Children can be started successfully on guitar at 7 – 8 years but must be directed differently to older students. Inexperienced teachers tend not to fully appreciate the physical constraints of small hands; it is absolutely vital that developing young hands & forearms are not obliged to attempt actions they are not yet strong enough for.
At Modern Guitar Tuition we have 20+ years of tutoring young players, and a great record of instilling and fostering a love of music in children. Teaching is based on developing finger strength and essential rhythm awareness, and then moves on to include music reading. At all stages we incorporate song material that is appropriate to the age/experience level.
Students age 7 – 10 are best off playing a ¾ nylon-string instrument. Please do not buy a steel-string acoustic guitar for youngsters; the hard strings and the pressure required to hold them are too much under age 12. Also, we recommend students not be started on Electric guitar before 11-12 years.
School vs. Private teaching
You may be wondering if it is better for your child to have lessons at their school, if these are available to you. Whilst the convenience factor makes this appealing, the experience many people have is that lessons at school are frequently disruptive to the student’s academic work and can, quite rightly, cause concern for parents when they find they have been billed for a missed lesson that their child was stopped from attending by a classroom activity (most classroom teachers, understandably, dislike having single students taken out od class during a lesson).
Having instrument lessons at an external studio, after school hours is more productive, both for the student and for the teacher involved. Most children are more focused when they are in a different environment for a specific activity; school-based lessons make the activity seem to be just ‘part of school’. Also, depending on the school, guitar lessons are often treated as a group activity; guitar is far more successfully taught in private lessons.