My 7 year old son
My son wants to learn how to play bass. I just bought him a short scale bass and he almost never takes it off his neck. I have been playing for 30 years but have never tried to teach anybody. What would be the best route for me to take to teach such a young student? I want to keep it fun and exciting for him.
My 7yo enjoys Rocksmith. I got her a heart shaped bass of Xmas this year. I started out doing the frets, and let her do the strings. She also likes the built in games. I don't push her, as I want her to stay interested, and not view it as work.
My 10yo likes the songs better, and is not much interested in the games. I play bass as he plays lead.
Both enjoy hitting music stores with me too.
If you're unsure about how to teach him, you can also get him lessons. But as you probably already know well, don't push or force anything, haha.
This opinion comes from volunteering with 2rd and 3rd graders and helping them with their math facts. I have never taught music. I have taught, just not music.
You teaching your child will build memories, and that is what a parent is supposed to do. If at all possible you do the teaching.
As you already know; the younger the child the shorter the attention span. This fact needs to be taken into account with any lesson. Expect to repeat a lot. Drills are important, however, the length of the drill must be taken into account.
So, where to start. Chord and scale exercise are boring and we want them to enjoy this new instrument. With this age IMO songs is where I would start them. So they can hear their efforts and achieve successes . No not the tune; get them playing - with sheet music - Root accompaniment to I-IV-V songs. If they have a song they want to play dumb it down to the Major Chords. Show the child by putting the I on the 3rd string the IV and V will be up a string or down a string same fret. Remember you both are playing from lead sheet or fake chord.
Sing and play together and let the child see when you change chords. Important that you sing, not so much that he sing. Make it simple by playing all the songs in the same key, I recommend a key in the middle of the fretboard right at first - one they can handle. I would use the lyric word syllable as a marker for the beat. That concept should be easy to sell. Let's get them playing first then we can get into the nitty-gritty of metronomes, etc. later.
Easy songs for easy successes so they will enjoy the instrument. The concept of baby see, baby do will be helpful.
Again, they wake up in another World each day, expect to repeat a lot. Reward small successes and keep it simple so they can succeed.
Noodle time is important.
Young students can be a real challenge. The short attention span is right on point, but they also develop muscle memory quickly....so it's a fine balance to keep things interesting, but consistent.
What I do is try to use a theme over a few weeks time, but change it slightly. For example, teaching 8th notes- You start having them play with a metronome (first one note, then a chord progression) then move to a drum machine. Then I might use a multi-effect with a built in drum machine, and let them explore the crazy sounds while playing along with 8th notes. Next, I use a backing track to an easy chord progression and have them play along with it using 8th notes. Usually by that point, the student has a pretty good grasp of the concept, so I'll move on to something else.
Some students learn very quickly, but others don't. You just have to find out how quickly they learn and progress accordingly.
My father was a jaz guitarist with a music degree. He taught me a few basic things , and would always be willing to show me a bass line I liked, but really the best trick he used was to teach me just enough to ask intelligent questions as I went along.
I got my son the rocksmith 2014 and an Ibanez Mikro bass. He's only used it one day so far and he loves it. I hope his drive lasts a while. Being 7 years old, who knows.
Well I happened upon something last Saturday that for kids is apparently a BIG hit. Specifically, School of Rock. I happened to be sitting through a presentation targeting adults. Along with many new comers, there were also many parents of current students. The testimonials from these parents was WAY beyond anything I've ever seen/heard before. Very genuine as well.
With that said; the kink in the story relates to the instructors. They have good ones but they also have those with marginal credentials (formal education) - be selective OR have a plan to fill in where this program has gaps.
Check um out.
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