5 Easy Tips to Help Your Child Learn Guitar

How to Help a Child Who is Struggling to Play Guitar

What do you do if your child is struggling to play guitar? In this blog post, I will answer precisely that question by providing you with five tips to help your child who’s struggling to learn how to play the guitar. Plus, I’ll reveal the two biggest mistakes parents make regarding guitar lessons for their sons and daughters.

Sign up for Rock Dojo’s free introductory guitar course for kids.

5 Tips to Help a Child Who’s Struggling to Play Guitar

  1. Identify the problem: The best way to help your frustrated child is by identifying the problem. Is your child struggling because they can’t read guitar tablature? Maybe they can’t play a chord? Or perhaps it’s a motivational problem because they have no interest in the guitar altogether. Each of these challenges will require a different solution. That’s why the first step in helping your child who’s struggling to learn to play the guitar is to identify the problem.
  2. Build a practice plan and stick to it: This one is so obvious it’s a no-brainer, but you might be surprised by how many parents fail to help their child build a practice plan and stick to it. Consistency is the priority. Focus on the BIG wins, which begin by consistently showing up in the practice room.
  3. Get your child the proper practice tools and take the time to learn how to use them: That starts with a kid-sized guitar, but it includes an assortment of guitar picks (medium Fender are my favorites), tuners, and software like Anytune to slow down songs.
  4. Make sure your child’s gear is in good shape: A guitar whose strings are too high or that won’t stay in tune will not inspire your child to practice. Instead, invest in a high-quality instrument that plays quickly and stays in tune.
  5. Practice together: Invest the time in learning the absolute basics of playing the guitar, like how to tune the guitar, how to play a few chords, and how to read guitar tablature and chord diagrams. You could even sign up for Rock Dojo’s free introductory guitar course for kids and learn the basics of playing the guitar along with your child.

The Two Biggest Mistakes Parents Make With A Child Struggling to Play Guitar

It’s time to talk about the two biggest mistakes parents make with guitar lessons for their children so that you can avoid them at all costs.

  1. Parents buy an adult-sized guitar for their children. Unless your child is adult-sized, they shouldn’t be playing an adult-sized guitar. I know this sounds obvious, but it’s the number one mistake I see parents make again and again. Instead, use the sizing chart below to buy your child a proper fitting guitar.
  2. Choosing songs that are too hard for their child: If you just started running, you wouldn’t sign up for a marathon, would you? Well, it’s the same with the guitar. Beginning guitar students should start with beginning guitar songs. That means “Stairway to Heaven” should definitely wait until they’ve mastered the basics. Instead, focus on building a solid foundation like primary rhythms, basic chord shapes, and easy songs.

Read my top five biggest mistakes parents make when it comes to guitar lessons for kids, so you can avoid them and set your child up for success in the process.

Choosing Between Different Guitar Sizes

  • Ages 4-6 (measuring at a height of 3’3” to 3’9”) need a ¼ size guitar. 
  • Ages 5-8 (measuring at a height of 3’10” to 4’5”) need a ½ size guitar. 
  • Ages 8-11 (measuring at a height of 4’6” to 4’11”) need a ¾ size guitar. 
  • Ages 11+ (measuring at a height of 5’ and over) need a full-size guitar. 
Struggling to play guitar

FREE Introductory Guitar Course for Kids

Are you ready to help your child get started playing the guitar the right way? If you answered yes to that question, now’s the time to sign up for Rock Dojo’s FREE introductory guitar course for kids. Throughout three lessons, your child will develop a solid foundation for playing the guitar that will last a lifetime. Click here to sign up now.

<strong>Brian "The Guitar Sensei" Parham</strong>
Brian “The Guitar Sensei” Parham

Brian Parham is the co-founder and creator of the Rock Dojo, an award-winning guitar program for kids. He’s also the author of three guitar method books for kids, the 2021 Steve Vai Scholarship Winner for Academic Excellence at Berklee College of Music, the 2018 Teacher of the Year by Lessons.com, and the 2018 Rising Star of Oregon the U.S. Small Business Administration. When he’s not rocking out on the guitar, Brian enjoys reading comic books, binge-watching Cobra Kai, and spending time with his wife.