Teaching Kids Guitar

For the past few weeks I’ve been teaching Ben how to play guitar. I don’t know if your kids are like mine but the last person my kids want showing them how to do something is their own dad. So it’s fair to say it’s been a bit of a battle, but the good news is that it’s really paying off. After the initial steep learning curve that the guitar has, once you can comfortably switch between 3 of 4 chords a lot opens up for you.

The speed at which Ben is picking things up on the guitar is really surprising me. He seems to only really need to be shown things one time before they’re embedded in his brain and he’s now pretty much got all the open chords memorised and can change between them fairly quickly.

Chords for the win!

With guitar there’s a tendency to work on riffs to begin with which seems pretty logical but I think giving kids a handful of chords to play is really pretty rewarding for them. Riffs can be quite isolated and just because you can play one doesn’t necessarily mean the next one will be much easier (not in the short term anyway).

My personal approach is to start with the easier chords to fret, something along the lines of this order…

  1. Em
  2. Am
  3. E
  4. A
  5. D
  6. G
  7. C

E minor is a great opening chord to learn as it’s just 2 fingers and there’s no stretching. Couple it with A minor and you’re on the way to Losing My Religion by R.E.M.

Song suggestions

I spend a lot of time racking my brains as to what sings are good for a 9 year old boy to learn. He’s not heard of most of the stuff I like and he typically likes his pop music which is layered with other instruments. Here’s a few songs which I’ve found went down pretty well…

  • Radioactive – Imagine Dragons
  • Pompeii – Bastille
  • Losing My Religion – R.E.M.
  • Lucky Man – The Verve

Hopefully if you’re teaching a child the guitar then this post might help you!

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