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OT: How to teach guitar to a 10 year old?

This is a discussion on OT: How to teach guitar to a 10 year old? within the Music Man Guitars forums, part of the Gear Talk category; So my 10 yr old son has expressed an interest in learning guitar. I have a nice SUB1 set aside ...

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    paranoid70's Avatar
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    OT: How to teach guitar to a 10 year old?

    So my 10 yr old son has expressed an interest in learning guitar. I have a nice SUB1 set aside just for him. Not a bad starter guitar eh? My problem is that I really have no clue how to get him started. I do plan to get him some lessons soon, perhaps over the summer. But, he has been asking me to show him some stuff now.

    First off, he has a tough time holding the guitar correctly. I learned on an acoustic, perhaps one can 'hug' acoustics easier so they don't slide down your leg. Any tips on how he can hold the guitar?

    Next, the biggest newbie mistake is not holding your fingers 'perpendicular' to the board to make good contact. I try to show him how to press down the strings and stuff, but I am wondering if there is some better method.

    Last, what to play? I was thinking just the simple E string: 1st finger 1st fret, 2nd finger 2nd fret...., A string: 1st finger 1st fret........ up and down. Too boring? Too frustrating? Perhaps some chords: E, Am, C, D.....? Or jump right in and learn an easy song? I kind of get the feeling a combination would be good.

    This actually may prove more difficult than it should be. Although I do love my son, it can be REALLY hard to show him how to do stuff. (i.e. shoot baskets, throw a football, help with math, etc....) I am sure some of you parents have the same issues. I will conceed that it could be 'me' too, but... eh you know how kids can be. I don't think I liked learning stuff from my dad until I became much older. So this might end in frustration and failure, but I'll give it a shot anyway.

    Any tips or thoughts are appreciated. Any good starter books?
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    Grand Wazoo is offline Banned
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    My son also started at about that age, unfortunately I am a very bad parent, I am always away from home to earn a living, anyway I have started him on a CD Rom called ActionTab an interactive on screen tutor, which also has a website ActionTab.com - The Easy Way To Learn Guitar Without Guitar Tabs with real songs so none of the boring stuff that would put a kid off.

    I also mistakenly thought my son was just going through a fad, like when they ask you for that latest game console and they abandon it a month later, well little did I know he became so determined to learn and with both the help of ActionTab and with me helping him a little whenever I was home and had time he has learnt pretty much all the basics and he is starting to make his own songs.

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    Dargin's Avatar
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    Here you go.
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    JP7Nomad is offline Registered User Junior Member
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    I would first teach him all of the open position notes in the C major scale. Don't confuse him with sharps or flats yet. Give him 3 strings worth of material, write it down, and teach him the other 3 once he memorizes those.

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    I guess it's the same question as do I teach them to drive? probably no as you'd want a real teacher to be involved. Teaching is an art and skill that many of us don't have. Just because we can play doesn't mean we can teach. If you have that skill and can make him really enjoy learning an instrument, go for it...
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    I concur with the "teaching to drive" idea....being a guitarist doesn't make you a teacher, also being his dad brings a different (and maybe undesirable) factor into things. Personally I'd find a good local teacher and confine yourself to supporting him and waiting till he asks you for input

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    My 8 year old has just entered year 2 of learning. He has a group lesson once a week. Mind you....he's been formally learning for a year. They progress from high E string down the line. He JUST started low E string a couple weeks ago, so understand that what's basic for us is a long process of practice, reading notes, practice......

    Since my early learning became somewhat sour because of the lack of "cool songs" to play, I have started from the very beginning to give him fun stuff to play. Before he had ANY chords formally, I worked in the beginning riff to AC/DC's Back in Black. E D A and the little solo riff. He was very determined and learned that.

    As he progressed, we continue to practice his formal lesson material about 15 minutes a day. (remember, he started when he was 7 and has a shorter attention span). When the formal lesson is satisfactorily done, then he's able to ask me to teach him any song he wants.....or he can do his own stuff. I've given him.....and he can do on his own....slowly....Linkin Park Bleed it Out, AC/DC Thunderstruck, and maybe 2 or 3 others that slip my mind now.

    My 12 year old had an interest at first (was 10 at the time) and did NOT want formal lessons. I gave him the beginnings to Lynyrd Skynyrd Sweet Home Alabama. My strategy here was to keep the 2 of them on different songs so as to not have competition between them.

    I do feel that the weekly lessons keeps him playing. He does pick up the guitar on his own (I can hear him playing his acoustic right now) but without the constant re-enforcement, it's easy for them to slack off.

    Be the secondary teacher. Help with whatever the teacher gives him and give him some of the easy riffs that can go for 10 seconds. A friend (in his 30's) just took up guitar and I gave him (over email) the very beginning of the Rolling Stones....Dirty Water. Easiest riff ever, but anyone who hears it recognizes is.....even if they can't name the song. That's instant positive feedback for the player.

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    Thanks guys. I do plan to get him lessons, but probably not until summer. He has a lot of things going on right now with school, track, karate.... I was just looking to get him started and give him an idea of what it is all about before starting 'formal' lessons.
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    Hey Eric. I would check with the guys over at World of Strings if you need a teacher. They are super nice guys. Maybe that Brian dude. Or Greg, but he always seems super-busy.

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    I didn't know World of strings did lessons, I was just there last week too. I was thinking of Jamming Music on Atlantic. They have workshop type deals where kids can learn to play together. That's basically how I learned.
    Vintage Sunburst Silhouette Special, '06; 20th Anniversary Silhouette, '06; Honeyburst Sterling '00

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    I'm not sure they do lessons, but they would probably like some cash. And I know those two can play pretty well.

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    Learn to play the guitar

    Hey Guy,
    I am a pro guitar teacher and have been for the last 20 years.
    I find that the best way to get the students into playing is to teach them songs that they are already have on their ipod.
    I just have them bring the ipod to lessons and show them how to play the songs.

    Also you should understand that meeting with a teacher each week that will ask you to play for him can really motivate you to practice.
    I also tell them that the tab programs available on line are great but that I find that the tabs more often than not need to be corrected.
    I hope that this helps you out.
    Not everyone that plays the guitar well can teach the guitar.
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    CarbonTim27 is offline Registered User Junior Member
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    Trent's post makes a lot of sense. I've been teaching for the last couple years now and I've found that it takes a bit of patience and some persistence to teach the younger students.
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    Trent speaks much truth. If the songs on his ipod are too tough (barre chords, riffs), give him something easy that he can handle. I have 19 students right now and probably 17 are kids.

    I usually teach Heartbreak Hotel on the 1st lesson. It takes 3 chords and a really easy blues rhythm that he can copy. you know, for each measure

    d---d-d---d-d---d-d

    d=down strum



    Sometimes I give Surfin' USA on the first lesson. 3 chords again with a d/u/d/u/d/u/d strum for each chord.

    I've had students as young as 5 that have stuck with it. 10 is perfect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trent View Post
    I find that the best way to get the students into playing is to teach them songs that they are already have on their ipod.
    Great.... I guess I shouldn't have loaded his mp3 player with Satriani, Rush and Dream Theater!
    Vintage Sunburst Silhouette Special, '06; 20th Anniversary Silhouette, '06; Honeyburst Sterling '00

    I stepped upon the platform, the man gave me the news
    He said "You must be joking son, where did you get those shoes?"

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