and that is how we produce sounds on classical guitar. The higher up you go, the higher pitched or “sharper” the note will be. It is hard to memorize which note is where simply because the frets are too many. However, with a guided approach one can learn how to find notes on the fretboard. It is not easy but there are ways to do it.
How do most teachers teach guitar?
the conventional way of teaching guitar is simply to start with learning the open strings. Your teacher will give you a variety of exercises before you start with the fretted notes. Step by Step. It works all the time. There is no mystery in this at all. There are many guitar methods, teaching manuals, etc. They are all based on the principle of gradualism, a systematic approach, the relation between theoretical knowledge and practical skills, and so on.
An experienced guitar teacher can combine many methods, different tools, and tricks in their teaching but this happens still by following some system of teaching.
The problem starts when the student or the teacher does not follow any system. Then the educational process becomes chaotic and the results are doubtful. Do not get me wrong, I am not against innovations or different teaching ways. Of course, each student is different and the method should be, and it is, strictly individual. Especially in private lessons but not only.
If you are in the guitar teaching business for more than 30 years, most likely it will be very hard to be surprised or amazed by something. But no, that’s not the case here. My so-called “colleagues” never get tired to invent “new ways of teaching guitar”. New ways of making the guitar lessons more “fun, enjoyable”, and “easier” for the student. But the most important is that they always manage to surprise me and make my day.
I often get students who were having guitar lessons with other teachers. I am sure that other teachers also get some of my students too…that is how it works. What I saw on the guitar fretboard of my new student a few months ago was the following:
This is the guitar fretboard of a little boy who has been taking guitar lessons for 2 years. Looks like his guitar guru was trying to teach him chords, and the poor boy was struggling to remember how and where to put his fingers. The guru started probably with E minor chord because the orange color stickers seem to be the first that he carefully placed on their places. I am having a bit of a hard time back-engineering this innovative method, but I am sure you get the point.
In some cases such things will work, I will say. For example, some guitars have marks right on the fretboard. They indicate the frets 3, 5, 7, 9, etc. Most of the guitars have dots on top of the neck, on frets 5 and 7. Those frets are almost in the middle of the fretboard. The guitar player uses them just as “landmarks”. But if there are dots or marks on each fret, the fretboard becomes too busy and the landmarks become useless.
If you notice such marks on your child’s fretboard
it is an indication that their lessons are not of great quality. You should try to find out what is going on. For example, you may want to attend your kid’s guitar lesson. Observe how the teacher teaches, do they use music notation, do they use papers at all. If you are not sure what to look for, you may read about what a guitar lesson may consist of: here
The same goes if you notice letters or note names written above or below the music notes. It also doesn’t work, it is a waste of time and resources. Music is not an exception from the other subjects. It uses the same pedagogical tools as the other subjects do. The guitar is not an exception.