By Sally Phillips
So your child wants to become a rock star? If you have reached a point where you think that playing the guitar is something that they will take seriously, the next step is deciding what they should play. Being able to play a musical instrument like the guitar, can offer individuals benefits that last a lifetime. It has been shown that mastering any instrument can help improve memory capacity, increase perseverance, enhance coordination, boost listening skills and develop confidence around others. Learning an instrument and taking music classes have even been shown to boost learning and improve school grades. The early stages of acquiring the skils of using an instrument are the most crucial, and ensuring the right one is being played can be pivotal in making sure that your child continues to enjoy music.
Is It The Right Time?
Is this a genuine interest or rather a brief phase that will be over very soon? There is nothing wrong with them having a brief interest in the guitar. But before you part with any real money, you should make sure this is something serious that will last. Whatever their age, a real guitar is an excellent investment for those committed to putting in the time and effort.
Size and Shape
Choosing the right first guitar for your child is very important. A regular guitar will usually be too large to begin with. For a child aged between 3 and 6. a quarter sized guitar should be suitable. For a child aged between 6 and 9, try them with a half size. Children aged between 9 and 12, should try using a three quarters size guitar to begin with, and for over 12's, a full size guitar should be fine for them. But this is only a guide and nothing beats going into a store to have a real test.
Next question is, acoustic or electric? There are arguments for both, but the common consensus is that letting the child decide is best. Whichever gives the child more pleasure and increases their willingness to practise is likely to be the one to choose. The electric guitar will need accompanying equipment, so if there is no preference on this basis an acoustic is simpler.
What's the cost?
It is easy to overspend on the first guitar, but there is no need to, especially if the guitar could jsut be a passing interest. On the other hand, a guitar that doesn't play properly could lead itself to disinterest. If possible look for manufacturers that are genuine guitar makers. You should be able to get fully kitted out for $150, for both electric and acoustic, but can still get good equipment with less with some shopping around.
Try before you buy
This is an area that will need some research and maybe more than one trip to a store. Your child's first instrument is the one they will always look back and hopefully remember fondly. This first guitar could open up many avenues and help your child in many positive ways.
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