School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Mindy Damon


Classical, Guitar, Music, Pedagogy, Repertoire, Sequencing


Education | Music | Music Education


The guitar is a popular instrument choice in music education; however, most school guitar teachers in the United States neither majored on the instrument nor took a university guitar methods class. These self-taught teachers often rely on trial and error to select repertoire. Effective music curriculum design relies on teachers' ability to select and sequence proper repertoire based on student ability. Through exploration of the existing literature, deficiencies were found in guitar teacher training, pedagogy for young guitar students, and repertoire evaluation. In this study, the author analyzed two collections of printed guitar music in standard notation. The analysis yielded an improved understanding of how an emerging metric, note-to-beat ratio, can help teachers assess the musical challenges in repertoire more effectively. This explanatory sequential mixed methods study focuses on the prediction of the relative difficulty of guitar music based on note density. Elements for each piece in the Suzuki Guitar School repertoire and Sonia Michelson's New Dimensions in Classical Guitar for Children were analyzed to determine if useful predictive patterns exist. This study may inform and lead guitar teachers toward the selection of appropriate music for guitar teaching. It also serves as a proof of concept that a type of analysis previously used for keyboard repertoire applies to classical guitar repertoire. The study may encourage further research by those wishing to apply this analytical method to repertoire for other instruments.