Guitar Lessons

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guyver_dio
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I've been asked by a few family members if I could teach their kids to play guitar. The kids are about the same age, ranging from about 7-10, with no previous experience. I've never had to teach to people that young before and I'm probably gonna have to train there basic motor skills first before I even start with anything lol. Does anyone have any ideas on what I should start with?

I'm thinking of just getting them used to striking strings and holding the pick first. So probably just show them how there left wrist should be dropped/relaxed, get them to fret one note, and just do downstrokes on the one string to get them comfortable with the mechanics, this would be on the top string, then get them to do the same thing on the A, D,G,B and E so they get used to pick control and striking one string without hitting the rest. Would this be to easy? Or should they be capable to just do what I do with older students and run through basic open chord shapes?

Thanks
Azrael
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I'm lucky I'm not in your shoes. If I was I'd be caught between two schools of thought: teaching them how to rock by tab with immediate results or teaching them actual music and making them learn notes. It's crucial to know both, but notes are just better in the long run. Tabs just about teach themselves.
Jeries
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you should not teach guitar unless you are fully able to do so.
you will likely do more harm to them musically than help them if you dont know how to teach the instrument to a particular age

also.. in my opinion 7-10 is too young for guitar- 13 is a good age for guitar... at 7-10 i'd suggest them start on an orchestral instrument, either brass, string, wind or piano and then if they're interested at 13 they can start guitar.

i dont mean to be a dick
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guyver_dio
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I totally agree, I recommend anyone that age start on keyboard first, it's a nice easy platform to start on where they can learn to control individual fingers and visually see the intervals and notes clearly and learn the basics of notation without all the physical issues.

I thought about teaching them notation, even though I'm not adept at it myself but because the parents asked me, I don't think they expect any sort of classic training. I don't like to teach songs, they can do that in there own time if they wish. I think I could teach them some great skills and I'm good with the kids so I think I could explain myself so that they'd understand. It's just hard to remember what you could do at that age, what is that age group capable of, then I might be able to find a good place to start. I think they should finish learning how to colour in between the lines first though lol.
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boswell
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The only way to teach kids is to keep them interested, do this by teaching them their favorite songs. Teaching them tons of theory and the notation of Baa Blah Black sheep is gonna bore the arse off them.
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guyver_dio
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boswell wrote:The only way to teach kids is to keep them interested, do this by teaching them their favorite songs. Teaching them tons of theory and the notation of Baa Blah Black sheep is gonna bore the arse off them.
I'd basically just be showing them physical techniques, co-ordination and exercising there fingers at this point, any theory while they are still having problems just fretting a single note is gonna go way over there heads and just confuse them and unless the kid says I wanna be apart of the school orchestra or big band or the parents ask me if I can teach them notation I'd probably toss notation out the window or else suggest proper tutoring.

But yes you should still keep it fun for any age really, but you can get pretty creative with exercises. It's easier to teach an older kid a song he/she wants to learn because you don't need to spend a lot of time on the physical mechanics of playing, they can mimic you quite easily and can just understand you verbally when you correct them on something. With little kids you literally have to grab there fingers and shape them on the board for them, then theres the co-ordination hassle of getting them to pick when there finger is pressed on the note and sometimes show them the string to pick after you've fretted a note for them lol. If you can somehow teach them there favourite songs at that level then you must be pretty awesome lol. But yeh I agree with the point of keeping it fun and interesting.
Roger
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Jeries wrote: also.. in my opinion 7-10 is too young for guitar- 13 is a good age for guitar... at 7-10 i'd suggest them start on an orchestral instrument, either brass, string, wind or piano and then if they're interested at 13 they can start guitar.
I've never understood this argument. Could you elaborate? I'm just curious.

Guyver: Your ideas of showing them how to be relaxed, hold the guitar etc. sounds good. Teach them smoke on the water on one string or anything else stupid that's not very hard but sounds cool. Teach them rhythm. Rhythm is more important than anything else. Don't make it too serious since they're so little, just keep it fun.
Ultraviolet
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kids like what's fun.

I started at 11 and was able to forge past the "I stink!" stage,..because I was INSPIRED by watching another guy play myne wicked sickly,.....so

I would suggest to make sure FIRST,... that it is what THEY want to do,..not their "Yuppiemabob" style parrenthoodlumness of "gosh Miffee,..maybe we shold get them music lessons,....yeah that will get them out of our hair for a while"

in othr wrds,.. make sure THE KIDS want to do it for THEMSELVES,.. or it won't last,..only turn to rebellion later(I ASKED my MOM for one when i was 10)
If that is the case,..all you have to do is LET THEM DO WHATEVER THEY WANT,for a YEAR....strumming however they want,..attacking sloppily the fretboard however they want to make noise,....because then they will find what works for THEM over time. just RE ASSURE and COMPLIMENT THEM,...and even if their odd twanging and string breaking shenanigans doesn't quite seem like "Lotus Feet",....still Smile and PROJECT before their perception,...that you are captivated by what they are doing in front of you. and You, and They,...will be just fine

Magic works in strange ways,.....if the Kids think that you are having fun with them,..they will try to be YOUR teacher,..and will try their hardest to find how they will go about articulating themselves before their "teacher friend" and in that word friend lies a crucial factor,....get on their level and be their "friend" not just their teacher,..be like you are their age,..but smarter CONFIDENCE is KEY over ALL other factors of devellopment,....if the person that ANY child looks up to shows CONFIDENCE in that child,..WORLDS of Magic will happen.

(even if it means telling their parrent in FRONT OF THE CHILD,.."you know,..Johnny did super today!" "little Stevie had some really neat form today",...."Marsha sounded pretty nifty today" even if you have to LIE,..... to build their confidence,... BUILD IT!!!! and they will do the rest,....you almost don't even have to teach at that point) ;) Like I said,... ONE YEAR,...NO DIRECTION,...only play in front of them,...that's it. just compliment them and listen to them,..and appreciate their efforts...the ONE YEAR will show them to themselves and you,...wheather it is something that they wish to pursue or not. Then a YEAR later,..bring in someone from the industry or a friend of yours,...and let them rip up something that one of the children said they want to play,...and BAMMM PRESTO!!!!alakazaam,.....you have your MAGICAL event if it is meant for them,..you will know by the look on their faces during the 1 year later-swap-in-a-stranger-to-play-one-of-the-songs-they were-working-on manuever lol ;)

forget the BRAIN which is only good for ruining good things,...and TEACH WITH THE HEART
it will LAST longer and FEEL more FRUITFUL in the end

there's my advise,..you may take it if you wish,...but everyone says I'm amazing with kids so I have offered
Good Luck to you

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tomedpo
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I had a really rubbish teacher when I first started playing guitar - just learning chords and then forgetting them! Started again when I was a bit older and I learnt a few chords at a time and then learnt a song based around those chords.

So I agree with a few others here - being fun is the key. Not being able to play anything to being able to play yellow submarine within a week = brilliant. Then Oasis etc comes naturally...

(i'm new btw, usually a lurker)
Jeries
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Roger wrote:I've never understood this argument. Could you elaborate? I'm just curious.
As much as i'd like to answer that- the my reply would be very long and complex i could prob write a book about it.

let me think about it for a lil bit and i'll give you a great answer soon- i take that question very seriously cuz theres a lot too it and i experienced it being one of thoese 'classical piano prodigy' when i was like 4-5-6ish
(although lately i've done a good job of forgeting every peice of classical stuff i can think of and learned completely in the style of john lennon on piano)

so i'll get back to you!
jam-man
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OK, teach them how to hit strings, and how to hold a pick...than teach them to play Smoke On the Water, Iron Man and stuff like that...simle riffs that they'll enjoy.

Than, as they "progress", teach them Knocking On a Heaven's Door...then teach them that same song using barre chords, and after that, teach them House Of the Rising Sun, Should I Stay Or Should I Go...

Jesus, guys, you're sucking all the fun out of it...they're kids under the age of 10...notes :roll:

If they continue to show interest after a year of playing, send them tu musical school where they will learn notes and MEET other kids with same interest...
jam-man
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Jeries wrote:also.. in my opinion 7-10 is too young for guitar- 13 is a good age for guitar... at 7-10 i'd suggest them start on an orchestral instrument, either brass, string, wind or piano and then if they're interested at 13 they can start guitar.
And why is that? Playing guitar ain't nuclear science...
Why is playing brass, wind, string or piano any easier than playing guitar?

I'm starting to think this whole forum makes music all about hard work, hours of practising, studying musical theory and being an ultimate guitar player one day...

Fun, people! Fun!

And meeting other people, enjoying what you do, even though you suck!

Those are music's greatest gifts, which, it seems, all of you forgot about...
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Big Bad Bill
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I used to teach a 10 year old and it was the most unsatisfying experience I've ever had: he just didn't practise between lessons and so I went over the same stuff over and over again-pentatonic minor scale shape and improvising over a slow backing track, chords, strumming, major and minor scale shapes. Never again!
jam-man
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Big Bad Bill wrote:I used to teach a 10 year old and it was the most unsatisfying experience I've ever had: he just didn't practise between lessons and so I went over the same stuff over and over again-pentatonic minor scale shape and improvising over a slow backing track, chords, strumming, major and minor scale shapes. Never again!
You see what I'm talking about?

It's a 10 year old kid! You're supposed to make guitar interesting and fun! Not an object that will take his free time form him...
Petie
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It depends on the student. I had some students around that age who just couldn't retain anything. They could read one note at a time, but would need about 30 seconds between each note. But I also had 2 younger students who really stood out. One was 10 years old and was obsessed with Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Frank Zappa and Randy Rhoads. I always looked forward to going to work and teaching stuff like "Cosmik Debris" and "Muffin Man."

Another student was 7 and was an absolute prodigy. I taught him the Sweet Child O' Mine solo and he didn't even bother to look at the tab, he just watched my hands and learned the whole thing. Amazing.

I don't teach very much any more - I decided to stop after we had a baby, because the hours were 4pm-9pm and I had a journalism job in the mornings too, and I was missing out on too much good baby stuff at home. So now I mainly work as a journalist, with a little teaching here and there.
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