Topic: help teach a 6yr old!

I have only been learning guitar for a year as part of a UNI degree and my knowledge is very basic. I have just been given a kid guitar as my 6 year old wants to learn too. what is the best way for me to teach her as we can't afford professional lessons. I want her to play for fun and not get bogged down on all the theory as she can learn the hard stuff later. ( I was taught piano with the "lets learn all the theory method" and now have difficulty playing anything without music in front of me and I just want to play for fun and to accompany)

Are there any kid orientated learning for kid sites out there we can use?
please help as she is really eager and I want her to stay that way.



Re: help teach a 6yr old!

Hey Rattles and welcome to Chordie! cool

Don't know about teaching sites for kids. Try finding songs she likes and breaking them down into easy playing (i.e. many people are taught their first G chord as 1st string 3rd fret, and only strumming the top 4 strings. Likewise, C could be played with 2nd string 1st fret and only strumming top 3 strings, etc).

If no-one comes back with your ideal answer, this method might be worth considering.

Best of luck with it to you and your daughter!

<-----<< On an even field, only talent prevails! >>----->
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Re: help teach a 6yr old!

rattles I second what KajiMa said.  I've got a few beginner books laying around here... one is a kid's book that came with a horrible "first act" guitar.  Those are type of chords in the book.  I've got a few kids myself, and I think that is a great way for a little person to start to play since there's no way they'll be able to stretch out a full G or C chord!!

Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

Re: help teach a 6yr old!

I got a beginner book for my daughter when she was about that age.  She never took to it, but I retain the book just in case.  It looks like a pretty good method to me.  The title is Progressive Guitar Method for Young Users.  It comes with a CD.  Once your child gets the easy chords, I'd suggest adding some songs where you sing and she strums a steady rhythm.  I'd suggest using a metronome when you get to this stage because once you get a steady beat in their spirit, it's there for life. 

Good on you for giving it a go. 

Above all, be patient.  I've been trying to teach my daughter the easy chords for years, but she just won't listen to me.  Her friends enjoy a quick lesson now and then.  My daughter tries to solo without knowing any chords or any scales or any theory.  That makes it tough on her.  Eventually maybe she'll humble herself enough to admit what she doesn't know and let me teach her something. 

- Zurf

Granted B chord amnesty by King of the Mutants (Long live the king).
If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome! - Mekidsmom
When in doubt ... hats. - B.G. Dude

Re: help teach a 6yr old!

Read through some of this and you kind of get an idea how to teach a child.  I am sure there are plenty more sites.  Good luck.

You can see all my video covers on [url][/url]
I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

Re: help teach a 6yr old!

I show my 13 yr old son how to play chords by using a chord chart. If i could just get him to be patient through the break in period he could learn. He wants to give up after just a few minutes of practice. I finally just told him to study the chord charts and how to use it on his spare time. He was just given a 1950 something model Silvertone from his granddad and he really wants to play it the way i do but he just don't understand that he has to learn the basics first. I guess you really have to love the guitar to take time to learn and accept the fact that learning to play it won't be easy.

Re: help teach a 6yr old!

I have helped some kids get started and one thing very important. Is the guitar they are trying to learn on playable. The first boy I helped get started come with his guitar and just had a terrible time and got so frustrated cause he couldn't do any of the very basic things I was doing. We switched guitars and his guitar was unplayable, the action was way too high and even in the first position I couldn't fret any strings.
It is normal to have sore fingers when you start, but a beginner should have a guitar that is user friendly. There are alot of good guitars out there that are not expensive.

Another thing some call them cheater chords, but I see nothing wrong with teaching kids shortcuts to get them started strumming a couple chords, then on to some tunes. If they have fun they have abetter chance of sticking with it.

Later, Wayne P

Re: help teach a 6yr old!

dfoskey wrote:

I show my 13 yr old son how to play chords by using a chord chart. If i could just get him to be patient through the break in period he could learn. He wants to give up after just a few minutes of practice. .

I got my son an electric guitar last year for crimbo. It kept him occupied for about 3 days on and off. It is now back in its box. He was interested but I think they think they can just pick it up and do it.

I would say Zurf's advice is good, hold on to it. I am keeping this guitar for when my son says " I want to learn"

Even when kids seem to be really interested they lose it very quickly when they have to actually learn something.
My daughter is a different story, she is learning the violin and the flute and can play a wee bit on the keyboard and she is only 9


ye get some that are cut out for the job and others just get by from pretending

Re: help teach a 6yr old!

I could also add something in here about that whole "desire to play".  I've said it a ton of times on the forums.  My dad played guitar from the time I can remember.  I picked up a "kid" guitar he had laying around quite a few times over the years... and Dad did make a couple attempts to teach me.  BUT... I never really wanted to do the work to learn.  I watch my four year old pick up her little guitar my husband bought for her.  She doesn't want to "learn" she just wants to "play".  It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I saw Dad couldn't (or maybe didn't want to... I'm not quite sure) play at the campfire anymore.  I finally said to myself that it's time to learn!  Now, there's a few guitars laying around the house.  My daughter's tiny little guitar has steel strings on son's has steel strings, my husband's does too.  I built up some toughness playing these.  Then... we went out and bought me a nylon string classical.  Partially this is due to easier fretting, partially because of the sound, mostly because I liked it best.  In the end tho... I've been playing it for a week and picked up the other steel string guitars in the house yesterday to see the difference now that I'm used to mine.  NYLON is WAY easier to fret!  I can't imagine a little person with those tender little fingers on a steel string. 

I guess I'm saying... it may or may not be the right time for her to learn.  It may get put in the closet until years down the road (in my case 20 some years!) until she's ready.  And also... the strings might just be too hard for her to fret so a nylon could possibly be a better bet for someone that size.  IF I was going to try to teach my little one, I'd be looking into nylon for her.  Just a couple things to keep in mind.  On the other hand... she might be ready willing and able to play... I wish you well and music in your family's life!!

The best thing my dad did for me... was have me as his "page turner"... I actually learned A LOT at a young age (when I could read of course), just by following along and knowing WHEN to turn the page in his music books... I have MANY happy memories of doing just that!

Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

10 (edited by johncross21 2009-09-20 21:44:03)

Re: help teach a 6yr old!

I taught my daughter from the age of 6.

to start with some simple songs (theres loads on Chordie) and have them playing the root note of the chord. so just play the A note instead of an A chord etc. this will help them get the feel for the guitar.

you can teach them how to hold the guitar,  tempo, the names of the fingers, the names of the strings, the musical alphabet and the idea of moving up and down the frets. after they've done the low notes have them play the same notes an octave higher so they learn some higher notes and the names of those strings. thats not lesson one thats some months work. it all takes time.

then some easy songs in the key of A (the chords A D and E). you can transpose some songs to A if you run out of songs

I taught my daughter from 6 to 8 using "abracadabra guitar" which is a book published by A&C Black and later used a video called Kids Guitar from Homespun video. both focus on traditonal songs/nursery ryhmes and introduce chords.


Re: help teach a 6yr old!

now THAT sounds doable johncross21!!!

Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

Re: help teach a 6yr old!

Thanks all for your replies.
I started with teaching her and her older sister (9) a simple song at the weekend. Michael Finnigin (the wind blew his whiskers innigin!!) it only has 2 chords and we used the simple G. This has done the trick so far as they have both praacticed a few times.

I will see if I can get hold of the abracadabra book here in Australia.
I will also look at the web site.

Just for the record, it's not so much that I want to teach her it is more she wants to learn. Since I got my guitar for uni last year there has barely been a week go by that it does not sustain another ding! This is because she keeps trying to play it and doesn't seem to realise how big it is  in relation to her little body.
Also I think it is hard to teach these kind of things to your own kids because they don't want to listen to you.

Ayway we will keep trying as long as she is interested.

The guitar we have is a nyon striing and actually has a better tone than mine! I think this is because it is about 15 years old and a reasonable quality.  I think Santa may bring her her own if she keeps it up.

Thanks again

Re: help teach a 6yr old!

Rattles... that is ALL awesome to hear!  She wants to... that right there is a breath of fresh air to me!  Good thing about the nylon strings too.  I know it made a huge difference to ME... I can only imagine it would to a child too.  My son and husband both keep GRABBING mine in fact... cuz it is easier to play than their steel strings.  It's also a "better" guitar.  Not by leaps and bounds, but the action is lower and that makes a world of difference!  CUDOS on the new song and beginner chords for the wee ones!  Most of all... have fun!!

Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

14 (edited by Guitarpix 2009-10-05 17:39:07)

Re: help teach a 6yr old!

Hey Rattles,

Johncross has the right idea.  I specialize in teaching young children and always start them playing on just one string--either a bass line or riff on the 6th string (Smoke on the Water is a good one), or a simple melody on the first string.  Bass lines are nice because they can start singing while playing.

I also use a string mute--a little velcro sandwich I invented--that mutes the 3 bass strings, enabling one-finger G, G7, and C chords.

Here's an article I wrote about teaching little kids.

And I just published a guitar teaching handbook that has tons of info about teaching young kids.

Hope this helps,


**Edited to remove links to a profit making site and book sales**