This Question came from Luke:

Question:

Hi,
I have a 2 and half years old, I know is out of question for him to learn. But I have a different question:
He likes guitars: wants to touch them wherever he sees them displayed, play around street musicians who often let him touch it, things like this. Would be a bad thing to get him one of those “crappy” small guitars just to toy with? Can this make him lose interest rather then keep him interested?
Thanks

Answer:

Great question!

The youngest age that I usually teach is five years. In my experience, any younger than that and kids generally haven’t developed the dexterity/motor skills to really start to play the guitar.

Maybe more importantly – I think you’re right: teaching a two year old can be tough.  Just giving them instruction may be an uphill battle.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t expose young kids to music and instruments.

I would recommend doing other activities to help cultivate an understanding of music (which will make it all the more easier for him to transition to the instrument as he gets older).

At his age, a little toy guitar is probably fine and won’t really hurt anything.

Activities could be things as simple as sharing the music that you enjoy with him.

There are tons of iPhone/iPad apps that can help as well.

It may not be a bad idea to expose him to other instruments that may be easier to play (like kid-sized xylophones).

If you’re really serious about getting him started, you may want to look into something like a Montessori school or the Suzuki Guitar Method. I don’t have a lot of experience with either of these, but they generally start working with kids as young as 3 years.

Lastly, does he have older brothers or sisters that play?   Exposing him to siblings that play music may help (though it may have the opposite impact as well… so watch out).

Having parents that play music can be a great influencer too.  If you have the time, you may want to try and pick up the guitar.  Not only will you reap the reward of adding music to the house, but your son can watch you learn and understand that the guitar isn’t just a toy… but can still be fun.

Hope that helps! Good luck!

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(Jake Posko does in-home and online guitar lessons in the Annapolis, Maryland area including: Annapolis, Edgewater, Severna Park, Pasadena, Crownsville, Arnold and Kent Island, inquire about lessons by e-mailing him at jake@jakeposko.com).