Today we will be looking at teaching guitar, specifically to kids. Kids are wonderful learners, they sometimes learn quickly (depending on how motivated they are) and they are resilient. Children are more willing to be molded and helped and they respond quite well to challenges.
So Let’s find out How to Teach Kids to Play Guitar.
Get the Correct Instrument
First thing’s first, make sure your student has an appropriate guitar to practice on. The guitar that is better suited for kids is the classical guitar with the nylon strings.
These strings are softer and are not too painful for the kids, you will definitely have kids complaining about their fingers being sore but it would be worse with the steel strings. Here is a picture below comparing the nylon strings to the steel strings.
When you know which guitar to buy, the next step is to make sure that the guitar size is suited to the height of your student. Guitars come in different sizes: You get a full size, three-quarter size and half size.
If your student is quite tall, they can take a full size, however, most times a three-quarter size is more appropriate. You may use a half size if your student has a smaller stature. When buying a guitar size, always ask for assistance from the staff that work at a music shop.
Having the correct instrument is important, because the student needs to feel comfortable when playing. Make sure that you have a good chair for the child to sit on too. This will help with holding the guitar comfortably and ensuring that a more controlled sound comes out.
Teach them the Basics
The first thing to teach your music student is the different components of the guitar. I will provide a picture with labels of the different sections of the guitar.
Show them the different places on the guitar and let them feel it and touch it, that’s another way to learn too. Tell them where the sound of the guitar is produced and that they should play over the sound hole.
The next step is to teach them how to hold the guitar. There are various methods you can choose from. What I like to do is let the kid sit on a comfortable chair and I have a foot pedal for them to rest their right foot on which gives them a more comfy sitting position which will make playing the instrument easier.
Following this is to teach them the names of the strings, I use the rhyme Every Ape Deserves Good Bananas Everyday. You can make up your own one or use your own, as long as it is easy for the student to remember the names of the strings.
Then we have the music book or music syllabus. Whichever music you use, whether it is from a book or just some syllabus that you have put together by yourself, ensure that there are many pictures to capture their attention and to keep them curious and interested.
We all learn faster when things are captivating and interesting. In addition, find a book that has simple words to understand and that can show you the basics of guitar and the labels of the instrument.
Lay Down the Rules
Children and any student needs to know what is expected of them now that they are a music student. Tell them what they will need to do every week for the next week. This includes telling them that they must practice every week for a certain number of days and time in that week.
Show them how to look after and take care of their instrument. Guitars should not be left in the sun or in a cold breeze or wind, instead it should either be in a case or just stand in a neutral environment room. The case works better for ensuring that there is no damage to the guitar and so that it doesn’t become too dusty.
Teaching children requires a lot of repetition and it can become monotonous that you may even feel like dozing off while teaching them. Therefore, as a teacher you will need to have a lot of patience.
Sometimes the student will struggle to grasp the content, it’s like you will try so hard to explain but they still may not understand. Just breathe in, take a step back and try again or perhaps move on and come back to that idea.
Some children are fast learners, whist others require more patience. Whatever is needed for your child student, make sure you give it to them, whether it’s patience, support, a nudge etc.
When your student gets something right, praise them. This is good for their confidence and will make them feel happy which in turn will give them happy feelings about going to music and soon they will love their music lessons.
If your kid practiced for their lesson, they brought their books with to the lesson and you didn’t need to call them from their class (if you teach at a school), then reward them. If you are teaching privately from home, you can give them a sweet or lollipop, if you teach at a school, give them a few merits.
I often give my early beginner students merits, they love and they feel proud of themselves because they did something good. This encourages good behaviour and gets them into the habit of doing everything that is expected of them.
If you would like your kid or yourself to learn to play guitar online, you can do that here. Alternatively, your child can take music lessons at school, which is more convenient for the parent.
Today we learned How to Teach Kids to Play Guitar and I hope you enjoyed it, please feel free to leave a comment or share your tips and experience. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and expertise.