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Parents’ Page

Parents need to know that they are leaving their child in a safe and nurturing environment. For this reason, I have an open-door policy. Parents are welcome to remain in the room for the entire lesson if they like.

My teaching approach

In order to provide motivation and to create a sense of fun in the lessons, I take a student-directed teaching approach. For my purposes, this simply means following my student’s interests. A simple example is allowing them to choose their favourite song to work on instead of one that I choose. The things that get used when learning a song – chords, strumming, rhythmic control, groove, tempo – can be taught using any song. Allowing a simple choice like this increases student autonomy and motivation.
I understand a child’s need for a variety of stimuli when learning music. That’s why I use many different activities aside from actually playing the guitar. iPad music apps, recording, playing keyboard synth, singing, writing song lyrics, standing up and moving around while playing are all options, depending on the child.

Buying a guitar

The following suggestions reflect my present knowledge in terms of the amount of product available; they are intended to give you a starting point for talking with someone at your local music store. The Acoustic Music Shop, Avenue Guitar, and Long and Mcquade – all on Whyte Avenue between 99 Street and 109 Street – are good places to check out.
It’s important to buy a guitar that fits you. Not doing so can result in all sorts of physical problems.

Strumming arm positioning

A guitar that’s too large will push the shoulder of your strumming/picking arm up. This will eventually lead to neck and shoulder problems, which can lead to tendinitis. This is mainly a concern with acoustic guitars since their bodies are typically wider and deeper than electrics.

Fretting hand positioning

The neck should be short enough to fret the first string, first fret without having to reach too far. Take a look at some YouTube videos of people playing the guitar to get an idea of what looks natural.
Finding a good guitar for children is difficult. Small guitars are sometimes made poorly and can easily go out of tune. But don’t give in to the temptation to buy a full-size guitar with the rationalization that your child will grow into it. Your child will enjoy a guitar that’s comfortable more than one with good intonation and tone.

3⁄4 size guitars

If you’re looking for an electric guitar, the Squier Mini-Strat is a great choice for students around 8-12 years old. If you’re looking for an acoustic, the Baby Taylor, while a bit pricy – $329 US – is a good choice.

1⁄2 size guitars

These instruments should only be used for small children, age 4 – 7. It’s really difficult to find a decent one. The 30” First Act Discovery guitar is probably your best bet.

Why guitar lessons?

There are a lot of resources on the web about getting your child into music lessons. This one gives you some good reasons for doing it. Here’s another from Mike Levitsky and his student, Andrew Griswold, at And one more from Terry Stefan at I encourage you to do your own research, as well. Perhaps the best type of research is to take advantage of a free lesson.
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