Getting your little one to appreciate guitar playing means getting them to appreciate good music. Learning the guitar, just like any other musical instrument, holds so many health benefits. It helps boost confidence, enhances your creativity, and gives you a different avenue to express your emotions, among other numerous benefits. Learning to play the guitar can be a great and fun experience for your kids. It gives them something they can hold on to even throughout their adult lives.
Plus, learning the guitar in no way means you are automatically pushing your child to become a musician or professional guitarist. Instead, it is only an avenue for them to expand their little minds, help them learn something new, and have fun in the process. Plus, if you already love playing the guitar, there’s nothing more special than having your child play with you, as both of you share quality bonding time. So, are you looking for ways to arouse your little one’s interest in learning guitar? Here are a few approaches you can use to grow their enthusiasm.
Expose them to guitars as early as possible
Exposure is the key to building your child’s interest in almost anything. Children are already naturally curious little beings, and the more exposed they are to guitars and music in general, the more interested they will be in learning the art. So, if you want to build your child’s enthusiasm, start by making the right songs available. Show videos of the best and most entertaining guitarists strutting their stuff, and allow your child to start enjoying it. If you know your way around some chords, that’s even better, as you can start playing some simple melodies to your child.
While your child enjoys these performances, take the time to let them know the importance and fun of practicing the guitar. Doing this will help get your child interested in learning to play, which means that they will also start looking forward to their guitar lessons. Try as much as possible to make guitar playing and music in general a part of your home, as this will help nurture your child’s interest naturally. When playing to your child, be sure to choose songs that they can easily recognize or sing along to. That will get them more involved in the music instead of just watching you play. All these will contribute to motivating your child also to take up a keen interest in guitar playing.
Let them know it is possible to learn the guitar
Even when your child enjoys your music or guitar playing, it is no guarantee that they will also want to pick up the instrument. One of the main reasons a child will be hesitant to show interest in playing the guitar is self-doubt. Your little one may think that they do not have the talent it takes to play as good as their parents do or, like they hear it played in the videos.
Let your child know that they can also learn to become the best guitarists, even better than those they enjoy watching.
Children can learn to play the guitar at a very young age. Some as young as five years old already know their way around several chords, while some have started having lessons as early as three years old. Experts suggest the best age to be seven. However, even when your child is too young to understand the instrument, just being able to play with a miniature guitar can make a world of difference. So, let your child know they don’t need to be all grown up to learn or play as well as those they admire.
Help them choose their own guitar instrument
If your child is still too young to select their instrument, any miniature toy guitar should do. But when they’re ready to start their lessons, you might want to guide them to select a guitar of their choice. It is essential not to leave the whole selection process to them, as they may make the wrong choices that could affect their lessons negatively. So, be that guiding hand by telling them the pros and cons of each option they have and how particular models or guitar types can help them become better players.
When you give your child the opportunity to learn on an instrument they have a hand in choosing, they are more likely to maintain their interest in learning to play. Instead of just buying an acoustic, let them explore the full breadth of music gear available to them, whether that be acoustic and electric collections, or even hybrid options. This can lead them to a style and sound that they can enjoy for a long time to come. Given that they’ve likely selected a guitar style that they enjoy listening to, they may also have a knack for playing that they aren’t expecting. Equally, with set songs and playing techniques in mind on that particular instrument, they’ll have existing goals that provide an incentive and a long-term learning focus. Of course, the most important thing is to select an instrument that rests perfectly and comfortably in their hands. Otherwise, it will be pretty difficult for them to learn.
Learning the Guitar – Preparing for Guitar lessons
As mentioned previously, some children can start learning to play the guitar as early as three or five years. However, it would be best to consider your child’s physical and mental attributes when deciding which age is ideal for them to start their lessons. Generally, from five years old upward, your child should be more than ready to start learning. If you’re already an experienced player or teacher, then you should have no problem guiding your little one through the rudiments. That will provide you with an opportunity to share quality time with your child.
Otherwise, it is best to hire the service of a professional. Even here, you can also join your son to take the lessons. Having to learn with their parents can be a massive boost for the little ones. Thankfully, there are countless options available as far as guitar lessons are concerned. You can hire an in-house tutor or opt for online guitar lessons. Of course, if you’re caught up in coronavirus restriction measures, just like most people around the world, then your safest option will be online lessons. Just find the right online platform, and you’re good to go – nothing a quick search can’t help with.
Plan the Guitar lessons
After settling on your preferred mode of learning, you need to plan the lesson based on your child’s learning style. Children have different levels of grasping or understanding lessons. So, schedule your lessons in a way that is ideal for your child and doesn’t interrupt other activities in the day. The best time to practice will depend on when your child is free from other duties, assignments, or chores. Also, ensure that the lessons do not interfere with your child’s academics. Also, when planning your lessons, be sure not to make them too long, as boredom may set in pretty quickly. Instead, make room for a break or two, depending on the lessons. Furthermore, let your lessons suit your child’s learning style.
For example, some kids seem to learn better or quickly pick up the basic chords when you demonstrate to them. Others may need several repetitions to help them learn the same chords. Some kids can do pretty well on their own with little supervision. You will realize that such children will have minor issues with online lessons. Other children may need the physical presence of their tutor to make it easier for them to learn. The best way to know which learning strategy works best for your child is to find out how your child generally learns (something you should already know by now). Also, even if you’re an experienced guitarist, your child may still prefer (and indeed learn better) that their teacher is not their parent.
Start with the rudiments
starting with the basics should sound pretty logical, shouldn’t it? But children have a way of getting bored very quickly when they need to keep practicing the same things repeatedly. But if your child needs repetition to learn some chords, try to be patient without yielding to the temptation to skip some lessons. Always start with the primary and simplest chords and encourage your little one throughout the process. Find fun ways to reward each accomplishment, no matter how minor it is. Doing this will help motivate your child to keep going. Also, take the time to encourage them if frustration sets in. Children can quickly feel frustrated when they’re having difficulties learning certain chords. Even adult guitarists get frustrated sometimes when they can’t find the right tune. That’s why your child needs all the encouragement they can get.
Have fun with the process
Guitar lessons offer immense benefits, as already mentioned. But they’re not necessarily life lessons, so don’t take things too seriously. First of all, try not to set unachievable goals for your child. Secondly, do your best to have fun with the teaching and learning process. The more exciting the lessons are, the more enthused your child will be about learning. So, be careful not to regiment every aspect of learning the guitar. The moment you start putting any regimental rules in place, you will naturally begin to breed rebellion. And this can quickly lead to your child losing interest in the whole thing. Even if you manage to keep your child learning with a controlled system, they may grow up disliking the guitars in general. However, that in no way means that you should let your child do whatever they please. A certain level of structure is always necessary to make for productive learning. Just blend it with a healthy dose of fun.
Craig Smith is a professional Guitarist, Teacher, and Writer living in Sanford, Florida. Craig has taught guitar lessons, performed 200+ gigs per year for nearly 30 years, and published 4 guitar instructional books. When he’s not gigging or writing, you may find him by the pool with his wife Celeste, 4 Chihuahuas, and a drink. 🎸