Adapted guitar is another area in which I’ve had to expand my bag of tricks. Clients constantly inspire me to create new resources that help them learn and grow. As a result, I have developed this resource for teaching the blues in an adapted guitar lesson. The song includes melodic cues as to when and where to switch chords, and is accompanied by a colored chord chart. In some cases, I have used matching stickers on a guitar to show where to play each chord, with colors that correspond to the ones used on the song sheet. The blues are a fun and adaptable way to teach beginning guitar! The student only needs to learn two chord shapes, then they are moved between the frets to make various chords. You can see from the picture below how the shape for A7 and B7 is constant.
The chord and lyric sheet is attached below. In true blues fashion, verses could be added by you or the student to prolong the song.
I have started teaching adapted ukulele lessons, and over the past couple of months have developed some materials for teaching young children. This song uses the percussive elements of the instrument to imitate the sounds of a train. The rest of the song is used to practice transitioning between chords and can be altered to do some songwriting with your clients.
The song begins by muting the strings of the ukulele (of guitar) and making the “chugga, chugga” in 16th notes for four measures of 4 to imitate the sound of a train. The “choo, choo” sound is made by playing the strings above the fret board but below the tuning pegs.
The rest of the song uses three chords. It is a fun and easy way for children to start to learn an instrument! The lyrics can also be changed to accommodate different interests (i.e. the princess train or the animal train). Below is a chart for the ukulele chords. The ukulele is an easy way to learn the basics of guitar. It has only four strings and so requires the use of less fingers at a time. It is a wonderful introductory instrument and great for all ages!
(Percussion break – 2x)
Train is starting down the track
There’s no turning back
Going down the railroad
C G G F F
Nice and slow
Here we go!
Train is coming down the line
Getting there by nine
Going down the railroad
C G (slide to) F
Just like that!
When we get
To our stop
We won’t walk
We will bop
As we rock
To the tune of a song!
This Sunday, we helped run a fundraiser at Newbreak Coffee and Cafe in Ocean Beach for a non-profit organization that we work closely with called Banding Together. Banding Together is dedicated to providing music therapy scholarships, mentorships, and instruments to youth with special needs.
They offer free community programs called Jam Sessions in three locations around San Diego, in which each participant is paired with a mentor. Each week, a new social skill is taught through music and a guest musician from the community comes to perform. Guest musicians have included Steph Johnson, Dr. Seahorse, and Jason Mraz. After the guest musician performs an interactive set of songs, the group gets to join in and have a “jam session” together. Participants get to choose the songs and instruments are provided for them to play, such as piano, drums, shakers, and guitars.
This week’s fundraiser featured six participants as well as Bad Band Mother, a local indie/folk/pop band. The participants also performed two sets of songs and spread the word about the positive effects of music therapy. It was a blast! A day of music and coffee – what could be better?
For more information about Banding Together or volunteer opportunities, visit: