One of the most important factors in guitar lessons for kids is finding the right teacher. Guitar teacher Raymond L. shares his secrets for finding a great teacher for your child…
In my opinion one of the first qualities, you, as a parent, have to look for in a guitar teacher is that they inspire your child and help them develop a profound love for this beautiful musical instrument.
If your guitar teacher does not inspire your child, very likely they won’t be able to motivate your child or awaken in them a passion for the guitar, which is so essential to assure a progressive and sound development in your child’s musical and technical abilities.
As a parent, you should ask yourself these questions to see if a guitar teacher is right for your child:
- Does the guitar teacher know how to stimulate a positive attitude in my child?
- What systems does he or she use to motivate my child?
- Does the guitar teacher have good teaching skills and experience?
Stimulating a Positive Attitude
It is crucial that your guitar teacher works with your child to create a positive mindset because many students get easily frustrated when they are taking beginner guitar lessons. So the guitar teacher has to help with the anxiety of the student, always making him or her feel at ease.
They should tell your child, from the start, to avoid using the words “hard” or “difficult” in their vocabulary whenever they are experiencing some technical difficulty in playing a piece of music, but rather to substitute the word “challenging” for other words that have a more negative connotation.
Your guitar teacher should encourage your child to never say, “I can’t”, but to say instead, “I will”.
It is also essential for your guitar teacher to get to know your child’s interests: for example what kind of music they love in order to be prepared and able to teach your child those songs, or the type of music that most inspires them.
Your guitar teacher has to establish long-term, intermediate- and short-term goals together with your child, by brainstorming with them and incorporate those goals in the curriculum.
Your guitar teacher should never foster the feeling in your child that they are being punished, for example, making them repeat a song or a passage too many times. On the contrary, they should reinforce the child’s self-confidence by accompanying them, while repeating the song or music section, just enough to keep their interest and help them continue learning.
When your child achieves one of their goals and is able to play their first song, riff, or piece of music satisfactorily, they will get what we call in psychology, “intrinsic motivation”.
This type of motivation develops from inside your child, from the pleasure they get from the task itself, from their enjoyment of playing, or even the satisfaction of working with the music. Many children are already intrinsically motivated because they simply love music or have an idol that they want to imitate or emulate.
Your guitar teacher should also stimulate your child’s motivation by using “extrinsic motivation” by rewarding him or her for their progress, especially if they notice signs of discouragement or low motivation. This approach will help to compensate for any gaps in intrinsic motivation and keep your child’s motivation at a high level.
Your guitar teacher can use different methods and systems to reward and motivate, such as:
- Playing the guitar for your child
- Using encouraging words such as: “Good job”, “Perfect”, “Awesome”, etc.
- Rewarding them with stickers for their music book or notebook when they play a song correctly
- Practicing together with your child, accompanying them while they play the instrument
- Repeating and adding rhythm to the song or music if they have played the song correctly
- Giving out certificates of merit and achievement
- Organizing jam sessions with other students of the same level
- Organizing recitals together with students for parents, family and friends
- Organizing awards and competitions between students
Parents should also use what I call the “Motivation Meter” that shows the measure of their child’s motivation. This is the intuition or feeling you get when your child starts showing lack of interest in attending guitar lessons. Once the “Motivation Meter” sends the alarm signal to your mind, immediately you should start looking for the cause of this lack of motivation in your child. You’ll want to be able to talk to their guitar teacher about the problem too.
Teaching Skills Versus Technical Skills
It is of vital importance for parents to know the type of education, preparation, musical background, technical skills, music knowledge, and even written reviews their child’s guitar teacher has.
Do not be impressed only by a guitar teacher’s technical skills (how well they play the guitar) because this aspect is not always a guarantee that they also possess the ability to communicate information clearly and with ease. It is important to distinguish a performing artist from an educator.
Parents, you don’t want to have to struggle with your child to get them to their guitar lessons, neither would you like to see them dragging to practice. I’m sure you would like to see your child enjoying their guitar lessons, so please consider these tips to evaluate and select your child’s guitar teacher with consciousness. Consequently you will contribute to a delightful experience for your child with the guitar.
Interested in guitar lessons for kids? Search for a guitar teacher near you!
Raymond L. teaches guitar, classical guitar, musical theory, ukulele, and Spanish in Jacksonville, FL. Raymond has been teaching for over 30 years and he specializes in pop, blues, modern, Latin, classical and popular music. Learn more about Raymond here!
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