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Getting the most out of guitar lessons for your child

Getting the most out of guitar lessons for your child

These days guitar lessons are catching up to piano or violin lessons in terms of the level of teaching and

now it is common for kids to start taking lessons as early as four or five years old. However, just because

your child can take lessons at such a young age doesn’t mean that they are getting the full benefit that

guitar lessons have to offer.

Under the best of circumstances a child playing guitar for a year or so will learn many of their favorite

songs, perform with confidence several times, begin to read music and understand the rudiments of

music theory. In turn these skills (and the many hours of guitar practice it took to acquire them) will

help them develop self confidence, self esteem, greater creativity, an appreciation of great music and

likely will aid in many areas of cognitive development. Unfortunately, in a less than ideal situation it is

quite common that the child will not want to practice, therefore will not learn to play any songs well and

will likely drop out before they have a chance to reap any of the amazing benefits of learning guitar.

Before embarking on this journey, it is a good idea to “prepare for the best.” Here are five suggestions

to help you get the most out of guitar lessons for your child:

1. Find a high quality guitar instructor. A great guitar teacher will usually have an advanced

degree in music, will have studied education, and trained with a mentor who taught them how

to teach. While this does not guarantee a good fit between your particular child and the

instructor, it does sharply increase the chances that the guitar teacher has a plan for success.

2. Be an active participant in the lessons. Depending on what works best for your child and the

guitar teacher, you might want to sit in on the lessons and take notes so you can be more

helpful in the home practice. Not all kids respond well when their parents are present, but a

good teacher can show you how to be supportive without being a distraction to your child.

3. Communicate effectively with the teacher. The guitar teacher only gets to see your child once a

week. A good teacher will have a plan for each lesson and they need to know if your child was

sick or out of town all week and couldn’t practice. They need to know if their student loved

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star so much they played it for everyone who would listen, or if they

refused to play the new song because they hated it. A good teacher should be able to adapt

their plans to each child, but you can help them more quickly understand your child with a few

quick, informative emails.

4. Create a positive, daily practice routine. Too many parents believe that if their child loves

guitar, they will naturally want to practice it every day. This is almost never true. Many of the

greatest guitarists in the world did not want to practice most of the time. Developing a complex

and creative skill, such as playing music, is one of the most rewarding things a human being can

do in life. However, wanting to get better at something that is complex and challenging requires

a level of focus and discipline that takes years to develop. That, of course, is one of the main

reasons to learn guitar in the first place!

5. Take care of the little things. When there is a problem in achieving a complex goal, we tend to

write off the entire endeavor as “not being for us,” as in, “yeah, we took guitar lessons, but I

guess guitar just isn’t his thing.” In fact, it is the little things that often lead to discouragement:

A guitar that won’t stay in tune, a practice environment where there is too much distraction,

never getting to play in a recital, confusion about expectations for the final concert. These are

things that can be solved in a matter of minutes, but if we don’t look closely, we may just

conclude our child is just unmotivated.

As a guitar teacher for many years I can tell you that when parents possess take these simple

steps, the child nearly always experiences all the benefits of learning guitar.

Dr. Klondike Steadman is a guitar instructor and director at Orpheus Academy of Music in Austin TX.

Orpheus Academy of Music is an after-school music academy offering private lessons and group classes

in Guitar, Piano, Violin and Voice to students of all ages. For more information please visit

Dr. Steadman Owner

Orpheus Academy

Music Lessons in Austin, Texas with Piano, Guitar, Voice and Music Camps
Orpheus Academy 3918 Austin, TX 78731
(512) 231-8999
(512) 354-3922