Choosing guitar lessons for kids
Studies show that kids who play a musical interest score better on standardized tests. Most musical instruments also help improve children's hand-eye coordination, concentration, and self-esteem. Learning to read and play music requires dedication and hard work -- daily practice is essential -- so children get a tremendous sense of accomplishment when they reach a new level. Plus, playing a musical instrument can give a child an expressive outlet, keeping them emotionally balanced.
While playing almost any instrument provides these benefits, the guitar has a diverse sound and is relatively easy to handle, even for young children.
Acoustic Guitar Lessons
Acoustic guitars are made of wood and strung with steel or nylon strings. They require no electricity or amplification -- sound is produced by plucking the strings because their shape and design naturally amplifies the resonance.
There are many different types of acoustic guitar, but the differences aren't generally important at the beginning stages. The most important thing early on is comfort, and even guitars of the same model can differ slightly, so the best way to choose one is to try out several until you find one that your child likes. Make sure he or she can depress the strings fairly easily and that the guitar sits comfortably in his or her lap.
As with piano lessons, you can generally find a number of private guitar lessons for kids in any given town or city. You may opt to start with group or semi-private lessons early on so your child can learn the basics with other kids at his or her level. Acoustic guitars for kids can be found for under $50, and group lessons generally run under $10 per session, so you don't have to invest much until you're sure your child will stick to it.
Electric Guitar Lessons
Electric guitars are also made of wood but are solid-bodied and thinner than their acoustic counterparts. Unlike acoustic guitars, though, they require pickups and amplifiers for their sound.
As with acoustic guitars, comfort and ease of handling is most important in selecting an electric guitar for your child. Because these guitars are more complicated, and therefore more expensive, you might consider purchasing used or even renting or borrowing until you're sure your child is going to stick with it.
Although the instrument is more expensive, electric guitar lessons for kids tend to run about the same price as acoustic lessons.
Online Lessons Versus Guitar Teachers
While in-person lessons with a guitar teacher used to be the only way to learn, today's technology offers another method: online guitar lessons. These are often free video segments focusing on basic information and techniques (the parts of the guitar, major chords, etc.). Although not ideal for long-term learning or advanced concepts, online lessons can be a great, and inexpensive, introduction.
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