Lessons for 9-year-old? Too young?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Pedro58, Nov 11, 2004.


  1. Pedro58

    Pedro58 Supporting Member

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    My nephew wants to learn to play guitar... Is age nine too early to start? He's a great kid, sensitive and sweet. We've been meeting once a week for 1/2 hour and he's picking a few things up, but I can tell he's a little frustrated. I told him it would be hard, physically painful and he seems okay with that. I feel like it will be a long time before he is able to make music and I don't know how the delay of gratification works for a nine-year-old... His mom says he is getting in the habit of quitting stuff when it "gets too hard." She wants to supervise his practice times, just to make sure he practices. She's got two daughters playing musical instruments and they are doing well. She makes them practice. Anyway, what do you guys think? I can give him lessons to start, but where do I start? And so on... I'm sure there's stuff I haven't thought of... Acoustic first, then electric? Help!!
     
  2. blair

    blair Member

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    Went thrue this with my younger son. Find a GOOD teacher that will take the time to get him thrue the basics and find out what he's interested in music wise. Then go with a combo of theory (YUK) and something to play that will allow him to appreciate PROGRESS in what he's interested in.

    Re Geetar, an inexpensive acoustic or beginner elec combo, depending on his preferences. Make sure either are easy player's that his hands can handle yet something he can grow into.

    That's a bunchof hard decisions to make but may pay the dividends a few years down the road.

    Just my .25 cents worth.......... Matt is now back to playing again and has some promise now that he's committed himself. My older son is now a drummer (shudder) but we gotta have them and he understands his interwoven part in the final sound of the group and respects it.

    Hammer on........Blair
     
  3. Pedro58

    Pedro58 Supporting Member

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    Bump! Still curious!
     
  4. teddys

    teddys Member

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    My son recently turned 8 (11/7).\
    He loves noodling with guitar. He has had a few years of piano and fortunally has a good ear!
    I have a Squire Strat in the house and I try to teach him very basic things.
    Problem is his arm legnth cannot reach below the 5 th fret comfortably.
    I put on a capo and it really helps and also makes the action less resistant. In addition when you open tune to e or g its kinda instant gratification.
    IMO, its a wonderful experiance for children to try ANY instrument.
    What ever he does, is hands down better than not playing at all.
    I found that an electric is more fun and versatile for the kid as well. That is if you have am amp. Buy a used amp that has build in fx. (I bought a Roland mini cube). Keeping him interested is another story. Thats a totally different forum.
    my .02
     
  5. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    I started begging at 8 and they finally caved in at age 10. so 9 is perfect
     
  6. teddys

    teddys Member

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    Imagine if they didn't give in?

    What would be your passion? >

    Actually I could see you in a lab coat , telling me "I will see you in recovery, don't worry, its a simple proceedure."



    :D
     
  7. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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  8. Budman2k

    Budman2k Member

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    I started formal lessons at 8 years old. When I was teaching I had students that were 6 and 7. So NO he's not too young. Keep in mind that the average attention span of a child that age is pretty low. I used to teach the basics and try to give them some 3 chord songs every now and then so they wouldn't lose interest. I once taught a group class through the local YMCA and I had children 5 & 6 years old!!! Even they could learn some simple 3 and 4 note chords and after a few weeks could strum some pretty simple stuff.
     
  9. Joe

    Joe Senior Member

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    My son will be three in March and he can play the drums a little. I bought him a small Tama set and put blocks on the kick drum and hi hat pedals. He now understands to count to four and then he kicks the bass drum on 1 and 3 and hits the snare on 2 and 4. He loves it and I play acoustic with him. He lacks the finger control to play guitar but he does run his finger up and down a string while picking it with a pick. He know how to hold a pick and he can alternate pick on a single string. My home studio is on the ground floor of our home and he can see in when my band reherses, so he LOVES music.
     
  10. spaceboy

    spaceboy Member

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    Damn your child, Joe! damn him to hell for his lucky musical upbringing! ^_^ that sounds so awsome.

    I think something that is vital in keeping young children's attention is teaching them stuff they love. doing your favourite, most beautiful James Taylor tune, or an absolute classic beatles number is just lost on them - try the Buffy Theme! ^_^ well, i guess that's a bit out of date now, but kids love showing off, if they can learn the latest pop-rock smash hit and get respect from their little friends then that will keep them interested. Music at school was always a race to see who could play Alien Ant Farm or Queens of the Stoneage... and if you came in with something like the Mario or Buffy theme - joy! you'd be popular for a day as it spread that "simon can play mario on the guitar! go on simon, play it!" etc.

    kids (people) love attention. i guess kids just do it so blatantly
     
  11. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    I currently have about 30 weekly guitar and bass students. Unlike some teachers, I very much welcome youngsters and beginners, and teach several of them. The opportunity to make a postive impact on the future of a child is very appealing to me.

    For children under the age of 12, I insist that a parent sit in on the lessons, at least until the child displays that he or she has capacity and interest that will sustain a bit of hard work.

    Here's the deal - KIDS WILL BE KIDS. And parents will be parents. A lot of these parents think that they are raising young renaissance men and women, when in fact, they are stifling creativity, by shoving every conceivable activity down the throat of the youngsters - soccer, basketball, drama club, ballet, flute, oboe, painting, guitar, piano, underwater basket weaving, decopage', language lessons, Haiku, poetry, you name it, it's ridiculous... don't get me wrong, I'm all for diversity - but a lot of these parents don't give their own kids a chance to explore their curiosity a bit and just be kids. Human beings can only assimilate so much information, even with the wide open data storage that children are in possession of. There are only so many Mozarts and Leonardos.

    To answer the question - I have several 8 year olds. I have one 6 year old, but his parents will not sit in on the lessons - so they are wasting their time and money, as I have told them, but they continue to pay me.

    I lay out the physical differences and coordinations between the stringed instruments and the piano for every student I take on. I relate all things theoretical, in a visual sense, back to the piano, as the guitar is visually a perplexing instrument for beginners of all ages. I start every single student that I take on with three very non-musical sounding exercises - one for alternate picking, one for arching the fretting hand into the air and promoting finger independence, and one for developing strength required for barre chords. It will be quite some time before most students will fully utilize these skills, but my feeling is that it should be developed early, and that bad habits should be immediately nipped in the bud. I also stress ear training and harmony & theory as strongly as reading of standard musical notation.
     
  12. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    What could we say is I guess "reasonable progress" for a 9 yr. old after one year?
    Any of you teachers - what was one of your students able to play after one year?
    I know this is really subjective but I'm curious (for my daughter).
    Thanks
     
  13. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    still being interested and wanting to continue lessons is 'reasonable progress' for someone that young, in my book.
     
  14. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    I am a teacher too and I will say this: I LOVE teaching kids but if progress is slow it becomes a pain. As long as I see a desire for learning and the student practices what I ask them to, then great. Keep in mind that we teachers can tell how much you students have practiced during the week. Fortunately, fine motor skills are developed faster in females. Yes yes yes, eventually we catch up!!:BEER

    The best thing is for her to have some songs she'd like to learn and try and get a good teacher. Progress changes from kid to kid. I have students that have taken lessons for over a year and my son who has played less than a year is much much better. My son is 11 but plays ALL the time! You get what you put into it.

    Good luck,

    Chris
     
  15. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    OK thanks.
    I was thinking of lessons which split up each session with some academic stuff and half with learning a song of her choice, or atleast an elementary interpretation of it.
     

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