Getting children started at a young age is a great idea. It’s fun, helps grow their musical taste, and gives them a head start in developing their musical ear. Whilst this can lead to many years of great playing, it’s important to keep a few thoughts in mind.
Focus On Fun
The most important thing to do when children learn the guitar is to keep it fun. Generally speaking, the younger the student, the more important it is for the focus to be on fun.
Make Sure They Have Access
We mostly use Google documents for students, as well as our online login system that has video lessons, tips and articles. Parents need to make sure that students have easy access to this material. We suggest bookmarking these links in your child’s iPad or family computer, to make access quick and easy.
Have The Necessary Equipment
Guitarists lose picks all the time, so make sure your child has plenty. They’ll also greatly benefit from having their own capo, tuner, music stand, guitar stand and carry bag for their guitar. Christmas and Birthdays are great opportunities to buy these for them, rather than spending the entire present budget on video games.
Establish A Routine
I strongly suggest establishing a routine for when practice occurs, as well as what you do during practice. The key is to establish short, effective and regular practice sessions. Start by finding a 10 minute block of time that suits you, 3 days per week and set that as your child’s practice time. Students should follow the routine guideline that’s on their Ultimate Guitar Method Step page.
Here are some tips to effectively practice.
- Keep practice early in the day, perhaps straight after school or right after dinner.
- Make up a chart of the daily activities and allocate a spot for guitar practice on there. Possibly print this chart and stick it on a wall or on the fridge.
- Set a reminder alarm in their iPad iPhone if need be.
- Follow the route for their Ultimate Guitar Method Step as much as possible.
- Record their practice in a practice log (found on our resources page)
- Reward them in a way that they will appreciate.
Set Up A Practice Space
Set up a dedicated practice space, such as a corner in their bedroom, which can also be used to keep your child’s guitar and folder set up and ready to go at all times. The less obstacles, the more likely students are to practice.
Practice With Them
The vast majority of young beginners will require a lot of assistance to develop an efficient practice regime. Take charge of their practice time and follow the routine that’s in their student folder. Keep in mind that it may take a few weeks for them to learn all components for their practice routine.
Sit In On Their Lessons
This isn’t always possible, but spectating on your child’s lesson will definitely give you a better idea of the components they should be practicing.
Discuss realistic and achievable goals with your child and their tutor and then write them down in their student folder. See these as part of the bigger picture to what they’re learning.
Here are some suggestions:
- Learn how to tune the guitar
- Pass Step A of The Ultimate Guitar Method
- Play a song for mum, dad or school class
- Learn ten songs
- Play a song along with the music
- Learn one of mum or dad’s favourite songs
Positive reinforcement is very powerful and should not be underestimated. Think of a reward for completing each practice session, each weekly minimum practice amount and then also another for achieving one of your child’s goals. It could be chocolate, pocket money, iPad time or anything else that works for your child. Again, ask your UGA tutor if you need more ideas.
Expose Them To Music
Typically, students are more engaged when they are familiar with the music they’re learning, which is why I highly recommend exposing your child to music as early on as possible. This can be done by playing music at home, in the car, or by finding out what theme songs for their TV shows they like. Playing along with songs is one of the most enjoyable aspects of playing because it makes them feel like they are part of the music and encourages them to repeat playing the same chords for several minutes at a time – a vital component to successfully learning the guitar. Students will also benefit greatly from having a copy of the songs they’re learning on their mp3 player or tablet. It is also a good idea to build up their iTunes or Spotify library and make a playlists of songs they’ve learnt, songs they want to learn and their favourite songs.
Every Child Is Different
Some people progress quickly and easily and others struggle to learn even basic concepts. This isn’t a bad thing, it simply means that some students may need more assistance and guidance from their parents and tutor. I always urge parents not to compare progress between different students, rather evaluate how much improvement your own child has made, and whether it’s a good representation of their potential.
If you need any assistance implementing these tips, please do not hesitate to contact us.