Joined: 06 Oct 2004 Posts: 139 Location: Charlotte, VT
Posted: Tue May 30, 2006 9:24 pm Post subject: Re: teaching your kids
I'm curious as to everyone's approach for getting their little ones started playing music. I'm jumping the gun for sure, mine is just turning two, but its too exciting a concept to not think about.
I started by playing guitar to my son; I have a video of him just barely able to sit up, flailing at the strings with both hands while I moved around chords. But honestly, children won't have the dexterity for guitar until they are maybe 5 or 6; our oldest is 9, and she's only just now able to play most chords on her travel-size guitar.
So for the boy, I took a crappy old Merrill lap steel, plugged it into a small amp, gave him the bar, and let him go to town. So, ok, now the Merrill has dents all over it, and the strings have kinks in them in some places from all the banging. But in the last couple of weeks (he'll be 3 years old in July) he has stopped just banging madly, and is trying to play single strings, in the rhythm (but not the notes) of one of his favorite songs. I've been very very hands off, mainly to avoid making him mad by showing him things he can't yet understand or physically do. It's worked so far; he will play any instrument I put near him.
So I've provided a target-rich environment As soon as he could walk, I started leaving musical instruments around. A kid's floor tom and shakers, which we would play rhythmic games with; harmonicas and recorders, and we sang songs all the time. If I am in the room with him, I leave the whole music studio turned on and just let him play the synths and drum machines. We had some talks early on about how to treat gear gently, and with the exception of the hammering on the lap steel, he hasn't harmed a single thing. Oh, he'll untune my guitars sometimes, but so what.
What I haven't done yet is buy any high quality, child-sized instrument for him to have as his own. I figure he'll gravitate towards one instrument or another soon enough, and then I'll see what is out there that will work for him.
Update - took a page from Kimock's book (pretty good book btw) and bought my son a rather inexpensive, and hopefully indestructible, kalimba. naturally I got myself one too, lol. he's just monkeying with it right now, but hopefully we'll progress to playing the full scale over the next few months.
One night late term when my son was in mom's utero he was really thrashing around in there when I put my jumbo dreadnought 12-string into contact with mom's belly and strummed an also sprach zarathustra E chord. Suddenly it was very quiet in there.
At 18 he plays a little guitar once in a while, liked guitar hero a lot, and acts fairly normal, I guess. He likes to listen to music a lot, which I suppose is the important thing. Have fun with the shorties and may you stay forever young thank you Bob. _________________ J-R
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