Why Kids Should Learn To Play Guitar
I’ve been teaching kids to play guitar for some time now and it is one of my favorite things to do. When I was a kid, the world was a different place – my parents would turn us loose in the neighborhood to go out and ride our bikes, roller skate and just explore, play and have fun. It was a time of adventure, mystery and imagination. Fast forward to 2017. Most kids are spending hours a day in front of tech screens, TVs, computers, game consoles, etc… Most parents wouldn’t consider just letting their kids wander around the neighborhood unsupervised.
So, how do you get your kids engaged in something that is creative, adventurous, will teach them to interact in positive ways with peers and that they will absolutely love? Well, guitar is the answer! Almost everyone loves music and finding a great guitar or music program for kids is a fantastic way to keep them out of trouble and engage them in a really healthy activity. You don’t have to tell them this but study after study has shown that kids who learn to play an instrument do better in school and are better adjusted and just plain happier.
Individual guitar lessons are ok but what I vastly prefer in my teaching is to teach classes. Why classes? Well, in individual lessons, you have the same modality of teaching as was offered in the 1950s – the teacher gives the student some material to work on (often dry material they don’t love), they go home and practice (yeah right!) and then they return to the lesson the following week to review and work on it. Repeat this over and over for a year or so and guess what happens? Kids get bored and want to quit! So, classes are vastly different. Ideally in classes guitar material is presented, practiced and played in a group but other music skills are also taught and practiced including: how to play guitar with others, how to play with drums or percussion, how to collaborate with peers and many other things. It’s really fun in classes to get kids playing a basic drum beat and if you were to watch this you’d see neurological development happening right before your eyes. Playing musical instruments requires the ability to do multiple things simultaneously – for example, with guitar you have to perform complex movements with the fretting hand, complex movements with the picking hand while at the same time you are reading music, paying attention to what other people are playing and maybe you’re singing at the same time. What could be a richer and healthier brain exercise activity than that?
So, I hope I’ve convinced you to enroll your kids in learning guitar. It’s a skill, passion and joy that they can savor for the rest of their lives!
Andrew Bassuk is the owner and principal guitar instructor at Harmony Music Center in Ventura, CA. To learn more about Harmony Music Center please visit: www.harmonymusiccenter.com