The guitar is a captivating instrument that’s played in just about every style of music. Rock? Jazz? Blues? Soul? Country? Classical? Gypsy? Flamenco? Those, and more.
That’s one of the reasons it’s a great instrument to learn to play. Country might be your child’s thing today, but who knows where their musical journey will take them? As they get into their guitar lessons, the haunting strains of classical guitar might catch their heart and … off they go!
The guitar is known as a resonant instrument, meaning the string vibration resonates throughout the body. We humans have gotten pretty fancy with our electric guitars in the past half-century, so it’s hard to believe the guitar began as a gourd.
Wait. The Guitar Began as a Gourd, a Stick, and a String?
All instruments have evolved quite naturally over the centuries, and the guitar’s no exception. It’s believed that the first guitar was created in ancient Mesopotamia (around 3200 BCE) by putting a stick through a hollowed-out gourd and placing a string along the stick. That’s about as basic as you can get – but it made listeners, singers and dancers happy!
Why Choose the Guitar?
If your child is drawn to guitar music, it will likely be a great instrument to learn. But unless it’s already the first choice, there’s the first question to ask – what instrument are they drawn to? You can check it out by asking them to play their favorite tunes and point out which part they like the best. Their reaction will speak volumes – especially if they’re playing “air guitar” with their body while listening to the music!
How to Choose the Right Guitar
Choosing the best guitar to learn can be a challenge, so don’t make the mistake of taking anyone else’s word for it. You need to find the right one for your child, so unless they already have strong leanings towards one, we suggest you research.
Should you Begin with an Electric Guitar or Acoustic?
If you’ve been researching guitars, you’ve probably seen there are a lot of opinions out there. Some, for example, advocate for children starting with a classical acoustic guitar because the strings are easier on fingers.
And that’s true! But while acoustic guitar strings are, indeed, easier on the fingers, that doesn’t mean the acoustic is necessarily the best guitar to start with. What if your student is excited about learning rock?
It’s All About the Music, Man!
An acoustic guitar will be a downer for a budding guitarist who idolizes Eddie Van Halen and is totally into that sound. Besides, the excitement of learning the electric guitar to play the music he loves will carry your child through the initial phase of sore fingers.
On the other hand, what if your child wants to take guitar lessons to play the soulful music of guitarists like Willie Nelson? There’s no question then, acoustic it must be.
This is a very important factor to get right because the perfect guitar will be a rocket booster to success. So to us, it’s simple: the driving question behind choosing electric or acoustic is … what kind of music does the student want to play?
Why Guitar is a Great Instrument to Begin With
Unlike some of the more demanding instruments (think violin, for example), the guitar is relatively easy to learn. This means a chance for success, right off the bat – and there’s nothing like success to encourage a beginning student.
What’s more, after learning just a few chords a student can actually begin to play songs. Then, step by step, the budding guitarist will become comfortable with the instrument and be able to take on new musical and social situations. Who knew playing with a band (or for your family) would be so much fun?
Guitars are Sized (and Priced) for Everyone
What if your child is too young to handle the size of a guitar? You have choices. Not only are guitars made in various sizes, but you can also choose a regular ukulele or baritone uke. It’s a natural transition to go from these to a guitar as your child grows.
Another advantage of beginning music lessons with a guitar is the cost (or relative lack of it). Although we are not keen on starting with a cheap instrument to “see how it goes”, a decent beginning guitar is more affordable than many other instruments.
Why You Should Purchase a Good Instrument
The best way we can explain why you should purchase a good instrument for your child is by analogy. Let’s say you wanted to get in shape, so you took out a membership at the nearby gym. You got a couple of great workout outfits, and you were stoked!
You had high hopes as you entered the gym for your first workout, ready to burn those calories and tone those muscles! But once the doors closed behind you, you noticed a slight moldy smell. Then, you heard the rhythmic squeak of a (rusty?) bicycle machine. Hmm.
And the locker room? No, that was just as bad, so you were on your way out of there. You’d cancel your membership by phone, thank you very much!
Now, how would you like to learn to play an instrument that couldn’t keep tune or had a cheap, tinny sound?
Physical and Emotional Benefits of Learning the Guitar
Musicians speak of “chasing that next level” – striving to express yourself with more poise, creativity, sophistication, and finesse. This push to improve brings so many benefits, including self-discipline leading to self-responsibility.
Learning to play the guitar is also great for people with ADD.
According to the BBC, studies show that learning musical instruments can help people who suffer with ADHD improve their attention span, their impulse-control, and their memory. Studies also show that learning music “helps us improve our ability to interact with the world around us.”
There are also valuable emotional benefits:
According to Live Science, playing music can reduce stress and lessen anxiety and depression. These changes are physically visible in lower blood pressure and decreased heart rate.
Going With the Flow
It’s believed these positive emotional benefits are the result of the musician entering the “flow state” of complete absorption. This state is akin to the mental state achieved in deep meditation.
Finally, there is a simple reason the guitar is so high in popularity: the guitar makes a great life-time hobby!
- You can grab the guitar when you’re on your way to the park. Who knows who you might meet?
- You can pick up the guitar and play a tune when you’re feeling low. Many guitarists consider their guitar to be a best friend.
- You can play and sing to yourself in your room. Enjoying time by yourself has great emotional advantages!
- You can play with a group of other instruments or all guitars. It’s such a versatile instrument.
- Unlike a piano, you can tune it yourself, take it with you everywhere, and look cool walking down the street with your instrument bag over your shoulder.
Cy-Fair Music and Arts in Houston is a supportive and nurturing environment – a great place to learn music. We will do everything we can to help you and your children achieve your unique goals.
Read our post How Your Child Will Succeed in Guitar Lessons for additional information. We are also at your service to answer any questions you might have.
Whether you’d like to explore this opportunity or are ready to get started, we are here to help.
Ready to sign up for "Guitar Lessons near me"? Call us at (281) 855-8855!