How Young Beginners Learn

Everyone is different. In particular, young people are different to older people. There are some common characteristics of young guitar students that parents would benefit from being aware of, so they can understand how they’ll progress through the stages of learning.

1. Practice

The majority of young students won’t practice on their own accord – at least not after a few months of lessons. This is completely normal for humans in general, and particularly young students. There’s nothing wrong with that, however we suggest rewarding practice and making it part of every day life by scheduling it in their weekly activities. This should instil good habits in them and they will hopefully soon practice on their own accord. You might want to check out 10 Top Tips For Parents for some more detailed advice on establishing an effective practice routine. We also have a range of resources such as practice routines, logs and guides that may prove useful.

2. Challenges

The guitar is quite challenging for anyone to learn at any age. And it’s ok for your child to find it difficult. Some students simply need to rehearse components many times over before they become comfortable with them. “Progress” is completely subjective to the student. There is no objective measurement of when they should reach certain stages of playing.

3. Content

Generally speaking, young students are completely motivated by playing easy songs. The majority aren’t interested in being challenged and are definitely not interested in learning scales, exercises, theory and sight reading. And that’s ok. It’s our job to make learning easy and interesting. However, don’t be surprised if the only component you hear them practice at home is songs. It might be a good idea to reward them after practicing the other components that they don’t play on their own accord.

4. Common Struggles

Young students may struggle in a range of aspects, but the most common are the speed in which they are able to move on the guitar (such as when changing chords), lack of a sense of rhythm and also accidentally bending the strings when pressing them down. Each of these are extremely common and simply take time and experience to work through. The best advice I can give parents is to not get overly hung up on them. Focus on the positives and the aspects that your child is getting correct – such as fret number, chord order or picking the proper string.


The Bottom Line

Realistically, it isn’t a huge deal if your child doesn’t learn or practice scales, exercises or sight reading. The most important thing for them is to be playing and learning songs because this (eventually) generates interest in other areas in a fun way.

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