Sing A Song



If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart.
Shin’ichi Suzuki

While I write this blog, I’m listening to Kids Public Radio, the ad free, commercial-free audio network for kids. I found it while I was looking for a birthday present for my granddaughter, Maya, who is turning four this Sunday.

Maya and I have always enjoyed music together. I had a basic repertoire for her from “Oh, what a beautiful morning” for getting her dressed in the morning to “Hush Little Baby” to put her to bed.

When she lived in Pittsburgh we attended Kindermusik together, sang along with Laurie Berkner videos, and watched musical movies like The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music.

When I asked Maya what she wanted for her birthday, without missing a beat she replied, “a guitar”. It happens there are many dusty gathering guitars in my family and I remember distinctly when I asked my mother for a sewing machine and she retorted, “I hope this won’t be a waste like the piano and the guitar.”

But of course, Maya is my granddaughter and we share our love of music, so it Maya wants a guitar, a guitar it is. I found The Herb David Guitar Studio in Michigan where she lives and asked Herb about giving Maya lessons. Here is his reply:

Herb David's Guitar Studio

Herb David's Guitar Studio

Hi Louise,

I spoke with Chuck about your granddaughter, and he feels that she may be just a bit too young for lessons yet. The youngest student he has ever taught was 6 years old, and in his opinion, any sort of lesson program might be too demanding and difficult for her to understand at the moment.

For what it’s worth, I started taking lessons when I was 5, and I did quite well. My advice would be to go ahead and get her a guitar now if she wants one, because that means she’s interested and I think it’s great to encourage her. Let her play around with it for a year or so, just have fun with it and see what it’s all about. Maybe pick up an instructional book or DVD geared toward beginners or young kids and have an adult help her out with it. That way she can learn some basic songs, but without the expense or time commitment of formal weekly lessons. Then see where she’s at in a year or so. If it’s something she wants to keep doing, look into lessons then. If not, maybe at least the musical seeds have been planted and it’ll be something she comes back to a few years down the road. I took lessons from age 5 to age 12, then dropped the guitar completely and didn’t pick it up again until my junior year of high school. Now I’m in my 30s, in three bands, working in a guitar shop and playing four different instruments. So it can work out.

Hope that helps!

This weekend Maya becomes the proud owner of a ¾ nylon string guitar with a teaching CD and Video. Happy Birthday Maya!

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