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: MUS 15A or equivalent; 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 intermediate 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 intermediate right and left hand techniques.


Development of traditional finger-picking style playing and picking techniques. Solo and ensemble performance on an intermediate level. Emphasis on reading traditional notation, chord symbols and tablature. This course is a continuation of the study of the guitar in the popular and folk 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 music as its subject matter.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Apply intermediate aspects of music theory as they relate to popular and folk guitar.
B. Demonstrate finger-picking in 4/4.
C. Analyze the form and structure of contemporary and traditional folk songs.
D. Demonstrate strumming and finger-style techniques for folk songs accompaniment.
E. Memorize musical notation for the guitar (tablature, chord diagrams and standard notation).
F. Practice secondary chord positions (II,III,VI) in seven keys.
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. Demonstrate folk improvisation by using bass runs, slides and suspensions.
J. Memorize note reading (C and G scales and simple melodies).
K. Recognize the form and structure of songs studied and listened to in class.
L. Compare the contributions made in the folk guitar repertoire from people of diverse backgrounds and cultures with changes in technology.

Course Content

A. Rudiments of music on an intermediate level
1. Note values, meter, chord theory, transposition, and ear training
B. Review of guitar maintenance
1. Tuning, how to change strings, sitting and holding the instrument
C. History of folk music
1. European influences
2. American style (Mississippi John Hurt, Elizabeth Cotton, Pete Seeger, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Doc Watson, Leo Kottke, Bonnie Riatt, Joni Mitchell, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, and others)
3. African influence (Sibanda, Jean Bosco Mwenda)
D. Intermediate techniques and skills unique to folk style playing
1. Finger-style picking
2. Strumming
3. Use of a pick
4. Tablature reading, note reading, and chord identification
E. Examination of different folk styles through live performance, film, video, and recorded material
F. Development of performance skills through ensemble playing
G. Introduction to altered tuning and using a "slide"
H. Using the guitar as a basis for composition
I. Introduction to barre chords
J. Expand repertoire

Lab Content

Supervised in class guitar practice.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. Personally owned or rented classical, acoustic steel string, or electric 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:

Two written examinations, one final examination
Two performance midterms, one performance final examination
Research project on a favorite guitarist of their choice
Song comparison paper
Performance of I-IV-V7 chords using barre chords

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