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How Do Children Play Classical Guitar?

May 5th, 2011 · No Comments · Learning Tablature

Many people have been asking the question can children play classical guitar? The answer is of course yes if they have the desire and aptitude. In most cases I would say it is unlikely that a child less than five years of age would have the necessary hand and eye co-ordination, however there is the occasional young Mozart to prove me wrong.

The limiting factor is usually the ability to find a real miniature classical guitar for your child to play, however there are 1/2 size and 3/4 size classical guitars which are specifically made for children to play the 1/2 size is suitable for children from four to eight years of age (although remember what I said about hand and eye coordination). The child will also need to be able to read music or tablature and that means they should already be reading, or it will be extremely difficult for them to make progress. The 3/4 size is suitable for children from eight and up and can still be played by many adults. It would however be normal to progress to a full size from twelve and up.

The classical guitar is a good choice as an instrument for a child to play as it is easy to reach the level of producing recognizable tunes, but extremely difficult to master. I rather believe that this is true of any musical instrument, however Andres Segovia once remarked to a student that heard him practicing a new piece, and who had asked if he would include it in his next concert. “No, it will need practicing for at least two more years before it is ready for that!” This was the World’s greatest player talking about a difficult piece, nonetheless it is an indication of the extreme difficulty in playing at the virtuoso level.

Do not let that put you, or your children off, many players achieve the ability of being able to play in bands and even to solo acceptably well within a year or two of starting to play.

Other than the smaller classical guitar children do not really have any special needs, though it would be a good idea to have a smaller chair as the left foot rests on a foot stool, these are specially made for classical guitarists and the height is adjustable. Children would use it at the lowest level and progress gradually to the highest, most have at least three heights. Music stands are very adjustable and one suitable for adults can be lowered to suit any child large enough to play. classical guitar stands that will take a full size guitar would also be suitable for the smaller instruments. Most small size guitars come with a suitable case for portability, this is the one thing I would advise you to check as the smaller cases are hard to find.

Finally the issue of the left handed child:- It is possible to get left handed classical guitars however I know of left handed people who play the classical guitar right handed. This is because both hands are required to perform complex tasks and they find it easier to read music right handed as nearly all the texts are written this way. If this is not possible for your child then some classical guitars can be restrung the other way round. My Yamaha is designed that way you can remove the bridge support and reverse it. In this case it is white plastic shaped with a slope so that the base (larger) strings are held further from the face of the guitar. A left handed person reverses the slope an also restrings with the base strings at the bottom and the treble at the top (looking at the guitar as a right handed person plays). Once turned over to the left handed way of playing the strings are then correct base on top and treble at the bottom. A good music store will assist in changing this over for you.

To close there are many good classical guitar sites on the web and should you not have a music store to hand, the cut down instruments can easily be found on-line. Happy playing, I hope you find this article helpful.

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