Sample repertoire: Beginner

October 26th, 2017

Four years is not a lot of time, which means you have to be very focused in your approach.

It means your repertoire must be very targeted too, especially in these beginning stages.

Every piece you give to the students must have a pedagogical reason.

The following sample pieces are not meant to be a prescription, you can come up with your own pieces. But they will give you a general idea of how I approach these crucial first steps.

I usually start off with single line melodies employing the first five notes of the C major scale.

An ideal piece that fits these criteria is that well-known German children song “Hänschen Klein” also known as “Lightly Row.”

To view the music, click on the picture. These are high quality printable scans.


There’re other songs that fit these criteria too. “Mary had a Little Lamb” is one. The first part of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” is another one.

The next week, I would add a simple ‘g’ pedal to the melody. The purpose is to get students to practice their free-stroke arpeggios.


For slower students, I don’t give them the music to read. I simply ask them to add an open ‘g’ pedal on the third string after every note, and three after every half note.

At this point, music reading is not the primary objective. Training the fingers is.

After they have mastered this arpeggio version of “Lightly Row,” I apply the same finger pattern to a simple excerpt from a Carulli study simply titled “Prelude.”


This piece expands on the open  ‘g’ pedal idea but now incorporates bass notes. The idea is still to get students to practice finger alternation on different strings.

After the student has mastered “Prelude,” I further expand the ‘g’ pedal concept to double notes played with thumb and fingers.

For this, I teach them this well-known study from Carcassi.


So within the span of about a month, students are able to go from beginner to playing a simple Carcassi study.

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