Whether you fancy becoming a guitar teacher or just teaching your kids how to play, there are some important points you need to understand about the differences between children and adults when it comes to learning an instrument.. The following two rules are the most important. First, it's hard for kids to start learning guitar, so do whatever you can to make it easier. Second, the learning process can be boring and frustrating at times, so try to make it as entertaining as possible.
Step 1. Advise the choice of guitar
Help the child choose the right instrument. Guitars come in all shapes and sizes, and a person buying their first instrument can be lost. Do not recommend an overly expensive guitar. Remember that it is almost certain that the student will want to change guitar after a year and that he will then know much better which type is suitable for him. Also don't recommend a guitar that is too cheap, as they are impossible to tune and difficult to play. The two most important criteria are the size and quality of the strings. Is the child comfortable holding the guitar? Is it easy to play chords and notes on it? Look for ½ and ¾ size instruments and try them out with nylon and steel strings.
Step 2. Make learning enjoyable
Try to get the child to have a "friendly" relationship with their guitar. Rather than a classic and rigid approach where you have to progress step by step while absolutely learning to play "correctly", it is preferable to encourage the student to experiment and to express himself through the instrument from the first. Classes. For example, you could ask it to gently hit the sound box while producing a rhythm. Ask him to accompany you with a “percussion guitar”. To do this, loosely tie a sock around the handle to muffle the sound of the strings and tell the child to play naturally with their right hand. Encourage him to vary the hand movements, the tempo and the complexity of the rhythms.
Step 3. Make tuning easier
Usually I don't teach children to tune their guitar from the start, but I make sure it is tuned well for the lesson and ask if there is anyone at home who can help them. to keep it tuned. It is difficult to learn to tune a guitar for children. Of course, in the long term, it is very useful to know how to tune your instrument by ear. However, at the beginning it is much more important to make the process as easy as possible. Buy an easy-to-use tuner and teach the child how to use it. Stay patient!
Step 4. Start simple
Start by teaching very simple songs. I use the James Bond theme and simple study pieces like Single String Boogie. Then I move on to the riffs of Seven Nation Army (the White Stripes), Sunshine of Your Love (Cream), Another One Bites the Dust (Queen), Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple), etc. Pick riffs that are instantly recognizable and simple and easy to play.
Step 5. Repeat
Repetition is essential for learning. Fortunately, children are generally very happy to play the same thing over and over again. Encourage them to do so and resist the urge (usually adult) to always switch to new things. Be aware that when a child tells you that he likes a particular song, it almost always means that he feels comfortable playing it. Likewise, if he tells you that he doesn't like a certain song, it usually means that he finds it too difficult and that he cannot play it at the moment.
Step 6. Work on the chord changes
Use a timer to speed up chord changes. A great exercise is to teach the child two new chords (for example, A and D) and say, "What if we saw how many times we can go between these two chords in a minute?" »Set a timer and go! At the end, give some tips to make transitions easier (always move your fingers in the same order, spot the position of strings and frets by touch rather than looking at them, etc.). Then try again and see if the student can beat their record.
Step 7. Simplify the agreements
If the child wants to learn a particular song, but the chords or melodies are too difficult for their current level, try to simplify them. Sometimes you need to change the key, use a capo, or just change the fingerings of chords so that they can be played on three strings rather than four, five, or six. It takes music skills to do this, but it will help you develop your own musical abilities!
Step 8. Identify the child's preferences
At the very beginning, try to find out if he prefers to play chords or individual notes. Some like melodies and riffs first while others prefer to play chords. As their confidence increases and they get bigger and stronger, they find the other aspects easier to learn. No need to rush to teach as much as possible as quickly as possible!
Step 9. Drop the music theory
Other than the name of the open strings, don't try to teach music theory. There is no point in making the subject more complicated by introducing theoretical concepts too early. However, don't underestimate your student either. If he is in primary school, he may have already started to learn the basics (the names of notes, the definition of things like scales, keys, etc.). In this case, remind him of this knowledge when it is useful for the course. Music theory doesn't have to be the main element that you teach, but it can be useful to introduce some notions in the lessons from time to time.
Step 10. Don't be too harsh
Encourage the child to practice, but don't make it difficult. In the beginning, the best results are obtained when the student does several short sessions rather than one long session. The key is to exercise little, but often.
Step 11. Encourage singing
Children naturally tend to sing along with what they are playing. This is something very beneficial that must be encouraged. At first you might feel like it's too complicated and therefore their guitar playing is kept very simple as they pay more attention to the vocals, but if you are patient they will end up doing songs. rapid progress.
Step 12. Have fun
Always remember that the most important thing is to have fun sharing your love of music.