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When your child has expressed a fervent desire to play the acoustic guitar, you’ll probably start thinking about music lessons and getting the best acoustic kids’ guitar for him or her. But not so fast. First, you need to consider if your child is of the right age, with the right physical capacity and mental discipline to absorb all the concepts they will be learning.Guitar teachers are divided about the right age to start kids off with learning guitar. Some say you can start little kids as young as 2 years old with guitar lessons, some advise waiting until the child turns at least 8 years of age. So which is the most sound advice to take?

Let’s take a look at the different points to consider so you can gauge whether your child is ready for formal guitar lessons.

Getting children started at age 2-5
Children under the age of 5 are barely out of toddlerhood and may find it hard to concentrate on music lessons for any amount of time. And although there are mini guitars that can probably be a good fit for them, they may not be able to fret chords, or it may take some time for them to understand the relationships between basic chords, notes and strings. If they can’t count yet, or if they don’t know their ABC’s, it can be terribly difficult to teach them guitar. In addition, they may not be mature enough to follow the teacher’s instructions.

There are some exceptions, of course. Some children show a particular talent for stringed instruments at a young age. If you think your child could be one of these kids, why not sign up for trial lessons and see how your child progresses? Otherwise, waiting until your child is old enough is ideal.

If you really want to get your child started with guitar at a very young age, consider getting a ukulele first, as it is smaller and easier to learn for young children. You can also register your child for music appreciation classes so he or she can have a good musical foundation. This is good preparation for formal guitar lessons in the future.

Getting children started at age 5-9
Children who are 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 years old can also learn to play guitar, but again at a somewhat limited capacity because of their size. Fortunately there are 3/4 size guitars that they can try.

Quick note: Guitar lessons at this age bracket are suited for children who have older siblings or family members that also play the guitar – it helps them think of playing as a regular, everyday thing.

Getting children started at age 10
At age 10, children will have grown significantly and are able to hold the guitar properly, with both of the arms in the correct position. Children who are 10 years old and above would already have developed the motor skills and hand strength needed to make fretting chords a lot easier. Plus, they would already have a greater maturity to listen and follow instructions, as well as practice on their own.

You know your child best, so it’s really up to you to determine if he or she is ready for guitar lessons at their age. Observe how motivated and mature your child is for lessons and hours of practice – make sure they understand what they’re really getting into. If your child is determined to play the guitar and is willing to take on the challenges that comes with it, then it’s a go.