The guitar is a terrific instrument to learn. It’s simple yet challenging; it gives you a grounding in musical theory, and if you love it, it can stick with you your whole life. If your child wants to learn the guitar from a professional, how young is too young to start their lessons? Consider the following points:
Don’t Fixate On Numbers
For a start, you can give up on finding a single, clear, objective answer to this question. Children mature at different paces, and it’s impossible to draw a clean lean across a group of children and say everyone on one side is ready to learn how to play, and everyone on the other is too young.
Some kids need more time to mature, both mentally and physically. The great news is that letting your child try to learn the guitar and discovering that he or she isn’t ready isn’t a big deal at all. You just have to treat it properly (see below).
Physical Issues — And Overcoming Them
Some folks who have seen very young children grapple with guitars might want to contradict the statement above. “There is such a thing as too young! If they can’t get their hands into position, they can’t learn how to play!” Well, there are two problems with this assertion. For starters, you have to remember that EVERYBODY has trouble stretching their hands to reach the proper positions when they start learning the guitar.
Secondly, this problem is one that guitar makers have tackled for hundreds of years. Modern guitars designed for children usually aren’t worth their very low prices. You have other alternatives, though. Travel guitars are constructed at 3/4 scale — perfect for younger learners. For the tiniest kids, learning the ukelele makes a nice prelude to learning the guitar.
Key Mental Attributes
Your child’s mental development is far more important than the size of his or her hands. While it doesn’t take laser-like focus to start learning the guitar, kids do need to have a genuine interest and the capacity to follow through with it. Motivation is more important than anything else with very young students; teaching a 5-year-old who doesn’t want to learn is an uphill battle.
Regarding education, teaching children who have mastered counting and their ABCs is easier than teaching those that haven’t These skills aren’t absolute necessities, though. Patient teachers can work around a child’s limitations — or use guitar lessons to help them learn these skills!
Unless you’re an experienced guitar player yourself, and you feel up for the challenge of teaching a young student, you’ll probably want to entrust your child to the hands of a reliable professional guitar teacher. Music To Your Home, guitar lessons in NYC offers 1-on-1 private lessons in the students own home. Since they teach students of all ages, you don’t need search far to find a teacher who’s comfortable with teaching younger kids.
Most instructors are flexible about teaching anyone who’s willing and able to learn, but some do have solid limits. It’s difficult to find a teacher who will take on a student under the age of five. To be more precise, it’s tough to convince an experienced teacher that a child under that age is ready to learn the instrument.
The Right Way To Encourage Children
One of the most important things to do when setting your child on the path to learning the guitar is to make sure that the idea has taken root in his or her head. Don’t project your desires onto your kid. Young children can only pick up the guitar if THEY want to learn it; you can’t force them into it.
It’s also very possible that children at such a young age might over-estimate their capacities. If guitar lessons get too frustrating for your kid, start by taking a break for several days. Come back to the process later and gauge the child’s attitude. If you can tell they hate their lessons, tell them they can drop the instrument and try again in a few years. As long as you don’t treat this as a tragedy, your child won’t take it as a major mistake.
Hopefully, you can see that the question of whether or not your child is old enough to learn the guitar is very subjective. It depends on whether YOUR child is ready, not whether he or she has celebrated a fixed number of birthdays. Make a careful, honest judgment about their preparedness and decide accordingly.