Denver Guitar Orchestra


Unleash your acoustic guitar from its hiding place in your closet, the garage, or your school, and put it to use in a fun city-wide ensemble. We are looking to grow an orchestra from scratch with guitarists who all understand teamwork. It’s fun and you’ll improve your skills at a much faster pace than working alone. We know two things every accomplished player does … they practice and they show up to rehearsal. If you’re willing to do those two things, we’ll bring guitar into your life in a significant way.

Our Mission: To support guitarists of all ages and skill levels willing to practice, rehearse, and work as a team in a community orchestra teaching program.

Are you eligible to join? You’ll need to hold a Denver Guitar Orchestra Level 2 Certification to begin ensemble work. Email us today and we’ll get you the materials you need to get started:

If you are studying with a guitar teacher, ask them to contact us so we can give them the certification materials and you can test with them.

Brown Bag Rehearsals: You must be pre-registered to attend our rehearsals. We use the word “rehearsal,” but mostly we’re just getting together to play some songs. We usually meet around noon on Saturdays or Sundays at Grant Street Historic Community Center, but don’t just show up. We adjust the schedule frequently, we need to make sure you have the correct stuff in your book, and we don’t want to waste your time. If you don’t hold a DGO Level 2 Certification, you’ll need to get that first. Call or text 303-984-0777 or email at:

Typical Rehearsal Schedule:

  • Feel free to bring a sack lunch.
  • We usually meet for 90-ish minutes.
  • $10 participation fee (cash).
  • Solos: Optional.
  • Level 3 Practice: Warm-up.
  • Level 4 Practice: Remaining time.
  • Level 5 & 6: In the future. 🙂

Song Books for Certification:

There is a small fee to cover the cost of printing and binding for the instruction books. You are required to have a copy of Books 1 and 2 prior to your first certification appointment. Please contact us at to make an appointment to get your books and discuss certification. The arrangements posted on this page do not include everything you’ll need from the instruction books. You should contact us as soon as possible so we know you’re working toward playing with the group. Certification appointments will generally last 30-60 minutes.

  • “Pre-selections” must be approved by examiner.
  • Material used in a lower level may not be duplicated in a higher level.
  • You are not judged on your singing ability (thank goodness!), but you are required to do it.
  • Use of sheet music is always acceptable unless a skill is to be memorized.

What’s on the Paper

Sheet music contains standard notation and tablature, chords and lyrics for singing, and staves for straight melody playing, guitar ensemble work, and fingerstyle chord-melody performance. Dates next to the song title indicates the latest edit. You may request copies of the sheet music without tablature displayed. Certification criterion can be found at the end of each section. Please note, if you’re an accomplished guitarist, you’ll still need to read tablature and certain aspects of standard notation. If you need help getting up to speed on reading sheet music, we’re happy to help you with introductory classes or private lessons.

Level 1
One Chord Songs

  1. Farmer in the Dell (2016-01-03) PDF
  2. Frère Jacques (2016-01-03) PDF
  3. Row Row Row Your Boat (2016-01-03) PDF
  4. Three Blind Mice (2016-01-03) PDF

Level 1 Examination:

  • Be able to tune your guitar without assistance.
  • Own a copy of Books 1 and 2.
  • Play chords while strumming and singing all songs in Book 1.
  • Play melody or guitar staves from tablature or standard notation for all songs in Book 1.

Certified Level #1

  • Frances Phillips
  • Kaya Heerman

Level 2
Two Chord Songs

  1. A-Tisket, A-Tasket (2017-02-14) PDF
  2. Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo’ (2017-02-02) PDF
  3. Alouette (2017-02-02) PDF
  4. Buffalo Gals (2016-01-18) PDF
  5. Clementine (2016-01-12) PDF
  6. Drunken Sailor (2016-01-18) PDF
  7. Go Tell Aunt Rhody (2016-01-21) PDF
  8. Hush Little Baby (2016-01-10) PDF
  9. Itsy Bitsy Spider (2016-01-21) PDF
  10. London Bridge is Falling Down (2017-07-09) PDF
  11. Mary Had a Little Lamb (2017-07-09) PDF
  12. Pay Me My Money Down (2017-07-09) PDF
  13. Shortnin’ Bread (2017-07-09) PDF
  14. Simple Gifts (2017-07-09) PDF
  15. Skip to My Loo (2017-07-09) PDF
  16. Soft Kitty (2017-07-09) PDF
  17. Sur le Pont d’Avignon (2017-07-09) PDF
  18. Tom Dooley (2017-07-09) PDF
  19. Wheels on the Bus (2017-07-09) PDF

Level 2 Examination:

  • Be prepared to play chords and sing all songs in Book 2.
  • Be prepared to play melody or guitar staves from tablature or notation for all songs in Book 2.
  • Play the TuffAxe (chord-melody fingerstyle arrangement) for at least one song of your choice.


Level 3
Three and Four Chord Songs

  1. Ah! Vous Dirai-je, Maman (Feb. 2, 2017)
  2. Amazing Grace (Feb. 2, 2017)
  3. Blowin’ in the Wind (Feb. 14, 2017)
  4. Brahm’s Lullabye
  5. Danny Boy (Feb. 2, 2017)
  6. Down by the Riverside (Feb. 19, 2017)
  7. Down in the Valley
  8. Fur Elise
  9. Ghost Riders
  10. Godfather Theme
  11. Happy Birthday (2017-10-06) PDF
  12. Heidenroslein
  13. I’m a Little Teapot
  14. Morning Has Broken
  15. Scarborough Fair
  16. Streets of Laredo
  17. This Land is Your Land (Feb. 10, 2017)
  18. Waltzing Matilda

Level 3:

  • Be prepared to play chords and sing all songs in Book 3.
  • Be prepared to play melody from tablature or notation for all songs in Book 3.
  • Play TuffAxe on three pre-selected songs.


Just for Fun

Videos from Other Guitar Orchestras



Everything below here is under construction

You can stop reading. 🙂



DGO Book ZERO The Etudes! Right and Left Hand Warm-ups

The DGO Etudes! Book contains useful exercises gleaned from the history of guitar pedagogy to help you develop deft left and right hand skills. We recommend you use these etudes during the first part of your practice to warm up your hands.

  • Download additional practice logs HERE.
  • Download the composing blank HERE.


Level 4 Certification:

Iconic Songs

  1. America the Beautiful (Feb. 2, 2017)
  2. Andante in G by Carulli
  3. As Time Goes By
  4. Daisy Bell
  5. Eidelweiss
  6. Imagine
  7. Internationale
  8. La Vie en Rose
  9. Lara’s Theme
  10. Last Rose of Summer
  11. Love Me Tender
  12. Minstrel Boy
  13. Moon River
  14. Over the Rainbow
  15. Singing in the Rain
  16. Smile
  17. Sound of Silence
  18. Try to Remember

Level 4:

  • Play at least two songs in small ensemble with assigned parts.
  • Play TuffAxe on three new pre-selected songs.
  • One of the three chosen TuffAxe presentations must be memorized.

Level 5 Certification:

Advanced Multi-part Arrangements

  • Annie’s Song
  • Both Sides Now (Jan. 9, 2017)
  • Colorado Trail
  • Disney Unto Death
  • Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
  • El Paso
  • Elvis Medley
  • From a Distance
  • Hedwig’s Theme
  • I’m on Fire
  • Pomp and Circumstances
  • Time After Time

Level 5:

  • Play in small ensemble with pre-selected music.
  • Play TuffAxe on two memorized song.
  • Play in large ensemble with standard repertoire.

Ensemble Created Multipart Performance for Level 6 Certification:

Level 6:

  • Musician driven with no instructor.
  • Perform in small ensemble.
  • Perform a memorized solo for audience.
  • Perform in large ensemble.
  • Performance examination.

DGO Teacher Certification for Level 7

Level 7

  • Completed teacher training
  • Taught through level 5

Christmas Song List:

  1. Adeste Fideles (Nov. 24, 2016): PDF
  2. Angels We Have Heard on High (Oct. 13, 2015): PDF
  3. Auld Lang Syne (Oct. 24, 2016): PDF
  4. First Noel (Sept. 9, 2015): PDF
  5. Greensleeves (Oct. 26, 2014): PDF
  6. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Aug. 14, 2016): PDF
  7. Joy to the World (Dec. 18, 2016) PDF
  8. O Come O Come Emmanuel (Sept. 14, 2015): PDF
  9. Silent Night (Sept. 12, 2016): PDF
  10. Silver Bells (Oct. 13, 2015): Email Me.
  11. Up on the House Top (Sept. 25, 2016): PDF
  12. We Three Kings (Sept. 25, 2016): PDF
  13. We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Oct. 27, 2014): PDF
  14. White Christmas (Nov. 21, 2016): Email Me.



Orchestra Examinations:

  • Pre-test to assure readiness.
  • Performance skills test.
  • Oral examination.
  • Written score card with next steps.
  • Receive graduation certificate.


Level 1:

  • Demonstrate memorized chords A, E, D, G.
  • Play all four songs with voice and chords.
  • Play all four melodies using tablature or notation.
  • Discussion on posture and theory.
  • Written plan for Book 2.

Level 2

  • Demonstrate memorized chords.
  • Play songs with voice and chords.
  • Play TuffUke of one song.
  • Play melodies using tablature or notation.
  • Discussion on posture and theory.
  • Written plan for Book 3.

Level 3

Level 4

Level 5

Level 6

Level 7


Guitar Ensemble arrangements

  • Singers (voice with chords)
  • One guitar (melody)
  • Two guitars (melody and chords)
  • Three guitars (melody, chords, tuff)
  • Four guitars (melody, chords, tuff, arpeggio)
  • Five guitars (melody, chords, tuff, arpeggio, bassline)