Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2024
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

  • The successful student will be able to apply music theory as they perform beginning fingerpicking styles and categorize chords into primary and secondary triads.
  • Successful students will be able to make a comparison of folk and pop melodies based on an understanding of beginning right and left hand techniques.


A performance based course in beginning guitar (nylon, steel, or electric guitar) with a concentration on folk music. Traditional and popular songs will be used to demonstrate the development of right and left hand techniques. Standard music notation, tablature, and chord symbols will be presented and students can choose instrumental or popular vocal selections to play.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Apply the fundamentals of music theory as they relate to the guitar.
B. Demonstrate an understanding of primary chord positions (I-IV-V) in C, G, D, A, and E.
C. Analyze the form and structure of contemporary and traditional popular songs.
D. Demonstrate strumming and finger-style techniques for folk and popular song accompaniment.
E. Memorize musical notation for the guitar (tablature, chord diagrams and standard notation).
F. Practice how to change chords rhythmically using different meters.
G. Examine left hand technique (alternating bass, hammering-on, pulling off, and bass runs).
H. Examine right hand technique (strumming, arpeggios, and finger picking).
I. Compare the contributions made in the guitar repertoire from people of diverse backgrounds and cultures with changes in technology.

Course Content

This course is a study of the guitar in the pop music idiom. Through analysis, singing, performing and listening, various songs and styles will be studied. This is a performance based course with the broad range of folk and popular music as its subject matter.
A. Rudiments of music
1. Note values, meter, chord theory, and transposition
B. Guitar maintenance
1. Tuning, how to change strings, sitting and holding the instrument
C. History of folk music
1. European influences
2. American style (Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, Elizabeth Cotton, Pete Seeger, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Doc Watson, Leo Kottke, Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, and others)
D. Techniques and skills in the folk style
1. Finger-style picking
2. Strumming
3. Use of a pick
4. Tablature reading, note reading, and chord identification
5. Bass runs, arpeggios
E. Exposure to performance in this art form
1. Live performance
2. Media: video and DVDs

Lab Content

Supervised in class guitar practice.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. Classical, steel string, or electric guitar.
B. Music staff paper.
C. Classroom with staff lined board.
D. Music stands.
E. Access to AV equipment, DVD and CD player.
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:

Tests and research
1. Two written, and three performance midterms
2. Final written and performance test
3. Research on a favorite guitarist
4. Reading and performing in required texts
5. Song comparison essay

Method(s) of Instruction

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

Cooperative learning exercises
Oral presentations
Electronic discussions/chat
Independent study

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Jenkins, Dwayne. Learn To Play Acoustic Guitar. 2020.

Shipton, Russ. The Complete Guitar Player Acoustic Songbook. 2015.

Leonard, Hal. The Ultimate Guitar Scale Chart. 2000.

Leonard, Hal. Basic Guitar Chord Chart. 2004.

Although some of 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. A project consisting of the following three parts:
1. Oral presentation
2. Two 3x5 cards turned in on the day of the presentation
3. Directed listening: representative musical example presented for listening analysis