Lead Guitar at Aspen Music Festival







The Lead Guitar Method teaches guitar ensemble through a co-teaching model. Students learn technique, theory, ensemble-playing, and performance skills. These are the same aspects of other music programs that have been proven to improve test scores, attendance, and graduation rates.
Our goal is to appeal to students not usually drawn to band and orchestra programs using an instrument relevant to any tradition, genre, and cultural background. If there is a population at your school that is not receiving music education, Lead Guitar can help.

How does

Lead Guitar


A Lead Guitar Teaching Artist partners with a certified teacher from your school to co-teach a year-round guitar ensemble class. Your classroom teacher learns and plays along with the students while the LG Teaching Artist models our proprietary curriculum. When the class meets without our instructor present, the Teacher-of-Record (TOR) guides practice and reviews concepts introduced in previous meetings.
For high schools and middle schools that meet five days per week, the TOR can push students further along in the curriculum. Where scheduling allows, our LG instructor's visits can include private or small group lessons for students or the Teacher-of-Record.


else does 

Lead Guitar


Pillars of Service:

  • Up to 70 hours of on-site co-teaching from a Lead Guitar Teaching Artist, including classroom instruction and private/small group lessons. Lead Guitar Digital gives access to method books, instructional videos, ensemble arrangements, and lesson plans, evaluations and assessment resources.

  • Annual Teachers Workshop for Professional Development credits as well as 1:1 consultation for teachers to improve their own guitar technique and pedagogy

  • Access to in-school guest artist assemblies from touring artists

  • Access to the spring Lead Guitar Showcase Concert student performance on a local college campus, and assistance with in-school performances at other times of year.


much does

Lead Guitar


Lead Guitar is a 501c3 nonprofit and we are almost entirely funded by individual and corporate donors, foundations, and grants. Lead Guitar's mission is to prioritize services for schools with the greatest need. We ask schools to contribute a fee along a sliding scale based on how many students are eligible for the federal Free and Reduced-Price Lunch (FRPL) program:
More than 80% of students eligible  =  FREE PROGRAM
Between 60-79% of students eligible  =  $1,237.50 fee (FY23)
Between 40-59% of students eligible  =  $3,300 fee (FY23)
Between 20-39% of students eligible  =  $4,950 fee (FY23)
Between 0-19% of students eligible  =  $8,250 fee FULL COST





  1. Contact us to set up a meeting so we can learn about the specific needs of your school.

  2. We invite you to fill out an application, including basic information about the proposed partner teacher and class.

  3. Upon being accepted, schools purchase guitars, make footstools, and add the class to the school schedule with guidance from Lead Guitar.

  4. The partner teacher attends our Teachers' Workshop and/or receives supplementary private lessons.

  5. Schools sign final agreements, establish a PO (if paying a fee), and classes begin.


Our mission is to create a permanent guitar ensemble program at your school. We train teachers to teach finger-style guitar so that the program can continue long after a school requests our services. We do not replace or undermine music teachers, but rather partner with band/choir/orchestra (and sometimes non-music) teachers to give them a new subject to teach. This aims to increase overall enrollment in music and in many cases stabilizes our partner music teacher's job by helping them add hours to their schedule and new skills to their resume. 
Our contract with a school is more accurately described as a partnership--we could not do what we do without the incredible certified teachers who partner with us! Certified teachers are also invaluable in passing on wisdom and classroom management techniques to our teaching artists, often early-career concert artists and college professors.