Senior Instructor at Halifax Guitar Lessons
Getting your child involved in music when they are still young is an awesome decision and a great investment in their lives!
There is a lot of research that is being done on the effects of music on humans and most of it is focused on how music can help your child develop.
So far all of the research indicates there are major benefits to the development of a child’s brain which could help them with many aspects of their lives now and once they are adults.
That’s pretty exciting and learning to play guitar is an excellent choice because of all the instruments your child can learn, guitar is the one they are more likely to play for life!
Here are 3 things you need to have before you put your child in guitar lessons.
1. Right Expectations
Yes, you have to have the right expectations. That’s because you are the one who determines the direction your child will take with lessons.
You need to understand that children are not fully developed mentally, emotionally or physically. This means that they may or may not be able to perform at a level that other children can even if they are the same age.
To expect your child to be able to play certain things in a specific time frame puts a lot of undue pressure on them and their guitar teacher that they likely can’t control.
There are many studies that show that music is very powerful and helpful to children while they learn an instrument so it is critical for you to look at the big picture instead of looking for fast and immediate results.
The right expectations for a parent putting their child in guitar lessons should be the same as they do when they put them in sports. To have fun.
If you start here your child will have a much better chance at sticking with the instrument and learning how to play it, which they will have for their entire lives, so what’s the rush anyway?
2. Right Guitar
This is the most overlooked part when getting children to learn guitar.
No one seems to think about the physical challenges that children have to overcome to learn to play guitar.
Going to the music store to find a guitar for your child usually revolves around how much you want to spend and the level of your child. That typically means you end up with an acoustic beginner guitar.
This may be the cheapest option and if your child does not continue with guitar you did not have to invest a lot of money, but it’s stacking the cards against them to fail.
That’s because beginner acoustic guitars are not for beginners. They are entry level guitar and are made cheaply. They are usually harder to use and play and even more so for a child. This is not the way to go.
The best guitar for your child is one that they can hold and play easiest and gives them the best chance at success. An electric guitar is the right choice for many reasons and for a child a junior sized electric is what I recommend.
3. Right Teacher
This is the key to everything.
Finding the right teacher to help your child be successful is critical. There are many people who advertise that they offer guitar lessons but most of them are not trained.
I am sure you would not send your child to school with just anyone as a teacher. You would want someone who is educated and trained to know how and what to do with children.
You should do the same for a guitar teacher. You may think it’s just guitar what’s the big deal, I can just get the cheapest lessons and that should be fine.
And I would challenge you and say you could throw away your time, money and worse you could discourage your child from playing guitar and have them quit, possibly for life.
Finding a trained and certified guitar teacher who has experience teaching kids will not guarantee success for your child but it will stack the odds in your favor.
Help Your Child Be Successful
Young children need to be given time to be successful on any instrument and guitar is no different.
If your expectations are too high you can easily make the mistake of taking them out of lessons when you do not see the type of progress that you think they should be making.
You should also be careful not to treat guitar lessons like schoolwork and expect your child to practice every day like they do homework. You would not expect your child to practice ice hockey every day at home if you put them in that so you need to relax on guitar.
Give them time to learn enough to enjoy the instrument. It’s not easy at first and of course they will not likely want to pick it up and play every day.
Over time, as their skills improve, this usually changes. But even if it doesn’t the benefits of learning a musical instrument are huge if you look at recent research.
Be patient with your child, get the best teacher for them, and set them up for success!