Guitar books can be a great help for kids who are interested in guitar lessons. Guitar teacher Matthew K. shares five of his favorite guitar books for younger students…
The guitar is an instrument that has to be learned by doing. During my experience as a guitar teacher, I’ve found it essential to use a book for kids ages six to ten. Books can keep the student on track, but should not be the only teaching method used. It’s important to keep lessons fun and interesting with songs and riffs that the child can connect with.
A child won’t learn everything about the guitar from a book, but books can provide a great visual aid during your child’s learning experience. Below, I’ve compiled a list of five of my favorite children’s guitar books (in no particular order) for kids to use during lessons.
1) Guitar for Kids for Ages 5-9 by Bob Morris and Jeff Schroedl – Hal Leonard Guitar Method (Songbooks)
Hal Leonard makes great books for learning the guitar. This particular book is one I’ve used on many occasions when teaching younger kids. It introduces each string individually with fun songs and exercises. It includes popular songs such as “Yellow Submarine,” “Hokey Pokey,” “I’m a Believer,” “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” “This Land is Your Land,” and “Hound Dog.” There’s also a CD included to aid the learning process when your child’s guitar teacher is not around. The only drawback to this book is the lack of stimulating illustrations that many other children’s books use.
2) Children’s Guitar Method by William Bay – Mel Bay Publications
Mel Bay is another popular name when it comes to instructional books for guitar. I like this one because it introduces guitar chords early, in an easy and fun way. It is also a great introduction to note reading, music theory, and introduces strumming patterns before getting into the individual notes. There are two drawbacks to this book. First, it has out-of-date visuals. The book was authored in 1982, and it shows. The other drawback is the lack of introduction to tablature. Tablature is the most popular form of notation on the guitar, and it is completely ignored in this book.
3) Kasey’s Guitar Jams for Kids: A Play-Along Guitar Book for Young Beginners (Volume 1) by Kelly Gordon Weeks – Kelly’s Music Books
I really like this book! It was published in 2012, and it’s primarily for very young, beginning guitar players. The visuals are great, and the author immediately introduces pick-holding technique and chords with fun new songs. The songs are original, very funny, and will keep your child interested. The only drawback is that this book doesn’t have any popular songs included. However, as a teacher, this doesn’t bother me, as I would introduce popular songs through my own method and would only use the book as an aid for chords and notation.
4) Alfred’s Kid’s Guitar Course, Book 1 (Book and Enhanced CD) (Kid’s Courses!) by Ron Manus and L.C. Harnsberger – Alfred Publishing Co.
This is the ‘best-of-both-worlds’ book. It’s 48 pages full of colorful illustrations that draws children in immediately. It introduces partial chords and rhythm immediately, and contains a CD to show your child how the songs are supposed to be played. I prefer guitar books for kids to contain a CD, because it’s important for a child to hear how he or she is supposed to sound when playing the guitar. This book is great because it introduces blues, jazz, and classical through colorful cartoon characters. It gives kids a great introduction to the roots of music.
5) Beginning Rock Guitar for Kids: A Fun, Easy Approach to Playing Today’s Rock Guitar Styles by Jimmy Brown – Hal Leonard
Some kids just want to rock! This is the perfect book for those kids. It doesn’t bog the student down with too much theory and history but instead jumps right into proper technique and fun, modern rock songs. I really enjoy the comic-book-style illustrations. This one also has a CD included and is probably the best of the bunch to really get the student excited about learning the guitar.
If your child doesn’t have a guitar teacher yet, what are you waiting for? Find a great guitar teacher and book lessons today!
Matthew K. teaches guitar, piano, and music theory lessons in Brooklyn, NY. He studied music composition at Mercyhurst University, and he has been teaching lessons for four years. Matthew is available to teach in-person lessons as well as online via Skype. Learn more about Matthew here!