Extended Break Supplemental Instruction

Hello Coronado Guitarists,

Thank you for your patience while supplemental materials were gathered and created for you. These are provided as enrichment activities during our time away from school and are not required or graded. That being said, as has been stated and restated several times throughout the year, to become a great musician and maintain it, requires thoughtful daily practice.

Below are three daily and weekly tasks to keep your skills from slipping during this time. These directions are also posted on the class website, dr-nishimoto.com

While at home CHS guitar students should complete the following basics of practice each day.


2. A 10-15 minute warm up including:
– Finger Warmups & Exercises – 1234, spider, walnut
– Scale Patterns – pentatonic, blues, coils, major/minor position scales
– Scale Patterns for Intermediate/Advanced – pentatonic inversions, modes, keys from 1 flat to 4 sharps.
– Chords – open principal chords (in C, G, D, A, E, Am, Em, Dm), power chords, barre chords (6th & 5th string major & minor)

3. Maintenance of Repertoire & Skills (minimum 10-15 minutes)
– Practice materials that you know and are familiar with.
– For Beginning Guitar, go through previous Units in the book and test your knowledge and skills (play at tempo, follow directions regarding style and special considerations)
– For Intermediate and Advanced – maintenance your memorized repertoire, practice for performance, I suggest filming yourself and submitting videos for feedback (see TASK #2 below)

4. Furtherance of skills and stretching your abilities
– For Intermediate and Advanced – sign into the website to access the Solo Repertoire in the Resources for Students menu. Click on your current level, then choose repertoire based on the time period and the linked sample videos.
– For Beginning – continue to make your way through the book. Each section has specific instructions, but may be difficult without a teacher modeling the skills. I am available via email to answer questions.

Our current situation makes live performance quite a bit more challenging. I encourage each student to perform for the people in their home, friends online via social media, or to me via YouTube (you can email me a link to a YouTube video of your performance for feedback). Intermediate and Advanced: It is looking like we will not have an Awards Ceremony/Recital. If you are interested in doing this activity virtually, I am all ears but would like to know how we could accomplish this task (too many for Zoom/Skype, is their another synchronous video service where we could switch who is on screen?)

Intermediate and Advanced students are encouraged to continue their 4th quarter projects. I am available via email for questions and feedback. You are encouraged to touch base with me once per week via email with questions and comments. I strongly encourage you to film yourself performing, upload to YouTube (you can set it as an “unlisted” video so only you and me can see it) and send me the link. You are also encouraged to do the enrichment assignments below.

While at home CHS guitar students should expand their knowledge and awareness of the guitar world. The following assignments are for enrichment purposes only and intended to be a daily supplement to your daily practice. They can be completed in any order. More enrichment activities will be added in the coming in the following days, but these should last you until Spring Break.

1. Enrichment Activity #1 – Profile a Guitar
Using online retail music stores, choose a guitar that interests you and profile it.
Part 1. Outline the basic details: What specific type of guitar is it (classical,
dreadnought, electric, archtop)? What brand/model is it? Any unique features/parts?
Part 2. Compare/contrast it to similar guitars: Find two other guitars that are the same
type and have similar features. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences
(beyond the obvious such as brand name or color).
Part 3. Reflect: Why does this guitar interest you? What type of music would you personally perform on it? Would you purchase this instrument or one of its comparables?
Part 4. Email me the profile for comments and feedback.

2. Enrichment Activity #2 – Reading Assignment
Read the poem, The Pardoner’s Tale from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Click the link below for an online version in original Middle English with a modern translation, the Tale begins on line 463, but I suggest reading the intro and prologue as well. The gyterne (a term used interchangeably with guitar during the time of Chaucer) is mentioned in the first few lines. Taken in the context of the story and the moral nature of the main characters, what is inferred about the social standing of the guitar at this time in England? How does this compare to its social standing in America today? How are guitars/guitarists portrayed in popular media today? Send this reflection to me via email for comments and feedback.

Link: https://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/teachslf/pard-par.htm

3. Enrichment Activity #3 – Find the Frets
The placement of the frets on the guitar (and any fretted instrument) is a very precise measurement process using what is called the “18 Rule”. First you must find the “effective length” of the strings (the nut-to-saddle distance of 65cm on guitar) which is then divided by 17.8167942. The resulting number is the distance from the nut to first fret of 3.648cm (rounded), this is the “fret length”. Subtract this number from the effective string length (65cm) to get 61.352cm, this is the distance from the saddle to the first fret and the new effective string length. To find the second fret, take the new effective string length (61.352cm) and start the process over. Continue this process to find all the frets. Below are the steps in condensed form.

1) effective string length – 17.8167942 = fret length
2) fret length – effective string length = new effective string length
3) start over using new effective string to find next fret

Find all the frets up to the 12th fret and diagram it. If done correctly the 12th fret should be half of the overall instrument effective string length when rounded to the nearest tenth (32.5cm for the string length of 65cm on guitar). Email me your results.

Enrichment Activity #4 – Our Hands
The anatomy of the human hand is incredibly complex. It is made of 27 bones, 8 of which are in wrist, 19 in the palm and fingers. There are two groups of muscles that control the hand: intrinsic (in the hand) and extrinsic (outside the hand). Intrinsic muscles are mostly for fine motor actions of the fingers whereas extrinsic are used for core hand and wrist motions. Specific intrinsic muscles have specific functions: lumbrical muscles extend the finger joints, interossei muscles in the palm spread the fingers (dorsal) and pull the fingers together (palmar), thenar muscles control the thumb and hypothenar muscles control the little finger. The extrinsic muscles are the flexors in the underside of the forearm for closing the fingers and the extensors in the back of the forearm for straightening the fingers.
a) Using your own hand, count the number of bones in the fingers and palm, do you come up with 19?
b) The thumb has opposing groups of muscles and tendons, what profound trait does this give the human hand?
c) Make a “karate chop” shape with your hand. What extrinsic and intrinsic muscle groups are you using?
d) Alternate between a “thumbs up” shape and a fist. What intrinsic muscle group are you using?
e) When playing the guitar exercises, songs, and especially chords, is there any muscle group that is not used?

Email any questions from this exercise.

Enrichment Activity #5 – Latin Roots
Many of the Italian words or Italian derivatives for musical directions (tempo, dynamics, articulation, etc) can be traced back to the original Latin roots. For example, vivace comes from the Latin root viv, meaning “live”, hence the meaning “lively”. Most dictionaries have an etymological reference for each word. Choose ten of the vocabulary words from Unit IV and complete the following.
a) Find the original Latin root or word(s).
b) What is the original Latin root meaning.
c) Find English equivalents that use the root and have a similar meaning
Email results for feedback

Enrichment Activity #6 – String Physics
The original “Saltarello” (in your book on page 67) was a solo lute piece composed by Vincenzo Galilei (1520-1591) who was a prominent lutenist, composer, music theorist, and an avid experimenter in acoustic physics. Vincenzo was also the father of the famous astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei. Vincenzo is credited by most historians as the reason Galileo was attracted to the world of physics and experimentation. Vincenzo’s study of string tension was revolutionary for its day. If there are two identical strings, tensioned exactly the same, and one string is twice the length of the other, they will be an octave apart in pitch when played. Likewise if a string is pressed to the fingerboard at exactly the middlepoint, it will be one octave higher than the open string (on the guitar this is the same as pressing the 12th fret). Thus we discover that the octave relationship to string length ratio is 2:1. This was already known. In 1588, Vincenzo discovered through experimentation that if there are two identical strings of the same length, that one would have to be tensioned to four times the weight to reach the interval of an octave. So, the octave relationship to string tension ratio is 4:1. Some historians believe that it was Galileo himself that carried out these experiments and gave credit to his father who would gain more fully from it. Based on the information given, answer the following questions.
1) A string is tensioned to 15 pounds. What weight would the string need to be tensioned to reach an octave.
2) There are two strings, one twice as long as the other but tensioned four times heavier. Are they the same pitch?
3) There are two strings of equal length. One is tensioned to twice the weight and the other is pressed down at the middlepoint. Are they the same pitch?

The examples above assume strings that are identical in gauge (thickness) and material. Do some online research and answer the following questions.
4) Find a set of electric steel strings and record each string’s gauge and tension when in standard tuning.
5) Find a set of classical nylon string and record each string’s gauge and tension when in standard tuning.
6) Compare your results and provide a conclusion about the effect that material and gauge have on string tension.

Enrichment Activity #7
The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (on page 80 of your book) is a from Act II of the famous ballet “The Nutcracker”. The original was a children’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by E.T.A. Hoffman. He is considered one of the great authors of Romantic Literature. He was the first to call Beethoven a “Romantic” composer (a concept not accepted until the 20th century). Hoffman’s life was in Germany (then separate states) from 1776 until his death in 1822. This was the center of literary Romanticism which was influenced by Goethe and paved the way for the famous Romantics like Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe. In literature, Romanticism explored themes like the heroic isolation of the artist or narrator, and respect for a new, wilder, and “pure” nature. Several romantic authors focused their writings on other-worldly themes and psychology. Romanticism also helped in the emergence of new mind-sets and in the process, exposed the marginalized sections of the society. Write a reflection: Several composers in history have adapted the literary works of Romantic authors to ballets, operas, and character pieces. Why do you think this type of literature lends itself so easily to music? How can story content be portrayed in music (especially in instrumental works without words)? Finally, find other examples of music inspired by the Romantic Era works of literature (there are lots!). Email your reflection to me.

Enrichment Activity #8
Now that you know how melodies and scales work, try to compose your own melody on the guitar. Use staff paper to write down the notes and rhythms. Be sure to have the proper clef sign, key signature, and time signature. Also be sure that stem directions are correct (see page 21 of your book). If there are rhythms that are difficult or notes that you are not sure how to spell (enharmonics), check with me via email. For an extra challenge, find: 1) the accompaniment chords, 2) the tempo indicators (both the metronome marking and the Italian tempo), 3) the dynamics and dynamic variations, and 4) articulations, if any. Title your composition and keep it in your repertoire. Email me a picture of your composition for feedback.

LMU Trip

As many have heard, CCSD released a statement that all out-of-state field trips are cancelled. It is true that this includes our annual LMU trip. At this time, we do not have any details on procedure moving forward, especially reimbursement. Please be patient as we await word from CCSD.

Beginning Guitar In-Class Assignments

Monday, January 6, 2020 –

For today’s assignment, please read the following article from Rolling Stone about the business of guitar manufacturing: Guitars are Getting More Popular. So Why Do We Think They’re Dying?

After reading the article, on a separate piece of paper (write your name on it and turn it in) write a reflection using the following prompt. (Please use proper grammar, sentence structure, etc, and it should be a paragraph at minimum).

  • What conclusion does the article draw in general?  Refer to at least one point that the article makes to support this conclusion.  Do you agree or disagree with the article’s conclusion and why?

Tuesday, January 7, 2020 –

Please read the following short article from NPR about practicing: 10 Easy Ways to Optimize Your Music Practice

After reading the article, on a separate piece of paper (write your name on it and turn it in) write a reflection using the following prompt (Please use proper grammar, sentence structure, etc, and it should be a paragraph at minimum).

  • Choose at least three suggestions that you are incorporating or can incorporate into your daily practice regime.  DESCRIBE exactly how you are or will do so through ACTIONABLE steps or means.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020 –

Complete the Unit IV Review for a grade (if you have completed it previously, you may keep that grade or take it one more time for a better score).

Restringing Event

For students who signed up for the restringing event, below is the information.  Thank you to Augustine Strings and Family Music Center for helping make this special event for Coronado students!

LOCATION: Family Music Center, 2714 N Green Valley Pkwy, Henderson, NV 89014

TIME: 2pm

COST: Paid by Dr. Nishimoto on the event date, please reimburse within 2 weeks

WHAT YOU GET: 2 Sets of Augustine Strings, 2 Case stickers, Augustine canvas tote,

WHAT YOU LEARN: How to restring a classical guitar

Honor Guitar Rehearsal Dates

The following are Honor Guitar Rehearsal Dates:

Tuesday, September 24th – 2:30-4:30pm

Wednesday, October 2nd – 2:30-4:30pm

Wednesday, October 16th – 2:30-4:30pm

Wednesday, October 30th – 2:30-4:30pm


Saturday, November 2nd – Afternoon Rehearsal (TBA), 7:00pm Performance

Wednesday, November 13th – 2:30 – 4:30pm

Wednesday, December 4th – Smith Center Rehearsal (time TBA) 6:30pm Performance