If you have a child that would love to play an electric guitar or you would like for your child to start learning an instrument, you’re in the right place. But there are so many questions regarding this subject.
If you are not an expert or a guitar player, you might have had trouble figuring out the right path your child should take. Let me dive into the most common problems and dilemmas you might encounter on your kid’s way of becoming a musician.
What Is A Good Age To Start Guitar Lessons?
There is no right answer to this question. Any age is a good age if your kid is interested in learning. Learning to play an instrument can be a long and hard process.
Countless hours of practice is something a person should be prepared for. Usually, kids are starting to learn an instrument at the age of 7. Parents sign them up for classes and they start going to some kind of music school.
But most of the kids have trouble focusing and staying interested in something like that if they really don’t want to do it. The other issue is finger dexterity. There are exercises to help with fine motor skills needed to play guitar.
On the other hand, Mozart wrote his first piece at the age of four! So if your child expresses any desire to learn to play an electric guitar, you can be sure that the age is right.
The best idea, in my opinion, would be to talk to your kid and ask him if he would like to play an electric guitar or not.
What Is The Right Size Guitar For My Child?
Depending on the age of your child you can choose between regular and 3/4 body electric guitar. While acoustic guitars go to even quarter size. You can find electric guitars in 3/4 or ½ the regular size.
The smaller electric guitar might be the right choice for a younger kid because it will allow easier use. A regular guitar might be too big for a seven-year-old and thus be harder to play.
Ukulele is the smallest type of guitar. It has only 4 strings instead of standard 6 strings. But it’s much smaller in size and might be a great choice for a small child.
There will be no problems with the size of the body or the action and playability. If your kid is showing a desire to learn an instrument at a very young age, below 6 years old. this might be a guitar for you.
Half-size guitars are great because they, as the name suggests, are half the size of the regular guitar. While the body of the guitar is smaller, they use standard tuning.
Standard tuning will allow the player to practice and play most of the songs without having to modify or re-tune the guitar. The second great thing about them is that they are smaller which will allow for a younger kid to play it more comfortable and easier.
It is great for 6-8-year-old kids to start learning
It is a bit smaller than the regular one and it uses standard tuning. Many brands create 3/4 size guitar so you will have plenty of choices. It is meant for kids over 8 years and maybe even early teens.
Full-size guitars are meant for teens and adults. While it may be a problem for a six-year-old to reach all the frets and play all the strings, it is better for teens and adults. They are usually marked as 11 years old and older.
Probably the best idea would be to let your child try and see what size fits the best. If the kid can reach everything and play comfortably, then you can be sure that the guitar is the right size and it is easy to play.
You don’t want unnecessary stretches and injuries because of the wrong size instrument.
How Much Does A Guitar For Kids Cost?
As we all know, appeal is important. Everyone wants to have a cool looking guitar. Lots of brands these days create smaller sized guitars. But whether you choose a smaller size or the full-size guitar, there is a variety of prices for the right instrument.
There are countless brands you can choose from. Some expensive, some not. You should try to find the right balance between price and quality. You can always find cheaper guitar but bear in mind that the quality might not be as good as its price.
The cheapest ones are around $100. It will help get your kid the first guitar. You can get some of the iconic guitar models in kid’s size for a price that is around $200.
And if you are willing to spend more, the choice is infinite. You can always opt to buy a full-size guitar if your kid is older or doesn’t want a small guitar.
What To Look For When Buying A Guitar?
The guitar should be easy to play. That is the most important tip. People can lose interest if it is too hard. If you don’t have any musical background or experience with instruments you can always ask for help.
- The action of the guitar is important.
The action is a term used to describe the distance between strings and fretboard of the guitar. If it is too high, your kid might have some difficulties fretting strings and getting a clear tone while playing. It should never be hard to play an instrument. Cheaper models have high action and it is hard to play even for more experienced players.
- The mechanical parts of the electric guitar.
- The Tuning Pegs shouldn’t be cheap or low quality because the instrument will go out of tune quite often.
- The knobs or potentiometers should turn smoothly and without any issues.
- The Tremolo bridge or any other kind of bridge guitar needs to work properly and have a decent finish. If the bridge is bad or rusty it might break your strings more often. Many of these things can be easily spotted even if you are not a guitar player.
- The neck should be straight, without any bumps or any visual damage. When checking for the sound, you should try to hear if there is any type of noise.
- The Guitar tone should be clear and constant. If you pluck a string it should ring for a while before slowly fading out. If that doesn’t happen and if the sound suddenly stops, you should check other models.
- let your kid hold the guitar and tell you how it feels. The feeling of the guitar is important and sometimes the guitar will choose you instead. But whether your kid chooses a guitar or guitar chooses your kid, you’ll know you made the right choice. Try to check as many guitars as you can. It is not something you buy every day.
Are There Any Additional Accessories Needed?
For an electric guitar player, there are several things that are a must-have.
When buying an electric guitar you should have in mind that you should get an amplifier too. While you can play it without an amp, the sound is much lower and the whole instrument loses a big part of its personality. There are also many alternatives for an amplifier like certain apps and programs that allow you to play on your PC, but for the beginner, an amplifier is probably the best option.
Of course, along with an amplifier, you must get a cable, but it is not something that will be expensive.
The next thing is a set of picks. Guitar picks or plectrums are the main tools your kid will use to play. The electric guitar is usually played with a pick and every guitarist knows that there are never enough of them. Nothing in this world is easier to lose than a guitar pick.
The beginner will break strings often and you should always have a set of strings just in case. Even if your kid doesn’t break strings, you’d want him to put on a new set from time to time. It will be much easier to play on new strings and the feeling is a lot better.
This is probably at the top of the list of additional accessories. The beginner player won’t develop an ear to tune the guitar from the start. You should get a tuner to make sure that the guitar is always in tune. Your kid won’t be able to learn much if the instrument is not properly tuned.
The electric guitar is usually played while standing and a strap is something that every player should have.
is used to “shorten” a neck of the guitar. By shortening the length of the strings it raises the pitch allowing the player to use the same open chord shapes but in different keys.
are one of the important things you need to have if you travel a lot or love to carry your guitar with you. The Case will allow easier carrying without damaging the instrument.
For you convince I summarized all the accessories a guitar will ever need in the following post, make sure to check it Top 27 Must Have Guitar Accessories For Every Guitarist
While most of the guitars that come out of a store have certain string gauge, you can always pick lighter or heavier strings, depending on what your child likes more. Lighters strings are easier to play and might be a good choice for a beginner. You can always ask what type of strings are on the instrument and if it is too hard for playing, just switch to the lighter ones.
Where To Start? How To Teach Your Child Music?
So, your kid has a guitar and all the accessories needed. But where to start? One of the best things about the modern age is how accessible information is.
Guitar teaching books
You can get books for guitar beginners. They are great for starting because they almost always include pictures where your child can see how the chord should look or how something should be played.
There are online lessons both paid and free. Video lessons are always amazing because you can watch a certain part as many times as needed until you perfect the part you are trying to learn.
Besides video and online lessons, it is always a good idea to start taking guitar classes. Whether you sign up your kid to a music school or a private guitar teacher. It is always easier and faster to learn and progress if someone is helping you along the way.
Teachers can see if your child is struggling with some part of it if it is too easy for them and adjust their lessons accordingly. It is also better if someone can point mistakes that are sure to show up while learning.
One of the other great methods probably known to everyone, YouTube. There are countless channels dedicated to guitar players out there. Whether you are a beginner or intermediate or a professional player, you can always find the video for you.
Your child can find amazing videos for beginners that will help with those first baby steps that are always the hardest ones. There are backing tracks for many songs on YouTube that have all the instruments except guitar, so it is a great learning tool to help play with “the rest of the band”. After a while, your kid will train his music ear better and will be able to hear the difference and start learning on his own just by listening to the music he loves.
If you wish to use Youtube as a tool for learning guitar but not sure which channel to check, I summarized for you the following list 13 Top YouTube Channels To Learn Guitar For Beginners And Advanced
But that takes time. You can always check the songs that are easy to play that will help with the learning. It is an amazing feeling realizing that you played something! Especially when you’re still learning. Realizing that you are able to create something and perform a song is a feeling like no other.
This is a great game that can help with learning and playing. You can plug the guitar and play on the console or PC! It is fun to play and is a great learning tool that can help the whole learning process through gaming.
Learning the guitar is never easy. It is not easy for anyone. It is a long and bumpy road, but it sure is a beautiful one.
Is Music Theory Useful When Learning How To Play Guitar?
The short answer is: Yes! Every bit of information your kid can learn is useful. There is never too much. Music theory is amazing and it is complex. While many guitar players don’t learn music theory since it is not as essential as for other musicians.
It can help and speed up the whole learning process a lot. Learning at least some theory like basic terms or techniques can help your child learn faster.
Modern and popular music, especially rock and metal music is rarely written and even if it is it’s almost never using standard music notation.
Reading music can be a rather confusing process and to simplify reading music for guitarists there are guitar tablatures. Your kid can easily find tabs for any song online.
They are submitted by users and they are written for guitar players only. Tabs are easy to read even if you don’t have a degree from the musical school.
So, basically, some theory is more than welcome, but you shouldn’t turn all your focus to the theory and forget about the fun part, which is playing.
Kids usually hate any kind of theory so keep that in mind too. So if your child is learning to play an instrument without a teacher, you should try to persuade them to learn as much theory as possible.
If you interested to know more about guitar theory you can check out my post Guitar Music Theory In Depth Basics
Have Patience With Your Child
Learning to play an instrument is hard. It is like that for everyone. It might look easy when you look at famous players like Clapton or Stevie Ray Vaughan. But they were beginners once too. It is important to have patience.
Don’t force it. Parents often make a mistake of forcing a child to play and learn and practice and it can sometimes have a counter effect. Listen to your child. If there is a day that your kid says that they don’t want to play that day, just leave them be.
We all went through a variety of emotions while learning. Teach your kid patience too. Explain that it is not something that happens overnight. It takes hours and hours of practice to develop dexterity in fingers, right coordination, and muscle memory.
If you rush through lessons, you’ll forget it as fast as you learned it. So be sure to take small steps and you’ll see how fast your child can learn. Don’t forget that the most important part is to have fun.
Supporting Your Child
Support is, along with patience extremely important. Support your child with decisions about music genre or type of playing. It is not hard to do something you love and it’s always a bother doing something you hate.
We are all different and we all love different things. Always listen to your kid’s wishes and hopes. There are countless genres out there and whether your kid wants to be a blues, or country, or metal player it is never a wrong option. With your help, your kids can thrive to fulfill their musical wishes and desires.
So help your child find the right path and the right style that fits their personality the best. Music is a great way of expressing yourself and your feelings and electric guitar have the capability of creating all kinds of different music.
One of the great ways is to experiment with different genres all the time. Keep listening to music while you’re at home with your kid and you’ll see what they love the best.
Listen to music that you love and help your child discover the music that suits him the best. Your music taste might be different, but it is important to let them choose their own path and their own preferences.
Encouraging Them To Create Playing Habits
While most of the things we play stay in our muscle memory long after our brain forgets it, it is important to develop a playing habit. I still remember the thing my friend told me when I was in high school: “never let a day go by without playing something.
Whether it is a whole song, or a few chords, scale, lick, anything. Just keep playing and keep practicing”. It is one of the greatest pieces of advice I ever got regarding music. Try to help your kid create a habit of playing guitar as much as possible. It is a great hobby and an amazing thing to do.
Even if you are not in a mood for several hours of practice, you can always pick up your guitar and play a bit even without plugging it in an amp. Just for a few minutes. Who knows, those few minutes might turn into a few hours.
Help Your Child Connect With The Guitar, Teaching Maintenance
What always fascinated me is the connection between a guitar player and his instrument. It is a beautiful bond. Every guitar player I met had a bond with his guitar almost like it was his pet.
You should teach your child to properly maintain an instrument, take care of it. Keeping guitar in tune, changing strings, doing set-up of the entire guitar, learning what all the springs and screws do. It’s fun.
At least it was always for fun for me. It was always a peaceful experience doing this to my guitar. It deepens a bond and it makes you play better.
If you teach your kid to take care of his instrument, the guitar will always be in excellent condition which will make it easier to play, which in turn will make your child want to practice more. It is a fun circle.
There are all kinds of maintenance kits that are great for musicians of any skill level. They contain all kinds of polish for both wood and metal parts of the guitar. They usually come with a special cloth that can be used to apply the polish.
It is a great feeling to play a well-maintained instrument. And more important your child will learn to have some kind of responsibility. You can always help the first few times or make a tradition to do the whole set-up needed for the guitar.
Try Learning Guitar Alongside Them
You may have already had some experience or music lessons before, but it is never too late to learn something new. Kids love sharing their new knowledge and you can always be a part of that too.
You may already know some things about music and in that case, you can help if something is not clear. And if you share an interest with your kid you can always learn together. You don’t have to go to guitar lessons yourself, but being a part of something that beautiful is important for children.
Having something that can share with you and that is not something that belongs to them only is a huge boost for their learning. You can always learn something that you can play for them to inspire them to learn more.
Learning guitar should be filled with love and passion. It should never be a choir. There are different kinds of music and techniques and you can be sure that your child will find one that suits him the best.
So help your child begin the wonderful journey of becoming a guitarist. And whether you see your kid performing in front of a large audience or playing for his own pleasure it is always a joyful experience and an amazing thing to learn.
Hopefully, that little hobby can grow to become a much larger passion and an essential part of your kid’s life.
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