Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2021
Units: 2
Hours: 2 lecture, 1 laboratory per week (36 total per quarter)
Advisory: MUS 15B 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 advanced 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 advanced right and left hand techniques.


Instruction in the playing of popular and folk guitar with an emphasis on finger-picking, barre chords, and altered tunings. Sight reading in tablature, chord symbols, and standard notation. Instrumental blues and blues scales will be covered.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Demonstrate guitar performance skills before an audience.
B. Analyze the form and structure of contemporary and traditional pop and folk songs.
C. Demonstrate strumming and fingerstyle techniques for folk song accompaniment.
D. Memorize musical notation for the guitar (tablature, chord diagrams and standard notation).
E. Perform contrapuntal guitar parts with singing.
F. Examine left hand technique (alternating bass, hammering-on, pulling off, and bass runs).
G. Examine right hand technique (strumming, arpeggios, and finger picking).
H. Demonstrate pop/folk improvisation by using bass runs, slides and suspensions, integrate guitar theory by key modulation, altered tunings, 7th and diminished chords, substitutions and different chord voicings.
I. Integrate guitar theory by key modulation, altered tunings, 7th and diminished chords, substitutions and different chord voicings.
J. Recognize the form and structure of songs studied and listened to in class.
K. Compare the contributions made in the popular and folk guitar repertoire from people of diverse backgrounds and cultures with changes in technology.

Course Content

A. Music theory on a more advanced level
1. Note values, meter, chord theory, transposition, and ear training
B. Review of guitar maintenance
1. How often to change strings, fret work
C. History of folk music
1. European influence
2. American style (Mississippi John Hurt Elizabeth Cotton, Peter Seeger, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Doc Watson, Leo Kottke, Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, and others)
D. Advanced techniques and skills unique to folk style playing

Lab Content

Supervised 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:

Song comparison paper evaluating similarities and differences between two songs
Two written midterm examinations, one written final examination
Performance of primary and secondary chords
Two solo midterm performances, and a solo final performance

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

Sokolow, Fred. Mel Bay's Best Blues Guitar. 1987.

Rodgers, Jeffrey Pepper. Acoustic Blues Guitar Essentials. 1999.

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

Leonard, Hal. Basic Guitar Chord Chart. 2004.

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. A project consisting of the following three parts:
1. Oral presentation (30 points)
2. Two 3x5 cards turned in on the day of the presentation (35 points)
3. Directed listening: representative musical example presented for listening analysis (35 points)