So you’ve noticed your toddler has a lot of interest in music, maybe you play the guitar and you’ve seen them gesturing or pick it up with interest. If that’s the case, then chances are that you might be looking at getting them a guitar teacher. However, “what age to start these guitar lessons?” becomes the more important question.
In this article, we’re going to talk about what most people follow as a general guideline. We’re also going to look at what we think, as well as, several things you’ll need to put into consideration before enrolling your child for guitar lessons.
What Do Most People Recommend?
The general guideline is that parents should wait until their kid is about 6 years old before they start guitar lessons. However, as we very well know, kids are very different. Some learn a lot faster at a younger age, and some need more time to catch up, due to no fault of theirs.
There is no hard and fast rule to this thing. However, 6 years old is a good guideline. This is because, although some children might be able to learn the guitar at a younger age, it definitely takes a very good and experienced teacher to teach them at that age.
Does that mean that kids can learn guitar at any age?
Well, you would have to define for us what you consider “playing the guitar. For example, some people might argue that kids can draw at any age, however, if you don’t count the scribbling with crayon as a drawing, that argument becomes moot.
So it’s the same with the guitar. Yes, they can learn how to tug on a string to make sounds but the fine motor skills of toddlers aren’t developed enough for them to properly gain control of the guitar. So while they might learn a thing or two, it doesn’t make the process of teaching them faster as you have to wait for them to develop these fine motor skills before they can actually play.
What About Music School For Toddlers?
Yes, there are music schools that cater specifically to toddlers. However, no one can really tell how much those “lessons” have an impact on the child’s skills in the future. Just think about it for a second, how much do you remember from when you were 3? Exactly our point, not much.
In the same way, it’s highly unlikely that the guitar lessons your child takes when they are three years or under will have any meaningful impact on that kid’s development. Simply put, what we are saying is that a child who starts learning guitar at age 2 won’t have any significant advantage over a child who starts learning guitar at age 6.
Now, this does not apply to your child if he is simply a musical prodigy. Yes, we’ve all seen those wonderful kids on youtube who play instruments at such young ages. However, you need to remember that those are the 1%, the exception to the rule, not the norm.
What Is The Best Age To Start Guitar Lessons?
While 6 years is regarded as the minimum for most people, the best is higher than that. The best age to begin guitar lessons is when the person you want to enroll for the guitar lessons is enthusiastic enough to want to practice.
Like we said in our article “How To Get Good At Guitar”, it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to become a master at guitar. So practice is really more important than the lessons. If the person receiving the lessons can’t be motivated to practice, it’s best they don’t receive the lessons in the first place.
So whether you’re 6 or 60, if you feel motivated enough to start guitar lessons, then that’s the best age for you to start guitar lessons.
Finding The Right Guitar Teacher For Your Child
If your young lad or lass is motivated enough to learn how to play the guitar, then it’s time to enroll them for some guitar classes. However, because they are much younger, it’s not as straightforward to find a teacher for them.
Because they are young, you’re going to want to find a teacher that has not just musical knowledge, but also pedagogy. Most guitar teachers around are merely musicians that are trying to make some extra bucks by the side.
While they can teach adults comfortably, it’s more difficult for them to pass on knowledge to younger students. So, getting a teacher with knowledge of music theory and music pedagogy. Pedagogy basically refers to the method of teaching.
The teacher also needs to like and enjoy working with young children. Without a passion for young children, the teacher would get frustrated easily and lose patience with your kid. This negative vibe can affect your kid’s enthusiasm to learn the instrument.
To know if they truly have a passion for kids and are not just looking to make extra bucks with a new student, check their records. How many young students have they had in the past? How many do they have now? What is their progress like?
It’s also good to ask people for referrals. If you have a friend who’s kid has been tutored by a particular teacher and they’re doing well, chances are your kid will do well too.
If all these don’t work, then finding a music school or teacher dedicated to teaching kids is still your best bet. It might be quite difficult because they are so few, but if you do find one, it’s the best option for your child. Not only are you sure the teachers are good with kids, but your child will also be able to learn with his peers, which only makes the learning experience fun for the kid.
The most important thing in all of this is not really when the child should start or what teacher is best, it’s the child’s enthusiasm. And we cannot stress this enough.
Many times we see parents who want their kids to learn how to play the guitar not because the kids want to, but because they, the parents, want the kids to. This should not be so.
We have seen a lot of people never come back into music, simply because they were pushed to learn an instrument they were not passionate about early in life and got frustrated about it.
And with that, we leave you with a video of young children playing the guitar. Remember, music is a gift. Don’t make your child see it as a chore.