Instilling a sense of passion in children is something any parent would aspire to do, but it’s certainly easier said than done. It’s natural for children as young as three years old to express interest in music. This is also the perfect time to encourage your child to get started at an early age by picking up a musical instrument specifically designed for their physical abilities.
Growing up, our generation had not had a lot of options when it came to high-quality string instruments, but the industry is quickly booming, and there are now ideal options for children and preteens. Here’s what you need to know about learning guitar at a young age and how to encourage your kids to do it by providing them with the right instruments and tools.
Playing Music and Brain Development
Surely, playing music in and of itself can be quite fulfilling, but that’s not the only benefit that your children will reap if they start young. Interestingly, practicing and learning music is only beneficial to a child’s brain when they want to engage in the practice, but never when they’re forced to do it.
However, modern research has shown that a child’s brain undergoes neurophysiological changes when they learn the motor skills associated with playing an instrument, which overall makes a child more attentive and more academically successful. So, if you’re wondering if your child’s obsession with mastering a string instrument is doing them any good, it most definitely is.
Choosing the Guitar
The process of choosing the instrument is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of encouraging ways to get your child to practice. Guitars come in various shapes, sizes, and types. One of the obstacles that your child may face is how heavy the instrument is for them to hold. For instance, a five-year-old child should never be playing the same guitar as an adult.
In fact, musicians from MerelyMusic.com suggest purchasing an instrument specifically made for children. These guitars feature shorter necks, fewer and lighter strings, and are known to be generally lighter than a classic acoustic. As your child grows up, you can go up a size and add more strings.
Paying Attention to Quality
The ideal guitar for a child is one that is adjusted for effortless playability, especially if the child is as young as three to five years old. The strings should generally be easier to press and should not add too much strain on the muscles around the wrists. This will allow your child to be able to practice more frequently and would keep discouragement and loss of motivation at bay.
This is especially important to pay attention to when purchasing an instrument for a child younger than eight, seeing as they tend to get distracted easily. That said, purchasing a high-quality guitar that is specially designed for your child’s age will help the player’s motor skills to send the correct information to the brain and muscles.
This will help children develop their skills seamlessly and swiftly, without being distracted by the physical effort it takes them to play, and instead, be focused on developing the mental capabilities that allow them to play the right notes.
The Number of Strings
It’s not unusual to find fewer strings on a guitar designed for children, and it has actually been proven to be ideal for children younger than the age of six. Remembering notes and chords is much easier to do with fewer strings. As the child gets better with practice, you may then add a string or more depending on how quickly your child adapts to the new guitar.
Strings are cheap and easy to install yourself, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing a new instrument, unless the guitar itself becomes too small for your child’s size, particularly the length of their fingers.
While they would see slower development playing an instrument that requires fully-developed hands, a short neck will also hinder a child’s progress if their hands outgrow the length of their guitar. If you’re unsure what to purchase, it’s best to consult a professional coach or a teacher.
While it’s never too late to pick up your favorite musical instrument and start learning, it’s definitely best to develop musical talent from a young age. Modern research has shown how learning music as a child helps with the development of a healthy brain.
Meanwhile, keeping your child interested may prove to be more challenging than it seems. Make sure you change your children’s guitars when they outgrow them. That said, you may also want to spend more on a high-quality designer guitar and avoid low-quality instruments that will likely discourage your children from practicing.