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MUS 161 - Guitar Studies 2 - Joe LoPiccolo

Course:Guitar Studies 2
Professor:Joe LoPiccolo
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Joe Lopiccolo

Hello and welcome to MUS 161, Guitar Studies 2!

My name is Joe LoPiccolo and I have been faculty at College of the Canyons since Spring semester 2002. I have a Masters and Bachelors degree in guitar from CalArts and also teach at Mount San Antonio College and Cal State Northridge (guest lecturer) in addition to COC. I am also a composer and professional performer. I will introduce myself more in our first discussion, in the meantime you can of course visit my professional website and IG :)

You should not be an absolute beginner in this class, it is intended for people that have already been playing for at least 6 months. If you don't know how to read music yet you can still take the class, but realize it may move a bit fast for you. You may want to consider taking MUS 160 instead.

Again welcome everyone!  I look forward to meeting you all virtually and working with you! -Joe 

Course Description

Here is a little video montage of some of the pieces and concepts we will learn this semester:

We will be working exclusively in Canvas but I will be available for face-to-face zoom office hours if needed. The modules in Canvas contain video lesson as well as discussions and tests. 

We will be learning:

  • How to read music
  • Basic music theory as it corresponds to the guitar
  • Proper technique
  • How to practice effectively
  • How to play with good rhythm and to use a metronome 
  • Basic chords and strum rhythms
  • Interpretive and performance Skills 
  • and much more! :)

Materials you will need: 

  • Textbook (digital or physical)
  • Metronome (physical or app)
  • Tuner (physical or app)
  • Guitar (electric or acoustic are both fine)
  • Mirror 
  • Guitar Support (optional)

I strongly recommend that you set up a dedicated practice space that you can work from consistently. 

Practice space materials: 

  • a comfortable chair or stool without arms
  • a mirror
  • a guitar stand
  • a music stand 
  • metronome and tuner 

Having a dedicated practice space ready to go will enable you to practice consistently in the most time efficient manner.

What to Expect in this Course

The book contains pieces and exercises from multiple genres as a vehicle for you to learn good technique and basic music theory through performing and practice. You should be able to practice 30-60 minutes a day, at least 5 (preferably 7) days a week. The consistency of practicing is the key to improving and getting an "A" in the class. You will also need 30 to 60 minutes to watch the corresponding videos in the modules every week.  While it is a guitar class and I hope it is enjoyable for you, please remember this is a formal college class. You will need to work diligently, practice, do all the assignments and watch all the videos just as you would for any other online college class. 

Types of Assessments

4 Performance Tests (submitted via videos in Canvas or live via Zoom)
3 Discussions
1 Theory Exam

Textbook Information / Link to ZTC Textbook

Textbook Title: Guitar Mosaic

The same text is valid for both Mus 160 and 161. The pages are always included with each module in Canvas, but I strongly recommend buying either the physical or digital version of the texts as well. 

Other Relevant Course Information

Please get your guitar "setup" (if needed) in advance so it is in good condition for the class.
You may need to bring it to a store to have it adjusted or to have new strings put on. The most important thing is that it is easy to play and easy to tune. You definitely want a "low action" so that is easy to depress the strings down to the fretboard.

Please download a tuning app and metronome app in advance of the class.
There are many great free versions for both MacOS and android

Please check Canvas for a welcome video on how to navigate the course in Canvas.
It will be included here as well this week. Please also thoroughly review the syllabus (found in Canvas) and familiarize yourself with the important dates. 

You can get started now with the book and the following videos below.
This is optional, but I especially recommend this if you are relatively new to studying music formally. Watching these in advance of the class starting will help you be up and running and ready to go when we actually start the class :) 

Please also follow COC Guitar on our social media sites:





Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

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College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

College of the Canyons cares about your emotional and physical health. Learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including free counseling and mental health services available during this time by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center website or by calling them at: 661-362-3259.

The National Suicide Lifeline number is 1-800-273- 8255 (TALK). Please call it if you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress - it could save someone's life.

You can also use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. It's free, available 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


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Last updated: 04/15/2022 Sub#: 1066