Guitar Essentials for Parents

Is your child asking for a guitar for Christmas? An instrument and music lessons are a great way to jumpstart a lifelong love of music. Here are some tips and resources (compiled from several articles) to help you and your child make the most of their music education.   

1.  Research before you buy  

Buying an entry-level guitar doesn’t have to get complicated, but there are a few things you need to know to make sure the instrument suits your child.  Only certain kinds of guitars are appropriate for very young children. For older children, the right sort of guitar depends on the sort of music they’re interested in.  

Guitar 101 For Parents of New Guitarists

  • Choosing the right guitar for a young child

  • Essential guitar anatomy

  • How to tune the guitar

Guitar Guide For Beginners (Acoustic Guitar)

  • Basic guitar terminology like what does ‘acoustic guitar’ actually mean

  • How to decide between nylon and steel strings

  • Whether you can use that old guitar that’s been sitting in the closet for a few decades

  • How to choose the right size, brand, budget, and accessories for your needs

2.  Expect to be involved

Think about giving your child a guitar like giving your child a puppy. No parent (let’s hope) would give a puppy to their six-year-old and expect the child to assume full responsibility for daily walks and feeding. Rather, the parent makes the commitment to the puppy’s health and happiness, and they teach the child little by little about the responsibilities involved. Just as walking the dog would be a shared activity for a parent and young child, so should guitar practice. As the child gets older, he or she can be expected to handle regular practice on their own, in combination with guidance from their teacher and occasional check-ins with parents.  

Give Your Child a Great Start on Guitar in the New Year

  • Choosing the right guitar and teacher
  • Ideal frequency for lessons and practice
  • Establishing successful practice habits

3. Set reasonable expectations

Learning a musical instrument takes patience, and every student has different strengths, weaknesses, and goals. For some, music lessons blossom into a serious, life-long passion. Others enjoy playing their instrument for only a few years, but they benefit the rest of their lives from the ways that learning music enhances their development. Regardless of a young student’s skill level and ambitions, learning music should always be a healthy balance of discipline and fun.

Young guitarists (ages five to eight)

  • Make music fun and social

  • Learn discipline and the rewards of practice little by little

  • Cultivate diverse musical tastes

Older children (ages nine to twelve)

  • Encourage independence in practice habits and musical interests

  • Make the most of the music community in your child’s school and town

Teen guitarists 

  • Guide passionate students in taking their music to the next level

  • Balance dedication to music with academic and social life

  • Manage challenges that advanced music students face

Leah Kruszewski has been a guitar teacher for nearly ten years, specializing in acoustic, classical, flamenco, and fingerstyle guitar. She is the most popular teacher on Lessonface for classical and flamenco guitar! This Winter 2020, Leah is offering a group class entitled "Flamenco Guitar Workshop." This class will meet for seven live sessions on Sundays, Jan. 19th, 26th, Feb. 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, March 1st, from 12pm-1pm US Eastern Time. Learn more and sign up here.

See our full list of Guitar Classes and Tutorials

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