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Age To Start Guitar?

Discussion in 'Welcome Wagon' started by The Ballzz, May 10, 2016.

  1. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Tele-Afflicted

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    Moderators,
    I'm virtually positive that this is the wrong forum, but I could not figure out the proper place to put it. If it needs to get moved, please let me know where it goes to.
    Thanks,
    Gene


    Hi Folks,
    I have twin grandsons, that even at age 1 1/2, are absolutely enthralled by guitars, drums and music in general. They live +/- 400 miles away and neither my son or his wife have any musical inclination or talents. My desire is to help provide a beginning for any possible aspirations towards playing music. My son is very mechanically inclined and has already agreed to spend some time with me to learn at least rudimentary tuning, intonation and setup/maintenance procedures. I'm considering a couple of Squier "Mini" guitars, as they appear to be fairly indestructible little units that could get them started, along with a cheap (but real) drum kit.

    My question is: At what age can a child begin to play guitar? I realize that drums can get banged even earlier, but guitar requires a little more attention at least a little understanding of finesse. The overall plan is to leave two of the grimiest, most severely played/worn in of my little collection to them. My wife can sell the shiny ones, but the grandkids deserve the ones that are "FULL" of Grandpa!

    I sure wish I could be closer and/or that the boys' Mom or Dad had any inclination, which is why I'm working towards a way to "give the gift" of music to them. On the plus side, there is almost always music in their house and Mom and Dad have a fairly well rounded taste for everything from classical & country, right on thru rock and head bangin'!


    Thanks Folks,
    Gene
     
  2. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's

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    My thoughts are to start right now with toy instruments not heavy real ones. They will just use those to maim each other with. Those minis are better when they get up about 5-6 yrs and are old enough to handle a mini and to take lessons.
    Dont buy them drums unless you are really PO'ed at their mom and dad.:D
     
  3. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Poster Extraordinaire

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    My thought would be to wait until they get into their own music. I think that happens for most kids around age 10- 13. But it really depends on the child; John Williams was taking lessons with Andres Segovia by the time he was 11!

    So if the interest is there get them started young. I knew a couple very talented classical guitarists in college who were on full music scholarships, but took advantage of the free education and double majored; I think one also studied engineering and the other was going for a business major
     
  4. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Some seem to be born with a guitar in their hands like my grand daughter:

    IMG_0707.JPG
     
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  5. Vara

    Vara Tele-Meister

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    I don't think there's a certain age to "start." If they are actually interested in instruments, you don't even need to teach them if they're that young. It's really more about interest and the amount of music they're exposed to more than anything else.

    Just have their parents start playing CDs, records, or even the radio around the house a lot more often and the kids will start learning on their own as they start becoming familiar with the instruments if you give them instruments. They will learn as long as they know the basics. (How to fret a note, how to pick a string... things like that) The exposure of different kinds of music will strengthen their rhythm, phrasing, understanding of theory... all before they can even mumble the words to describe what they're learning.

    When they're 5-6 they can get a teacher or something if they're still taking up the guitar by then. I think it's really important not to force, but to suggest playing to them. If they hear one song out of a hundred they've listened to that really gets their attention and makes them want to learn it on guitar, they'll learn the lifelong joy of the instrument all by themselves.

    In my opinion, if you really want to get them started, I think some sort of music listening device is much more beneficial than an instrument at this point in time. Give them a collection of CDs and a CD player with some speakers, a few years down the road the instrument will be much more beneficial.

    Also... if you do decide to get a mini guitar, make sure it's the lightest one you can find.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
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  6. Zebulon Bluze

    Zebulon Bluze Tele-Meister

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    They will become interested in musical instruments on their own. My 3yr old and 7 yr old grandchildren are both fascinated with my guitars. I let them strum them while I hold the instrument. I also have a beater parlor guitar I let them strum. I agree with McGlamRock about age 10-13 being optimum age for serious learning. I started playing piano at 10 and the guitar at 12. Don't be disappointed and don't push if they lose interest. Kids are all individuals. They might decide they like playing hockey instead of music.
     
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  7. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I teach beginners guitar classes and run a rock band for the better players at the local primary school..

    grade 4/5 kids seem to start getting their little fingers around chord shapes ok.... the grade 3 kids who tried out didn't seem to have the finger coordination/spread to get all the chords going....

    I've had gr 5 kids play guitar in the band, rock solid... and I have a gr4 kid playing keys this year, show him the chords/inversions and he's away.......
     
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  8. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    IIRC, Bristol Spanish Guitar Centre was starting kids on classical training at four years old.

    Any younger, I would be thinking about a very cheap concert uke in open tuning.
     
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  9. telemenow

    telemenow Tele-Meister

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    Eight to ten!!
     
  10. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    When my son was born I really wanted to buy him a guitar but my wife suggested to wait until he was old enough so that the memory of getting his first guitar is special, which I think is great advice.

    I bought him a sparkly blue ukulele instead. Having said that, there are any number of guitars and other instruments he can bang around on here. He's more interested in playing with the switches than strumming at the moment.
     
  11. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Several posters have suggested ukes and I whole heartedly agree. There are also three string cigar box guitars and one or two string diddly bows. The open tunings are easy to learn meaningful things on without fingering chords or only simple ones. Can't help with best age because it really depends on the kid. With piano we started about the time they started to read.
     
  12. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    As I was setting up the school band this morning for practice I plugged the Casio keys in first... while I was running out mic/guitar cables, every kid there, the drummer, the guitarist, the bass player and the two singers..and the keys player.. were all having a go at playing their fav tune on keys and singing verses, etc,,....they all seemed to know stuff to play....

    I raised an eyebrow,,,,crikey...

    maybe keys are easier to get the hang of....
     
  13. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Having been trained as an International teacher in Singapore may I state my observations on cognition.

    Students start school at 4- serious school. That is language, alphabet, Maths
    and English ( as well as Mandarin and Singaporean that they speak).

    Music, dance (etc.) also. So I would give a Ukulele AND some basic theory at that stage. By age 8, or before, a 3/4 size classical. More complex theory by age ten and first guitar then.

    I know my comments will attract some criticism but children are receptive to learning and want to learn earlier than we as Westerners give them credit. If they don't like it- drop it- simple. JMHO
     
  14. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The youngest kids I've seen play stringed instruments are the violin kids.... many start there first ....

    the school teaches percussion on merimbas and djembes/kit drums in classes as well as music notation... all kinds of rhythm stuff.... the better kids invent fills and stuff on the merimbas while others play bass/rhythm parts....they take turns to solo during songs... self conduct, etc... things I didn't realise kids could do even the gr 3/4 kids...

    the strings/guitars/band are all before school groups,,by the time I get them playing guitars they have rock solid beat/rhythm, play drums and have experience playing in concert groups...

    they pick up guitar/bass pretty quick.... I handed a gr 5 girl drummer a Bass at the start of the year, never held a guitar before, here, you're the bass player, we have a drummer...this is how you do it.. there's G C D A E, etc..we're playing this chord pattern..you'll get the hang of it playing in the band today,.... she looked at me like a wide eyed scared rabbit....... now she's a confident bass chic who needs little assistance and loves it,,..... just awesome...
     
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  15. src9000

    src9000 Poster Extraordinaire

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    45?
     
  16. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I started piano lessons at age 6 or 7 and continued with a few interruptions until I was 13. As a result, I have always been able to read music and am able to teach myself other instruments, such as guitar and band instruments, to sing in choirs and to learn new songs easily. I regret that I didn't also take guitar lessons as a child.
     
  17. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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    Some of the best guitarists I know started at 8 - 10 usually at school on cheap nylon string guitars but usually then they still won't take it seriously until they're a bit older. I think it depends on if they want to learn, I've always had opportunities to learn how to play but I was never interested in music until I was about 14. I wish I had started earlier now but I guess it's just one of those things.

    One thing I'd be wary of is trying to push them to hard to do it. My girlfriend started piano lessons at 7, she got really good at it but she didn't have a real interest in it. She stopped going after a couple of years and stopped playing altogether, now she can't remember anything. The same thing happened with violin and very briefly guitar. Although guitar was her choice but she didn't like it because it was too hard compared to learning piano and violin but I guess it feels that way when your starting out and have small hands.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
  18. old guitar player

    old guitar player Tele-Afflicted

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    As others have mentioned I would get them a couple of cheap brightly colored Ukes they can bang on until they are old enough to manage a guitar if they are interested. Once they are old enough to handle a guitar put them in an open tuning and let them wack away at them like that.

    That being and if I had pre-school children I'd enroll them in piano lessons as soon as they were old enough. Guitar is fine but piano lessons will teach them music theory, harmony, rhythm and the ability to read the music staff. I wish I had taken piano and music lessons as a kid and not joined a rock band where I learned everything by ear.
     
  19. Stringbanger

    Stringbanger Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I hate this thread. I didn't start playing guitar until I was 23.:p:eek::D
     
  20. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

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    I was handed guitars to mess with over the years many times by my uncle. He bought me a classical guitar when I was 9 or 10 and I learned rhythm for a 12 bar and how to fret notes and what the strings were and that was pretty much it until I learned that I LOVED The Doors and Red Hot Chili Peppers and simply had to learn that one Carlos Santana song "Put Your Lights On" (the acoustic part). My dad bought me a 150 dollar Samick steel string and I took my schools guitar for beginners class in 7 th grade. The rest is pretty much a very fun history.

    I agree with everyone saying they need to hear as much of it as they can.

    I know now that my obsession early on was fueled by the unconscious impressions my father made on my mind with Dark Side of the Moon, Thriller, Stop Making Sense, Moondance, L.A. Woman, American Beauty etc. I was subjected to great American music en masse from a young age and it really sowed the seeds.

    That and just having instruments around. When the time was right and the stars aligned, I started aggressively learning and improving.

    I say go ahead and get em a full size squier though to all people contemplating a guitar for a youngin and the reason is simple: Get em used to a real one and they'll always feel at home on a real one. My gut tells me that if you actually learn any meaningful things on a little guitar, you will have to make adjustments when upgrading and things like that discourage kids/make improving difficult.

    Want evidence of this phenomenon in action. Read the vast multitude of posts complaining about how scale length or nut width have to be a certain way to "feel right". I say just get em started on something big and awkward...that way anything the world hands them will play like Parkay in the future.

    Also, solid body electric guitars are fairly easy to get a small hand around these days almost across-the-board (they come with pencil necks these days)
     
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