What Is The Best Time For a Child To Start Learning To Play The Guitar So They Have The Best Chance At Success?

by Maurice Richard
Senior Instructor at Halifax Guitar Lessons

Your child has shown interest in learning to play the guitar. That is awesome!

But you are not sure if they are ready. I mean hey, it will cost money to get them going because you have to buy a guitar and other training accessories and resources. And let’s not forget your time and energy that will be required to help them on their journey.

If you are like most parents you want your child to find something they enjoy doing as early as possible and learning to play a musical instrument like the guitar would be a great fit. You also want them to have success with their choice so that they keep doing it instead of constantly jumping from one thing to another.

But how do you know if they are ready to start? How do you know if they are in a position to be successful? How do you know if your time, money and energy will go to good use?

is your child ready to play guitar

What Do I Mean When I Say Children?

When I speak of children in this article I mean those kids in the 5 to 12 year range. And really I am focused more on those that are mostly in the lower single digit range so under 10 years of age. But this can apply to any children, at any age, and even adults.

As a parent, you do not want to spend a lot of money on something that your child is not ready to do. You do not want to spend the time and energy to try and get them trained if they are not going to be able to have success. And most of all you do not want your child to fail at something because they are not ready for it.

Learning To Play Guitar Can Be Difficult For Children

One thing to keep in mind is that guitar can be a difficult instrument to learn for most people, and especially for children. Why is this the case? Because playing the guitar requires the ability to use fine motor skills and the ability to focus. The problem is that many younger children have not yet fully developed one or both of these things.

This makes it very difficult for them to be successful because they have to be able to push down the proper notes on the fretboard with one hand and this requires fine motor movements. The same is needed in order to pick strings with the other hand but to a lesser degree.

And then in order to learn those two correctly the child must be able to focus on a given task and make sure they are doing it properly. This is actually the more critical of the two skills because if they can focus, the fine motor skills can be trained.

Signs They Are Ready To Learn To Play The Guitar

So what are some good signs that your child is ready to learn? Well, if they keep insisting on wanting to learn how to play the guitar is a good place to start. If they are able to focus on a single task for at least 5 minutes at a time is also a good indicator and is enough for a good teacher to get a child to learn, progress and also have fun in the process.

What you can do to test their resolve and desire to learn is to buy them a cheap little guitar and see if they pick it up and play it on their own. Daily and self-motivated playing is the best sign they are going to be able to put in the proper effort and focus on learning. If you have to nag them about picking up the guitar at this point then they may not be ready yet.

The bottom line here is that if they can play a video game for more than 5 minutes before they get bored then they have what it takes.

How You Can Help Make Sure They Are Successful?

Once you think they are ready to learn, it’s time to invest more into it. For children I recommend they start on a junior electric guitar. They are much cooler than acoustics for almost every child, plus they are easier to play and more likely to be picked up and used.

Contrary to popular opinion, they are also much quieter than acoustics if unplugged and they can be also used with headphones assuming they have an amp that supports these which most do.

electric guitars are best for children

The Key To Their Success

This next step is the most important and should be followed carefully. As important as the investment in the proper equipment is for success, that is only a small part of the equation. The most important step is to find a great teacher that has been specifically trained to teach the guitar, who is patient with his students and has experience successfully teaching kids.

It certainly helps if this teacher has kids of their own because then they really get how a child’s brain works and will help them relate better. They understand your challenges as a parent and they understand your child’s challenges as well and will be able to help them be successful.

How do you find such a teacher? Start searching in your area on the Internet with a search engine. Also look at online ad sites. You could also look at local music stores. Then you need to make sure to interview those that seem promising and ask them about the things I mentioned to you above. Then you pick the best one that will help you and your child be successful and invest your time and money there.

Your child will now be setup for success to learn to play the guitar!