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DS, 8 yrs old, wants to learn guitar....

(15 Posts)
ampere Thu 05-Nov-09 19:08:27

Ds isn't marvellously musically gifted but, unlike my 'coercion' to learn recorder (which we're still plugging away at), he announced he wants to learn the guitar.

Now, the school DO do guitar lessons but he wouldn't be able to start til NEXT Sept, not sure whether group lessons are the way to go with him etc. And as it is, they've plonked him in a year below's recorder group cos that's what fitted in with the timetable! Mildly irritated at £60 pa but that's another story.

What I want to know is: What sort of 'guitar' do they DO in school? Or in private lessons where you see 'Childrens guitar tuition offered' I mean, there's strumming chords, there's classical, there's 'rock guitar', whatever THAT is. What DO they actually do?

If your DC does primary school guitar, I'd be very interested in your advice and thoughts.

webwiz Thu 05-Nov-09 19:35:05

DS has been learning the guitar about 3 years now (he's almost 13) and he does classical. I wanted him to learn how to read music and play properly and then when he turns 14 and wants to play Metallic he'll be able to teach himself smile. Group lessons can be a good way to start especially when quite young and you could always switch to one-to-one tution later. DS found some aspects of guitar quite difficult at first as he had quite small hands but now he has giant spade-like hands he's much better.

DS has a private teacher that was recommended to me by his primary school (they didn't offer guitar just violin). I would have started him in a group had it been available but now that he's a bit older he really benefits from having a lesson on his own.

PiggyPenguin Thu 05-Nov-09 19:35:19

my ds started private lessons at 6. It is an acoustic guitar which he has first learned to play on by plucking the notes and now he is plucking and strumming iyswim. I think this is the traditional route to guitar learning, he is following the 'guitar way' music books incase you want to check them out on amazon.

After two years he can now play lots of things very nicely although he is really very bad at practising - be prepared that the enthusiasm may well wear off for practicing very quickly!

PiggyPenguin Thu 05-Nov-09 19:36:17

sorry, should have said that he has one to one lessons.

webwiz Thu 05-Nov-09 19:37:51

whoops meant Metallica or something else equally horriblegrin

andlipsticktoo Thu 05-Nov-09 19:54:48

My DSs all play the guitar. They all started at 7, classical guitar at school with one to one lessons. Ds1 and Ds2 now have private lessons with the guy that used to teach then at school. Ds1 is now 12yrs and up to grade 4 and ds2 is 11 and up to grade 2. Ds1 still learns classical guitar for his grades but is also learning rock guitar and has his heart set on an electric guitar sometime soon! Ds3 has just started one to one lessons at school.

I would ask at your Primary school what sortt of guitar they teach as it does vary widely, and the quality of the teaching does too.

I have to say that it is a huge commitment, they practise every night for half an hour (and they do complain a LOT!), I almost regret them starting as it is so time consuming what with homework and other clubs, but then I hear them play and it is soo worth while! The guitar can sound so beautiful, and unlike so many other instruments, is so versatile.

I think they will play for the rest of their lives now.

Milliways Thu 05-Nov-09 22:10:38

My DS started in Yr3 at Primary, group classical lessons, but due to problems with groups (beginners kept being put in with those who were grade 1 etc) we went to private lessons. DS is now about grade 5 and it is beautiful to hear.

He also has an electric guitar & processor box which he just plays with, but as he can read music and knows "how" to play, he can find his favourite Modern tunes and play them as well.

First guitars are really cheap for the small sizes, and when DS needed a full size was when we spent decent money to get him a good instrument as he had proved he was fairly committed.

Oh, and when he first started they used a recorder book as the early tunes in the recorder book were easy for the guitar!

This is DS's teacher's website with MP3 clips of his CD's - he is a very inspirational teacher!

Legacy Thu 05-Nov-09 22:26:37

DS (age nearly 10) has been learning for a couple of years and is about to do his Grade 3.

He has 1-to-1 lessons at school. The teacher was very good, and met him and asked him what sort of music he liked, showed him lots of instruments and seemed to work out what would suit him best.

So he's learning on a steel-strung acoustic guitar (sometimes called a plectrum acoustic guitar, I believe).

Here's my basic understanding, but I'm willing to be corrected:

The choices were:
'Acoustic' guitar ("Spanish Guitar")- what most children's 'starter' guitars are. Nylon strings (although 3 have a steel covering?) They are played by plucking the strings with the fingers. Lots of 'classical tunes'. Follow Associated Board classical guitar exams?

'Steel Strung Acoustic' (My son's choice). Slightly bigger guitar. Steel strings - make a different, louder, sound. Played with a plectrum (or 'pick') so there is no 'finger plucking'. He still learns to read music, and plays melodies, but also learns chords using both the musical stave, and also the 'TAB' system. He follows the Trinity Guidhall syllabus for Plectrum Guitar. I think the transition from this to electric may be easier, because of the use of the pick?

Electric Guitar. Don't know much about this yet, except that our teacher recommended NOT going straight to this, but learning on Acoustic first. I know there are Rock School grades/ syllabus which are very popular.


ampere Fri 06-Nov-09 13:20:14

Thanks, all!

Madsometimes Fri 06-Nov-09 13:37:01

My children learn the guitar in group lessons at school. The lessons are grouped according to how long the children have been learning (approximately).

The children start learning using the TAB system, playing on one string rather than chords. When the children are ready (usually Y4) the teacher introduces chords and reading music. My dd1 is in Y5 and still is far more comfortable playing on a single string. Chords are very difficult for primary children to master.

My children have not sat grades but they do enjoy their lessons. The teacher is "cool" and the lessons are fun. Also, they get to perform in an end of term concert and if they work hard enough some go to the local old people's home to play carols. In return, the old people spoil them with cakes and treats!

A friend at a different school had a not so good teacher, so it is not always like this. Her dd was never given any music to take home and practice with and the teacher's lessons were not well planned. The quality of the lessons does depend a lot on the teacher.

paulmaloret Sun 20-Mar-16 16:45:02


Can anyone recommend a guitar teacher in the Watford area please? My daughter has had some group teaching before at her school, would be interested in another group or individual. Thanks


SAHDthatsall Sun 20-Mar-16 17:42:01

DS started at about age 8/9 with a basis classical guitar and used a book to start with. We learnt between us and he moved to a electric guitar soon after, and we did the Rockschool grades 1 and 2
Together. No teacher just self taught.

However he quickly got better and I couldn't keep up! When he got to Grade 5 he started to struggle with the techniques so we found a teacher for 1-1s. He's now 12 and will be doing Grade 6 in June.

The Rockschool books are great as they have relevant music and songs - jazz, funk, rock etc.

getoffthattabletnow Sun 20-Mar-16 19:21:42

Yes,I would start him off in group lessons at first to see whether this is a passing fancy.They're cheaper and this often means involvement in school performances.The drawback is the whole group will progress at the pace of the slowest member.Most schools will let you hire an instrument or failing that buy a cheap guitar.If your child shows aptitude it might be worth investing in private lessons.My DS has improved immeasurably with one to one tuition on his acoustic guitar.He also does 2 school rock bands on an amplified roundback acoustic guitar.He's been playing for two years and can now teach himself current pop songs off YouTube.Ds2 started at 8 years in a group lesson.He did start getting frustrated at his slow progress towards the end of the first year.Some kids feel they're not getting anywhere and give up the lessons which is a real shame.

SAHDthatsall Sun 20-Mar-16 19:35:36

Oh yeah forgot that - even though DS taught himself to G4/5 he got a lot of stuff from YouTube where people show you how to play grade songs, different techniques, how to construct solos etc. Though when he did get a teacher this accelerated his learning significantly.

Bought his 3/4 Fender electric guitar and amp for £50 off eBay and sold it 3 years later in eBay for... £55. 😀

IslaSinga Fri 25-Mar-16 16:33:04

My 8yr old Ds is pretty musical (already learning Suzuki violin for 4 years) - he started guitar at school last year and progressed quickly so moved out of the groups and has individual lessons now. He has a fantastic teacher, is working on grade 3 and is in an ensemble. If your Ds will practise, there's no reason he won't do well with guitar lessons.

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