Do you want to teach your kids to play guitar? Perhaps you’re an adult and want to learn guitar yourself? Either way, you might be wondering what age to start guitar lessons.
Luckily, you can start to play guitar at any age. But there are a few things to consider for each age.
Read on to learn more about the best age to start guitar lessons.
In this article:
Best Age to Start Guitar Lessons
Guitar teacher Craig Gibson runs Create Music. Create’s guitar teachers help thousands of children in schools across the UK to learn guitar. He says:
“The best age to start guitar lessons is between 6-10 years. But people can achieve success starting much later than this.”
“What’s more important is when you or your child wants to learn the guitar. Having the desire to learn an instrument will make lessons more enjoyable.”
“If you force your child to learn when they don’t want to, they may not practice or improve, so taking lessons will be a waste.”
What Age to Start Guitar Lessons For Children?
The best age to start guitar lessons for most children is about six years old. Before this age, there are a few factors that may limit them.
Short Attention Span
Some very young children may succeed. But many don’t have a long enough attention span to learn the guitar.
Lack Of Fine Motor Skills
They also may not have the necessary fine motor skills to play the guitar. It takes a certain amount of finger strength to push on the strings. Younger children may not have the reach to play guitar chords.
Lack Of Motivation
A child that learns the guitar at age six can learn it just as well as someone who starts at age two. If you wait until your child is six, though, they may feel more motivated than a younger child. That, and a sense of competitiveness, can help encourage your child to practice.
Consider Other Instruments
Playing guitar requires more precision than musical instruments like the piano or drums. For example, getting a piano to make a sound involves striking a key. This is much easier than holding down a guitar string and plucking it. If a very young child expresses interest in playing music, have them start on the piano or drums.
Then, they can develop their musical ear and some other basic skills. Once they have more motor skills and control, they can switch to the guitar. In the meantime, they’ll learn how music works and develop a practice routine.
You should also think about the size of a child’s hands. Luckily, you can find 1/2 or 3/4 size guitars, which are smaller than adults’ instruments. The smaller sizes have the same layout and design, but they fit children’s hands better.
A young child doesn’t need to learn guitar chords yet. And even with a smaller guitar, they may be unable to place their fingers in the correct position. Instead, they can start by learning melodies that play one note at a time.
If a child wants to learn guitar chords, it is a good idea to start by learning an open chord like A or E minor. Beginner guitar chords like this are some of the easiest for kids to learn.
What Guitar to Get?
If your child wants to play the guitar, you need to consider which to get. As mentioned, you should look for a smaller model to fit your child’s hands. Remember, your child’s comfort is more important than their age.
- A 1/2 sized classical guitar is great for children eight years old or younger.
- Children eight and up can get a 3/4 guitar, which is bigger, but it will still be comfortable to play.
- A younger student who is taller than average might be ready for a bigger model.
We recommend that children start on nylon-stringed Spanish guitars. These strings are softer and will be easier on your child’s fingers than the metal strings on an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar.
Older kids may also prefer a small scale guitar, such as a Fender Mustang. These are great for players with small hands. But, we recommend your child starts on an acoustic guitar and learns electric later.
If you have a tight budget, you can look at used guitars. Then, you’ll be able to get a good model, but you won’t have to pay full price.
You may also want to consult with a guitar teacher. They can recommend models for you or your child to ensure you get an instrument that will be comfortable. For more information, check out our guide to choosing your first guitar.
We also have several lists that can help you choose, including:
How to Tell If Your Child Is Ready To Play Guitar
You may picture your child playing the guitar, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready. You should consider a few things to make sure your child will be successful in guitar lessons.
Make Sure They Want To Play
First, you need to make sure your child wants to play the guitar. A lack of interest can make it very hard for the child to practice and attend music lessons. Having an interest in the instrument will give young kids a huge advantage.
Can They Focus For Half An Hour?
You should also make sure your child can maintain their focus for at least 30 minutes. Most guitar lessons last at least that long, and your child may need to practice for 30 minutes each day.
Can They Do This Regularly?
An interest in the guitar is great, but your child needs to want to pick up the guitar and practice it. You can do everything to try and motivate your child to play. But, if you’re the one forcing them to practice, they may come to resent the guitar and want to quit.
Are Their Hands Strong Enough?
Finally, your child needs to have finger strength and dexterity. Craig Gibson says, “it is quite difficult for children under 5 to play the guitar. This is due to finger strength, coordination, comprehension, and attention span.”
If you want to help your child learn to play the guitar, you can do a few things to make them more successful:
- Let your child have control of their learning
- Have your child try different sizes to find what’s comfortable
- Get some guitar picks
- Practice regularly
- Find guitar strings with a lighter gauge
- Use an electric tuner
- Play music with people
- Find an experienced guitar teacher
Following these tips can help you or your child love the guitar, even after the honeymoon phase ends. Then, improving at the instrument will feel easier.
Approaches to Learning
You should also consider a few ways to learn guitar. You can take traditional private guitar lessons with a teacher, but there are other options, such as:
- Find a guitar group class
- Learn the instrument online
- Read books and magazines
Think about how you or your child learns the best. Private guitar teachers are great for some, but they aren’t always an option.
You and your child could also use some of the resources on our website to learn to play guitar. Check out our article on how to self-teach guitar for more information.
Tips for Teens
The teenage years are a make-or-break period for learning an instrument.
Guitar students who started at a young age may quit playing the instrument. They might develop other interests they want to explore—for example, another instrument or a sport.
If you’re too busy with school, you may need to choose one activity to focus on.
Other young beginners may keep playing the guitar into their adulthood. As long as you have time to practice the guitar, you can continue to play it.
Advice for Adults
Adults can learn to play the guitar, even if they never played an instrument as a child.
The COVID-19 pandemic gave people a lot of time to start a new activity. As the world reopens, some adults may struggle to find time to practice.
But, learning guitar as an adult is generally harder than as a child. “A child who has lessons at school between the ages of 8-12 is much more comfortable with this process than an adult who takes the same journey between the ages of 32-36,” says Gibson.
Here are a few tips to make learning guitar easier as an adult:
Use Online Resources
Learning the guitar with online materials can help busy adults make progress.
Get A Tutor
But, finding a tutor in person or online can help guide you and provide accountability.
Make Time For Practice
If you’re learning the guitar as an adult, find time in your schedule. You could decide to wake up half an hour early to practice before work. Or you could bring your guitar to work with you so that you can practice on your lunch break.
You can make progress as long as you maintain a regular practice schedule. It’s better to practice 10 or 20 minutes every day than to practice an hour or two on the weekends. And give yourself time to get better at the instrument.
Still, some adults may feel like they have to be perfect immediately. They can put pressure on themselves to make progress quickly, but it doesn’t work like that. Gibson says, “if these challenges can be overcome then adults of all ages can progress just the same as their more youthful counterparts.”
Is It Ever Too Late to Learn Guitar?
You can’t be too old to learn to play the guitar. “The only physical barrier to learning at an older age would be if a person were suffering from an ailment such as arthritis,” Gibson explains.
Even then, you may be able to find simple guitar riffs that don’t need much dexterity. You can even learn the bass guitar, which is usually more straightforward than a six-string guitar.
Like children looking to play the guitar, adults will need to be able to focus for 30 minutes. That way, you’ll be able to get into the rhythm of a practice routine. You should also have an interest in the guitar and a desire to learn. Really, there is no best age to start guitar lessons for adults.
The Best Age to Start Guitar Lessons for You
The best age to start taking guitar lessons is more complex than stating a number. You need to consider the interest of the potential student.
It’s also important to consider if you or your child can focus on something for half an hour and if they have the dexterity needed to play.
If you or your child want to start learning guitar then I’d encourage you to give it a go! It is a fun way to start your music education, whether you are an adult or a child.