I’ve increasingly come to believe that it is very important to start kids on the path to learning a musical instrument when they are still young, and by that I mean grade school age. Why?

1) Well, let’s shift for a moment and think about skiing. Certainly one could start skiing when one was say, 40, and for that matter there’s no reason why they probably couldn’t become a decent skier. But consider the 15 year old who’s been skiing since he was 8 or even younger. Obviously, the whole balance, rhythm and overall skill of skiing would be quite natural at that point; he or she would be able to just about breathe skiing. It’s a very similar situation with a musical instrument. There’s little question that starting young can give one a definite advantage.

2) I’ve often witnessed that younger kids far more readily accept (as well as get through) the necessary rudimentary skills that older folks may find boring and balk at. Time and again I’ve seen that it’s harder for teenagers to maintain interest when the process demands a patience level that includes a consistent level of dedication to the basics. It’s a bit ironic, because their motor skills are far more developed and they understand the notion of studying far better than the younger ones. They just usually have a lot more activities, academic responsibilities and digital distractions like YouTube or Facebook. All of that piled together can make a genuine desire to learn how to play a musical instrument far more challenging.

While I have full sympathy for that situation, it doesn’t change the fact that learning how to play the guitar is something that exists in real time, much like developing greater skills in a given sport. It is a physical process, and it cannot be particularly rushed. Nor can someone somehow miraculously achieve a high degree of proficiency and skill with little effort being made: you will need to set some time aside for this hobby each week. In a fast moving world where the older kids are interacting far more heavily with instant gratification touch screen smart phones and laptops, this can become a significant issue to contend with.

However, if you start them young on a “cool” instrument like the guitar, (and with apologies to clarinet or trombone players, let’s face it, when was the last time you saw ads for “The Clarinet Center” or “The Trombone Center”?), by the time they’re in Junior High all the basics should be behind them by that point. They can then enter Junior High School as young people who already know how to play a very popular instrument! It can be a very real bonus for an adolescent to have that “cool” self-image – a strong shot of vitamin S.E. (self esteem) and a great thing to carry with them through out high school years.

I have dedicated my entire adult life to being the very best music teacher and musician I can be. I’m a bit old-school in that while I want the lessons to be interesting and fun, I also want to help people become self-sufficient in their playing skills. That means that by the time we’re finished working together they should be able to do it all by themselves, and not simply know how to play a handful of old songs they learned once long ago that are now about as interesting as reading last years newspaper. I will immodestly say that I do an amazing job, and have a great track record. I’ve helped produce many fine professional musicians as well as happy people who can play the guitar quite well as their hobby. Read my numerous testimonials see for yourself. Then decide if you or your son or daughter are ready to give it a try. I teach about 30-40 people a week, so I don’t recommend waiting; any openings I have that prompted me to place the advertisement you read are likely to disappear soon.