teaching guitar to a child (9 yo)

I have been playing guitar for 20+ years, but have not had a lesson since my college days.

My son who is 9 wants to learn, and I started him on the following:

  1. how to hold the guitar, pick
  2. basic fingering: index finger=first fret, middle finger=second fret…etc.
  3. play 1,2,3,4, 4,3,2,1 on E string, then A string, etc
  4. moving up and down (e.g., play 1,3 on E,A,D,G,B,E strings)
  5. A, D, E chords

Not sure if I am making a big mistake trying to teach him myself vs. having him go to a proper teacher.

Any thoughts/pointers?

Ask him what riffs he likes, find ones that include the basic concepts you want him to learn and teach him the riffs. Encourage him to mimic the sound of a stadium to cheer him on while he is playing - and show him some cool riffs on one string that make him feel like he can play cool stuff.

In other words: sounds like you are doing great stuff; also include the fun part and make sure he is doing stuff that he wants to be doing that will encourage him to pickup the guitar and play for the fun of it…

As is so often the case, WordMan speaks truth. :smiley:

What songs does your son like? Are there artists or bands that he likes?

His enthusiasm for practicing and playing will be fueled if he’s learning how to play things that sound like music he knows and likes. He’ll need to learn scales and fretwork, too, but, if what he’s playing “sounds like music”, it’s more likely that he’ll stick with it.

thanks… he taught himself the bass riff from “Numb” by Linkin Park on the piano… sounds like it is time to transpose it to guitar…

You seem to have the basics covered, you don’t need to pay someone to teach tuning, basic chords, fingering, etc… Once he has picked it up a bit and shows that it will be a lasting interest you can put him in more advanced lessons.
How is the guitar he’s learning on? I find alot of beginners quit because they find a particular guitar too hard to play. The size, action, and intonation can all have an effect.
One other tip, I insist on trading-off songs, for every one they want to learn they must learn on of mine.:slight_smile:

Cool - and if he is the least bit in to woodwork or working on stuff - i.e., do you tinker and encourage him to? - then getting him a book on how guitars are made or repaired can be cool to flip through…

He wanted to play an electric, so I started him on my Danelectro Hearsay, while I was playing a Honer classical… while the electric is better suited for his hands, he liked the feel of the classical strings after about 10 minutes. This morning, however, he woke up and picked up the electric…

I had no-one to teach me, so I started learnign myself by ear, string by string, chord by chord.
Eventually, I jammed with other people and took lessons in my teens, I have been teaching others ever since.
I can’t stress enough to experiment and improvise as opposed to simply imitating others. I still pick it up randomly string together some notes or chords and have those “light bulb” moments where I recognize some song and figure it out or sometimes I write something completely new.
Good Luck! Let us know how it goes, my 3 kids are 4, 2, and 2 months, so I’ll be in your shoes soon.