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LIChick
10-04-2003, 02:44 PM
How old/young do you think a child should be to begin to learn to play the guitar?

My son is 7, really enjoys listening to music, singing and strumming on my old nylon string classical guitar. We're thinking of getting him a child's acoustic guitar.

Bizarro
10-04-2003, 04:18 PM
Plenty of folks start around 7-8 years old. There are even 10 year old virtuoso's out there!

I recommend starting on electric since they are easier on your fingers and are generally less physically prohibitive for beginners in terms of size and shape. That's just my take, others might feel different about it.

Many of the children's guitars sound horrible and play even worse so be very careful when purchasing an instrument for the little guy! You want to get something that has low action and stays in tune really well, and has a thinner/smaller neck so his hands will fit comfortably.

Good luck! And welcome to iBreathe!:D

EricV
10-04-2003, 04:35 PM
Hey there,

yes, I know a lot of kids that started out at such a young age. I recently gave a lesson to a 6 1/2 year old.
I donīt know whether youīre thinking of teaching him yourself, or send him to a teacher. If you do the latter, make sure you check out the teacher, maybe ask to watch the lesson, to see whether the teacher is suitable.
It sure is a different experience to teach a 7 year old than it is to teach, say, a 15 year old.
I happen to think that 30-45 minutes would be an appropiat elength for a lesson, since the attention span usually isnīt very far developed at that age.
And I personally prefer to change between "focussed teaching" and "play-time" a lot during such a lesson. Meaning that I first teach some new stuff, like a little melody, or even an easy chord or something, and then, when I see that the kids attention is exhausted, we chit-chat a bit, or I play something for him, or whatever. That last for a few minutes, then itīs back to regular teaching.
Thatīs only one example, and only one approach... a lot of teachers prefer to approch the lessons like school-lessons, rather focussed all the way through, strict and stuff.
Might work better for some kids, but I think a teacher should try to figure out what way works for each student, and adjust to it a bit.
Just some thoughts
Warm regards ( and a belated welcome )
Eric

Wizbit81
10-04-2003, 09:34 PM
one thing I would say it that it's better to get a full sized adult electric than a child's anything. You son will only outgrow a childs guitar very very quickly, (as you've probably noticed!), and children's guitars are usually of a much lesser quality then full size guitars. Bizarro's right about the ease of playing and the comfort thing, electric's are way easier. A cheap squier strat would be perfect, they make all-in-one packs now with amp cable and stuff. Only thing is, if you buy an electric you take the consequences when he starts liking rock music and growing his hair, hehheh. Only thing to remember with kids and music lessons is, are you sure he wants to play the guitar and know's what it entails? The number of children who are bought instruments coz their parents want them to play something and who have to spend hours practicing something they grow to hate is very big, I was one! Make sure he knows you'll let him learn any instrument he likes and let him make the choice, don't be influenced that u already have a guitar in the house as well. Lastly find a teacher who will help him play what he wants to play and help him enjoy music, there are many teachers who just reel off the same lessons for every student , and many who try and push the student in certain directions. The best will recognise what he wants to get from music and help him realise it, but they're rare! Good luck.

LIChick
10-05-2003, 10:56 PM
We'll see how long his interest lasts before we make any big investments. I'm a little uneasy about the idea of giving an electric guitar to a 7 year old...I guess it depends on the child's levelof self-deiscipline.

LIChick
10-14-2003, 05:17 PM
Well, we made a trip to the music store yesterday and purchased a 3/4 size Hohner guitar. As we were handing over the credit card, we re-emphasized: Are you going to be serious about this? As any child who wants something NOW, he replied, "yes."

Well, I figure that I can teach him a few 3 string chords and we'll see where his interest lies. As long as he can strum a few Elvis tunes, he'll be happy. If worst comes to worst, maybe my little one will catch the music bug in a few years.

potshot
10-16-2003, 12:15 PM
Even if he does lose interest, I would keep the guitar laying around the place. It seems to me that a lot of people (have a read in some of the threads here) picked up the guitar when young, gave up, and came back a few years later...

metaljustice83
10-18-2003, 03:56 AM
I got a guitar for christmas, played on it broke a string, got discouraged, didn't know how to tune it, got discouraged, then got an electric tuner, and it was history from there


make sure his guitar is in tune, or nothing will sound right

good luck

Bizarro
10-23-2003, 06:06 AM
my daughter is a year old and she can strum... She can also hold a pick the proper way, and even has a pointy part going in the right direction!

She can also match pitch (singing) and sing melodies that she hears often... She also instantly recognizes songs on the radio that I play for her solo on my acoustic.

The only problem is that she likes to play my guitars instead of her guitar!;)

Wizbit81
10-23-2003, 11:59 AM
The only problem is that she likes to play my guitars instead of her guitar!

AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH! I can see it now, the broken headstocks on the Gibson's, the chips in the fenders, the permanent marker on the PRS ten top, and that's just girlfriend damage! :D

LIChick
10-23-2003, 12:39 PM
Kids are amazingly perceptive. Haven't you witnessed a 2 year old who's mastered the mouse when their grandparent is taking a Computer Kindergarten?

As for my son...the interest is waning...and we haven't even received the credit card bill yet!

Actually, homework and karate take precendence. Surely some Elvis will entice him. He really enjoys signing Elvis songs. Who has influenece here? I think my kids can recognize The King faster than the President.

Bongo Boy
10-25-2003, 02:52 PM
Originally posted by LIChick
He really enjoys signing Elvis songsPerhaps Voice is his
Instrument of choice. :)

EricV
10-25-2003, 03:03 PM
Originally posted by LIChick

As for my son...the interest is waning...and we haven't even received the credit card bill yet!

I have seen that happening... it also happens with activities like soccer, karate etc.
I think itīs partly due to the often short attention span of kids, and sometimes itīs ( I guess ) because they wanna try to play an instrument, then they notice itīs not that easy and requires some work until it sounds like that weird-looking dude on TV, and the fascination is gone... for a while.
So there still is hope, Iīd say :)
Eric

chrisbs
08-07-2004, 09:47 PM
http://store.yahoo.com/guitarsearcher/childsguitar.html


The Tara brand, like above, are decent quality.
Usually a good idea to start a very young beginner on nylon strings.

A good method to start ages 5+ is called
"Guitar for the Small Fry"

slipknot666
08-08-2004, 12:15 AM
I wish so badly that I started to play guitar at age 7, instead, i started at age 15.

Gandalv
08-08-2004, 10:41 AM
Same here.. :(

Danster
08-08-2004, 01:13 PM
I wish so badly that I started to play guitar at age 7, instead, i started at age 15.
If I had started at age 15, I would be a guitar god now. I'm 44, and I started (in earnest) at 41. But, prolly the next post will be from a 65 year-old who wishes he started at 41.

Gandalv
08-08-2004, 01:42 PM
Haha :)

Dommy
08-08-2004, 08:49 PM
I started playing when I was 6 and 1/2, and I practiced everyday for a half-hour because I was told to, did I know any better? I learned to alternate pick, sightread in first position, I learned quite a few hendrix/clapton/zep songs, pentatonic and blues scales, and bar chords. I continued with these lessons for a few years, but it eventually became a hassle and I wasn't motivated, this was around 9-10, where I stopped practicing very much, and by 13 I had stopped altogether (partially because of a new infatuation with computers, and I was listening to a lot of *ick* punk).

I started again when I was 15 at the beginning of the school year, almost a year ago. Since then I have progressed a lot farther than I thought I ever would. My newfound maturity level allowed me to focus and actually allowed me to play the stuff I was interested in: Blues and Jazz.

I seriously recommend being a bit of a practice nazi when it comes down to your kid. Just tell him to practice at least 30 minutes a day no matter what, he will not regret it. I know I didn't.

GtrvVampyre
08-09-2004, 04:45 AM
Id start him as early as his fingers can move or can comprehend guitar (as long as he would wanna play). I wish i did. I get depressed thinking i started playin guitar at age, what, 15!? Im nearly outa highschool then i wont have as much time and its gonna get neglected. I dearly wish i had started guitar around 6 or somthing like that. Even though iv made up for lost time i wish i could go back and get those years and fill it with guitar. :mad:

I didnt read last posts but i noticed slipknot feels the same way =P. No offense but now i dont feel so bad knowing theres 40~ year olds who have just started playin :)

Tenebrae
08-09-2004, 08:46 AM
As for "the right age to start playing" I don't think there is one, maybe from 4 to 100? :S

I think that if you want to entice your kid's musicality you shouldn't have bought him a guitar(too late for me to say this huh?). As I see it a guitar is one of the most complex instruments(as with any other stringed instrument[except pianos which are quite straightforward...but that depends if you consider a piano a stringed or a percussion instrument :D]). Even I at 21 y.o. have trouble mentally projecting the place of the notes around the neck(but that's coz I'm a lazy slob and I haven't put enough effort into practicing :o ). But my point is that pianos are a lot more easier for total begginers than guitars (I took my first music lessons[playing the piano] when I was 11 and only started playing the guitar at 16 and I tell you...it was cakewalking understanding the theorical concepts common to both instruments, i.e. MUSIC THEORY![the basics tho :o ]).

Other things you should consider so as to stimulate your kid's attention towards music(my 0.2€[yes..I'm european :D]) :
-does he have music classes at school? (if not get him to have such a thing in a private teacher or a music school for begginers or something)
-does he have any friends that show an interest for music?(this can be quite important at the early stages of learning, like some type of friendly competition/helping each other out discovering stuff that's new)
(AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL)
-does he show any interest for music(as a listener) besides The King's stuff?(dunno..has he already shown any strong likes or dislikes for any band or artists/composers?)

Cheers

theox
08-09-2004, 09:17 AM
Even if he does lose interest, I would keep the guitar laying around the place. It seems to me that a lot of people (have a read in some of the threads here) picked up the guitar when young, gave up, and came back a few years later...
Yup. We've had a guitar in the house all my life. I learned some open chords, took one (1) lesson when I was about 12 and then dropped it. When I was 18 I picked it up again and now I've been playing for 4 1/2 years, about 5 hours per day. Some days up to 12 hours and not more than a week in a row without playing.

It's never too late to start. The only difference between starting young and 'old' is passion. And I know I got PASSION for music! I love playing and learning, I'm now going to school to study jazz.

theox
08-09-2004, 09:19 AM
make sure his guitar is in tune, or nothing will sound right
Make sure you teach him HOW to tune the guitar. His ear will greatly appreciate it.

theox
08-09-2004, 09:22 AM
I wish so badly that I started to play guitar at age 7, instead, i started at age 15.
I wish so badly that I started to play guitar at age 15, instead of 18. ;)

Well, at least I had a childhood... :D

theox
08-09-2004, 09:26 AM
I seriously recommend being a bit of a practice nazi when it comes down to your kid. Just tell him to practice at least 30 minutes a day no matter what, he will not regret it. I know I didn't.
I agree with you 100%!

Knowing music won't reduce the passion for it. Puberty will kill lots of interests, only to bring them up again a few years later.

We could all use a nazi teacher. After all, not everyone is born with super self-discipline. And not all good things are fun.

Any amount of self-discipline will pay off.

theox
08-09-2004, 09:32 AM
I get depressed thinking i started playin guitar at age, what, 15!? Im nearly outa highschool then i wont have as much time and its gonna get neglected. I dearly wish i had started guitar around 6 or somthing like that. Even though iv made up for lost time i wish i could go back and get those years and fill it with guitar. :mad:
I know what you're saying. The challenge is to stop thinking such silly thoughts and go for it anyway. The road might be harder, the passion maybe a little weaker but none the less WORTH IT!

So what if you're good when you're 30. It's not like you're old then... Or 70 for that sake. I'd rather be a 70 year old guitarist than a 70 year old who wished he started to play somewhere earlier in his life.

Tenebrae
08-09-2004, 10:04 AM
Eheheh. Nazi teachers...Port-o-HitlerŪ. Teach your kids the old fashioned way. EIN REICH EIN VOLK EIN UBBER GUITAR PLAYER!!!

Guitardeth
08-09-2004, 01:31 PM
Man, I seriously not recommend you to force the kid into anykind of nazi-lessons. Or disciplined lessons. I mean, for whoms sake is he playing? Many parents seems to very selfish, puting their kid into music-classes and hoping to see him playing march-drums on the breaking-up (to impress on other parents who's children didn't got very far in school).
I read a lot of good suggestions, buy the guitar (acoustic, child- or adultelectric), let the guitar laying around so he sees it even if he really don't wanna play at the moment. But most of all, play together!! My dad and mum aren't musical in any single way. I've learned the guitar the hard way (because I wanted to learn), but I was 18 years old when I started, so I knew what I wanted. But children imitate their parents, and he will feel joy (believe me) when you and him are doing stuff together. But just because you two plays some Elvis together, doesn't mean he want to become a I-wanna-play-diatonics-at-warpspeed like Rusty Cooley. He may be just satisfied with that. Music is all about expression, and if he feels that he's satisified just knowing some chords and the pentatonic scale, you should be satisfied aswell. Nazi lessons is for adults, not for a 7-years old kid.

Good luck!

theox
08-09-2004, 04:29 PM
Nazi lessons is for adults, not for a 7-years old kid. Not that I want to argue your point, but the thruth is probably somewhere half between.

It's just that many children are very spoiled and lazy. Not to mention adults. And (self-)discipline is always a good way to make you feel good about yourself. No matter if it hurts when you do it. It feels good afterwards.

I like to be healthy. I don't always like to exercise, but I gotta do it.

Children don't always know what's good for them. If you'd let them decide, they'd eat candy all day, watch television and stay up late.

As a parent you should be able to tell if your child is distracted from playing or just not interested. In case of the former, you could (should?) use a stick. At least carrots... I wish my parents would've done it. I didn't have the nerves necessary to advance. They could have 'made me' do it. And I would've developed the nerves at early age, it would also have saved me of a lot of trouble (not musical) at older age.

EDIT: There are so many people in this world who could've done so much more, if someone only would've taught them how to. Being lazy doesn't help. Neither does lack of discipline. (Observe: discipline, NOT control/dictatorship/nazism)

I wasted my teens doing the usual; drinking, hanging out, killing time, not minding school, sleeping late. I don't anymore. Learning about music changed me. The discipline changed me. I wish someone would've taught me it earlier.

Actually... I don't. I enjoy where I am right now.

Black_the_Sky
08-09-2004, 06:33 PM
Started when I was 32... 34 now... it's never too early or too late :)

6stringer12
08-11-2004, 07:10 PM
My 11 y/o daughter was always picking up my guitar to mess around.

Since she showed interest I bought her a Squire Mini, taught her

some of the "songs you should never play in a music store",

Smoke on the Water, Sunshine of Your Love, I Love Rock and Roll,

some of the easy ones. Her interest has peaks and valleys. After

all, she is a kid discovering new things every day. She doesn't want

official lessons, yet. She wants me to teach her, at her pace.

This is all good with me.

Your son may one day find the inspiration to make music his

lifes work, or he may not. He may just find it a cool hobby.

Either way, I wouldn't be disappointed if he didn't become the

next shredder god.

LordLee
08-18-2004, 03:28 PM
Started when I was 32... 34 now... it's never too early or too late :)


Interesting... for my 31st birthday I have been bought a guitar and lessons. If I practise hard am I going to achieve a pretty good standard in a couple of years?

Thorsten
08-18-2004, 05:13 PM
Playing guitar should be fun, no matter what level youīre at,...youīre never too old to have fun!

Barking Pumpkin
08-18-2004, 10:15 PM
Jason Becker started when he was five, look where he went!

Anyway, yeah I wish I had started guitar when I was seven or something, started when I was 13 1/2, now I'm almost fifteen, been playing a few months shy of a year.

Black_the_Sky
08-20-2004, 03:19 PM
Interesting... for my 31st birthday I have been bought a guitar and lessons. If I practise hard am I going to achieve a pretty good standard in a couple of years?
Everyone's different in their learning abilities but I believe guitar is like a lot of things in life.. you get out of it what you put into it. If you practice hard you'll be pleased with your progress.

I've noticed how different my progress has been by comparison when I was trying to learn on my own and with little direction and discipline vs. now having an instructor who gives me weekly lessons to learn and tips on how to achieve that as well as additional motivation to learn. Leaps and bounds baby :)

Koala
08-20-2004, 03:35 PM
Thosten nailed it. Just have fun with it, even if youīre putting in 18 hours a day practising to make up for not starting playing when you were 2, keep in mind itīs supposed to be fun and not drag you down every time cuz "you suck".

razocaine_07
08-23-2004, 04:00 PM
I bought a tanglewood acoustic about 5months ago, and have just decided to give it a go. Im 20 now and have always remembered wanting to copy the likes of Hendrix, Clapton since i was little. For me, if my parents thought that i wanted to take up an instrument they would support me 100%, but only if i wanted to take it up, if not , why bother with the expense of time and money?
I agree that every child should have some sort of focus outside of education whether it be sport, reading, music etc. And that as parents should helpfully encourage something without coming across forceful. I did track and field for all my teens and got to national level but quit because i felt that i was mainly carrying it on because of my dad and not for myself. This type of force for me got rid of any passion i had for something i was good at. Thus the reason for trying the guitar, because its a real challenge that i want to do for me and no one else. It is definately a fine line......i dont envy you parents out there when it comes to things like this, lol

p.s. i havent been around for a while, so hi to everyone

LIChick
08-25-2004, 12:34 PM
Well, the guitar is still sitting in his room. It's a nylon string and he thinks it doesn't sound cool. My acoustic is cooler (but I hardly am!), he thinks.
Both our guitars are Hohners, probably a "bargain" brand, but it suits me just fine.
He was a little young and we were foolish parents.
I do hope that just being exposed to it, may inspire him a bit.
Now my little one, age 4, takes it out when I'm practicing and does this whole hand upward stroke and makes up songs.

Hellen
08-28-2004, 10:05 PM
I'm new here and I do not play the guitar, but I knew when my sons were born that I'd put a guitar in their hands when the time was right. That's now. They are 8 and 9 and excited about the whole idea. I've done a lot of research and found that a cheap guitar could ruin the whole experience so I chose the Little Martin LXM - runs around $250-350. It is a 3/4 but not a children's guitar. What do you think about the fact that it isn't real wood? You can see it here:

http://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/choosing/guitars.php?p=m&m=LXM%20Little%20Martin

Reading your experiences and suggestions has been so helpful. I am realistic and know that even though my dream is for them to play the guitar, they could over time lose all interest, pick a different instrument (I saw my younger one eyeing a drum set at the music store) or as some of you have said, they could quit for a while and come back later.

Guitardeth - I love your suggestion that the parents play with the child. I have always wanted to learn. At 20 I thought I had already missed the boat. At 30 I wished I had started at 20. Now I'm 37 and so help me g-d, I am going to take lessons with my boys and make this a part of our life.

We have the added complication of figuring out what my 8 year old left-handed son should do. At the music store, it was suggested that he play right-handed, but my son insisted that he was more comfortable holding it left. The shop owner disregarded my sons concerns and said that he knew at least 15 lefties that play right-handed. I stood my ground and told him nicely that I wanted my son to choose. Was I wrong considering this guy has played for 20 years and I don't have a clue?

I read all the left-handed threads on this site and concluded that he should pick what feels best to him. After looking at photos of famous left-handed guitarists, my son decided that left was the way he wanted to go, but he would like to try both like Hendrix :0) We'll deal with finding guitars for him as we hit those bumps in the road.

Also, my lefty sings off key - even easy songs like Happy Birthday - will this negatively effect his playing or will playing improve this?

We're open to any suggestions that will help get us off on the right path.

Hellen

theguitarist
09-02-2004, 06:26 PM
Guitar can only be learned if you want.Therefore there is no such thing as age in learning guitar.Because if a 35year old learns guitar at that age it means it was the age when it was meant to be.Probably you could not have learnt it earlier or later.The right time is needed to do every thing and actually when it is done thats the right time.So there should be no regrets,as it may not have happened otherwise.Learning guitar is a totally personal choice which can be made at any level.