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Q: What is an appropriate age to start my child on guitar lessons?

A: Every child is different, and sometimes age and maturity are two different animals. My little brother and I were started on ukulele around the ages of 6 and 4 years-old. respectively. We were surrounded by professional musicians in our family and we wanted to get in on the action. This was decades before cable TV and video games, 24 hour convenience store and the "all night" lifestyle. Entertainment was centered in the home back then, and I’m really happy I got to experience it. That said, it is otherwise my opinion that kids under the age of 6 years-old are the least likely candidates for a successful learning experience. There are also plenty of 12 and 13 year-olds who aren’t ready for the discipline required to study guitar, however, 6 is my general cut off/start point. Just a few lessons are needed to know whether they are ready or not. There are exceptions, of course. Of the many hundreds of guitar students I have taught, I could probably still name every kid who started at or under the age 6 who actually stuck it out. Of my many students, a few have kept at it seriously and have bands, and there are those who have moved on to majoring in music in college. One young man I had played in one of my bands for several years while still a teen - yes, he was that good! Another came on board as a summer instructor here at Saratoga Strings. One student is currently doing very well at the prestigious Berkeley College of Music. Another success went on to major in drama at his university while he still plays guitar as well as bass! These students learned how to express themselves in constructive and creative ways and I would like to think Saratoga Strings played a role in their development as musicians AND human beings! Many former students continue to play for fun and the experience with us gave them a true appreciation of making music - a skill that they will carry with them throughout their lives. A fairly common problem among students of all ages who’ve sat before me, however, is that they were far more interested in owning a guitar and IMAGINING they could play it rather than actually playing it! But no one can know the outcome of guitar or bass lessons at Saratoga Strings until they try.

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