After goimg with me to a couple bluegrass festivals and then seeing Molly Tuttle on youtube, my 8 year old granddaughter wants to learn to play bluegrass guitar and i am needing advise on teaching her. I have taught her the basic G chord shape and she seems to have natural timing and rythm. Would it be wise to teach her a simple “ boom-chick” rythm pattern eventually working on various chord shapes, or is there a better path. I bought her a baby taylor and it fits her perfectly. Thanks in advance for any insight you may have.
Most kids want to learn songs.... things they can sing along with. She probably needs to learn the basic chords: G, C, D to begin with and then learn some simple songs that she can play and sing. The -chick rhythm pattern would be good to learn as she could chord and do rhythm as she sang the song, then pick out the melody. Whatever it takes to keep her interested. Kids get bored with scales and usually won't practice them, but give them a song they like and they'll work on it for a long time.
My son was exactly your granddaughter's age when I began teaching him and his first guitar was also a Taylor, but a Big Baby, which became my main axe (and still is) after he moved up to his Martin D-18. He's 22 now and a decent flatpicker.
Sounds like you have her off to a great start. Yes, teach her the basic boom-chick rhythm, and the the I-IV-V-I progressions. G, C, D, of course, if you're starting her off in G, which is a good starting point. Then (or even meanwhile, depending on how well she picks it up), teach her the basic down, up, down, flatpicking rule and teach her a simple flatpick tune. Basic fiddle tunes are best, imho, since they are fundamentally picked note-for-note with not a lot of syncopation or fancy hot licks which use slides, hammer-ons or pull-offs; tho you will want to eventually teach her those techniques. Make it something you already know well and consider simple so that you can teach it to her in chunks then play rhythm behind her while she plays the solo over and over again, over your backup, once she can play it slowly but steadily; eventually getting her to be able to go back and forth with you between solo and rhythm. That's what it's all about and that's where the fun is. Save the scales and theory for later, unless you think she has the concentration capacity and attention span to learn and apply it. That should give her a pretty solid foundation on which to learn more tunes and build a vocabulary. Once she learns a few tunes in G, teach her some in the keys of D and C. Armed with that knowledge and a capo, she'll be able to play just about anything. LOL
One of the hardest things for a child is working thru the pain when the tender fingers start burning. I encouraged my son to keep going even tho it was painful and told him that that more he played, the sooner the callouses would form and the pain would subside. Sure enough, he sat there and kept at it thru the pain and even tears until his tips hardened. I was proud of him for the grit and determination he showed...