I used to be the guitar instructor at the local music shop Noteworthy Sheet Music. Twice a year they would have a recital and give the students an opportunity to play, in a recital hall, what they had been learning over the last several months. That was the first experience I had teaching my students something other than music. Leading up to these recitals my younger students(6-10 year olds) would try to wiggle and squirm out of having to go on stage and play for a group of strangers. I found myself teaching the intricacies of poise, the importance of discipline, and the rewards of perseverance more than I was teaching notes and song forms. It was much more rewarding than I had anticipated to help my students develop as individuals as well as musicians. Now I incorporate these non-musical elements into my lessons with youngsters. I also include these principles in my lessons with teens albeit in a less direct way. Through consistency and effective teaching I try and help my students through the ups and downs of becoming a musician, which in many ways mirror the rewards and frustrations of any long-term challenge.
I teach my younger students out of a method book by William Leavitt. It is structured and systematic while retaining musicality in its exercises. The only other materials needed are a metronome(about $30) and a guitar.
If you don’t have a guitar there is a place in town that will rent monthly for as little as $10/month. This can be particularly helpful if you have a small child that will outgrow the instrument or you’re worried that playing guitar is just another passing phase for your teen. I rented different guitars for several months when I started playing and was able to make an educated decision when I committed to buying an instrument.
My teaching method varies with teens or older students. Middle school is a time when children are exposed to many new things including music and one of my main goals is to identify and develop each student’s musical preferences. When I was that age I had a very fun and inspiring teacher and playing the guitar was my favorite thing to do. If it isn’t a chore to practice then children will progress at a faster rate and have a good time doing it. I usually don’t teach out of a method book at this age. Instead I tailor each lesson to fit the student while attempting to engage and inspire them with new music. Send me an email on the Contact page if this seems like a good fit for your child.
Metronome – $30
Method Book – $10