A Modern Method for Guitar by William Leavitt is the basic text for the Berklee College of Music guitar program. This method series has stood the test of time and earned a vast and loyal following of dedicated guitar students and instructors. Volume 1 comes with a DVD-ROM, and volume 2 comes with an audio CD.
While volume 1 is written for the complete beginner, and the DVD provides great visual cues for those learning without a teacher the book’s “tone” is not conducive to the casual beginner. I’d recommend it for the older, more cerebral student. And, the method does not employ popular tunes that the student would recognize, but specially composed practice pieces.
Watch a video review of A Modern Guitar Method.
William Leavitt has two goals with this book:
- To teach the student to read music.
- For the gradual development of dexterity in both hands
The book is divided in two sections. Section one teaches reading in the first, or open, position. Section two of the book teaches reading in the second position.
Both sections are set up the same and feature loads of graduated reading and playing exercises. Lessons include:
- Single note playing.
- Rhythm playing
- Bass-Rhythm playing
- Eighths, sixteenths, and triplet notes.
- Speed and technique exercises
The teaching method is rock solid. Any student who works through these books will be a proficien treader and player with a decent base of theoretical guitar knowledge.
I would recommend this book to the serious beginner who plans on learning to be proficient reader, and not just in the first position. This book would be ideal for an experienced player who has not got around to reading standard notation, or for a player who wants to refine their note-reading skills.
Other Suggestions for Your Consideration
- Mel Bay’s Modern Guitar Method, Book 1
- Hal Leonard Method for Guitar, Book 1
- Review: Three Popular Method Books Compared
Troy Nelson, a celebrated guitar educator from Viroqua, Wisconsin, has significantly impacted guitar learning with acclaimed books like ‘Guitar Aerobics’ and ‘Fretboard Freedom’. His unique journey from Sports Management to leading roles at Hal Leonard Corporation and Guitar One magazine has shaped his approach to guitar education. Now based in Nashville, Nelson specializes in crafting effective guitar practice routines, enhancing players’ skills and technical mastery. His work is a treasure trove for guitar enthusiasts worldwide.