Guitar Lessons (2011-2013)


These guitar lessons were a part of a music club I co-founded at MIT, the Live Music Connection. They are a part of a program we called Open Source Music, which had the goal of making music as open and accessible as any other open-source project. We taught free music lessons in instruments such as guitar and drums, and provided loaner instruments to students free of charge. I developed a curriculum and taught guitar to over 120 MIT students over 3 years. The program is still running to this day! Lessons include topics such as single note theory, power chords, open chords, barre chords, fingerpicking, harmonics, hammer/ons pull offs, among others. For course material see here. For more information about the MIT Live Music Connection, visit their webpage.



Here’s a sampling of practice songs used in the class. This is directly copied and pasted from emails, so pardon the rough format:


Songs To Be Emailed out to the class
Otherside – Red Hot Chili Peppers (The first two lines of the intro are reasonable)

Seven Nation Army- White Stripes (You can work on the first line, plus the solo if you’re feeling ambitious!)

Still Alive – Portal Theme song (This one is a little tougher, but I think you could manage the verse parts 1 and 2)

The Middle – Jimmy Eat World (The intro is a good one)

Hypnotize – System of a Down (The intro, it’s very similar to the rolling stones song we did in class)
Also, here are the tabs for blitzkrieg bop:
Also, here’s another song that is good for combining single notes and power chords, Message in a Bottle by the Police:
The single note parts are pretty tough because they take a lot of hand stretching, but it’s worth a shot. Also, the parts with four-note chords, you can drop the top note of those to make a power chord, and that’s approximately correct for the song.
I’m a Believer (The Monkees / Smash Mouth)

You’ve got to Hide you Love Away (The Beatles, covered by everyone)

Are you gonna be my girl (Jet)

Pumped up Kicks by Foster the People-

Acoustic 3 by Goo Goo Dolls (This is a good one to work on the arpeggios
we talked about in class, you can see the G major and D major chords in
the fingering)

Resistance by Muse-

Somebody Told Me by the Killers-

Starlight by Muse (You can do the verse part at least)

Float on by Modest Mouse:

What I got by Sublime (This one is super easy, just two chords)

In the end acoustic version- Linkin Park (for if you’re feeling angsty)-

The Kids aren’t alright by the Offspring-

American Pie by Don Mclean (You can treat the Em7 and Am7 as just Em and
Am for now)-

Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons (you can ignore the Fmaj7 for now)-

Fly Away by Lenny Kravitz-

Semi Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind-

Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day (you can treat the sus2 chords
as just the relevant major chords)-

Here without you by 3 doors down (A good example of the arpeggio thing
we talked about in class)

Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley (you can do most of these chords, just not
the Bm or D/F#)

Save Tonight- Eagle Eye Cherry

Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel (you can treat the C/G as just a
C major)

Hey Soul Sister by Train

Such Great Heights by the Postal Service (Yay Cadd9!)

Numb by Linkin Park

Artist in the Ambulance by Thrice


Won’t back down by Tom Petty (This is the Johnny Cash cover, but the

chords are the same):


Time is Running Out by Muse


Aint no Rest for the Wicked by Cage the Elephant


The Man Who Sold the World by Nirvana


Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson


Take me out by Franz Ferdinand


Friday by Rebecca Black (lol)


Otherside by Red hot Chilli Peppers (you can do this with only the open

chords we learned, but try it with Barre chords!)


Grapevine Fires by Death Cab for Cutie


I Will Follow you Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie


Unwell by Matchbox 20


I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing by Aerosmith


Hero of War by Rise Against


Santeria by Sublime


Hey there Delilah by Plain White Ts
Sex and Candy (Marcy’s Playground) -There are a bunch of power chords in the verse and chorus, ignore the ‘p’s, we haven’t done those yet.

Fly Away (Lenny Kravitz)

More than a Feeling (Boston) –  The chorus at least is power chords, don’t worry about the rest

The Middle (Jimmy Eat World) – The chorus

The Kill (30 seconds to Mars)

Smooth Criminal (Alien Ant Farm cover of Michael Jackson)

Fortunate Son (Creedence Clearwater Revival) -the chorus

Glycerine (Bush)