I HAVE A guitar student who is 9 and full of energy. She likes bursting out into song and learning. We have a blast during lessons and she even makes listening to Frozen and Taylor Swift bearable.
Well. Almost bearable.
"It's not the same on guitar, right?" she said. "We should learn it."
So we did, and we tabbed it out in my own numbering system. "That's a lot different than reading the notes," she said. "But it makes sense."
Now she is playing Beethoven on the guitar and it's a beautiful noise. I suspect it will morph into more of a jam and strumming thing before it's all over, but you never know with this adventurous 9 year old.
I have a lot of respect for people who read music. I have even more respect for people who can read music and be creative. The two don't always go hand-in-hand - I've had guitar students who are used to looking at the music on a piece of paper and going from there, and they struggle with improvising and learning by ear. Of course, I look at a page of notes and then close the book, but I can hear something and try to learn it.
The more I do this, the more I realize knowing the 12 chromatic notes and where they are on the guitar is crucially important to getting better. I have a million miles to go, but I'm starting to figure it out.
And now I can play a Beethoven song. Ode to the Joy of learning, indeed!