Kids Learning Music – Tips for Parents

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*Parents are the key to success – Parents are without a doubt the best teachers of all. As any teacher knows, without parents, even our best efforts have very little impact. Because we understand this so well, we have created this page to help you as a parent understand what your children need to do to ultimately achieve success on the guitar.

* Practice as a habit: By giving your children (especially toddlers) the choice to practice or not, they will usually choose not to. Genuine practice in most cases is a tedious and boring task, but a necessity. Think of learning music like learning to read. The early stages require concentration and are not particularly pleasant. If young children were given a choice, they would probably prefer to watch television and never learn to read. But later in life they would regret it. The fact is that most parents work hard with their children teaching them to read and write. Music is no different. If you really want your child to learn music, we highly recommend getting involved. The first year is when they need you the most. Children do not have the wisdom of adults and leaving them the choice of what, when and how to practice will for the most part result in abandonment. Kids who put in extra hours will make the practice a habit. In almost every case where a child excels on the guitar, there is a parent supporting them behind the scenes.

* So what do they need? – Junior students will work mainly with two fonts;

Progressive Guitar Method Book 1

G4GUITARMETHOD Student Portfolio

These items are included in the starter kit. Additional brochures will be handed out as needed.

*As a parent, what do I need to know about G4GUITARMETHOD? – In the front of your binder is a checklist. (open your folder and it should be the first page you see). This checklist will list all the requirements for the current level. As the student progresses, boxes will be checked to show that she has successfully performed a particular skill or song. Basically, the focus of your practice should be where a box is a tick. The teacher will sometimes write comments in the section below. Parents should review this each week. Once all the boxes are checked, they will receive a certificate and move on to the next level.

* So how can I help with your practice? – Take a little time each week to see what they are learning. Ask your child exactly what he is working on. The best time to ask is right after the lesson. If you ask them regularly, they will often pay more attention in class knowing that the questions will come your way. Try to understand it yourself. Even better, try learning to play the guitar yourself. We also have classes for adults, so don’t hesitate to sign up.

* Performance – Set specific dates for your child to perform their latest piece for family or friends. Once a quarter (4 times a year) would be fine. That way they have something to work for. Make sure you reward them in some way.

*Incentives: It is important to understand the difference between an incentive and blackmail. Blackmail is forcing someone to do something that only serves you. An incentive is a positive way of encouraging the individual in question to reach her potential. Using incentives with children helps them eventually discover that practice has its own rewards. Instead of just taking your kids to a movie or buying them a PlayStation game, use them as incentives.

*Starting at an early age of 5-7 years: The focus for toddlers is more fun to develop positive associations with the guitar. Learning the guitar requires the development of fine motor skills, auditory (listening) awareness, and comprehension. Fine motor skills for playing the guitar develop more slowly in a toddler, but the work they do at this age pays off later. These skills are the same as learning to speak, read, and write a language. You should expect your development to be more or less the same. If your child practices writing for 10 minutes a day, he’ll notice gradual improvements over time. Because children practice speaking much more than reading or writing, they develop speech more quickly. It is simply a matter of practice. We wouldn’t expect a 5-year-old to write a novel, but we do expect them to communicate at a reasonable level. The early years are essentially foundation building and the habit of practice. Don’t expect too much, just encourage them and be mindful of the time they put into their practice.

* Listen: The music your children listen to plays an important role in their learning. If you want your child to appreciate and ultimately be a passionate guitar player, you need to expose him or her to guitar music. Instead of 2 hours of TV or computer a day, give them 30 minutes of music appreciation. Find music that features obvious guitars like Eric Clapton, Santana, The Beatles, Green Day, etc. Why don’t you try classical, flamenco or jazz guitar? Most libraries have a good variety of CDs. Especially the Sydney Conservatory of Music. Also try renting a DVD of a concert instead of a movie. Take a look at the ‘School of Rock’ DVD. It is a humorous and light-hearted look at elementary school age children learning music.

* Guitar Fitness: Learning the guitar is often confused with playing the guitar. Many people decide to learn to play the guitar because they think it will be fun. They are focused on playing the guitar. Learning guitar is not particularly fun. Playing the guitar is fun. Playing the guitar is one of the best feelings someone can experience. But learning to play the guitar is HARD WORK. It’s like being fit. Getting in shape is hard work. Being in shape is a great feeling. But as you get fitter, it gets easier. Young children need a lot of parental support and involvement. Try to sit with them when they practice and watch them. Pay close attention to what they are doing. For children under 10 years old it is essential.

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