Music lessons can be a great thing for your child. Learning to play an instrument can give your child a rewarding hobby that helps them build confidence, and music lessons have even been shown to help increase IQ and improve academic performance. The guitar is a challenging choice, but it's also a natural choice for kids who are likely to be more familiar with guitar music than with instruments that they're less likely to hear on the radio, like flutes or violins. Learning to play the guitar starts with choosing the right guitar for your child. Here are a few tips to help you choose a guitar for a child.
There are a few good reasons to choose an acoustic guitar instead of an electric guitar for your child to learn with. For one thing, it's a practical choice – acoustic guitars are more easily portable, because you don't have to bring an amp along everywhere you go in order to hear it. That makes sense for a child taking lessons outside the house or who needs to be able to practice in different locations.
When it comes to learning to play the guitar, an acoustic is also a better choice for a child who eventually will want to play both types of guitars. It's easier to learn on an acoustic and progress to an electric than the other way around.
Another good idea is to choose nylon guitar strings instead of steel to begin with. Steel can be hard on the fingers, and for children with softer, more sensitive skin, trying to get used to the sensation of steel strings underneath the fingers can be difficult, and could discourage them from practicing.
Nylon strings are much easier on the skin, and choosing nylon allows your child's fingers to gradually acclimate to the feeling of strumming the guitar and holding chords. When their fingers become more desensitized, they can switch to steel strings.
Don't Spend A Fortune
It's rarely a good idea to make a huge investment into your child's first musical instrument. For one thing, they'll eventually grow out of a smaller guitar and into a larger model. For another thing, you don't yet know if your child will be a musical prodigy, a casual player, or whether they'll give up and move on to something else in a year or two. Consider renting a guitar or buying one used instead of investing in an expensive new guitar.
Also, don't buy a very small guitar that your child will grow out of too quickly. By the age of six, most children can handle a ¾ size guitar instead of the smaller 30'' guitar. If your child is starting guitar lessons later, around the age of 12, you may be able to skip smaller sizes and go straight to an adult sized guitar. It's important to find a guitar that your child can hold and play comfortably, but if the next size up from the recommended size for their age does fit them comfortably, go with the larger size and save yourself the cost of upgrading later.
With the right guitar and the right tutor, your child will be making beautiful music before you know it.