Guitar Lessons for Children

Encouraging a child to learn the guitar can be one of the best things you can do for them. This articles looks at some of the dos and don'ts of teaching the guitar to children.

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Learning the guitar is a challenging task for anyone of any age, but there are some specific difficulties to overcome when thinking about guitar lessons for children. That's not to say that childhood isn't a great time to learn an instrument, in fact it is; children's brains are primed for learning, pre-programmed to absorb new information like a sponge. Children approach learning without prejudice or preconceived ideas, which makes them ideal students for learning the guitar. On top of all this, studies have shown that children who are involved in music do better at school and have improved concentration, coordination, self confidence and patience, as well as better reading comprehension, and better spelling, maths, listening, and motor skills. So encouraging your child to learn the guitar could be one of the best things you ever do for them. That said, as mentioned above, there are some certain issues and problems specific to children, and the rest of this article attempts to address these.

Of vital importance when teaching children anything, is to engage with them and keep their interest, and this is no different with music. Both the child's lessons, if they're having lessons, and their practice time should be enjoyable for them. If they don't enjoy what they are learning and practicing it will be difficult to keep their full attention and, as a result, progress will be hampered. Try to ensure that guitar lessons for children include at least some music that is familiar to them and liked.

Another hugely important thing to remember when dealing with children is not to push them too hard. Children should be allowed to progress at they're own pace; putting them under pressure will only discourage them. Criticism too should be kept to a minimum. Although it's important to point out mistakes, this should be done In a constructive manor so as not to hurt their confidence. Encouragement is the key to success when it comes to guitar lessons for children, so always praise your child when they have succeeded in achieving a musical goal.

As for actual guitar lessons themselves, assuming your child is having lessons, there are a few things to bear in mind. Children generally tend to have shorter attention spans, so I would recommend shorter lessons of maybe twenty to thirty minutes, especially for younger children. Also, with regards to teachers, it is best to find a tutor who has specific experience in giving guitar lessons for children. Teaching children can be quite different from teaching adults so this experience may be required. One of the best bets is to go through your child's school. Many schools hire music teachers with experience of teaching children, and these are often subsidised or even free.

A physical problem specific to children is, of course their size. It is difficult to play a full sized guitar with child-sized hands. Thankfully though, there are plenty of manufacturers out there that make short scale guitars especially for children. When it comes to choosing a guitar for your child, the first thing to consider is whether to get an acoustic or an electric. While this will largely come down to what sort of music your child wants to learn, it's worth noting that electric guitars have much lighter strings and so are easier to play, especially with small hands. When it comes to buying a guitar I'd always recommend buying the best you can afford. There are a lot of very cheap and nasty instruments on the market, particularly when it comes to children's guitars. A poor guitar will be harder to play and won't sound very good, so isn't likely to encourage your child to want to play it. That said, there are some very good, reasonably priced guitars out there. I'd advise going along to your local music shop and asking for their advice. Alternatively you may be able to hire a guitar from either a shop or your child's school.

I hope that resolves a few issues you may have had about guitar lessons for children, and has encouraged you to start your child on a musical journey that could last a lifetime. The most important thong to remember is it should be fun.

About the Author:
Chris Lake is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher of over 25 years. If you would like more help with all aspects of learning the guitar may I suggest you head over to Chris's website where you can get a free copy of his latest eBook about playing the guitar -

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    you can't encourage a child to play an instrument if the interest is not there. stop trying to live through your children and just accept and support whatever they're into instead. if they're into playing music, don't make it a chore coz they will just lose interest. one of my nieces has an interest in it, but i won't hammer all sorts of techniques or theory, instead i just let her do what she thinks is fun on drums or guit or whatever...that way she ALWAYS wants to play. she's even developed rhythm. the only tip i've given her so far is counting 1-2-3-4 and playing on the dots. for a 5 year old, she does pretty good...even sings "nonesense"(improvising) while playing "nonesense" on the guit, but with a steady rhythm...a lot of that, however, is due to the fact that everyone in this family, since child birth, has been around constant music playing.
    I was one of those child musicians and it wasn't the pressure from people around me that made me excel. It was my own passion that drove me into a child my parents were proud to call son.