Learning to play the guitar is a daunting task for a 6-year old. At first, frets buzz, fingers hurt, and the fretboard can be more confusing than a jigsaw puzzle with a few missing pieces. Indeed, each string has a note name and a number, each fret has a note name and a number, and the note names correspond to the alphabet from A to G but no sharps or flats between B & C and E & F.
Are you still with me? Well, imagine how your child feels: he/she has to recall all the aforementioned information in time with the beat!
So why bother at all? Well, learning to play the guitar provides lifelong benefits for your child like improved confidence, enhanced creativity, and a strong sense of personal discipline. Moreover, playing a musical instrument can make your child smarter for life!
That’s why I put together five tips to help your child be more successful at the guitar, so he/she can reap the lifelong benefits of learning to play a musical instrument.
1. Essential Tools of the Trade
Every budding guitarist needs an instrument, a clip-on tuner, a metronome, a guitar stand, a music stand, and practice material. If you decide to purchase an electric guitar for your son or daughter (and why would you buy anything else?), don’t forget an amp and cables.
2. Establish a Practice Habit
When it comes to learning to play the guitar, consistency is key, so dedicate 15 – 30 minute each day for deliberate and focused guitar practice. Practice time should become part of your child’s daily routine, so make sure it’s consistent from day to day. For best results, schedule one day per week and one weekend a month as “practice free” times. Downtime can help your child process new skills and assimilate information faster.
3. Learn the Guitar Together
Let’s be frank, playing the guitar is awesome! So why not share that experience with your son or daughter. Together, you can share the joys of mastering a tricky riff together or take turns soloing over power chord progressions. In fact, a scientific study conducted in 2012 found that the brains of guitarists playing duets together actually “sync” together (also known as phase locking) during musical performances. Essentially, the guitarists were able to read each other minds during performances, anticipating tricky bits and reacting as a team.
4. Enjoy Music Together
Take some time each week to share your favorite bands with your son or daughter and allow him or her to do the same with you. If you grew up listening to The Beatles, watch a documentary on the band or learn a Beatles tune on the guitar together. Sharing the music you love with the ones you love is a power bonding experience.
5. Celebrate Your Child’s Achievements
Take some time to celebrate your child’s achievements. Remember, learning to play the guitar is hard work. If your son or daughter is working through the Guitar for Kids: Complete Belt System, praise him/her whenever she earns a stripe and celebrate as a family whenever he/she earns a new belt. Since it takes most students 3 – 6 months of consistent and deliberate effort to graduate from one belt level to the next, this is the perfect time to reward your child for her effort and reinforce the connection between hard work and success.
If you’re interested in more great lessons for beginners, check out The Ultimate Rock Guitar Dojo for Kids: White Belt Edition rated 5-stars on Amazon. “AWESOME!!!! Super useful and fun, totally recommend this for all ages!” -Amazon customer.
For more advanced guitar lessons, check out Guitar for Beginners: Rock Dojo Yellow Belt Edition.