“What [Derek Gripper] is doing in his life with educational and other projects is inspiring, and to be honest, I think it is where the guitar should be going.” John Williams in Classical Guitar Magazine UK
My experiments and experience in teaching in the last few years have shown me that learning something like the guitar can be as natural and easy as learning to speak a new language is for a small child.
My primary inspiration for my guitar method has been the method of Maria Montessori. The Montessori Method is an unequalled educational philosophy which focuses on the full development of he individual. My application of this method for the guitar is, on one hand, simply an addition of guitar into the Montessori learning environment, and on the other a creation of a Montessori environment focused on the guitar. The ideal would be to have my guitar materials as part of a full Montessori environment. But failing this the Montessori Guitar Method is a complete learning environment in itself. By interacting within this environment the student will experience spontaneous concentration, absorption on a task, freedom of choice…and as an added bonus they will be learn how to play guitar in the most natural way possible.
One of the primary innovations in the Montesori Guitar Method is a new and expanded use of different forms of notation. I have called the group or constellation of notations mTablature for “Montesorri Tablature.”
mTablature includes elements of modern tablature, rennaisance tablature like one sees in the music of the vihuela, chord diagrams such as one sees in contemporary song books, as well as staff notation and some notational innovations of my own. Its aim is to make sure that the musical score is never an obstacle to playing music.
Guitar Teaching Materials
Montessori is all about hands on learning. You give to the hand and then you give to the head. So one of the fundamental tools in any Montessori environment is a wide selection of physical objects which represent abstract concepts. For my Montessori Guitar environment I have developed a series of Guitar Teaching Materials which allow the student to explore many aspects of the guitar by using simple tools. An example of these materials is the Scale Slider, an online app which presents a simple interface to explore any scale, in any key, in any tuning.