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Tips for Teaching a Toddler

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by slowreflex, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. slowreflex


    Jun 28, 2013
    My toddler (3.5yr) has started coming up to me when I'm practicing and strumming the bass. He's really into it and I want to motivate him to keep enjoying "playing" the bass. I know some of the best bassists started when they were around this age. Anyone have any experience teaching very young kids? Is a kid sized bass recommended or should I just let him mess around with a full size one? Is it mainly just about right hand strumming and not much notes at this age? Just looking for any tips or advice anyone has around this. Thanks!
    PlatoFunFactory likes this.
  2. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    Just let him whack on anything you've got lying around. I loved making noises out of any musical instrument when I was a kid. I wouldn't look into anything more formal than that until they're around 7 or 8 at the earliest.

    (yes, the violin people say you can and should start earlier, and yes, I am a product of that school of education, but I think I became a musician in spite of it, not because of it.)
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    For now, just being with YOU, and being into whatever YOU are into, is his whole world. So sit him in your lap and let him "help" you play.

    A piano would be much easier on his fingers if you really want to get him into music this early.
    mrcbass, Jazz Ad, Wasnex and 9 others like this.
  4. slowreflex


    Jun 28, 2013
    Yeah, I definitely don't want to force him to do anything. I just want to encourage him while he is interested in something without a screen on it. :laugh:

    Good idea. I have a little keyboard laying around somewhere. Will see how he gets on with that. Not sure he'll like it as much as it's not what I'm doing, but we'll see!
    Wasnex and matante like this.
  5. reddog

    reddog Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Philly burbs
  6. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    No kids myself. Maybe message Aron Hodek and find out how he started or look into what bass he uses.
  7. marko138


    May 24, 2013
    Perry County PA
    It's great isn't it? My 4 year old son loves to "play" my basses. He asks often if he can play, so I grab him whichever bass he wants and he does what your son does, just strums it with his right hand.

    He also asked for a drum kit for christmas, so I gave him my old practice kit. He loves it.
  8. slowreflex


    Jun 28, 2013
    Don't think I can force myself to let him grab ANY bass. Too precious. I play the Squier when he's around. :D

    But yeah, it is great. My other kids are only interested in computers, phones, and tablets.
  9. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I started taking banjo lessons when I was three-and-a-half on a "buke" (a very short scale banjo). Maybe something like a Kala Ubass? A full scale bass is way too big for a kid that age to play with any degree of efficiency.
  10. marko138


    May 24, 2013
    Perry County PA
    None of my stuff is remarkably expensive. Mostly stuff I've built, all under a grand.
    slowreflex likes this.
  11. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I built my youngest son a bass of his own out of the junkiest parts I had laying around... no name body, twisted neck, bent tuners. He bangs on it with a lot of determination and zero self-awareness, the same way I did (when I was a teenager with my first bass.). He is six, though.
  12. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber

    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Even violin teachers for young kids don't get too technical. They just teach things like holding it at first.

    My opinion is to teach basic concepts of music. Suzuki method is great for kids, though I don't think they have one for electric bass.

    A lot of concepts are about hearing rhythms and sounds and processing them to their level. Instead of counting 1+ 2+ 3+ 4+, you sound out things like "Peanut butter jelly sandwich."
    alanloomis1980 and slowreflex like this.
  13. Cave Puppy

    Cave Puppy "Humph Bo, he's wond!" - John Lennon

    Jan 13, 2015
    DO NOT TEACH A TODDLER. I tried that on my now 22 year old son when he expressed an interest and he had a meltdown. I decided then and there that I would not ever teach him unless he wanted me to because I didn't want to turn him off. He is now a most excellent bassist, guitarist, drummer, etc ...
    Rabidhamster and 6Bass101 like this.
  14. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I bought my son a Bronco when he was 4. Of course even that was still way too big, but he banged around on it anyway. Loved playing it through fuzz and delay. Over the years he's taken occasional interest in all my instruments, making beats on his laptop, etc. He's 14 now and has no interest in playing anything whatsoever....
    nonohmic likes this.
  15. bbh

    bbh Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    Can you make up a game out of picking some notes or hitting the strings?
  16. Colin Cunliffe

    Colin Cunliffe

    Aug 26, 2019
    West Wales
    Play games, laugh, have fun, let him decide what is fun.

    Be ready for that time when the pc/ipod or whatever is more fun. BUT and a big but....
    He may come back to it one day because it was fun NOT school or boring.
    Rabidhamster and alanloomis1980 like this.
  17. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    Teach nothing except maybe bassface. :)
    Dr. Love and design like this.
  18. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia living la vida loca Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    piano lessons
    geof_ likes this.
  19. jchrisk1

    jchrisk1 Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    When my son was 5 I bought him an acoustic guitar. A little cheapo that I tuned to an open tuning, and periodically tuned it up for him. He was always strumming it, and always sounded good because of the open tuning. One day he was strumming it and I asked him if he would like me to teach him how to play it, to which he responded, "no, I'm pretty good already". I got a good chuckle out of it, and these days he couldn't care less.
    On the other hand, my nephew that was the same age, says to me "uncle chwis, can I play you bass?". Sure, I handed it to him and he thumped out a rhythm, in time, that blew my mind. I couldn't believe he could do that. I took my bass back before he stole my job.
    pbass2 likes this.
  20. Wissen

    Wissen Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2007
    Central PA
    StatesideRambler likes this.

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