Guitar for Beginners

Learn guitar from world-class musician and educator Sara Landeau. Currently the touring guitarist for Bikini Kill and a founding member, co-songwriter, and lead guitarist of The Julie Ruin, Sara provides the practical foundation you need to begin playing the music you love—whether on electric or acoustic guitar. 

The course begins with an introduction to the guitar, including its parts, how to hold it, and how to tune it. You will learn about the basics of fretboard harmony, and by the end of the first week, you'll be playing your first chords and turning them into something distinctly musical. 

The course then delves into how to play different rhythms on the guitar. You'll learn how to count beats and use a metronome to keep time. You'll then learn about major and pentatonic scales, which will strengthen your ability to play basic melodies. You'll also explore right-hand fingerpicking technique. 

The course culminates with an exploration of tone, dynamics, and defining the sound you are after. By the end of the course, you'll be able to play popular beginner songs, whether alone or with others, and set the stage for continued exploration and growth in your guitar skills and musicianship.

What you will learn:

✔ Build and play popular chords, in addition to the major and pentatonic scales    
✔ Develop your time and rhythm by learning how to count beats and use a metronome       
✔ Use basic fingerpicking technique    
✔ Develop your tone and use of dynamics    
✔ Play beginner popular songs

Join us and learn guitar online!

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What you need to participate:

  • Computer or mobile device with Internet. Internet speed must be at least 1.5Mbps download and 800Kbps upload. For students using a mobile device, download the Canvas mobile app and select “Interlochen Online” as your school.
  • Electric guitar with an amp and 1/4" cable or an acoustic guitar
  • Guitar picks
  • Tuner (free option)
  • Metronome (free option)

How the course works:

Interlochen Online courses are designed to be inspiring and flexible with weekly learning units that combine video segments and guided instruction that you can complete on your own schedule during the week. You will interact regularly with your teacher and peers inside the learning environment. 

You can also participate in an optional weekly hour-long video class meeting, where you can learn from the teacher and interact with your classmates in real-time. At the beginning of the course, you will complete a survey indicating your preferred times for the class meeting. The teacher will make every best effort to identify a meeting time that works for everyone. The teacher will also post recordings of the meetings and you can view them when it is convenient. 

The goal is that you walk away not only with practical skills and friendships but that you are inspired and motivated to pursue your art and realize your potential.

Program Snapshot

Upcoming Course Dates

June 10 - July 5, 2024 | Teen and adult sections

July 15 - Aug. 9, 2024 | Teen and adult sections




Teens: Grades 6-12

Adult Learners: 18+

Future Sessions

Academic Calendar

Meet the Faculty

Sara Landeau

Instructor of Guitar

Questions? Speak with an Advisor.


Phone: 231.276.5990 

You can also schedule an appointment.