Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 2
Hours: 2 lecture, 1 laboratory per week (36 total per quarter)
Advisory: This course is included in the Guitar Class Applied Performance family of activity courses.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Successful students will be able to identify notes and play in the first position at a beginning level.
  • Successful students will be able to use right and left hand techniques to demonstrate their comprehension of rest strokes, free strokes, scales, and single line melodies.


A guitar fundamentals course that places emphasis on reading standard notation in the first position. Techniques such as rest stroke, free stroke, and correct left hand position are covered. Fundamental exercises and pieces will be played by the student in class as the instructor provides accompaniment. Includes an overview of the literature and the major performers of the classical guitar. No public performances are required.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. tune the guitar.
B. use right hand techniques of rest strokes and free strokes.
C. use proper basic left hand position.
D. read standard notation in the first position.
E. use basic right hand arpeggio techniques and patterns.
F. establish a regular practice routine to ensure efficient practice time.
G. recognize the contributions made in the guitar repertoire from people of diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Course Content

A. Basic classical techniques
1. Sitting position
2. Right hand
a. Rest stroke
b. Free stroke
c. Arpeggios
3. Left hand
a. Finger position
b. Thumb position
c. Stretching and coordination exercises
B. Basic classical repertoire
1. Music from around the world
C. Basic music reading skills
1. Notes
2. Chords
D. Exposure to performance in this art form
1. Live performance
2. Media: film, video, and recorded material
E. Evaluation
1. Comprehensive written exams
2. Comprehensive playing exams with instructor

Lab Content

Lab content includes supervised in-class guitar practice. Other topics may include subjects such as choosing a guitar, tuning the guitar, and proper guitar maintenance.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. Classical or acoustic steel string guitar.
B. Music staff paper.
C. Classroom with staff lined board.
D. Music stands.
E. CD player and access to AV equipment.
F. When taught via Foothill Global Access:
1. On-going access to computer with email software and capabilities.
2. Email address.
3. JavaScript-enabled internet browsing software.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

A. One written midterm examination.
B. One written final examination.
C. One performance examination consisting of four parts: scales, arpeggios, sight-reading, and solo performance.

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

A. Lecture presentations and classroom discussion of the techniques for playing classical guitar.
B. In-class viewing of classical guitar performances followed by instructor-guided interpretation and analysis.
C. Presentations of major classical guitar recordings followed by in-class discussion and evaluation.
D. Demonstration of techniques for playing classical guitar.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Noad, Frederick. Solo Guitar Playing, Volume 1. 4th ed. Music Sales America, 2009.

Sult, Michael. Guitar Seminar, Volume I., 2003.

Although these texts are older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, they remain seminal texts in this area of study.


Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. If the student chooses not to do a presentation, they must submit an eight page research paper with notes and bibliography. Subjects include anything related to the classical guitar from the players and composers to the physics of tone production.

B. A one to two page concert review is a required writing assignment. Details on the performer(s), repertory, and location are essential; however, more value is placed on the student's critical narrative of the event. Assignment details:

1. The review should deal with aspects of the concert that are considered most important or striking. Be sure - always - to concentrate on musical matters, although brief discussions of other aspects of the concert may be included. In the process, talk about the works performed, how they were presented, how well the performers presented the music, and what made the performances effective or ineffective.

2. Compose your review on scrap paper. Feel free to take notes during the performance. The final version should be done on a computer or typewriter. When writing about events that occurred at the concert, use the past tense. (Example: "Although the guitarist was quite good, I thought that she was far too loud to blend well with the flute player.") But when writing about a particular musical composition or work of art, use the present tense. (Example: "In Villa Lobos Choro no. 1 , the third section in E Major seems to serve as a triumphal conclusion to the struggle of the preceding three sections in E Minor.")

3. Finally, be objective! Comparisons of pieces and performers should be avoided unless it is to make an argument regarding music history or analysis. Reviews are most effective when they are honest and show that you seriously engaged the music and performance.