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ideal age to start learning guitar

So, this is a question I’m often asked. There is a maxim along the lines of “Give me the child till the age of seven and I will show you the man”, and in my humble opinion the principle can also be applied to learning the guitar. Clearly the rate at which a student develops is dependant on a number of factors regardless of age i.e. natural talent, dedication, genuine interest and support.

From experience, teaching kids under the age of seven is challenging. At that stage coordination can still be an issue regardless of how much natural talent parents believe they have witnessed. There are also physical factors; small children have small hands and grasping the neck of a guitar does not, at first at least, feel natural. Additionally, the attention span of students under seven is relatively short. Objects in the room or pictures on the wall are often far more more interesting than the task at hand. There are lots of things to take in and lots of questions to ask when you’re six.

To progress, you need to practice, and to practice well requires motivation. I’m not sure how motivated young children are, and playing the guitar may not seem any more appealing than other tasks. A powerful incentive to practice and progress is the desire to replicate, to want to be able to play ‘that’ riff, track or song. This tends to awaken in students, particularly boys, around the age of twelve…though the difference between male and female students is worthy of a separate post.

In my opinion, 12 is the ideal age, 10 is OK and depending on the student, 8 years old at a push.

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