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Dd2 wants to learn to play the electric guitar, should she start with acoustic?

(10 Posts)
marne2 Fri 15-Aug-14 21:32:28

Dd2 is 8 and has autism, she loves music and plays several instruments by ear, refuses lessons as she prefers to self teach ( she struggles with verbal instructions ). At her last review meeting at school the school agreed to look into fish ding for music lessons, we asked dd2 if she would like lessons but she said no.

Her grandad plays guitar and when we visit she likes to have a go and she seems quite good ( playing by ear or copying her grandad ). She did have an acoustic guitar but it wasn't great and it has been broken, she keeps asking for an electric guitar and is obsessed with watching nirvana and guns and roses on her iPad. I would love to get her an electric guitar but I would rather wait until Christmas as we struggle to find things to buy her ( this would make the perfect gift ) but I don't want her to lose interest, do you think a acoustic one would be ok for her to play until Christmas? Is there any difference learning on acoustic compared to electric?

aubreye Fri 15-Aug-14 22:32:06

Acoustic is better to start with and then get an electric guitar (saving the electric guitar for Christmas is a great idea)

year3onuke Sun 17-Aug-14 14:29:23

Hi Marne, we used to hang out on the SN board together 3-6 years ago. Hope your daughter is well.

As my new name suggests I've gone into music education in quite a big way.

The arguments about acoustic versus electric are a bit different where a child has sensory preferences. Children have strong views about the "right" timbre of instrument, your daughters may be even stronger than is typical.
Basically an electric makes the sound carry on longer, enabling you to "cheat" a bit compared to acoustic. But if taught well it doesn't matter as you can get over this.

I think you need (obviously) a sensitive teacher but also an appropriate pedagogy. In my area we have a School Of Rock type music school where you learn electric from the start but more importantly you start with playing real rock music.

The learn-by-ear pedagogy is now so established that it's used in a large proportion of secondary schools. Look up MusicalFutures.

In sum: by all means get her an acoustic but if she insists that it must be electric I would go with that. And let her play Smoke on the Water for months if that's what she wants (have a look at Lucy Green's videos for evidence that that is how popular musicians learnt immediately pre the youtube era. Now they learn from youtube).

good luck
PS my old name rhymed with mingle.

marne2 Sun 17-Aug-14 20:02:38

Hi year3, dd2 is doing great ( growing up fast ), we bought her a acoustic guitar yesterday but she's struggling with playing it, she expects to be able to play the hard stuff before learning the basics. The guitar also came in tuned and I'm struggling to tune it ( I think I'm tone death ). We will take it to her grandads next week and get him to tune it. I think she prefers the sound of electric, we had the opposite problem with drums, she has a drum kit but we found it to loud so we bought her a basic electric drum thingy but she won't play it ( will only play the real thing ) which is a shame as she is quite good on the drums sad. Today she has given up with the guitar and gone back to her keyboard, she seems to have the ability to hear a tune on the tv and then be able to play it, it's not always spot on but always pretty close grin.

She does love music and music therapy was a huge part of getting her to talk when she was at nursery ( her first words were through music and singing ), I just wish the school would do more to help her use music whilst there, they are not a very musical school ( unless you have loads of money to spend on lessons which sadly we havn't ).

year3onuke Mon 18-Aug-14 09:35:51

You may be better off without the lessons marne. For historical reasons, there are a tremendously narrow number of activities that count as "lessons". But that's a another thread.

Wish I could sit down with her.....

With drumkit, yes, all the sensory feedback is so different with the electric.

My son took to trombone - seemed to like the feedback in the mouth.

What kind of music does her grandad play? how are her fine motor skills?

Re wanting to do the hard stuff: children like this (ie 90% of them) will tend to do Smoke on the Water first precisely because it sounds right. Perhaps you could try and learn it from a youtube tutorial yourself and then let her correct you?

marne2 Mon 18-Aug-14 10:34:42

Her grandad plays rock music and heavy metal but tbh he isn't that great at it, he is teaching himself ( never had a lesson ). Dh is trying to learn a tune so he can help her, it's all a bit confusing for me and I. Left handed which makes it tricky. Dh has a work mate who plays in a band, all the members have never had a lesson and one has ADHD and plays by ear. I can't ever see dd being in a band though because when I ask her to play hey keyboard for anyone she refuses grin, she only plays when she wants too! will spend a whole day glued to the keyboard but will also go a month without touching it! I feel the guitar will be the same unless we push her a little.

year3onuke Mon 18-Aug-14 13:34:03

See if you can get "how Popular Musicians Learn" (Green) out of the library. Your dd is more typical than you may think!

The grandad and dad approaches sound absolutely perfect. Would she be interested in the many and varied youtube tutorials all teaching the same thing in slightly different ways?

It's a changing world out there though you'd not know it in school music...

marne2 Mon 18-Aug-14 15:15:14

Thank you, will have a look for 'how popular musicians learn', we have found some good youtube videos , hopefully when the guitar has been tuned it will be easier.

starburst1979 Mon 18-Aug-14 15:18:45

Hi Marne, w bought ds2 (9yo) a guitar tuner from eBay for a couple of pound and its brilliant. Does all the hard work for you.

He's been having lessons for about 6months and he loves it. He's learning electric but we are thinking of adding an acoustic at Christmas.

marne2 Mon 18-Aug-14 16:34:34

thank you, have now ordered her a tuner from ebay smile

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