1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Teaching your own kids to play?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Demon_Hunter, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. Demon_Hunter


    Jun 8, 2008
    Have or do any of you teach/taught your own kids/stepkids how to play?
    My stepson, 18 yrs old, is showing a slight interest in guitar. I'm wondering if he pursues it, do I teach him myself, or get a teacher?
  2. pflash4001


    Dec 2, 2011
    I guess you'd have to see how your kid responds to you. Mine are desperate to learn, but I haven't been able to do much since their hands are too small to reach across the fretboard. They do go with me as often as they can when I run live sound. I've been teaching them the basics of mic/spkr placement, cabling, setup/strike, etc...
  3. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I was taught by my new step-dad when I was 13. It was a fantastic experience.

    YMMV - not everyone is a good teacher!
  4. Guitar is such a self-teaching-friendly instrument that it seems like it couldn't hurt to at least start him yourself. If he gets serious, discuss with him if he wants to take actual lessons.

    Kids learn a lot by just hanging around people. He won't learn playing technique as such, of course, but how you approach the instrument is going to become part of his baseline experience of how the instrument is approached. Maybe that helps him "catch" your work ethic and the habit of taking practice seriously, or your low-stress attitude about not taking music as a competition, or your feelings on the role of different instruments in a mix, or whatever---I'm just making up examples, but those are all important ingredients of musicianship, quite apart from sheer instrumental technique.

    Digression: One of the most fun things I've ever done with my 4-year-old son is record a version of "Godzilla". I sequenced up a quick-and-dirty drum part, put down a rhythm guitar and vocal track, then plopped him in front of the mic with headphones on to sing along with it. He knew the words to the chorus, so I mixed him as the lead vocal on that part---the verses he mostly mumbled so I ended up keeping those in my voice, and then I took a sample of his voice for the "god-zilla! god-zilla! god-zilla!..." bridge. The result was a fairly credible hack-job of a recording, a pretty terrific memento of his childhood, and a little bit of rudimentary studio experience in case he needs it in later years. Also, he thinks his voice singing the bridge is the funniest thing in the world (and he may be right). Moral: Play music with your kids!

  5. pflash4001


    Dec 2, 2011
    As mentioned above....don't make it a chore. I've never put an instrument in my kids' hands, but they're all over the house. They can't help picking them up, even of they aren't sure what they're doing, they're getting something out of it like how to hold the instrument, how to keep it safe on a stand or in a case, etc. they actually think its weird to go to a friends house and not see instruments all over the place.
  6. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I have a standing rule not to teach family members.
  7. Oneirogenic


    Nov 10, 2009
    My wife and I teach our son bits and pieces of kid songs and easy to learn melodies on piano. He is six and has a pretty high interest in music. He has incredible rhythm and pitch recognition for an untrained kid but I am afraid of getting him a teacher because he is very high strung to the point I would say he is right on the borderline of ADHD and I don't want him to get let down by a teacher that doesn't understand a kid like him. He has his own kid djembe, shakers, old Casio keyboard, and free reign to jam on my homemade kalimbas and he sounds great for a young kid. He has good pitch control with whistling and singing too. If his hyperactive behaviors weren't so obtrusive to keeping him focused and relaxed a bit longer he would be incredible for his age.
  8. pflash4001


    Dec 2, 2011
    Getting him involved with music and the RIGHT teacher now could prevent trouble later. Music may offer a way to focus that energy.
  9. Oneirogenic


    Nov 10, 2009
    I agree. I guess I should look for a teacher that understands his shortcomings. His kindergarten teacher says he responds well to her authority so maybe he just needs someone other than his parents teaching him. He learns very fast and is bright but his personality is very loud, vibrant, and excited. I just imagine piano teachers as grumpy old ladies who work with the quiet kids who don't require extra patience and won't talk your ear off and fly off on tangents at a moments notice. The reality is likely that a teacher who could easily handle him is out there. :)
  10. pflash4001


    Dec 2, 2011
    Maybe try a sort of group/camp setting where it would be ok to interact with others and that incorporates sound AND movement in the lesson rather than someone who is just going to sit at a keyboard playing scales and arpeggios. It should be fun and something he looks forward to.
  11. Oneirogenic


    Nov 10, 2009
    He loves playing piano and he gets very distracted in group settings so I think he may benefit better from individual instruction. He is not shy at all or lacking in self confidence and could easily learn and build a good rapport with a teacher who understands him. The trick will be finding a teacher...
  12. pflash4001


    Dec 2, 2011
    You're a step ahead of a lot of parents in identifying strengths and weaknesses. Stay with that and use it toy our advantage.
  13. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    It depends on your ability to teach and make it interesting. Not all great players are great teachers. I would start out teaching the basics and see how interested he really is. If he likes it and wants to stick with it you can always get a teacher at a later date.
  14. Oneirogenic


    Nov 10, 2009
    I work in child care so I have a pretty good grasp on kids' abilities for the most part. I can't believe how many parents and even some other professionals over or underestimate children's abilities. I could go on forever about this but it's for another thread.

    Slightly thread related, teaching my wife guitar was a disaster. I stay out of the way with her piano studies. Thank God she has a college professor to assist her.
  15. I tried my damnest to get my nephew to start playing bass. And, it was all to no avail. He's just a guitar player at heart.:meh:
  16. Could I ask why about the wife? My girlfriends been kinda wanting to learn to play lately but I don't think of myself as a teacher, just someone that can kinda show her the ropes..

  17. wideload


    Apr 15, 2004
    Teach my kids??? I can't even teach ME!

    Seriously, I would rather pay a teacher. Teaching them to drive was trauma enough.
  18. Oneirogenic


    Nov 10, 2009
    I just wasn't a good teacher for her. I'm not a good teacher for beginners period. She got mad at me because I couldn't communicate to her the concepts in a way she understood and when she asked for criticism she would get mad at me for honestly criticizing her. I was pretty nice about it too but I think the husband/wife teacher/student dynamic didn't work for us because our brains work so differently. You may have completely different results. Oddly enough we can "jam" but anything else is likely to elicit a rage quit.
  19. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    I'm one of those ADHD kids all growd up. Your son sounds a lot like how i am. I can tell you that music definitely kept me out of a LOT of trouble. Unfortunately my family was always broke and my parents knew little about music and playing an instrument so I had to learn everything myself and I'm still feeling the pain of that.

    I would strongly recommend lessons. But spend the time looking for the right instructor. There are tons of those old 'stuck in there ways' types out there but there's also lots of relaxed types and lots of eccentric types. Lack of instruction is what I feel hurt me most.
  20. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    Also to answer the OP. My guitarist never took formal lessons but got fundamentals from his father and he is miles ahead of me in skill and understanding. I think if you can even offer basics then your kids will come out on top.