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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby Humf » Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:09 pm

Ok. We’ll see how we get on. From memory, my early days on the violin and piano aged 6, lessons were mainly fun games/familiarity/posture type stuff. Lots and lots of singing too.

So I’ll keep it light and not expect too much at this stage.


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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby Humf » Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:14 pm

I’ve taught violin to year 1 (aged 5/6). Lessons were short 20 mins and by time we’d chatted got the instrument out and done some rhythm games or similar, the actual playing was probably only 10 mins or so. More a case of developing confidence and the routines involved. Also the 1-2-1 rapport with an adult is good thing to develop I think ... but that might be a different thing as Dad!!!


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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:57 pm

Sounds like the nipper is in good hands. You might just pick up some guitar yourself along the way, I doubt you'll find it difficult given your existing skills (a lot easier than me trying to teach myself fiddle anyway...) :thumbup:
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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby CS70 » Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:01 pm

Humf wrote:I’ve taught violin to year 1 (aged 5/6). Lessons were short 20 mins and by time we’d chatted got the instrument out and done some rhythm games or similar, the actual playing was probably only 10 mins or so. More a case of developing confidence and the routines involved. Also the 1-2-1 rapport with an adult is good thing to develop I think ... but that might be a different thing as Dad!!!


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Just one note - make sure his posture is as good as possible. Don't mean boring classical posture or even the fretting hand - that is good but can be too unnatural for a 6 years old - but rather the tension in the shoulders and arms and the general relaxed body posture.

The risk in doing it at home is to get bad habits that are then much harder to remove, so worth paying attention to these things from the start.
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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby Humf » Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:58 pm

Yes CS70. That’s a worry I have. But hopefully for the short (?) period of lockdown plus your kind assistance on here and plenty of reading by me, we’ll avoid too many pitfalls.

As a 14 yr old I became very serious about my playing and converted over to viola. My teacher at RNCM had a lot of work to undo. We spent many lessons not even playing a single note. Very thankful for it now though.


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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby Humf » Wed Jan 06, 2021 3:01 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Sounds like the nipper is in good hands. You might just pick up some guitar yourself along the way, I doubt you'll find it difficult given your existing skills (a lot easier than me trying to teach myself fiddle anyway...) :thumbup:
That’s the plan

Always been a regret of mine, not learning even some basic guitar skills. So many times I’m troubling shooting stuff in school and would be so helpful to grab the instrument and give a demo. But hey ho. Piano good too.


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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 06, 2021 3:06 pm

Piano is indeed good too, I regret not learning as a kid (not that that was ever going to happen TBH). #2 son went to RNCM in the late '90's :thumbup:
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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby Scouser » Tue Jan 12, 2021 6:56 pm

I have done a few hundred guitar lessons over on YouTube, for all levels.

Mainly acoustic stuff, I often suggest starting out on acoustic as when you make the transition to electric, it is a lot easier than the other way around. Having said that electric is a lot easier for a nipper. So ultimately as long as he enjoys the journey, he will do well.

I think a graduated approach is a good idea, never punching above your weight, that way you maintain interest without getting frustrated.

It's a wonderful thing to get them interested young, I tried the same with my kids when they were growing up, didn't want to know, now they can't get enough and have the cheek to blame me for not starting when they were young !

If I can help in anyway, please feel free to give a shout

Should be a link below to my YouTube page should you wish to have a look
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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby Humf » Sun Jan 24, 2021 6:54 pm

Thanks Scouser!

The guitar has FINALLY arrived... UPS and Thomann both blaming Brexit.

Anyway, it’s here and it is SO incredibly nice to have guitar and amp that I plug in and it just works. So many years of faffing around in secondary schools with damaged leads, knackered amps and donated guitars.

So.... can somebody please recommend a good starter book for a six year old?

I use OUP ‘Piano Time’ series for piano teaching at this age. It’s great because it covers things nice and gradually, and presented perfectly for little’uns. There’s a few others that are good but that’s what I use.

Anything similar for electric guitar? That marketplace is awash with books promising to make you into a guitarist in a week. Not what I’m after.

Many thanks!


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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby JRC1 » Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:44 pm

Is a book the best approach for a modern six year old? (obviously only you and him are the only ones that know) as most six year olds I encounter respond better to screens and you have downloadable books etc, but maybe lessons on zoom or basic instructional videos are the way to go. I just remember being that age and hating the piano books I had and instead just put the boombox by the piano and tried to copy out the melody of whichever song I was in love with that week. Purely books werent that cool till I was a teenager and boomboxes were.
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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby Humf » Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:24 am

You have a point. I’m probably imagining the book to be more of a guide for me. I think that’s how it tends to end up in any violin or piano teaching I do at this age. Just some structure and well-thought out steps. The lessons themselves involve more in terms of modelling / demo / games... having fun! But maybe being taught the way I was, I just naturally incline towards a book for guidance. My students haven’t complained so far

Lessons defo best but not sure about new starters and zoom. I’ve turned a couple down myself on the basis I think those first few lessons are too hands on and also the relationship building thing.. I’m not sure about online. Could be wrong.

A series of high quality vids I’d be open to though.

And then there’s the whole question of notation... what’s the viewpoint on that? Do young guitarists go straight into tab or the stave? The best I’ve worked with so both but I’m not sure what’s best to start? Sorry I’m out of my comfort zone here...


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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby Humf » Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:28 am

Of course, I could do exactly what you describe and just get him working out his favourite riffs by ear. I can tell straight away from some singing we’ve done together that he would cope well. But my concern with that approach is setting up any bad habits that later need to be ironed out by a teacher?


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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby zenguitar » Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:33 am

Best advice is to find out 2 or 3 songs he REALLY wants to learn to play. Then either use TAB or lessons for him to learn them parrot fashion while his enthusiasm is high.

Then go on to 'proper' lessons.

Having those 2 or 3 songs he can play means that whenever he's struggling he can always rebuild his confidence by playing those. And he will have a party trick to show his friends.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby Humf » Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:50 am

Great suggestion. Thanks.

I must be daft. Or been teaching too long to hold a mirror up to my own practice. This is exactly how I do it on piano, sneaking the Piano Time book in as often as possible, in between Disney/Sheeran etc.

Still. Whilst we wait to sort ‘proper’ tuition by a qualified teacher, I’d like to have something reliable on paper (for myself at least) to learn basics from... so my question still remains I think.


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Re: New starter aged 6

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jan 25, 2021 1:03 am

Humf wrote:And then there’s the whole question of notation... what’s the viewpoint on that? Do young guitarists go straight into tab or the stave? The best I’ve worked with so both but I’m not sure what’s best to start? Sorry I’m out of my comfort zone here...

One of my closest friends is a guitar teacher and he teaches every pupil to read music from day one, he believes it is the best/only way to learn. It is one of the few things we disagree on, I learned entirely by ear and self taught. I have no regrets about not learning to read at the beginning (I doubt I would still be playing if I had been forced to read early on), learning how I did has shaped the player I am today. 2 son is a french horn player, he learned the traditional way and then taught himself bass guitar, he's pretty good (makes a good living as second horn in the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra in China) but he can't/won't improvise. Nor can my guitar teacher mate. So, in answer, I'd mix it up, get the nipper listening and copying first, maybe introduce notation alongside but don't make reading a priority.

FWIW, like you the best I've worked with both read and improvise... Do I regret not learning to read? Yes but not at the cost of my ability to improvise or play by ear, given the choice I'd stick with what I have.
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