Beginning Acoustic – Group Class – Kids & Teens

Course Instructor

Jonathan Edens

Course Information

Instructor Jonathan Edens wants everyone, whether a child or an adult, to have the satisfaction of learning how to make music, and to carry that music with them anywhere, for the rest of their lives. The McKinney Center’s Beginner Guitar class allows students to take the first steps on the path to playing music. No experience is necessary in this course that takes students through a series of lessons that teach simple note reading, chords and chord progressions, with each class building on the previous lesson.

Additional Class Information

Classes are less theory and more practical application for beginners, and teach basic terminology and foundational aspects of playing instruments such as chords, melody, counting, and rhythm notations. Students in the Beginner Guitar course can expect to learn these basics while working toward playing entire songs. The group setting creates a comfortable environment where students learn to strum together. The small class size allows for individual attention from the instructor. Jonathan’s easy-going, laid-back style creates a comfortable setting for students, easily erasing any anxiety they may feel about approaching a new instrument as a beginner. He helps students ease into the unfamiliar, introducing students to the right way to handle the instruments until they feel comfortable, and then progresses to the next step.

While the class your child takes in learning an instrument at the McKinney Center focuses on fun and enjoyment, a recent USC study on music education and child brain development proves that the impact of learning music at a young age has a long-term effect on cognitive functions that last a lifetime, and are particularly beneficial in language acquisition skills. The study also found that this acquisition of benefits is greater when students regularly play. Instructor Jonathan Edens, who earned his BA in Creative Writing and Music from Tusculum College, shares with his students the importance of practicing regularly, and encourages parents to work with him to ensure that students are continuing to practice at home. Importantly, Jonathan points out that by learning the guitar, students can bring their music with them wherever they go. They can practice anywhere and play anywhere, so students should be encouraged to play where they feel most comfortable.

“One of the things I love about teaching this class is watching students go from not knowing really anything about playing the guitar to strumming after the first class, and then playing several songs by the end. There is such a sense of accomplishment for the students, that is so gratifying,” says Edens, who is an accomplished musician himself, and also serves as a community mentor with the Tusculum University Jazz Band.

At the end of each semester, students will have the opportunity to perform together the songs they have learned in a short concert as part of the McKinney Center’s Student Art Exhibition following the completion of the semester. This performance is free and open to the public, and is a great way to show off the students’ newly acquired skills.

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The McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School is a multi-use facility providing arts education through Jonesborough's Mary B. Martin Program.


Phone: 423.753.0562

103 Franklin Ave.
Jonesborough, TN 37659