#1
I've been asked by my neighbour/friend to teach her 8 year old daughter to play guitar.

This kid has been playing a bit of violin (not got very far with it) and fancies herself as a rockstar.

I've had an unusual introduction to guitar myself, and I don't feel I know much about how it is 'normally' taught. My concern is that if I start with full chords, then I will lose her, because it's a lot to ask a kid even to play an open chord, and then ask them to change from one to the other....

So my plan (so far) is:

bass notes to play blues (A, D, E), building up to open power chords.
little tunes on the upper strings (Twinkie twinkie little pinkie)
the obligatory smoke on the you-know-what

What I'm wondering is whether there are chord fragments in the upper strings, and whether I they can be played in an easy I IV V progression. Or if anyone has any other ideas, please shout!

Thanks!
#2
Maybe put in a little bit of simple chords in there...like G (just fretting the 3rd fret of E) C (just the 1st fret of the B) etc. Just to get them used to finger positioning -- that's how I started, with chords only, then moved onto notes.

Once I accomplished those, I moved onto D and then lots of song possibilities opened up.
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Taurus 8
#4
Thanks for the replies. Taurus, that's brilliant! And for the G, I can add the D string, and that won't do any harm.

Skal - scales are a possibility, but there is the downside that I might need to learn them myself!
#5
I've taught a few young children as well so I might be able to offer some insight. I would try to incorporate some of the chords your teaching into a song they know as well. I'm presuming she listens to some music also, this'll just help to keep the interest high and it'd be something for her to annoy her parents with.. To birds with one stone.. Ka-Pow!
#6
Thanks, Steve. I'll find out what she listens to.

I'd be happy if I could get her doing 'Happy birthday' with 3 chords.

That should be enough to annoy all the generations of the family.
#7
I have taught a few eight year olds. I have found that I can teach the first part of Jingle Bells (using the open E string for the first note) in the first lesson. Most of them walk out smiling and come back the next week playing it pretty well. Depends on the eight year old I guess, but I have found that when I presented chord diagrams or tab reading on the first day to young kids it's usually way too much info and it gets them looking at papers and not at their hands. Another person mentioned Happy Birthday and that has worked for me as well.

P.S. It is really funny how many young kids know Smoke on the Water, is it THAT well known? Where are they hearing it? I am always amazed when a kid comes in who is very young and says they want to play some old band's song. I had an eight year old girl tell me she liked Foghat. Haha.
#9
Quote by Sleeperservice
I have taught a few eight year olds. I have found that I can teach the first part of Jingle Bells (using the open E string for the first note) in the first lesson. Most of them walk out smiling and come back the next week playing it pretty well. Depends on the eight year old I guess, but I have found that when I presented chord diagrams or tab reading on the first day to young kids it's usually way too much info and it gets them looking at papers and not at their hands. Another person mentioned Happy Birthday and that has worked for me as well.

P.S. It is really funny how many young kids know Smoke on the Water, is it THAT well known? Where are they hearing it? I am always amazed when a kid comes in who is very young and says they want to play some old band's song. I had an eight year old girl tell me she liked Foghat. Haha.


Smoke on the Water is just extremely easy, and its catchy as hell is all.
#10
I think what we've learnt from this.. Is take what you know and simplify it as much as possible. Just think your teaching a much younger version of yourself, in how you go about it, what you'd be able to play..
#11
Jingle bells is another great idea, and I think I can do it without having to talk about tab or string names or anything. My general idea is to give her something that is instantly musical without engaging her cognitive brain too much. My feeling is that the very idea of fretting the strings will be enough to take a few weeks to get used to.

So, Jingle bells is one idea. The other is to take a one-chord song (Frere Jacques), write out the words and get her to strum a G chord or C chord on 3 strings. Then she can show off to her mum that she can do something.

I've written her a little blues song, so if I can record that and stick it on a CD, then I can hopefully get her to strum a bass note along to it, although this will entail her getting 4 beats in a bar, and counting bars, which is not always easy.

So, all in all, I'm feeling a little less inadequate as a teacher. God help me if she keeps this up, I might need to learn the names of the notes myself!
#12
Update:

We just had our first lesson. I got her to sing Frere Jacques to the G chord (top 3 strings only), and she could do this instantly. She was thrilled to bits. Then we started to pick out jingle bells, which she recognised, and she was using her ear to get the notes right. So thanks for the ideas.

The one thing I struggled with was explaining to her how to hold the pick. Whatever I said, she brought it close to her knuckle, and gripped it with all her might. Then she fairly attacked the strings with a clenched fist. I prefer a small pick myself, so I left her one, hoping she might get on with it better.

Any tips on how to teach a kid how to hold a pick?