A gift that will last a lifetime

GET your kids a guitar for Christmas.

It is a gift that will last them for their whole lives and I can’t think of any other present, bar literature, that will serve them as well.

I was taught to play the guitar by John O’Connell from Navan, a man with a fantastic voice and playing style to go with it.

I was 20 years of age when I began to play and I can safely say that nothing else has given me as much enduring personal satisfaction through all the years since above playing the guitar. (And, ahem, Jo and the kids!)

Of course, any the gift of any musical instrument is special. But there’s nothing as versatile and as simple as the guitar. I guarantee that an hour’s practice will allow you to bash out some sort of tune.

There is a breakeven point to be reached when the frustration and sore fingers give way to the pleasure of singing a favourite song. Children might need a little persuasion (all-right, coercion) to get to that point but it will be worth it.

You can get guitars for yourself or your kids from €20 upwards. Quality doesn’t matter to begin with as the sound you make won’t be very sweet anyway. I learned on a half-sized thing that I commandeered from my sister and I played it for ages before buying something better.

I only know of one song that can be played with two chords and that is ‘Born in the USA’ by The Boss. C and G are the chords you need and the switch between them is simple. You’ll be the bane of the house in no time.

You can take your Playstation 2 (or whatever) and you can shove it where the sun don’t shine.

There’s just nothing like creating your own music, like the thrill of discovering the chords to a song or the ability to join in on a session with other musicians.

Buy your kids a guitar for Christmas.