How To Get My Kid To Practice Guitar

Discover Guitar Music

There is an old adage of “you have to practice an hour a day, every day”. This is a great idea in theory, but it only really works for serious musicians. Young students generally don’t have the stamina and unless you’ve bene playing guitar for at least a month, you most likely don’t have enough material to last an hour.

So here are some great ideas and tips for setting your child up for success on any instrument.

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. After all, who will willingly do something that they don’t enjoy?

Have The Necessary Equipment

Make sure you have the proper gear so that practice can run smoothly. Some useful items are:

  • Picks (lots of them)
  • A Capo
  • Tuner (either a clip on or iPad app)
  • Music stand
  • Guitar Stand

Christmas and Birthdays are great opportunities to buy these for them, rather than spending the entire present budget on video games.

Establish A Routine

Make practicing part of the daily routine. I recommend keeping it early, perhaps straight after school or right after dinner. The key is to establish short, effective, regular practice sessions and then reward your child after each practice. Three 10 minute sessions per week is enough to get started. If this is strongly established in the early stages of learning, children are usually able to keep it up on their own accord as time progresses.

Follow A Routine

Develop a routine to start every practice session with. Like a warm up. I recommend using 2-3 exercises and 2-3 scales. These can be from their current Ultimate Guitar Method Step, a previous Step or even just something they’ve picked up along the way. If this routine takes up the first 5 minutes of their practice, then next 5-10 minutes can be spent on the fun stuff, like songs. You can find examples of an effective practice routines here.

It’s a good idea to make up a chart of the daily activities and allocate a spot for guitar practice on there. Print it off and stick it on a wall or on the fridge. Set a reminder alarm in their iPad iPhone if need be. You can find a Practice Schedule here, on our resources page, but there are also some iPad apps that can do this for you.

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 on their Ultimate Guitar Method resource page. Keep in mind that it may take a few weeks for them to learn all components for their practice routine.

Sit In On The Lesson

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.

Each 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.

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 an mp3 player or tablet. I recommend using Spotify or iTunes to make playlists of songs they’ve learnt, songs they want to learn and their favourite songs.

We’ve even made Discover Playlists that revolve around awesome guitar playing in a range of genres.

Set Goals

Discuss realistic and achievable goals with your child and their tutor and then write them down. View these as part of the bigger picture to what they’re learning. Here are some suggestions:

  • Learn how to tune the guitar
  • Complete Step A of The Ultimate Guitar Method
  • Play a song for mum, dad or their school class
  • Learn a parent or friend’s favourite song

Reward Them

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 pocket money, video game time, iPad time, staying up late or an edible treat like chocolate or dessert with their dinner or anything else that works for your child.

I recommend informing your child of the impending reward before you practice, to give them some motivation. One of the most important factors here is consistency; if they don’t practice then they don’t get the reward, but if they do practice then they can have the reward.

The Bottom Line

Practice is a commitment from the student and also the parent. If you start them off on the right track, then they should be able to keep up the consistency on their own after a few weeks.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, comments or feedback regarding this article.

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