The guitar has probably been the most popular instrument ever since it was first used by rock ‘n’ roll bands to wow teenagers and horrify parents. However, the instrument’s roots go back far further than the late 1940s or ’50s.
It is believed that the guitar most likely came from Spain and was being used as far back as the 16th century. Over the years, it has gone in and out of fashion as far as music is concerned — for instance, disco and hip-hop had less use for the instrument than say, metal or punk.
Now though, it is normal to hear guitars in all genres of music, including EDM, even if it is just in samples. Learning the guitar is again seeing new heights of popularity.
Can anyone learn the guitar?
There is a notion that when it comes to musical instruments, that only the naturally gifted can play. While it is true that some people will find learning the guitar easier than others, there is nothing to stop anyone from learning.
Music is an essential ingredient in many people’s lives, and it appeals to all age groups. There is no reason why an adult, or a child, couldn’t learn some type of instrument. Learning the guitar can be made easier through the use of resources, guides, and of course, by practice.
Practice will make all the difference for anyone wanting to learn the guitar. You might be a latecomer to the instrument or a 5-year-old, but practice is the key.
Are there benefits for a child to learn the guitar?
Learning a musical instrument is a great hobby for any child and can bring about an enormous number of benefits.
Music is a very social thing, and this can help a child make new buddies and interact with others. Learning an instrument can improve their confidence, teach them patience and make them physically stronger in some areas.
Health Fitness Revolution Magazine reports that there are many physical benefits to playing a musical instrument. Playing the guitar can also help with many areas of a child’s growth and even help with cognitive behavior. Studies have proven that listening to and playing music can help with mental health issues.
Music can lower stress levels and blood pressure, while some instruments such as the drums can help improve cardio levels.
What types of guitars are there?
Now that you have established that anyone, including small children, can play the guitar, it is time to learn what guitars are available.
Assuming that you don’t already possess an instrument, you will need to get hold of one. Buying the right guitar could put you on the road to a great hobby, but the wrong one could hold you back.
There are a number of different guitars including 12 strings and electro-acoustic guitars, but for the interest of this article, there are three main types:
- Classical guitar
- Acoustic guitar
- Electrical guitar
Acoustic and electric guitars remain very popular at this point in time. Sales of acoustic guitars have been on the rise since about 2009 despite a couple of dips in 2015, 2016 and 2018. According to Statista, around 1.6 million acoustic guitars found their way into new owners’ arms in 2020.
Should you go with an electric or acoustic model? It depends.
Which guitar you use will depend on the student. For instance, acoustic guitars are harder for young children to play. Nylon strings are hard for small hands to work, and the fretboard on an acoustic guitar is wider than a classical or electric version.
A child may benefit from learning the smaller classical guitar with softer nylon strings. However, the style of music that the student prefers should be taken into account too. If you or your child likes rock, then you are more likely to get bored if you try to learn a classical guitar.
What size should you buy?
While it is true that the acoustic guitar can be harder than a classical guitar for small children to grasp, the body on the latter is still quite large. Fortunately, guitars come in different sizes.
There are reasons why you should base your choice of instrument on your body type or size, and one is comfort. You need to be comfortable holding your instrument so that you can learn with ease.
All three of these types of guitars come in different sizes. The electric guitar comes in 3/4, small body and full size, for instance. Classical and acoustic guitars also come in a range of sizes.
This means that you will be able to find a guitar to fit your size and shape, no matter your age, height or weight.
How do you start to learn the guitar?
Now that you have your guitar, it is time to rock out, right? Perhaps, but there are a few things you can do to make your learning more enjoyable and productive.
Set up a practice area
Find yourself a space where you can be uninterrupted by others and without distractions. Switch your phone onto airplane mode to evade incoming messages and you hopefully won’t have to face the temptation to stop practicing.
If you have an electric guitar then consider using headphones. This way you won’t disturb the neighbors and you can concentrate on yourself.
Choose music that you like
Learn to play the music that you enjoy or that inspires you. Following drab guitar lessons with songs you dislike won’t encourage you to practice or progress.
Try different genres
Try more than one style of music if you can. Learning different genres will open up your musical knowledge and make you a better musician down the line.
Seek out other musicians to play with
Not only will your social life improve, but you will pick up different techniques and get advice from more experienced players. Collaboration with other musicians could lead to quick progression.
Use a music teacher
Not everyone’s budget will allow them to learn from a professional, but a music teacher can really help you get going at the start. Plenty of the most famous guitarists ever have used a music teacher, at least in the beginning.
Alternatively, if you’re at college, see if there is another student offering lessons. This is possibly a less expensive way to get a teacher.
Nowadays, the internet is flooded with educational material and apps to help with all manner of subjects. Music has certainly not been ignored. You will be able to find online teachers, tutorials on YouTube and forums to connect with musicians.
Regardless of whether you use a music teacher, join a school music club or learn alone, you need to do one thing: If you don’t practice, you won’t progress. Practicing is as important to a world-famous rock star as it is to a beginner.
Learning the guitar is a great hobby while at school. Every college student needs creative outlets, and music is an excellent choice. While you will need to focus on your studies, you will find the guitar is a good way to reduce stress and relax in between all that schoolwork.