#1
What are some good tips for teaching a 12 year old to play guitar? He's learning on his older brother's electric, the only guitar he has.

The kid clearly wants to learn, but he's constantly forgetting which string is which, and making long pauses while he tries to recall the strings. I constantly have to goad him ("Now play your C. Where's C again? No, it's there, remember?"), and he doesn't seem to have made much progress in reading the music.
#2
make a diagram with all the string names and notes up to the 12th fret and give it to him to memorize.
#3
Dude welcome to teaching man. A lot of what I do is the whole "Where's your C chord? Close, close...keep going..." kinda stuff. If he's just starting off, it's going to take him awhile before he really latches onto the material you're teaching him, and fully internalizes everything you've showed him. Constantly repeating and hand-holding is just part of the job of being a teacher. I'm in the same situation with a little 8 year old girl I teach, so I know where you're coming from. It can seem kind of fruitless at times.
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#4
I haven't taught him much in the way of chords yet, just single notes. I tried to teach him chords but realized he was still struggling on the single notes. And I've been teaching him for about 3-4 months now (although he's missed a couple weeks due to vacations).
Last edited by TenPoundHammer at Jul 24, 2011,
#5
Did he have any previous experience with it before you started working with him?

Also, are you trying to teach him theory and whatnot? Because I've found that teaching theory right off the bat really doesn't spark most kids' interests, mostly because they want to simply learn how to play guitar, not how to break down a chord progression. That's my experience anyway
Gig Rig:

Schecter Hellraiser V-1
Crate BV120H
B-52 LS 4x12 cabinet
BBE Rackmount Sonic Max
Boss ME-50 Pedalboard
Digital Reference 2505 Wireless

I don't like BTBAM. Sue Me.

PLUR

My Solo Project
#6
Quote by nmc1234
make a diagram with all the string names and notes up to the 12th fret and give it to him to memorize.


+1. I think it would be much easier for a 12 year old to pick up the notes if he had a diagram when he's feeling lost.
#7
I teach 10 year olds to 14 year olds.

I start with strings, notes, open chords, barre chords, hammer ons/pull offs, slides, bends, then to music theory

I recommend giving them exercise sheets with lessons. Do this until you are sure they can practice without guidance
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#8
I'm teaching him from a book. The book has several simple melodies. I taught him theory right off the bat and he seemed to get it without any trouble, but for some reason it's giving him difficulty again.
#9
Look in to the Socratic method: http://www.garlikov.com/Soc_Meth.html It'll take a bit more preparation and thought but if you get it right the results should speak for themselves.
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#10
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Look in to the Socratic method: http://www.garlikov.com/Soc_Meth.html It'll take a bit more preparation and thought but if you get it right the results should speak for themselves.


I've never seen that way of teaching done before (although I believe my guitar instructor has tried that on me once. Worked well, of course), but that's awesome!

It will just take patience and time for note names to set in on him. Remember that particular notes on the guitar aren't easily identifiable like they are on a piano; there aren't any visual clues to where any particular note is and knowing where, say, you can play an A comes down to rote memorization. I, too, would recommend making a diagram of all of the note names, but keep it simple. At most I would do it up to the 4th fret; not only does that avoid overwhelming him but, if you are using the book that I see every beginner guitarist with, it teaches the first 4 frets first before going beyond it and that will help him with exercises in that book.

If he seems to be struggling with single notes, you can always go back to open chords for a while before heading back. I personally find chord shapes easier to remember (it's hard to remember that you put a finger on the 3rd fret of the B string for a D but it's easy to remember that the chord where your fingers are in a triangle shape pointing to the body is D Major) and could potentially give him a way of remembering some of the note names if you want to discuss basic chord construction.

Either way, good luck! Teaching was never designed to be an easy task; each kid learns at a different rate and, even if you can teach the concept perfectly, that doesn't mean he will get it instantly. Just keep trying different tactics to get him to learn the concept and eventually he'll internalize it.
#11
To be honest, I don't think you should be showing him note names and such yet. I understand the value of knowing them but they don't really spark a beginner's interest, especially with a younger student.
I think you should be focusing on just getting him to play something on the instrument in order to get his interest (you progress much faster if you're excited by the material) and make him feel as though he's progressing. Also, when you do get around to showing him the notes, it's helpful to make sure that he understands how to figure out the notes himself - the deepest level of memory processing is semantic, make sure the information means something!
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#12
Maybe you shouldn't focus so much - not yet at least - on learning the name of the notes on the fretboard. Teach him power chords and after his confidence gets boosted, start teaching him open chords, then barres then you can probably start introducing theory.

I was 12 years old not that long ago and i remember having a very short attention span xD
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#13
I started guitar at six years old. I'm thirteen now. The only thing a beginning guitarist is concerned with is being lightening fast (assuming that they enjoy some heavier music.) The mistake I made when starting out was not learning a single chord. Up until I was 11 or 12, I didn't bother to learn them and didn't have an interest because all I cared about was being fast and being melodic. So in my mind I was thinking:
"All I care about is speed. Who cares about chords?"

Only recently have I truly discovered how ignorant I was. When I turned twelve I sat down and started learning some theory. One year later and I'm the smartest kid in my school music-wise. If you want to get this kid on the right foot, you need to realize that he should start with chords. I ignored them simply because I couldn't do them and didn't want to do them. If you make this kid do them, at least five times. It will start to become more familiar to him. Tell him to practice basic chords like C, D, G, A at least five times a day. Eventually, it will become easier and he will start to get better and better and faster and faster. Then after that, talk to him about how chords are formed and how to make any chord he wants. You also said that he's constantly forgetting which string to play. That is normal for a beginner, he will eventually learn to play the right string. But tell him to take as long as he needs to play the exercise. Tell him that even the greatest guitarists had to play painfully slow to get where they are today. Try to inspire him to play the songs he wants. Ask him what songs he likes and go over them in practice. Say he like a song by Green Day, start figuring out the chords and begin to introduce him to the concept of melodic vs harmonic. Once he understands this concept, begin to introduce some new exercises and give him some new chords to play. It gets boring playing C D E G all day. Over time he'll get better and you can start to introduce him to some intermediate stuff.

That's my two cents.