What Age is Best to Start Learning Guitar?
Most parents want the best education for their child, and many will also dream of raising a musical genius. One of the most frequent questions we get asked is “what’s the best age for my kid to start learning the guitar?”
The truth is that there really is no right age at all. If your child has started to show an interest in music and taken a shine to the guitar, then that’s a pretty good indication that they might be ready to start learning in some capacity.
I personally started learning the guitar and having lessons aged seven. At the time it felt like a pretty natural learning process, which probably has quite a lot to do with having an excellent teacher who knew how to adapt to younger students. I really do consider myself pretty lucky for having started early. Getting to your teens and already knowing your way around the guitar is not a bad position to be in!
I’ve also been on the other side of the fence and taught students as young as five. Generally speaking it was really enjoyable, and watching a kid that young belt out a tune is pretty impressive. However, it’s not always plain sailing.
In my experience, the issues tend to lie in the approach. Teaching a child of five requires vastly different expectations and understanding to teaching someone aged 15. Attention spans are obviously far shorter, as is the patience needed for practicing.
What I picked up when teaching young kids was that the best thing to aim for was maintaining an interest in the instrument and a sense of excitement around playing the guitar. Too much pressure is the killer of that, and once that sense of fun is lost, then it’s basically game over. In my experience this was the key, and learning a song or a couple of chords was really a bonus.
There are a load of ways you can keep learning fun, and steer the process gently towards playing a tune that makes sense to the wider world. For starters, keeping things relatable is always going to be a winner. Unless your student has the coolest parents in the world, a five year-old probably won’t care about playing Smoke on the Water. But they’ll probably dig learning Thomas the Tank Engine!
On completely the opposite end of the scale, you’re never too old to start learning. When teaching adult students, quite often the challenge is getting the time in a busy life-schedule to practice. With jobs, families and other commitments, finding the regular time playing an instrument requires is pretty tough.
So – there isn’t a right or wrong age. For me it’s all about whether or not there’s a genuine interest (rather than a passing phase), and whether or not the time and patience exists to commit.