As a general rule, children should be at least 7 or 8 years old before they begin playing guitar - any younger and they lack the physical maturity to play. Their hands are too small and their fingers too chubby to place them properly on the strings and frets! They can't really get their hands around the fretboard at all, in fact.
So before you enroll them at a music conservatoire, a slow introduction to the world of music might be more appropriate. They can approach different styles and instruments with all of their curiosity at a young age, and choose the instrument that suits them best once they’re older.
This is a great way to get them in the musical mindset of a guitar player before they got onto learning guitar chords, the major scale, and guitar solos. Musical knowledge will be a great advantage before they start their guitar lesson; it will set a solid foundation for when they sit down to actually learn how to play guitar
Learning to play guitar can be a great advantage for children, but before you sign them up for classes with a music teacher, there are a few things you should know. Starting with beginner guitar is a really good thing for a child to do - so get them on that guitar course!
Once they’re 8 years old, children have the physical and mental maturity to be able to concentrate for at least 15-20 minutes, and they can then take suitable first guitar classes.
Physically, their fingers will be long enough and strong enough to be able to play the strings, so they can sit down with a new guitar and try to learn and play songs.
There are also guitars specially made for different age ranges - there are half guitars for 7-8 year olds, 3/4 guitars for 10 and 11 year olds, and full-size guitars for adolescents and adults.
Guitar Classes - an Extracurricular Activity
Guitar lessons for beginners are often considered the perfect extracurricular activity for children, because of the benefits they offer. Beginner guitar lessons are a wonderfully social experience - and the educational method of the best guitar teachers will help your children develop way beyond just guitar practice.
Let the Guitar Open their Mind
First of all, children can quickly learn how to play small pieces of music. This helps them explore new horizons and discover new cultures through styles of music like rock, blues, reggae, country, funk, and jazz.
Each musical style has its own unique history which can greatly enrich your child’s appreciation for the music, and a good teacher should be able to explain them to your child during lessons.
So, a good mix of jazz guitar, blues guitar, classical guitar, and rock guitar can help your kid develop in a much broader way - as such a mix can be intellectually stimulating as much as fun.
Meet New Friends
Another advantage of guitar as an extracurricular activity is that it allows children who wouldn’t normally meet at school or in the course of their daily routines to form new friendships. In addition to learning how to play the pentatonic scale and power chords, perhaps your child will encounter children from different social classes and backgrounds to their own at guitar class.
This is one of the best parts of the guitar. It is a social instrument. Only classical guitarists really play solo - so, your children will certainly be making friends whilst practicing their barre chords, guitar tricks, and favorite songs.
The Intellectual and Moral Benefits of Learning Guitar
Whether you’re a child, adolescent, or an adult, music can give you many benefits. You may not always realise the side-benefits of becoming a guitarist, but we promise you, they’re there.
Learning to Play the Guitar takes Concentration
Concentration is often one of the first skills that children must master when they’re learning how to play the guitar.
Learning this instrument takes all of our mental and intellectual capacity to execute precise actions - getting our fingers on the right fret, nailing an accurate fingerstyle, and getting to grips with chord shapes.
Even learning the basic chords might be a challenge when your child first starts guitar classes. One they've learned the fundamentals, they will progress to putting together a series of chords, learning a specific technique like picking, or developing increased flexibility in their right hand.
By learning to concentrate, children have to develop their determination and their will power - they learn to focus their thoughts, and stay focused.
Some guitar lessons will help your child increase their concentration. This skill will help them in other areas of their life, for example, in solving math problems at school, playing chess, or even studying for a test.
In a world where we are constantly buffeted by sounds (telephone rings, TV, video games, and other background noise), as well as vibrations and electronic notifications, playing music can be a refuge into your own peaceful world.
In your personal sanctuary, with an acoustic or electric guitar in your hands, all of your senses are engaged - while your eyes read notes and guitar tabs, your ears are listening for any wrong notes, the muscles in your hands and arms are working hard to strum the strings, and your brain is monitoring all of these different actions.
Guitar Classes Help to Improve Memory
Children, by definition, are quite young, and at a young age they function like sponges and absorb a large quantity of information.
As kids grow older their tastes begin to develop and form little by little.
Learning guitar isn’t so complicated on its own - once they learn the major and minor chords, and maybe even arpeggios and blues scales, learn how to place their hands on the neck of the guitar and strum the strings with either their fingers or a pick, they can already hear and play a number of songs in whatever style they choose.
Children have the ability to literally drink in information, and learning guitar will help them to structure their memory and improve this skill.
Guitar Lessons Help to Teach Discipline
Guitar lessons will also help improve children’s self discipline. In order to play their instrument well, they will have to spend many hours practicing their chords, riffs, and solos.
Playing guitar won’t just happen with a wave of a magic wand.
Just like any profession or sport, musicians and apprentice guitarists will need to repeatedly practice the same chord progressions and piece of music over and over again if they want to get it right. They will need to study their tablature, learn to tune their guitar, and work on their licks and frets.
By persevering in their practice sessions and keeping on with music theory when they're frustrated, children will then be able to apply that same dedication to school and to life in general.
The frequency of their guitar classes will also help to reinforce to children the importance of discipline.
Listen to Others Playing the Guitar
Whether you’re learning guitar and taking classes with a private music teacher or in a group with other students, you will learn to refine your sense of hearing.
Children will learn to recognise the different sounds of their guitar, as well appreciate the pauses, and understand the styles of different pieces of music.
Children will also learn how to listen to other guitar players, especially if they're learning in a group. They will learn to hear the emotion represented in the melodies of the music, and by hearing the errors made by others when they accidentally place their fingers incorrectly for a chord, they will learn to recognise their own.
Music is something to share, and by listening to others, children will also learn about themselves.
Socialization and Patience - Responsible Guitar Playing
To sum up all the points we’ve made earlier, we know without a doubt that practicing guitar, especially in a group, will allow children to improve their socialisation and develop their patience.
Taking guitar classes teaches responsibility - each student must start and stop at a specific moment, and not do more or less than they’re meant to. They must practice constantly and regularly in order to achieve results, and learn to be on time for class.
All of these rules will help them to develop their character, patience, self motivation, and respect for others.
One of the benefits of playing guitar is the ability to play by yourself, while also being able to easily accompany other guitarists and instruments.
Children will learn to correct themselves and to accept their differences and mistakes.
Learning an instrument is truly a class in sharing and patience.
Learning Guitar Increases Creativity and Critical Thinking
By learning guitar from a young age, children will learn to develop their critical thinking. They will not only correct their own errors, but will respond to the inevitable wrong notes of others as well.
By building up a relationship with their guitar teacher, children can increase their knowledge of music and the guitar and learn new styles and techniques.
When they read sheet music or guitar tabs, they will learn to analyse and deconstruct a piece of music by examining its structure, and this analytical ability will benefit them in other parts of their life.
Finally, by learning different pieces of music in different styles, children will engage their artistic sensibilities and creativity. They will grow to appreciate the general culture of music and begin to identify their own preferences.
The ability to learn, practice, create, discuss with their teacher and exchange ideas with their fellow students will help your child express themselves and indulge their imagination.
Of course, there may not be a guitar teacher near you - but your child can still take online guitar lessons - through Skype, for example.
Expressing Emotions by Playing Guitar
Music is a universal language - you often hear that it’s a channel to express the soul of the musician, and it’s definitely a way to explore your emotions.
Playing the guitar is a different language that doesn't need words to be understood.
By playing the guitar, children will explore new dimensions of their personality, give voice to what is in their hearts, and make artistic choices. Jamming with their friends and playing solos can be as therapeutic as it is noisy!
The Physical Benefits of Playing Guitar
Of course, taking guitar lessons will also help children develop physically, and also strengthen the links between physical and mental action. As they learn to place their fingers on the neck of the guitar, coordinate their hands, play a simple rhythm, and pick out strings with a pick in their right hand, children will improve their coordination and learn to use their hands independent of one another.
To play an entire piece and concentrate on the music, you also need to be in excellent physical condition. Learning guitar will help improve your child’s general control of their body, and they will learn how to master their breathing and vocals while also holding their body properly.
If they’ve done all that, they’ll be able to play the guitar and sing at the same time, and will be rivaling Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan in no time at all.