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Alfred’s Kids Guitar Course – Book Review

Alfred’s Kids Guitar Course – Book Review

Teaching a child to play guitar presents a different challenge for every guitar teacher. Often the guitar teacher will have to work out some method to suit his young student. A good guitar method book specifically for kids will certainly be a big help in this situation, and one book in particular is “Alfred’s Kids’ Guitar Course”so let’s see what this book has to offer.

The 140-page book is designed for children aged five and has colorful pages that are sure to grab a child’s attention. After a few pages with the basics like; “Guitar Anatomy”, “Holding the Guitar” and an introduction to “Basic Musical Symbols”, students are presented with an “Activity” page where they will be asked to draw musical symbols previously learned as well as the basics of beat counting”. Unlike most traditional guitar method books that I use to look at, the book does not start with a “Reading Notes” lesson, but instead a “Strumming” lesson.An interesting approach by the authors of the book is the introduction of three colorful characters; a dog, a cat and a friendly alligator who are always around to give the student tips for each lesson.

Reading musical notes doesn’t start until page 37 of the book, and by then students have already learned four chords in simple position and practiced strumming them in the given songs. Page 37 onwards goes back to the traditional approach of learning to read notes on each string starting at the 1st. Activity pages keep popping up between lessons and colorful characters are always there to help. Students will experience combining individual notes and a strummed chord on page 43, and this will continue with each new note learned.

A ‘four-string’ version of the chords learned before is introduced on page 79 and this is followed later by the introduction of the ‘Bass Chord’ accompaniment style as well as playing with ‘Dynamics’ to train students to add ‘Feeling’ to your playing.


The book’s approaches to introducing the rattle lesson before reading notes are certainly a good way to keep the lesson fun for the kids. It’s much easier than trying to memorize notes and find them on the guitar before they can play any meaningful sound. The companion CDs have great sound and are actually “enhanced” CDs that have extra features when played on a computer. The colorful cartoon characters have done their job to make the lessons interesting and the colorful pages make the book look cheerful and this is sure to attract the attention of young students.


The book, although titled “Complete” on the cover, is not exactly a complete book of guitar playing methods, because even after completing the book, students will only learn “four string chords” at best. Although they come with great sound and improve on CDs, guidance from a guitar teacher is still needed to make lessons more effective for children, especially five-year-olds.

After reviewing the book and learning its pros and cons, I still think it’s a good place to start for kids who want to learn guitar because of its simplicity.

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