Learning to Play Guitar
Guitar is one of the most popular instruments for a child to learn to play. It is more popular with boys, but a growing number of girls are also staring to take up the instrument. As a child progresses into their teenage years being able to play the guitar well can help them to gain kudos and recognition amongst their peer group. If a child learns to play when they are young then they may find they have a head start on the masses of children who decide to take up the instrument in their teens. Therefore if you start your child early you are helping them to develop a useful social skill.
Guitars fo Learning
The type of guitar a child will start to learn with usually depends on the age that they begin to play. For example younger children are likely to start with an acoustic or classical guitar while older children often go directly to an electric guitar as they look to mimic their heroes. For very young children it is well worth considering buying a half or three quarter size instrument. This will give them a much better chance of being able to play comfortably.
When first looking to buy you may feel overwhelmed by the number of different brands. Two makes that are popular to get started with are Fender and Yamaha. Fender produces a range of electric guitars in their Squire series. Many a budding guitarist starts with this line. You can often buy a small Fender amplifier as part of the deal. Yamaha have a good reputation for acoustic guitars, although Fender are strong here as well.
Good Quality Guitars are Easier to Play
It is easier for a child to progress if the guitar they use is of sufficient quality. With very cheap guitars your child may find it a challenge simply to press the strings down on the fret board. Therefore look out for guitars where the strings are fairly close to the neck. This is known as having a low action. Another point to look out for is fret buzz. Again this is normally more noticeable on cheaper guitars and causes a buzzing sound when a string is held down and played.
A Case or Bag is a Good Investment
When buying a guitar it is sensible to buy a bag or case to carry the guitar round in to protect it from knocks and scrapes. You may find that a case is supplied as part of the deal. There is very little ongoing maintenance you will need to consider although it is sensible to change the strings on a regular basis. It is difficult to state just how often this should be, but as a rule of thumb I would suggest changing the strings on a heavily played guitar monthly. Make sure you buy the correct type of strings. For example a classical guitar uses nylon strings and electric guitars require strings made specifically for them.
To get started a series of lessons is recommended. Many schools offer pupils the chance to learn in groups or individually. Many junior schools provide lessons. You may find that group lessons help to reduce costs. Another advantage of group lessons is that they sometimes spur children on as they compete against or practice with friends.
I think a few initial lessons are a good idea to help kick start their playing, you can find a great guitar tutorial at takelessons.com.
Once a child is up and running they have the option to teach themselves. There are a vast number of music tuition books to choose from as well as sheet music covering popular songs. You can expect to pay in the region of £20 per hour for private lessons.
What Type of Music is Best to Learn
The type of music your child should learn is open to negotiation. If you have an older child and they wish to learn rock music then it is probably best to let them. I would also check out any music teachers carefully and make sure they are able to play fluently the type of music they will be teaching. The teacher who tried to show my rock music loving son how to play Three Blind Mice was shown the door very quickly!
How Long Before Solid Progress Can Be Seen
It normally takes around six months for any serious progress to be made. It is difficult to make children practice and their willingness to do so will indicate to you just how much they are enjoying playing.
Bands and Rock Schools
Older children are likely to want to join a band. Another option come from the many part time courses run for teenagers, such as the one by the ACM, in Guildford. These courses are ideal for giving children their first exposure to playing in a band and playing live. The idea is that they go along for a term and meet up with people who play different instruments. They are formed into groups and give an end of term performance.