The three centuries of music history in South Africa can be divided into two main periods: 1652 to 1800, and from 1800 to the present day.
During the first period, chamber music, performed on the harpsichord, violin, flute or harp, was considered an educational accomplishment in the circles in which high Company officials moved in the Netherlands.
At the beginning of the second period, which was when rule changed from British to Dutch rule (1806), Cape Town was still the only town where a varied expression of musicality was possible.
A video of Guitar for Kids
Information on guitar for kids in South Africa
Is guitar right for your kids?
Learning the guitar can improve your child's life by:
- Enriching them through music
- Improving their school performance - research shows positive associations between music education and academic performance.
- Boosting their self-esteem and creativity
- Establishing an early interest in music
- Providing a fun outlet
Get your kids started!
Some guitar schools and teachers accept children as young as three, but the perfect age to start is usually around six or seven years old.
The first thing to decide is what sort of guitar your child will learn. The main choices are:
- Acoustic guitar with nylon strings
- Easy on little fingers
- Best for classical, jazz, flamenco, folk
- Acoustic guitar without steel strings
- Harder on fingers
- Best for pop, pop-rock, country
- Electric guitar
- Somewhat easier to play
- Easier to tune
- Minimal effort needed on strings
- Best for rock, metal, funk, alternative
- Requires amplifier, guitar cable, guitar pick
- Bass guitar
- Can be acoustic or electric but usually electric
- Often used as a backing instrument but also as solo in jazz, fusion, Latin, funk, rock and metal
- Be careful here, some children find that the Bass Guitar isn't as exciting as they anticipated
Here are some things to consider before you purchase a guitar:
- Try before you buy. Don't buy a guitar over the internet unless your child has tried the same model first.
- Make sure the guitar you buy is the right size for your child. Guitars come in small and half sizes for smaller children.
- Have someone who knows how to play the guitar with you when purchasing.
There are many ways to introduce your child to the guitar, including:
- Books, videos, online lessons
- Chords, tablatures, playing with fingers or pick or strumming
- Can be useful supplement to formal lessons
- Relatively cheap or even free
- One on one lessons
- Best for kids
- Usual cost around $30 to $60 an hour, depending on the teacher and location
- Group lessons
- Offered by Yamaha (electric guitar) and others over semester
- Can work out cheaper but large (around R1000) up-front payment
Here are some tips for finding a good guitar teacher:
- Check the ActiveActivities directory for guitar teachers near you
- Check the reviews on the ActiveActivities directory
- Ask parents of budding guitarists
- See if you can get references from past students and/or their parents
- Take advantage of "first lesson free" policies. A lot of guitar teachers will offer the first lesson for free, and this is a great way to determine if a guitar teacher is suited to your child
Being able to take part in performances is what makes guitar one of the greatest kids activities!