Does Age Matter?

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by Alan Atmeh, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. Alan Atmeh

    Alan Atmeh Junior Member

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    Hey peeps, I really want to start teaching my 4 year old how to play the guitar but some friends are telling that he may not be ready yet! I checked out some online articles about this (Here's one) and I really think that I should at least try. What do you think???
     

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    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  2. spitfire

    spitfire Senior Member

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    At that age, I don't think the instrument is what is important. In general, the earlier you expose children to just about anything, and certainly music, the easier it is for them to learn. There are some real advantages to exposing very young children to music as far as their future music potential is concerned. In some ways even a 4 year old is getting old for developing some music skills (such as perfect pitch).

    I think the key thing is having them listen to all sorts of music. Not just rock, or blues, or country. But every type, even some pretty far out jazz stuff. It develops their "ear". Singing is super helpful too.

    As far as actually learning a musical instrument, I don't think there is any age that is too young unless they physically can't do it. But what I think matters is how the parents approach it. Forcing a child to do something turns it into a chore and they will learn to hate it. I'm not sure a 4 year old could actually get very far even on a child size guitar. But I could be wrong.

    But hey, you could tune one up in an open tuning and teach them to bar or even use a slide. An inexpensive keyboard would be great. That's much easier to play than a guitar.

    Bottom line, I don't think it would work well to try to actually teach a 4 year old how to play say a C, F, G, D chord etc on a guitar. Remember how frigging hard that was at first. I'd look at easing them into into music anyway you can. Let their own interest be the guide.

    FYI, your link was to something completely unrelated.
     
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  3. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    At that age, I suggest a ukulele. It's about the right size for a 4-year-old, is easy and fun to play, and makes a good intro to guitar technique. And cheap too!

    If you really want to start him on guitar, get a half-size - acoustic ideally. Don't give him lessons, just let him play with it, and show him stuff when he wants.

    EDIT: corrected gender!
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
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  4. electricfactory

    electricfactory Senior Member

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    This.
    I started playing at 6 and had my first 'real' guitar at 8yrs old, a Sears/ Silvertone electric guitar-in-amp-carrying-case..

     
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  5. Malikon

    Malikon Skreeeeee-ONK! V.I.P. Member

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    sharing the love and passion for music goes a long way. That's even more important than the instrument itself.
     
  6. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    I think "as early as possible" for anything you want them to learn. I would look for someone who specializes in young children, though.

    They may not be Mozart by 6, but by 12 or 14, they will have a much deeper understanding of music and how it works than if you wait.
     
  7. kiko

    kiko Senior Member

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    Get him started in the ukelele first. It is small, less strings, and easier fingering.
     
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  8. parts

    parts Senior Member

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    Just no Mel Bay books...
     
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  9. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    Yep, no books - and no teacher either - just plenty of singing and listening to music.

    I teach kids myself, btw, starting at 6 or 7. They can just about handle books (and a teacher) at that age, but the book has to be designed for kids that age, with fun games.
    Music itself is a fun game, of course, for all of us!

    What I've noticed with the kids I teach is that the ones that do best, who progress fastest - who appear to be "talented" - are the ones with a musical parent (or uncle/aunt, or older sibling). So yours has a good start there! It's not a genetic thing, it's just about making music a normal daily activity. Not something that only "special" people can do.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
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  10. gadafi

    gadafi Senior Member

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    Only one way to know, what have you got to lose?

    If he'd rather be playing with his lego you'll soon find out....On the other hand we look forward to seeing his note perfect rendition of 'Sweet Child of Mine" by is 6th birthday!
     
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  11. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Junior Member

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    Never too young or old. I have grandkids from 1 -14 years old. Okay, maybe I'm too old. Point is they've all had time "playing" papa's guitars. I may have to clean my gear more than most but thats a small price to pay to help develop a kids interest in music
     
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  12. FiguredMaple

    FiguredMaple Junior Member

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    What books do you recommend?
     
  13. Dick Banks

    Dick Banks Senior Member

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    Seeing you play, and listening to good music is probably better. Sit a 3/4 sized guitar or uke in his room and let him play with it like a toy. I did that with my three kids, now aged 30, 27, and 25. One took up guitar and bass, builds his own guitars and pedals, and is a better player than I am. One is a trumpet player, quite good. And one has no interest at all in playing music. For the two that play, once they got hooked, you couldn't get the instruments away from them. My guitar playing son took every guitar I owned from about 1995 on and made them his own. I was OK with that. Paid me back a year ago by presenting me with a brand new custom built Baja Tele.
     
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  14. mangus

    mangus Senior Member

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    May I suggest a guitalele? Same number of strings as a guitar but different tuning and much much smaller.
    Try including it in the child's environment letting him play with, maybe join him to motivate the behaviour. At that age everything is a toy, let him fall in love with the instrument.(that's what I plan to do with my princess when the time comes).
     
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  15. paradice

    paradice Senior Member

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    Guitalele?
    Kazookeylele!
     
  16. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    All of the really gifted guitar players I know started on piano. And started young. Just a thought.
     
  17. geochem1st

    geochem1st V.I.P. Member

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    Started my grandaughter who is now 9 months old, with percussion... banging in time on an empty 5lb coffee can.... hands and wood spoon. She also uses the body of my acoustic guitar as percussion. Tapping the upper bout gives higher tones than the lower bout down below the bridge. She is noticeably developing tighter beats and a good sense of rhythm.

    It's never too old or young to join in music making.
     
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  18. Sct13

    Sct13 Gold Supporter Premium Member

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    I leave my guitars all over the house, there is a piano (electric) and a Hammond organ available, the grandkids are allowed to touch and play anything they want (within reason) Recently she picked up a plastic Barbie guitar and started strumming...so I tuned it to open E ....she strummed it and her face brightened up ....like the open chord really struck ....a chord....That's when I knew she had interest and it was worth trying to teach her...

    So exposure, see if there is interest, give them winning moments and it will go pretty far, I just bought her a half scale acoustic....
     
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