I don’t know about you.
But having kids changes how you look at life.
We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Pursuing our careers and relationships. And settling into a lifestyle.
And that lifestyle may include listening to music and maybe playing a musical instrument.
Growing up my mom played piano and sang in the church choir.
My sister and I both played instruments (I played the clarinet and she played piano and flute).
We performed in school bands and my mom and sister played in church.
We both did well in school, especially math. Were we drawn to that because of our intellect? Or did music develop it? Or a combination of the two?
Whether or not one influenced the other is subject to debate another time.
Later in life (in my mid-40’s) I took up playing guitar (see my guitar playing story here).
I really enjoyed the challenge, the peacefulness that helps me unwind from challenging work days, and loved sharing it with my kids.
Oftentimes when my daughter couldn’t fall asleep she’d ask me to play guitar for her. Within a couple Pink Floyd songs (“Wish You Were Here” and “Mother”) on the acoustic guitar she’d fall asleep (it used to be Alice In Chains, “Rooster”).
Recently my son has started to show some interest in the guitar and drums. Not yet enough to focus on it but maybe soon (he’s 13). My daughter started playing around with my harmonicas.
Often with kids it starts as an interest you can positively reinforce. I find that is the best way so it doesn’t turn into something they fight you on and don’t want to do.
I hope someday they’ll take up an instrument, practice enough to get good at it, and then I can share the musical joys with them.
Maybe it will be guitar. I love that the guitar is so versatile. It works for many different musical styles. It is portable (unlike the piano). And it is fairly easy to get good enough quickly to play songs to keep your interest up.
Research shows that playing an instrument can bring many benefits to children. It develops physical abilities, social skills, discipline and enhances self-esteem. Learning to play a guitar also improves dexterity.
It isn’t for everyone though. Before signing up your kids for guitar lessons you should consider these factors: age, physical capability, interest and motivation.
Ideally, they should be at least 6 years old to have sufficient dexterity in the hands to handle the guitar. At this age, most kids can focus and concentrate on lessons for at least 30 minutes straight (an amount of time necessary to build their skills).
Being physically ready to play the instrument makes it easier on the child to manipulate the strings. The guitar should also fit in their hands nicely. It helps if they like the guitar they’re using. So let them choose their own guitar (from a selection of guitars that are designed for their size and strength). They’ll also want to be able to test and feel the guitar in their hands.
Are you and your kids ready to take that leap and see if learning to play the guitar is right for them? Check out this article that explains how to purchase the right guitar for children. And begin your musical journey with them.