Teaching little kids?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by JJK, May 1, 2008.

  1. JJK

    JJK Member

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    Hey guys, I need some help on how to teach little kids, like in the 8-9 year old range. I feel like I'm not making things exciting enough. What are some things I can teach little kids to make it fun? I don't want to bore them and turn them off to guitar. Thanks.
     
  2. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    It's tough. Especially when they don't give you any feedback. Find out if they're into Guitar Hero. If they are, you'll be home free.
     
  3. JJK

    JJK Member

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    Yeah, it is definitely tough. And they're too young to really be interested in bands and stuff. Some of them like Guitar Hero, and that did help. Like I showed one kid a few easy songs from the game.
     
  4. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    I have worked with kids that age, but you are right, it is tough. Then you see some 8 year old kid on youtube ripping thru Paganini or shredding thru a Bach piece or whatever, and you wonder how someone got that kid to be able to do that.

    I have a Master's in Education, and work with kids for a living, and the best thing I can say is to break it up. Thinking in 5 and 10 minute blocks, switching stuff around helps with their attention span. Same with practice. Telling a kid that age they need to practice 30 minutes per day will probably be the kiss of death, except for those prodigies.

    For younger kids, it has to be fun. Good luck.
     
  5. Akamelborne

    Akamelborne Member

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    I agree...it is tough! I have ventured to even teach a few 6 and 7 year olds. I try to start all my younger students with this book http://www.amazon.com/Hal-Leonard-G...bs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1209737500&sr=8-1 .

    I find the book helps. Sometimes the kids find it boring, but usually the parents are all about it. It also Creates a good foundation, learn to read, start with single note melodies....but like you guys have already said,I throw in guitar hero riffage to keep it interesting. :)
     
  6. johnspeck

    johnspeck Member

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    i taught younger kids for a while in a really relaxed atmosphere at a music store. one was around that age. she was only taking lessons because her mom wanted her to. her older sister was a natural drummer.

    i just tried to give her one new thing (with an emphasis on very simple foundation stuff, like i was messing around with at her age) each lesson. i would open our lessons with what we went over the previous week, and hope that she worked on it a little bit. most times, she wasn't very dilligent about homework, so we'd spend a little more time on it, then try and segue that into the next bit.

    i'd also give her rewards for getting something down. if she figured something out, i'd give her a cool little something that might keep her interested in music...a handful of girly-colored picks; sometimes i'd save a couple lessons and give her a cool cd of some music that she might like. just something to keep her attention on music and fun. always fun!

    she might not play now, but hopefully, she'll look back on that stuff as fun, not work, and maybe later on (in college or something) she'll pick it up again...

    in contrast, i had a younger guy (around 12) who just killed. not a shredder, his emphasis was on songs. he would bring in music he woule be playing the next couple weeks at his church, and we'd go over it and i'd play along with him and stop if he needed some help. he was very inspiring!

    i wonder what he's up to now; he's got to be around 20. i bet he's quite a player!

    sadly, i was only teaching these students for a semester, while a friend who normally taught them went back to school to finish a music degree. i often think of them, and hope that maybe they are having fun, playing music.

    :D
     
  7. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Hey John, both cool stories. Yeah, nothing like having a positive adult teacher when we are young to inspire and encourage us. I also teach martial arts to kids, and each class I try to have the same thought in mind that every class, I either get them one step closer to black belt or one step closer out the door.

    I think teaching guitar is like that also. If they are just there because their parents are making them (like piano lessons when I was a kid), then it is a real challenge to keep their interest and motivate them.
     
  8. 12345678

    12345678 Senior Member

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    It's tough and I have wrestled with it myself from time to time. For a while, I didn't take on very young kids unless I talked with them first and could tell that they were very interested in guitar. It was then that I discovered the key to being a great teacher is giving your students the motivation to progress, even when they lose it or never had it to begin with. So then I found out I may not be as good a teacher as I thought and I took on some young kids and worked on myself.

    I think the most important thing is to try and remain excited about music and the guitar when you are around them and also to try and be honest with them. By that I mean, I would tell my students on day one, even my youngest ones that guitar is tough and it takes practice and it's not for quitters.

    Then I would usually show them how to use the whammy bar to make weird sounds and do dive bombs!

    Ha! Sometimes I wonder if they taught me more than I taught them!

    Good luck to you!
     

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