What is a good age for my child to start taking guitar lessons?

There are some issues to think about in the process of children learning how to play any instrument. Let’s discuss these in order.

1.) Maturity

2.) Focus

3.) Time allotment

4.) Physicality to handle the instrument

5.) The will, or drive, to play the instrument

First, maturity. Is your child mature enough for his/her age to accept the responsibility of all the necessary steps involved in learning how to play the guitar? Some 3rd graders are indeed ready to go, while some 7th graders simply aren’t there yet.

Here’s what I’m looking for in this instance. Does your child resist doing homework? If so, what are the reasons? Having been a regular classroom teacher for 15 years I know every kid has their down time and they’ll resist homework as part of human nature to take the easy road. Generally, a student will have a favorite subject (or two) – is it a struggle to get homework done in that subject area? If so, typically, that lack of maturity will negatively affect any musical proclivity. Which leads us to focus…

Focus is the ability to maintain 20 minutes of uninterrupted study on any given subject. The rule of thumb in education is 50/7/12/20. The first fifty words in any presentation must be potent enough to hold interest to reach the seven minute mark. If the seventh minute is attained, the presenter/teacher will have the focus of the student/s for 12 minutes. But, at the 20 minute mark, the rule starts anew! A ½ hour lesson, broken in to 2 steps, should be successful for students that can maintain 20 minutes of instruction. This is also why a one hour lesson is too long for most children. Which leads us to time allotment…

Time allotment, in this case, is all about the number of activities your child finds themselves in presently. Simply put, if every minute of your child’s schedule is full currently, then adding guitar lessons may not be wise. Choose with wisdom. Set your child up for success, and in this case, success means having time to practice without becoming burdensome. Which leads us to physicality…

Physicality to handle the guitar is defined as making absolutely sure that the instrument fits the student. 3rd through 5th graders should use a ¾ size guitar. A middle school child may be able to handle a full size instrument. And, at this point I should mention that the guitar should be “set up” by a professional to assure correct playability! Which leads us to drive…

Drive, the will to play the guitar – this is the intangible attribute that trumps all other challenges! The rule here is: wish, want, need, got! Some kids wish they could play the guitar, others want to play. Both of these attributes usually lead to unfocused and disinterested students. The “need” to play, however, moves a child up the hierarchy quickly and resolutely as in the “need” to prepare for a concert or recital. Finally, if your child comes to you and says that they have “got” to play the guitar because they want to write songs, or play with other kids in a group, you are dealing with a different animal. These students are usually self-directed and focused kids!

So, a mature, well focused 8 year old will do well taking guitar lessons, there’s the easy answer you were looking for when you found this page!

Get back to me with specific questions or concerns.