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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So- in a spur-of-the-moment thing, I bought my 4yo dd a child-sized guitar for Christmas. I know that she'll be thrilled about it at first, but I'm worrying a bit that it might frustrate her-- not sure whether she'll be happy to "play" with the scrappy sound that comes out, since I'm fairly certain that she won't be interested enough to actually try to learn any chords at this point. Anyone have experience with this and kids this age? Is there some way that I could tune it to at least make a nice chord when she strums, or should I return it and buy her an instrument that she has a better chance of making satisfying music with?
 

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Well, I don't know your kid in particular, but I was watching Sunday Morning 2 weeks or so ago, and they had an interview with Keith Urban. He said his father gave him a toy ukulele when he was 4 and told him to try to strum along with songs on the radio. By age 7 he said he told his father that he wanted to move to Nashville and be a country music star. And voila!<br><br>
So, go for it. She doesn't need to learn chords at 4. But any introduction to music is a great thing!!
 

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If you got it for a good price, you may as well keep it. If you invested a fair amount for it, I'd go for a more durable / easier to play instrument like a keyboard. Some kids gravitate towards guitars, particularly if someone in the family plays, but most kids are more drawn to turning the tuning pegs rather than playing the strings. Once they do that, they will most likely break the strings (no biggie if you know how to replace them; just a pain to have to buy a new set) or worst case, will break / damage the neck of the guitar. Another thing about guitar, is that it's painful for little kids to press on the strings enough to get a good tone. Not saying the driven child won't do everything in their power to learn the instrument, as a music teacher I've seen all abilities/interests, just saying it's not for every kid. Also, learning to play the guitar involves developing callouses on your fingertips and strength in your hand. That's a lot to ask of a 4 year old child. I'm not discouraging you from giving it to her, just know those things in advance. It just sounded from your post that it was more of a mama driven gift as opposed to one your kid has been begging you for. If your child likes music and you'd like to give her something to nurture that love of music, I'd probably choose a small keyboard.
 

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keep it tuned.<br><br>
dd got her first guitar at 2. by 3 i think or was it earlier she had formed a band with her bf on hte ukelele. the guitar was kept in tune but they loooooved strumming it and performing for us.<br><br>
i think her dad started teaching her chords at around 4. he taught her strumming at 3. she started lessons at 5.<br><br>
honestly i have never heard of a child's guitar laying around with no one playing it. dont loose heart if she isnt immediately excited by it. she will pick it up one day.<br><br>
both our kids were inspired by their favourite musician - jackie green.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cool-- thanks for your thoughts! I know that she'll be super excited about it-- she's obsessed with the movie "The Sound of Music" and has been known to pretend that all sorts of things are guitars while she sings and plays "Maria." I just worried that the not-so-pretty random strumming might be discouraging to her-- though it's not really my aim for her to learn how to play it adptly, I don't want her to pick it up and decide she isn't good at it because it doesn't magically make beautiful songs-- you know? We do have a piano that she plays with me, and many other instruments- but she doesn't have her own stringed instrument, and I thought it'd be nice to have something that I'm not too overly concerned about (I tend to be a bit more protective of the autoharp and my big guitar- she can use them, but only with me around). It was also a super-sale, so I think we'll keep it. Thanks again! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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You've got a real piano, adult sized guitar, autoharp, you play yourself, she's been pretending to play guitar, and it was a great price?!! - then YES! That's a keeper! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> I didn't mean to sound negative about getting a guitar, just wasn't sure if it was a random purchase. I run across so many kids that "want" to play an instrument and make their parents spend hundreds of dollars to buy them one and once they realize that they can't just push a button and make it sound fabulous they abandon it altogether. Sounds like your family has a good musical background so I'm guessing she'll enjoy her very own guitar very much! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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Mine loves her "guitar"--it's actually a uke. I bought it because I couldn't find a child's guitar that sounded decent enough to not drive her musician dad crazy! We don't have a piano (want one, but don't know where to put it), but DD has been playing her dad's baritone guitar and upright bass with him for years. She loves taking her "guitar" to jam sessions and her dad's gigs--and has even performed herself. I say, if she's surrounded by music, she'll use it.
 

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My DS got a guitar last christmas from his aunt totally out of the blue. He was 7 at the time. His interest lasted about a month. My DH and I are not musical at all so this was his first exposure to any instrument. He took about 4 lessons. The teacher told us that a keyboard would probably be a better choice for a child to start with because of finger coordination and strength. He also recommended a digital tuner and to tune before each use.<br><br>
That all being said your situation sounds completely different. Your daughter is already more advanced and interested then my DS was. So in your case I think you totally did the right thing.<br><br>
I have to go see if our guitar is worth selling on eBay.....
 

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We got DS a toy guitar at either 2 or 3 and a friend later gave him another one. This is a great gift, imho. My husband tries to keep the guitars on an open tuning so that any strumming w/o chords will sound good.
 

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I would keep it. We got our 6 y.o. the same thing this year! I'm hoping that she'll love it. It is beautiful.
 
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