Thursday, January 7, 2016

Young enough for lessons

I AM NOT sure how young is too young to start guitar lessons. Generally speaking I don't like giving them to kids less than 8 or 9 years old, but there are always exceptions and I never discourage a youngster from learning.

Yesterday a 7-year-old tried doing a private lesson. He had an electric guitar belonging to his father, but no amp. The guitar, unfortunately, was way too big for his tiny hands. So we put a half-size acoustic in his hands and he immediately took to it.

In the world of musical instruments, finding the right one for you is the hardest part. That is why music stores continue to flourish even in this age of  online shopping and price comparison. Seeing a guitar in your child's hands and hearing the sound of that instrument is the quickest way to know it is the right thing.

At that young age, attention span is a factor. This little guy actually paid attention for more than 20 minutes and gave it a good effort, and I did not charge them for my time. His mom and dad are talking it over and we may continue. I encouraged them to buy a smaller guitar from us and take the four free lessons from Vancil Performing Arts - more on that in a minute.

I have had youngsters who come simply because mom and dad make them. They don't make progress as students. They don't practice and they are bored five minutes after the lesson starts. That's really hard, and I know I'm getting paid and I always give it my all, but it can be exhausting and frustrating. I am not going to tell a mom to keep her child away from us, but I'm not a baby-sitter. We are here to learn and have fun, at the same time, and if neither is happening, well .... that's that.

If you buy an instrument from us, you get four free lessons at Vancil Performing Arts. They have trained teachers who work very well with the youngest students - I think they've started them out way younger than 7. I'm always willing to take on more, but I like Vancil getting new students, too. We are not in competition and four free lessons is a great way to get started.

Another resource for starting early in general music is Mary Shelor and the fabulous Musikgarten program. Mary works specifically with children from newborn and can jump-start your child's love of music. We want your child to appreciate and be curious about music from birth. We also want them to be in the appropriate private lessons for their age.

Come in and see us if you want to start your child early on the guitar. There are options and ideas galore out there and we are only too happy to help!

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