Q. What exactly is No Fret Guitar Camp?
A. NFGC is a 100% volunteer 501(c)(3) ministry that works with churches to show God's grace through the lifetime gift of music to low income, at-risk kids by giving them free guitar lessons and free guitars.
Q. How do we know this really works?
A. Please see the "Endorsements" tab on the website and watch the student videos to see the incredible success during the first five years of NFGC 140 camps of 6 kids each have all been successful.
Q. How long is each camp?
A. NFGC is 10 hours of instruction. Some choose to do it 2 hours per day for 5 days in a row; some 2 hours per day for 5 weeks and some one hour per session over 10 weeks. And yes, the students really do learn this quickly. See the “Student Videos” tab on the website for examples of the students playing.
Q. Can the camp be offered during the year in a different format?
A. Yes, we have some churches who offer the camp one day a week (for example Wed nights) for 10 weeks.
Q. What is provided by No Fret Guitar Camp?
A We provide instructor materials, instructor training, student materials, student music, audio files, and video files, and 6 guitars. We ask churches who are financially able to consider supporting the ministry. No contribution is required.
Q. Why six students?
A. There is really nothing magic about six. We use six because we know it works from our proven success and the guitars come packed six to a box.
Q. Can we have the students pay for the guitars?
A. No. Students’ receiving free guitars with this lifetime gift of music is essential to the No Fret Guitar Camp. Some churches have asked members or other donors to contribute to the ministry to help serve more youth.
Q. How good of a guitar player do instructors need to be for this to work?
A. Not very! If they can play simple open chords ( G,C,D,E,Am,Em) then they can do it. The most important thing is to have a heart for giving the gift of music to these kids.
Q. Can one instructor handle 6 students?
A. We recommend one instructor and one helper who may or may not be able to play guitar. One can simply be a helper with little or no knowledge of how to play. We had one adult helper who learned along with the students and helped them at the same time. One volunteer helper was a student who played guitar.
Q. What ages are the students?
A. The students are Middle and High School ages. We find younger students have physical difficulty fretting the chords. We have had several camps with younger kids, but teens are ideal.
Q. Won’t some students learn faster than others?
A. Yes, but it is more of an opportunity than a problem. The students who learn more quickly help bring along the others. We have only had one case of a student who was clearly not a complete beginner. That person helped the others much of the time and worked on improving the cleanness of their chords. We also allowed this student to pick out the individual notes of the song’s melody. Bottom line is we adapted and it was actually a nice “problem.”
Q. Did you have students quit for one reason or another?
A. No, we have had 100% of our students complete the course.
Q. What do you do about a student who comes to the course with their own guitar?
A. Each sponsoring organization can handle this as they see appropriate. What we have done that worked for us was to contact the student beforehand based on the student entry form to determine if they already have a guitar. If we think they do not need to be given a free guitar we notify them that they are welcome to come to the camp with their own guitar.
Q. What size room is needed?
A. It is best if the students can be placed in chairs about 6 feet apart.
Q. Are music stands necessary?
A. They are preferred, but if not available the music can be placed on another chair in front of them.
Q. Do we need internet at the site?
A. It is very helpful to be able to play the audio/video from the internet. But if it is not available, then simply download the audio/visual from the internet to play on a computer/laptop or iPad.
Q. Do we need audio/visual equipment?
A. A computer/laptop or IPad is desired. In addition, it is very helpful to have some sort of auxiliary speaker/boombox to make it loud enough for the students to accompany. Louder is better.
Q. Do the students take the guitars home at night or leave them at the facility?
A. Each organization can decide what is most appropriate for their situation. We have had camps where it was deemed not safe for the students to take the guitars home and back each day so the guitars stayed at the facility until being taken home the last day. Another camp had parents picking up the kids each day and allowed the guitars to be taken home each day.
Q. What if we have a “not” FAQ? Who can we contact?
A. Each instructor will be given my personal cell phone number…and I’ll answer it!