At what age can a child start to Learn Guitar

This page takes a look at the question At what is the best age for a child to learn to play the guitar

Best age for a kid to child start Guitar Lessons

Stay on this page for a more detailed investigation of the optimum age for a child to begin lessons or follow the link below for a broader look at how to teach youngsters to play guitar

Overview of teaching guitar skills to young children

What is the best age for a child to start learning guitar?

One of the most wonderful things about kids is that they are all different so to an extent it will depend upon the character and disposition of an individual child and the circumstances in which they are taught guitar (individual or group lessons etc) but regardless of the age that younger students are at when they take up the instrument someone who sets out to teach guitar to kids needs both a plan and the resources to see that plan to fruition.

As an alternative to ploughing through a lot of text you might like to take a look at the video below (which even makes sense with the sound muted) which goes through a structured series of guitar lessons geared towards getting kids off to a flying start

Best age for a child to start guitar?

When can they learn to play?

I don't want to begin this very important and relevant section with a "cop out" but the rather predictable answer is that exactly when a child is ready to play guitar depends on the individual child rather than its age.

Younger children tend to function best with "one-on-one" lessons

If I suddenly "lay down a law" on this little bit of the internet that says "eight or nine years old is the right age to start playing the guitar" (simply because thats the age that I start to teach groups of children in schools) then folks out there in the real world would quite rightly howl about a fresh from the maternity wing kid they once saw on youtube who made Joe Satriani like Forest Gump

Classroom Management

I don't start teaching groups of kids until they are about eight or nine years of age but to be honest this is mostly from a classroom management point of view.

Anyone who teaches groups of students will know well enough the variety of "dynamics" that can exist within different groups and if you factor in the behaviour and attention span of a group of six or seven year old children then it shouldn't be a surprise that sometimes a lesson would not go to plan.

So as a general rule of thumb I would say if you are teaching a single child with a reasonable attention span for his or her age then (at a push) six or maybe seven would be a sensible earliest age to start playing the guitar. Some children may be able to get to grips with the instrument at five and I am well aware that in other traditions musicians can start to play even earlier but without getting silly (and not wishing to spend half of each lesson wiping drool from the top of the guitar) you can see the sort of ball park we are operating in.

The age at which you start to play is not really so important

Another thing to bear in mind is that it is not guaranteed that the child who sets out to learn the guitar at the youngest age that will turn out to be the best guitar player. There are loads of factors much more important than the age at which someone first picks up a guitar

Creating a "child prodigy"

If you have decided that you are setting out to teach a four or five year old child to become a world changing guitarist from a standing start and that in order to do this you need a strictly defined practice timetable laid out over the weeks, months and years that it will take you to get anywhere near this (frankly dubious) goal then you have come to the wrong place.

Kids have enough to deal with when you consider stuff like SATS and social media/peer pressure etc without me helping to facilitate some grumpy grown up in a futile quest to repair their own shortcomings by creating a monster

If on the other hand you would like to help kids to get to be able to do something "cool" and in the process get to feel good about themselves and their potential in a way that does not involve staring at or poking a screen then this could be the place for you?

is playing guitar is better for children than playing computer games?

People who can "break the internet" with their bottoms

Lets look at this learning to play guitar when you are young thing from another angle. I'm not one of those people who think iPads and playstations have turned a whole generation of young people into deathly dull couch potatoes who spend too long obsessing over the daily activities of people that they do not know but who appear have bottoms capable of "breaking the internet" if photographed (or photoshopped?) from the right angle but I will throw this one out there......

Find a twenty five year old person and ask them if they would rather have spent time when they were younger learning to play a real guitar or learning how to kill an imaginary zombie?

In fact if you ask a young child the same question you will quite probably often get the same reply (kids are not dumb-that does not happen till they're teenaged)

This is not some luddite rant against the gaming industry or a desire to turn the clock back to some non existent "golden age" when free range children happily clambered up, and then flung themselves out of trees to experience the "joy of gravity" its just that if we want to help a child to learn to play guitar (and according to research one of the biggest regrets a lot of people have in their "grown up" years is that they did not learn to play a musical instrument when they were young) we have to create a situation in which a child wants to play guitar because it is the most enjoyable thing that they can realistically do at this precise moment in time (thats how they function)

We have to ensure that we create a situation in which learning to work the guitar is more desirable than playing video games (so no pressure there then?)

No matter how old they are Guitar lessons for young kids need to be FUN!

Cyndi Lauper had it in a nutshell. The simple reality is that "Girls (and boys) Just Wanna Have Fun". Children can smell "worthy" education a mile off and will often do their utmost to avoid going anywhere near it when they do not have to.

They have not yet developed the maturity to effectively engage with the concept of doing something repetitive and (seemingly) boring in order to achieve a long term objective. If you are going to teach kids to play guitar then (in the early stages at least) the activity is going to have to feel like play to them. Having established that learning to play the guitar needs to feel like fun we need to look at exactly what they should spent their time learning. Luckily it is incredibly simple...

when or how old should a kid be in order to learn guitar and what are the best chords to learn in the early stages?

Kids need to become familiar with moving between eight guitar chord shapes

In order that they do not become discouraged kids need to feel that they are getting somewhere. For us this means that they need to be convinced that they are progressing towards their goal of becoming a guitar player. I (and countless other guitar teachers the world over - I didn't invent this stuff!) help students to come to the realisation that in a relatively short space of time (weeks rather than months in most cases) they have made significant progress and that they can play guitar. To do this we in the guitar teaching community (everyone seems to have a "community" at the moment so why should we who teach guitar be any different?) routinely present our learners with eight chords that will be the easiest to play and which will allow them to make the most music. We get them to learn eight chord shapes and change between them in time to music. That really is all there is to it

The best age to learn guitar and how to keep your students motivated by awarding certificates of achievement

Recognising your young guitar student's efforts

Its not just kids who love to have their achievements recognised. "Salesperson of the month", "Employee of the week", mugs with "Worlds best Grandpa" written on them. This stuff is out there because it works. It encourages people to sell more, to work harder and to keep doing all of that cool Grandpa stuff. The games industry knows what it is doing when it encourages players to work their way through levels and allows them to earn badges and "bonus" ammunition etc and as guitar teachers we would do well to follow their lead. A great way to encourage children and keep them motivated is to give them certificates that recognise their efforts and progress.

Further down this page you will find a link that will allow you to download one of our range of FREE certificates designed to recognise the efforts of your younger students. There is a FREE certificate of achievement to download and print from each one of the first five kids lesson pages on this site. When I started using them myself (after many years of teaching younger kids to play guitar) I was stunned to see how popular they were and it is great to know that they get tucked safely into guitar cases or school bags to let their parents know just what they have achieved. The fact that the certificates also act as a reminder of just why they are paying you and as an encouragement to continue to do so is an added bonus

If you arrived on this page from a search engine it might be a good idea to take a look at our page that provides an introduction to

How to teach Children Guitar: An Overview

Or you could just..........

Take a look at the video below (which even makes sense with the sound muted) The video looks at a series of lessons geared towards getting kids off to a flying start on guitar

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