Guitar Lessons For Your Child
Choosing the best guitar lesson methodology for your child
If you are interested in signing your child up for guitar lessons in Philadelphia, take a trial lesson with a couple of different guitar instructors. Ask each one about his or her approach to teaching children. You’ll be surprised to learn that some may use structured method books while others discourage it. Either choice is valid, as long as the instructor’s approach to teaching matches how your child learns best.
Parents tend to like using the guitar method book approach because their child’s musical progress is measurable. As long as little Johnny is passing his songs and exercises each week, mom knows she’s getting her money’s worth. Method books are a way to get kids to learn how to play guitar and read musical notation at the same time. Within the first few lessons, students should be able to play simple, recognizable melodies such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” However, most kids these days don’t find these generic songs exciting or rewarding. Therefore, it’s important the teacher supplement these lesson books with fun songs that the student likes.
Even though method books provide a firm and solid foundation in guitar and music theory, tweens and teens often find method books slow and boring. They are more anxious to play real songs that they can identify with. They demand instant gratification. For students like this, the guitar teacher might prefer to teach by ear, meaning they focus on performance technique and how to lift songs by ear.
Learning guitar by ear focuses on developing listening skills and playing technique. Typically, the student and teacher mutually agree on a song to work on. Using a recording of the song, the lesson is spent playing sections of the song over and over while the teacher breaks the notes and chords down into easy to learn fragments for the student.
The major pitfall of playing by ear is that the student’s music theory knowledge will be fragmented. They will have no ability to read notation and the older they get, their lives may become too busy to ever bother to learn.
The biggest obstacle guitar students face is frustration. This is true for students of all ages but perhaps even more so for children. Learning the guitar takes time, patience, and lots and lots of practice. Getting a new guitar for Christmas can easily make a kid look forward to guitar lessons but the initial enthusiasm may wane once the guitar lessons begin.
Parents can help their child by keeping a few things in mind:
- Kids should practice 15-30 minutes a day, three to seven days a week depending on their age and goals.
- Pay attention and offer praise and encouragement after every lesson, practice session, and performance.
- Expose your child to a wide spectrum of music and guitar players beyond what is on their Spotify playlist. Keep them inspired!