When it comes to guitar lessons for your kid, a great practice space can inspire your child to practice longer, work harder, and achieve more on the guitar than you ever imagined. That’s why I put together five easy tips for setting up the perfect guitar practice room for your son or daughter.
Tip #1: It All Begins with a Comfy, Armless Chair and Desk
Before we dive in, however, you’ll need two things: a comfy, armless chair and a desk. Why an armless chair? Well, I’ve seen a lot of enthusiastic parents make this classic mistake: Their kids show an interest in learning to play the guitar, so they’ll spend their weekend cleaning out the garage, purchasing the perfect gear, and snagging that oh-so-sweet vintage used guitar amplifier on Craigslist only to forget the basics.
You guessed it: a comfy, armless chair. (If you haven’t already figured this one out, playing guitar in a chair with arms is about as fun as swimming in a pool full of rocks!) At this point, they’ll shrug their shoulders and settle for the couch. Bad move. Playing guitar on a couch for long periods of time leads to bad posture, sore butts, and broken input pots and instrument cables.
In other words, a comfy, armless chair is the fulcrum holding the rest of the practice room together. It’s that important. Don’t skimp on it. While I invested in two SoundSeat Gas Lift Chairs for my teaching studio, a cheap fold-up chair or even a stool from IKEA should also do the trick for short practice sessions.
For those of you who want to invest a little more in comfort, I recommend a percussion stool for kids. While it’s marketed for drummers, it works great for budding guitarists as well!
Tip #2: Purchase the Best Guitar You Can Comfortably Afford
In the beginning, playing the guitar is hard enough. There are six-strings. Each of which is numbered in the most counterintuitive way imaginable. (On a side note, I’ll never understand why the Low E string is numbered #6 and the A string #5 and so forth. It would all be so simple if that the Low E String was number 1 instead, the A String would be number 2 and so forth, but that’s the system we got. It’s not gonna change no matter how many students complain about it!) Worse yet, they also have six-note names to remember, too. Yikes!
Not to mention the physical experience of playing the guitar during the first few weeks. Frets buzz. Sensitive little fingers hurt.
That’s why buying a great starter guitar is so important! With so many new skills to master during the first few weeks of learning to play the guitar, it’s all too easy for your child to feel overwhelmed. Don’t make them fight the guitar on top of it.
Instead, purchase the best guitar you can comfortably afford. Make sure the neck is straight. Be sure it stays in tune. Finally, make sure the action (or string height) is set low. This will make the guitar much, much easier to play.
As an added bonus, quality instruments hold their value, so when your child is ready to upgrade, you’ll be happy you invested in a quality instrument because you’ll find plenty of eager buyers on Craigslist looking for great gear for their kids.
Tip #3: Save Cash with Guitar Tuna
It’s a metronome. It’s a tuner. It’s a metronome and a tuner! Plus, it’s got games, chord diagrams, and so much more. Best of all, Guitar Tuna is FREE! Score! Dollars saved: $50! You’re welcome.
Tip #4: Download Anytune Right Now!
Anytune is a FREE app that slows down, speeds up, and loops songs making it—literally—the perfect practice tool! Back in the day, I had to purchase a Tascam CD-Portable Guitar Trainer to have that level of control over my favorite songs. Dollars saved: $215! Sweet!
Tip #5: Invest in a Wall Mount
Even the best intentions won’t change human nature. In the beginning, your daughter is thrilled to start learning to play the guitar. She learns a few riffs and her spirit is soaring with her newfound superpowers. Sooner or later, however, there will be a point when she realizes it takes deliberate, daily practice to learn to play the guitar really well.
That’s why it’s so important to keep the guitar visible, easy to reach, and ready to play at all times. For those moments when your daughter has 15-minutes of free time between homework and soccer practice. Over the course of a week, a month, or a school quarter, those short chunks of practice time begin to add up.
As an added bonus, wall-mounted guitars look great! I recommend the String Swing Guitar Wall Mount.
Bonus Tip: Get a Music Stand
I went years without a music stand. I just laid my music books across my desktop. In retrospect, it was a dumb move because it leads to sore shoulders, bad posture, and neck pain. (In my defense, I was a poor music student at the time!)
A few years ago, however, I invested in a Professional Music Stand and a bag of jumbo paper clips from the Dollar Store, which I use to keep my music books open. Neither my neck nor my shoulders have hurt since. (For the Love of God, avoid those cheap, foldable music stands! They’re shaky, they’re flimsy, and they will find their way in a trash can after a few failed attempts to hold an actual piece of sheet music in them.)
Well, I hope this article helped you to understand the value of great practice space and the essential gear and apps your kids will need to make the most out of their guitar practice space. Remember:
- It all starts with a comfy, armless chair and a desk.
- Purchase the best guitar you can comfortably afford.
- Save hard-earned cash with Guitar Tuna and Anytune!
- Invest in a wall-mount because it will help your child practice more, and it looks great!
- Use the money you saved NOT buying a tuner and metronome to invest in a professional-grade music stand.
SIGN YOUR KIDS UP FOR GUITAR LESSONS
Sign up for Rock Dojo guitar lessons today. Want to learn more? Check out Rock Dojo’s FAQs and learn how our colored-belt systems works (here’s a hint: it’s like karate and you graduate with a black belt). Do you have a specific question about our guitar lessons for kids? Drop us a line at (503) 484-6417.