Teaching an 8 year old guitar

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by Steelskin, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Steelskin

    Steelskin Strat-Talker

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    So I have been asked by a friend to teach her 8 year old son how to play guitar. I have half agreed. I have got a few points from a friend that teaches piano. Thought Id ask some guitar players :p So any tips on where to start!? IM thinking of starting him on the parts of the guitar, how to tune... Should I teach him how to rock, or should I teach him theory? Combo of both..? Ideas?
     
  2. Malikon

    Malikon Dark Cabaret

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    Teach him a couple chords and get him strumming first.

    Wait a while on theory and tuning, it just frustrates people and turns them off most of the time and then they don't want to play at all.

    Get him having some fun first.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  3. BHighkin

    BHighkin Senior Stratmaster

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    Teach him to play a few songs he knows in chords, just so he'll know the chords. Like AC/DC. Then teach him power chords. Then teach him to bar them and make them major and minor. Once you get this far, he'll be ready to do more complicated stuff just because his fingers will be ready.
     
  4. Celeste

    Celeste Senior Stratmaster

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    You have to keep his attention and keep it fun. Yes to teaching him about what makes up a guitar and how to keep it up. As close to theory as I would get an 8yo is learning to read sheet music and tab. If he asks "why" to many times then get him into theory. He is likely going to want something to show for the effort pretty quickly so simple songs are going to be heavily in the mix no matter how board you get. How much he practices is your guide to how serious he really is.

    My brother has 5 yo student. Her parents bought her a 3/4 Martin. Her name is Emile and while teaching notes on the E string he told it was the Emile string. When they progressed to the B string, he told her it was the Mr. Bob string (his name being Bob). See if you can come up with something age appropriate for him. You want to be someone he wants to excel for, not someone he has to work for. His parents might make him practice, but if he is not doing it for himself and to show off to you, then it is just going to be work for everyone.

    Kudos and Karma points for sharing music with a child
     
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  5. Tony6Strings

    Tony6Strings Senior Stratmaster

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    Start with open "cowboy" chords. Add in a little Smoke on the Water and Sunshine of Your Love, and some barre chords. Above all, keep it fun and relative to the kind of music he enjoys. My first lessons were from my pastor when I was a kid, it was mostly church songs with open chords, and it really made all the stuff that I wanted to play IE Nirvana and Alice in Chains seem out of reach. I could have been saved months of trouble and faltering if someone had started out by showing me the basic power chords and Major/minor barre chords.
     
  6. skullmcrex

    skullmcrex Strat-O-Master

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    Yeh keeping them hooked is the most important thing, start them on some simple strummy songs, tuning can wait if you give them a tuner ( they can learn later, albeit not too much later ) Beatles tunes are great for folk starting out

    On a bizzare note I learnt the names of the strings using this

    Every Anarchist Does Guitar Bad Early ( I thought I was a punk or something )
     
  7. Tele like it is

    Tele like it is Left is right!

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    Totally agree on the "play songs first" school. Once he sees that he can make music, you can offer to show him how his heroes do it, and the scales and such come in...
     
  8. Bluezman

    Bluezman Senior Stratmaster

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    ^^^ all of the above. While theory is important it kills more budding players than anything. Once you get him hooked by teaching simple songs & he's really wanting to take it further then you start to introduce theory & reading tabs & proper music by explaining that to develop further this is something that will help him develop & understand music. Also +1 on karma points for teaching music to a child as there's no better time to learn & the gift you provide in teaching him is something he'll be able to enjoy for life, good on ya! ;)
     
  9. Teddy Watkins

    Teddy Watkins Senior Stratmaster

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    Celeste offers good advice. Your primary struggle will probably be holding the childs attention. I have tried giving lessons to younger relatives and they are often just happy to see you and want to talk about 50 other things. Keep it fun for sure. Any way you can. Find the theme song to the kids favorite cartoon and teach him some of that. I'd start with bar chords they can easily move around and the notes on the E and A string. That way they are functional quicker and will probably stay interested. Cowboy chords can be harder on the limited dexterity but work it in where you can. Barring may give him trouble too but probably no more than moving cowboy chord shapes. I wouldn't hit him with much theory until he seems hooked. No sense shooting over his head and over his hands. Little bits like reading a staff maybe. Don't know if they get that at all in school anymore.
     
  10. Steelskin

    Steelskin Strat-Talker

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    Thank you to everyone that replied! So much good advice. Im glad I posted! As of right now I think our first lesson will be us hangin out with our guitars, that way I can get a feel for what hes into and his excitement level. I do want him to learn how to tune a guitar. At the moment he thinks a string is a "chord" technically it is but... lol so certain terms hes gonna have to know... fret, string, chord, power chord. I think I might get him playing off Em first, and maybe into some easy bluesy type stuff.

    Great ideas with the "cowboy" chords, power chords, beatles stuff. Smoke on the water is a right of passage lol. Ill try to sneek the "theory" in when possible but i wont push. If he shows talent Id like to prep him for credited teachers. But I do realize I have to hook him and keep him there. I also have to keep in mind that hes 8 lol. Unfortunatly I dont have kids hhahaha.

    Celeste and bluezman, thanks for the karma points. I must say im kinda nervous about this, but If my parents had got me a guitar and lessons at 8 I bet id be a different player today. But I am more than happy and excited to do this. I just hope I can be a good teacher.

    Again thanks for everything. Id love to hear more thoughts and hints, as well as song recommendations....
     
  11. Steelskin

    Steelskin Strat-Talker

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    PS I love this forum, because of stuff like this.... Ive got some much help and knowledge from this forum! Thanks again to everyone!
     
  12. Tele like it is

    Tele like it is Left is right!

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    We live to serve. Volleyballs.
     
  13. Joshua

    Joshua Senior Stratmaster

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    Yep. Teach him three basics, maybe E, A and D, and then an easy song.
     
  14. MINI Zoso

    MINI Zoso Strat-O-Master

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    Hmmmm...I was going to post a comment here but it looks like it is already under control. :)

    Carry on.
     
  15. AWH-NJ

    AWH-NJ Senior Stratmaster

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    If all else fails try this guitar book for kids:
     

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  16. torresfan

    torresfan Strat-Talker

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    A good heads up on sore fingers is also a must.
     
  17. sevycat

    sevycat Custom Shop Cat

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    Good Luck! A friend of mine used to teach children, teens, and adults. At the end of the week, he was pretty bothered by one student. As we were drinking at the bar one weekend, he kept saying that little red headed step child from hell has me wanting to quit teaching for good.
     
  18. Malikon

    Malikon Dark Cabaret

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    [​IMG]

    Takes 3 notes to make up a chord. A root, a third, and a fifth. Anything less then 3 notes played at once isn't a chord.

    1 note - Note
    2 notes - Dyad
    3 notes - Chord
    4 notes - .........well now you're just playing jazz. :p
     
  19. Celeste

    Celeste Senior Stratmaster

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    He is a guitar teacher, not a baby sitter. Time to turn the child away and tell the parents why.
     
  20. jguitarnash

    jguitarnash Senior Stratmaster

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    G and Cadd9 are my favorites to get someone going quickly. E A and D are a great choice, but I wouldn't recommend those as the FIRST chords.