Senior Instructor at Halifax Guitar Lessons
Your child expressed a desire to learn to play guitar and you decided to go for it. Well done!
Guitar is an awesome instrument that they will be able to play for their entire lives and will benefit them in many other ways.
You also did the right thing once you bought them a guitar and you found them a teacher to help them learn.
Teaching guitar properly, especially with kids, requires the right training and experience, so hopefully you found a fully qualified teacher.
After some time, you notice that your child still can’t seem to play much and you start to wonder if they are actually progressing.
How can you know?
Be Careful – Children Progress At Different Rates
This is where parents can make a big mistake with their children when they are learning to play guitar. I have seen it many times.
What happens is after a few weeks your child usually is still excited about learning guitar and is having fun. But when you ask them to play something you feel they are not that good yet and not learning the right things.
Why can’t they play a song yet? They can’t even play all their open chords? Aren’t they supposed to be learning to play guitar? Everyone knows you have to learn to play the G, C and D chords.
If you feel this way about your child’s guitar playing then you need to be careful not to express it to them. Instead continue to encourage them with what they do know. Learning guitar is difficult already. They do not need negative feedback from you.
Why can this happen? Every child is different and have a different learning style. They are all at different stages of mental and physical development, even within the same age group. They do not learn at the same rate and some children take longer than others.
The biggest problem as a parent at this stage is that you are not qualified to make this assessment. You are not a trained and certified guitar teacher.
You Are Not Trained To Make The Assessment On Your Child
Obviously, you need to have some parameters.
You can’t just send your child to guitar lessons and have them learn absolutely nothing and just hang with the teacher for the whole lesson.
The first thing you need to think about is the fact you are not trained to make this assessment. You may have a desire to see your child play a certain way by a certain time period but you have no idea if that is realistic.
The fact every child is different and progresses totally differently than all others should be enough for you to be careful and not compare them to others either.
As a parent, I would ask my child to see what they are learning. I certainly would not expect perfection either. But I would want to see that they are learning new concepts and making even some progress within those parameters.
But how can you know what is realistic and that your child is not progressing as fast as they could? You can’t. So instead of making a judgement without information go talk to their teacher and find out.
Talk To The Teacher
If you are not sure whether your child is progressing or not with their guitar lessons the best thing to do is reserve judgment and talk to the teacher about it.
If I were you I would ask them to show you the progress they have made and what the plan is going forward. A good teacher will be able to tell you this on the spot because they will have a plan already made.
If the teacher can prove to you there is progress, even if it is small, and can explain why this is the case, then you have yourself a very good teacher. Otherwise you have someone who is babysitting your child and not really teaching them much on guitar.
If your child’s teacher is the latter, I would find another teacher. Unless you are ok with paying them to entertain your child each week. I know I wouldn’t.
It’s important for a child to have fun during their lessons, and that is a part of teaching them, but there needs to be a plan for them to progress and eventually play the kind of things you are expecting.
The Most Important Factor For Your Child Learning Guitar
You have a choice to make as a parent, especially when your child is really young and just learning to play guitar.
Do you want them to progress at your unqualified rate or at their rate? Do you want your child to love guitar and want to play it or learn to avoid it and hate the thought of playing and maybe even quit forever?
As a parent, you have the power to choose the path your child follows when it comes to this. I can assure you that the path you want them on is the path that is fun first, progress second.
That’s what will keep your child in lessons and enjoying guitar today and for life. If they do not learn as fast as you want so what? Pushing them is ok but if you go too far it will turn guitar into a chore and they will stop.
Just make sure they have a trained and certified guitar teacher that has a plan to help them have fun and progress at the same time. That’s the secret!