Playing a musical instrument enables us to develop dexterity, improves our cognitive functions, exercises our brains, and enhances our linguistic skills and our memories. This short film provides insight into some very interesting scientific discoveries:
The guitar is no different from any other musical instrument -- you need to practise it regularly.
Parents should try to attend their children’s guitar lessons in the early stages if possible, and should be around when they are practising. You don’t need to be able to play an instrument or read music yourself. You can learn alongside your child, make a note of what the teacher says during lessons, and follow any advice given.
When children have just started learning, they don’t need to practise more than five or ten minutes a day. This will help them to make practising part of their normal, everyday routine. The younger the child, the more guidance and support it will need.
What do you need to know about practising?
It’s important to set achievable goals. The teacher will help you here. Your child should be aware of the progress it has made, otherwise it may lose interest. Encourage your child by listing all the things it has already learnt. Sometimes it’s useful to make a short video.
Fix a certain time each day for music practice, to fit in with your family’s daily life. A set routine will teach your child to act responsibly and persevere. But of course you don’t need to be rigid about this. Talk to your child about the importance of practising regularly. If your child acquires work skills that have proved their worth over time, it will not only make progress on its instrument, but will learn self-discipline and dedication. These will also have a positive effect on other areas of its life.
During the first year of guitar playing, it’s important for a child to enjoy the instrument and the time it spends on practising. Make practice time fun by arranging a concert for dolls and teddy bears, playing at street musicians, making a video for the grandparents -- anything that your child will enjoy.
The practice room should be as quiet as possible. Switch off the TV. Send other children to play elsewhere.
In order not to waste time searching for things, make sure everything the child needs is kept in a special place. This applies to music stands, tuning devices, metronomes and music. If you have a special room for practising, this will also help the child to concentrate on the music.
Whatever age we are, one of the greatest challenges in learning an instrument is sticking to a practice routine. What do you do if your child isn’t making progress?
Every music school organises regular concerts throughout the year. Put your child’s name down for one.
Even though playing in a competition may result in extra pressure, some children thrive on such pressure, and like to be praised for their achievements.
Joining a youth band or school orchestra is a splendid way for a child to demonstrate its musical talents. And playing with other instrumentalists will allow it to interact with other musicians. Enquire at the music school; there are usually several options available.
Your child could form a band. The players could perform in care homes, hospitals or other places. Praise, encouragement and applause are a boost for any musician.
Always be understanding, and don’t try to force anything. Sometimes a new teacher might help, or the child might switch to a different instrument. A child who has been learning classical guitar might be motivated to switch to an electric one or a different instrument altogether. Be open to new ideas.