This easiest of easy guitar tabs, Sharks, will remind your students of the scary theme to the movie "Jaws."
Using guitar tablature and also standard notation, this great beginning guitar song uses just three notes -- A, B, and C.
Your beginner guitar players will find this piece very easy to master. Because it employs the ominous half-step melody sound almost everyone recognizes as inherently spooky, kids will enjoy learning it.
Please scroll down the page for the link to the free printable PDF.
And because Sharks is so simple, it is perfect for finger placement work. So often, kids want to use the same two fingers, 1 and 2, for every melody note, no matter where it is on the guitar neck!
Students need to strive to match finger numbers to fret numbers in the early stages of learning how to play easy guitar tabs. In this song, that will mean LH (left hand) fingers 2 and 3.
I would demonstrate the guitar tune for them first. That way, they'll know that the seemingly endless back-and-forth of the B and C has a target -- the surprise "jump" to the open string A. (Of course, it isn't a jump, as the entire melody takes place on the A string, but it SOUNDS like a jump.)
Above the easy guitar tabs, the standard notation tells them how long each note lasts. There are only two kinds of notes in the rhythm: half notes (lasting 2 beats), and quarter notes (lasting 1 beat).
The repetitious nature of the first line of notes reinforces the need to carefully follow the notes with the eye...until your students have memorized the words of the song, they are likely to rush ahead, getting lost and tangled up in the notes. So slow them down with a finger or a pencil tracking the notes as they move along.
Separate out the rhythm from the notes WITH them by tapping on your own guitar and saying, "One (two), one (two), one (two)...one, one, one, one...!" etc.
Tap only on the "one" and whisper during the "(two)" of the half notes. As simple as this may seem, it is great practice, because many of your students will forget to wait two beats for the half notes at the beginning of this song.
They will gradually acquire the habit of counting under their breath if you are always doing it with them, and encouraging them to count aloud.
This is one of the best habits young musicians can form, because rhythm is perhaps the greatest difficulty in music...and yet it is the heart of music.
Forget about having your guitar students count "1-2-3-4," at least for a while. Too much going on.
Let them count each note as its own unit (half notes = 2; dotted halfs = 3, etc.), until the note values are really solid, then gradually change them over. And eighth notes? Save them for later, or else teach the song by rote.
A much better, slower and creepier rendition of the Jaws theme song is the movie trailer, available at YouTube. The full creepiness of the song comes across, but I just couldn't bring myself to post it here, because the images are so disturbing (I'm pretty old-school when it comes to violence).
If you have found this blow-by-blow analysis of Sharks' easy guitar tabs tedious, then I suspect you've been teaching beginning guitar students for a while already!
Use what you can, and ignore the rest. Have fun with the Jaws theme stand-in, Sharks!
The link for Sharks:
Do you have a story or a question about teaching guitar? Do you think it is a hard instrument for beginners, or easy? What have been your challenges?
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