Please, please, PLEASE, if you don’t know what to get your child for Christmas, do NOT get them a guitar.
Does it seem strange that a guitar teacher would try to dissuade you from giving a guitar for Christmas?
While there are three exceptions, 95 percent of the time, giving a guitar at Christmas is a bad idea.
Unless you want an unplayed guitar sitting in your closet for the next couple of decades.
Many times when a parent gives a guitar for Christmas, its because the child already has an X-box, an iPod, an iPad, a DS, a TV, a computer, and maybe even a bicycle… so they see a guitar on the shelf at the local Stuff-Mart and think’ “Oh! Junior doesn’t have one of those! I bet (s)he would like one.”
And, yes, on Christmas morning, Junior might very well be ecstatic – with visions of musical stardom dancing in his or her head.
The thing that Junior does not yet realize is that guitar is hard. Really hard. It takes a lot of work. And if learning guitar isn’t something that he or she is passionate about, it’s probably not going to happen on its own.
Here are the three exceptions:
One: Junior has been pestering for a guitar for months. Playing air guitar for hours on end and stringing rubber bands over empty tissue boxes to work on his or her chops. In this case, promise me that you will not buy the guitar from a big box store and that you will not spend less than $200 and go ahead.
Two: You have already bought Junior a guitar from a big box store and by some miracle, it is still getting played. In this case, it is probably time for an upgrade and, if you promise me that you will not buy another guitar from a big box store and that you will not spend less than $200, you have my blessing.
Three: You are prepared to take on the grueling task of being the taskmaster and forcing daily practice until sufficient skill is developed that Junior actually learns and appreciates the rewards of playing music and discovers a desire to learn independently. (This is not a bad thing, but most modern parents don’t have the time or energy for this.) Just promise me that you will not buy the guitar from a big box store and that you will not spend less than $200.
(If you have, decided that, yes, a guitar would, in fact, make a great gift, then you should probably include a tuner, a music stand, and a metronome as stocking stuffers.)
So when you see that guitar sitting on the shelf at the Stuff-Mart, just think, “Thanks, Brian,” and walk on by.