Learning to play the guitar creates a sense of accomplishment. It is not the easiest of instruments to learn but once it is mastered it can lead to lots of other opportunities. Of course the acoustic guitar is not the only choice – perhaps your child would prefer the bass or electric guitar? According a report by the Institute of Education the more peaceful households are those with girls because they prefer the harp or flute while boys go for electric guitar and drums. 81% of children who take bass or electric guitar lessons are boys! The most popular instrument for both sexes is the violin, at 19%, with guitar (acoustic, bass or electric) coming second at 16.3%. Research shows that children don't develop a firm idea about "male" and "female" instruments until they are about 6 years old and some research suggests boys prefer "cool" instruments while leaving classical music to the girls.
What should you be thinking about to help you choose the right guitar teacher for your child?
There are three examination boards accredited by Ofqual that offer guitar exams. These are:
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music – an internationally recognised education body based in London that provides examinations in music.
Trinity Guildhall -Trinity College London
LCM Examinations – a department of the London College of Music within the University of West London.
Examinations are open to all. There are no minimum age restrictions and the choice of learning material is intended to appeal to candidates of all ages. However, in practice, whilst candidates of all ages enter for Initial Stage to Grade 5 examinations, it is unlikely that candidates below the age of 16 will possess the musical maturity for success at Grades 6-8.
7 - 18+yrs old Initial stage & Preliminary
10 – 18+yrs old Grade 1-3
13 – 18+yrs old Grade 4-5
16 – 18+yrs old Grade 6-8
(From the LCM syllabus for acoustic guitar)
There is no minimum qualification required to teach music at home. However, passing grade 8 practical and at least grade 5 theory will indicate an acceptable level of competence regarding playing ability and musical knowledge. A Music Degree would be advantageous.
The guitar has always been considered the cool instrument; by learning to play a guitar, a teenager may find a way to ‘fit in.’
Tony Blair (born May 6, 1953) plays the electric guitar. The former Labour prime minister fronted a student band called Ugly Rumours while at Oxford University. Among his favourite songs are ‘That'll Be The Day’, ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and ‘Blueberry Hill’.
Actor Jonny Depp (born June 9, 1963) received a guitar from his mother when he was 12 and started playing in bands. He dropped out of school to follow his dream of becoming a rock musician and enjoyed some success before he became an actor.
Actor Kevin Bacon (born July 8, 1958) plays the guitar with his older brother Michael, calling themselves "The Bacon Brothers".
Cbeebies and ‘I Can Cook’ presenter Katy Ashworth (born Sept 8, 1988) plays the acoustic guitar.
Australian actor Russell Crowe (born April 7, 1964) famous for films such as Gladiator and Robin Hood, has performed lead vocals and played the guitar for various bands since the 1980s.
There are, of course, thousands of celebrated guitarists. Some of our favourites are Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richard, Mark Knopfler and The Edge.
I’m Yours. This is a must-see video of a child playing the guitar and singing Jason Mraz - I’m Yours. (Actually we think it’s a ukulele, not a guitar, but it still is very sweet!!)
Sungha Jung (born in South Korea Sept 2nd 1996) didn’t start to learn the guitar until the age of 10. Now he is a You Tube phenomenon! He typically takes three days to learn and practice a new piece and video-record it for upload onto YouTube. You never know what those music lessons might lead to! Here Sungha has arranged and played "Someone Like You" by Adele.
Does playing the guitar make your child smarter?
Why don’t girls play guitar? This article discusses which instruments are favoured by which sex and some of the reasons why.
Learning guitar at first was quite difficult, but after some time it started to get easier. You need to practice to get good. In my first year I learned the basics; how to use a plectrum, where the notes are and simple chords. Once you’ve got the basics it’s easy to learn new things. I like playing guitar because now it’s quite easy, good to listen to – and gives me something to do when I am bored!!! If you are just starting out I would say maybe start with acoustic because it’s easier. It will take a while to get very good.
I started to learn how to play the classical guitar twelve years ago, when I was nine. By the age of eleven, all I wanted to do was to pick up an electric guitar and play like the rock bands! However my parents encouraged me to persevere with my classical guitar and it paid off! Principles and techniques from the more technically advanced classical style of playing were transferrable to other types of guitar and playing an electric guitar solo like Bryan Adams, or strumming an acoustic like Noel Gallagher from Oasis didn’t take too long! I play guitar every day. I play because I enjoy it - it makes me feel good!
I had guitar lessons when I was 14 years old and gave up after only one year. The lessons took place in school with a teacher who I just didn't like. Looking back, I can see that a more personable teacher would have encouraged and supported me when I was struggling and would have helped me develop some enthusiasm for the guitar. Instead we both had to endure dreary lessons which resulted in nothing. I really wish I had been allocated a teacher who suited me better and I had persevered with my lessons. Who knows what it might have led to?
I have only just started guitar lessons. I started them because I hadn't played an instrument before and I thought it would be fun. It is difficult when you first start playing but it gets easier as you have more lessons and it all makes sense then. It's really annoying when you're trying to play a tune and you can't, but brilliant when you finally do one that you've been working on for ages.