How To Go About Learning An Instrument
Are you wanting to learn a new life skill? Then picking up a musical instrument can be a very fulfilling way to do so. These 5 tips will help you get started and reach your goal!
Learning an instrument and how to play music can have a wide range of benefits on your life. It is a fun stress-reliever, it improves your health and enhances your cognitive function. While it may be true that it is easier for children to learn how to play an instrument, you are never too old to learn music!
Here are some tips on how to learn an instrument when you are an adult:
1. Identify what kinds of music you like
Anyone will agree that it is natural to want to be able to play the music you enjoy listening to. Most adults will most likely have already developed clear music preferences and decided which instruments they enjoy listening to and which ones they are not so keen on. We are more emotionally engaged by some music than others, whereas children will not have as many preferences.
You can start by identifying who your favourite music artist, composer or genre is and then find out which instruments you need, to be able to play that style of music.
Finding instrumental covers on YouTube will also be an aid in finding out what style of music and specific instruments you enjoy listening to. Do you prefer listening to the beautiful singing of a violin? The deep rumbling notes of a bass guitar? Or the rhythm provided by the drums?
2. Choose the right instrument for you
Learning an instrument will need a lot of patience and motivation, so making sure you choose the right instrument for you is vital, so you don’t get bored and give up.
Every style of music uses a different mix of instruments. If you enjoy rock and metal, you could opt for the electric guitar or drums; if you enjoy classical music, you could lean towards learning the violin or piano. There are thousands of instruments to choose from, so make sure you research them all and purchase from a good quality music shop.
You should also pick an instrument that fits well into your lifestyle. Do you have space to fit a piano or double bass in your home? If you travel or move around a lot, larger instruments will be very difficult to keep on top of and you may end up losing interest. You could therefore opt for the clarinet, flute, violin or anything that comes in a portable case.
If you have thin walls and complaining neighbours, maybe a digital piano with adjustable volume and headphones would be the best option.
3. Find a teacher or set yourself a schedule
The easiest and fastest way to learn an instrument is to pay for lessons with a professional teacher. These can be one-on-one or in a small group, if single lessons are too expensive. These should be about once a week for about an hour, after you have been practising your homework all week. Teachers can be found online and don’t worry if it takes going to a few taster lessons before you find your right fit!
However, if these are not accessible to you for any reason, you can also be your own teacher; you just have to be more strict on yourself. It can be difficult to get the motivation to sit down and play for an hour, especially if you have many distractions at home. Therefore, setting yourself specific times in the week and a schedule, where you force yourself to sit down and practice a certain piece of music, will help a lot in progressing.
It can be a lot harder than expected to master an instrument, so don’t give up and lose interest too quickly. Practice makes perfect!
4. Make sure you get your posture right
Playing an instrument can get very tiresome on the body and you will start to ache if you are playing for a long period of time. It involves getting into uncomfortable and tense positions, to be able to reach the keys, buttons or strings. Violinists may experience jaw and neck pain, whilst drummers are at risk of back pain if they have bad posture.
Many instruments require sitting down for hours, which can be a massive strain on the body if you do not have good posture. Therefore, it is important to research the correct posture for your instrument, to prevent injuries. It will also help you to play your instrument better and look more professional and confident performing.
5. Learn with a group
Learning with a group of friends is another great tip for success at learning any instrument. Whether you find a group online, who all play the same or different instruments, who you can meet up and practice with, or your friends decide to create a group, your timing and volume management skills will increase greatly. It gives you a chance to utilize all the skills you’ve learned so far in a real-life setting.
It is a great way to have fun playing your instrument, as playing alone or one-on-one with a teacher can get rather repetitive. You can choose a piece of music in advance and each practice your part before coming together, to make the most out of the session. You all need to work together as a unit and play in unison, which is a skill in itself.
You get to brainstorm new musical ideas together, get sheet note recommendations and practice tricky chords together, which will help you a lot as an individual and as a group player!
In summary, it is important to set goals for what you wish to achieve when learning an instrument and to not be too harsh on yourself. It can be very challenging to learn a new skill as difficult as a music instrument when you are an adult, so patience and lots of practice is key!
©Hayes Music 2020