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How to teach children to play guitar chords

teaching children how to play the guitar

A series of children's guitar lessons designed to get young beginners on the instrument off to a flying start

Here we present a series of guitar lessons aimed at younger kids. The lessons are designed to get children off to a flying start on the instrument and will get students not only playing the most important chords that a beginner can learn but will have them change between those chords in time to music.
This page gives a thumbnail sketch of each of the first five lessons but you may find it useful to head over to this page which provides an Overview of how to teach guitar to kids and in particular the video featured on the page (which still makes sense with the sound muted)

 First in a series of kids guitar lessons featuring the best two new chords for children to learn

Kids Guitar Lessons: Lesson 1

Two chords (G and Em) to play along with a lesson plan and certificate of achievement to print

The first lesson looks at two of the first chords that a child should learn on the guitar (G and Em). For any guitar teachers working with particularly young children there is the option of using "reduced" four string versions of the two chords that a child will be able to play by using a single finger of their fretting hand. The great thing about this is that a kid can be playing and moving between recognisable and musical sounding chord shapes within minutes of picking up a guitar for the very first time. This lesson provides a fantastic way to give a kid a feeling of "HEY I CAN DO THIS!"
The first part of the lesson is taken up with having a student (or group of students) learn the chords and then work on developing the ability to move between the shapes in their own time. Following on from this they are invited to strum each chord (once) in response to a four beat count in before playing along to a backing track which allows learners to cycle between the chords in time to a rhythm section.
There is a free certificate of achievement and an "at a glance" lesson plan to download and print from this page

 Second of a series of kids guitar lessons featuring two new chords for children to learn

Kids Guitar Lessons: Lesson 2

The second in a series of guitar lessons for kids featuring two new chords along with a lesson plan and certificate to download

Having mastered changing between the chords of G and Em kids are now ready to add two new chords (C and D) into the mix. The D chord should present no real problems with regard to stretching the fretting hand fingers over the neck but the C chord can be quite a stretch for young fingers. To accomodate this again, a "reduced" version of the C chord (using only three strings) is an option.
This lesson also features a backing track and again there is a certificate of achievement to download and print for this lesson

 Third of a series of kids guitar lessons. This one introduces a Rock feel

Kids Guitar Lessons: Lesson 3

The third of our kids guitar lessons uses a chord they already know (G) and introduces another shape (A) with which our students are not yet familiar. This lesson can be a great opportunity to have kids work on the "full" G shape if their hands are big enough. The backing track for this lesson is much more of an outright rocker than the previous two tracks (it starts with a big rock voice shouting "Come On!) and gives our young students their first chance to channel their inner rock star. At first they are required to simply play a single strum at the start of each chord and it is surprising how effective this sounds along with the backing track. This is one of the "most requested" backing tracks during my kids guitar lessons and they seem to love the energy attached to it. It is great for developing more complicated right hand strumming patterns and single note phrases (as a prelude to working on guitar solos) when a young student moves beyond the basics during the course of weeks and months of guitar lessons

Kids Guitar Lessons: Lesson 4

This lesson introduces students to the final three chords that they need to learn at this stage. The chords are Am, Dm and E and again a backing track is provided to help and encourage our students to play guitar in time to other musicians. Even though the backing track requires that students play the Dm chord immediately after the Am one it is a good idea to teach the new shapes in the sequence Am E Dm. This is because the Am and the E chord shapes are identical save for the fact that the E shape is played on different strings (the whole Am shape is moved one string lower to form the E chord). When our students are comfortable with the Am and E shapes you should turn your attention to the Dm chord. It is important to stress that what happens after they learn the eight chords is not simply that our students go on to learn a list of more and more complicated chords. Even though as they progress they will encounter a whole load of new chords the priority must be to get them used to playing the eight chords that they are familiar with in time to music

Kids guitar Lessons: Lesson 5

Lesson 5 is where we pause for breath, see where we are and start to get a plan together for the next set of lessons.

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 How To Teach Kids Guitar, Chords For Children
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resources for how to teach kids guitar chords
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