Children aged 4–8 can start to learn the guitar in Suzuki instruction. Music shops sell guitars of different sizes that are suitable for children, so the size of the instrument is not an obstacle to starting the hobby. A beginner guitar is also a fairly affordable instrument. The guitar is a versatile instrument, and a guitarist can play both melodies and accompaniment in many genres of music. The guitar is an excellent instrument for developing the child’s musicality, and it has a pleasing, soft sound, which won’t disturb the neighbours.
The Suzuki instruction in the guitar is based on classical music and classical playing techniques, but the instruction combines different genres. The guitar’s versatility is showcased especially in ensemble playing. The child’s playing abilities improve through practice. Sociability, teamwork, listening, and focusing improve through ensemble playing. Playing together is also fun: it’s always wonderful to see how a group of children of all ages can create beautiful musical performances.
The smaller the child is, the more important the role of an active parent is when it comes to supporting a hobby. Parents join the child in the instrument lessons and take care of home practice. You could say that the hobby becomes the child and their parents’ collective hobby. We organise parent training where the parents learn some basics of playing themselves and receive important information about practice and the hobby as a whole. Going to lessons once a week is not enough for learning. Instead, it is truly important to create a suitable environment for music and practising at home. A suitable environment for learning is encouraging, motivating, and calm. Playing and listening to music becomes a natural and daily occasion like any other daily task. This is the only way that the Mother Tongue Method, essential to the Suzuki method, can work: the child absorbs the influences surrounding them and listens, mimics, and tries new things. The environment creates the requirements for practice and playing skills.
Children will start learning the basics of guitar playing starting from the first lesson, but especially young children will learn other skills that support playing and understanding music: behaviour during lessons, singing and clapping rhythms, and exercises that improve focus. We aim to benefit from using the child’s natural thought processes in everything, and many things will stick to their minds through games. Learning to play the guitar well requires a lot of practice, which might try the parents’ patience from time to time. Playing an instrument is transferring thoughts and understanding into finger movements and consequently into music. This special skill requires special practice and will not appear out of nowhere. Always keep in mind, however, that regular practice in the correct environment and according to the teacher’s directions will result in learning. Every child learns new things at their own pace, but everyone has the possibility to learn and enjoy playing!