Tips for Motivating Your Child To Learn the Guitar

Whether it’s shredding chords or finger-picking, there’s something mesmerizing about the guitar. And yet our children—sweet angels that they are—somehow manage to resist learning how to play it. Whether your kid is practice intolerant or you want to urge your musically curious child in a guitar-oriented direction, these tips for motivating your child to learn the guitar are for you.

Expose Them to Guitar Early

There’s a concept in psychology called the power of suggestion. Basically, it’s influencing someone’s thoughts or behaviors with an idea. Imagine watching an ad for a pizza place. It starts talking about the gooey cheese, savory sauce, and soft breadsticks. Before you know it, you’re hankering for a slice.

You can use the power of suggestion as a way to motivate your kid to learn the guitar. Playing music around the house, showing them movies where the hero plays the guitar, or having posters of cool guitarists around the house will all subtly suggest that learning guitar is fun. You may even want to pick one up, too.

Create a Practice Schedule

Sometimes the thing killing your child’s motivation to play guitar is the idea of practicing. For someone new to learning an instrument, the idea of sitting alone and playing the same eight bars for hours can be downright intimidating.

To calm these feelings, help your child create a manageable practice schedule. A child’s attention span is only so long, so break up the practice into smaller chunks at a time of day during which your child is likely to be focused. For some kids, that may be right after school. For others, it’s after dinner.

The act of practicing is a skill. And as a new student, your child might not know how to do that skill. Some kids benefit from having checklists for every practice session with tasks such as “warm up” and “run through the song.”

Use Positive Reinforcement

Practicing is hard work, and you know what they say: “All work and no play makes Jack want to throw his instrument out a window.” Making practice fun is key to keeping your child loving what they do, and one way to do it is with positive reinforcement.

There are a couple of ways you can use positive reinforcement to encourage practice. Offer a small treat such as candy or a cookie for practicing, or work up to bigger prizes such as a small trip for a month of completed practice sessions.

Remind Them Why They Do It

When working through tricky fingering or learning a song they don’t particularly like, your kid may wonder why they’re bothering with it. That’s where it’s good to remind them of how much they love music. And if you need help reminding them, our Portland guitar teachers aren’t just expert musicians—they’re lovers of the art.