While some people are born with a natural proclivity for playing music, anyone can learn how to play strings, keys, percussions, and other types of musical instruments. It simply takes a willingness to dedicate yourself to the proper processes and habits.
4 Tips for Faster and More Effective Learning
There’s never been a better time to be an information seeker. At no point in human history has there been so much information available with such convenience. Technology – and the internet in particular – has totally changed the game. This is true in almost any subject matter or niche, but especially so with music.
As someone who is new to the idea of playing music, it’s imperative that you give yourself a strong foundation by finding some early success. Quick “wins” – no matter how small they may be – instill confidence and courage while encouraging continued learning and mastery.
Without sounding gimmicky or trivial about the challenge of mastering musical instruments, here are some powerful tips for finding early results that lead to long-term success:
Establish Rules and Goals
Most people get really excited when they think about learning a musical instrument. They dream about mastering the keys or being able to play crazy guitar licks. They go out and spend a bunch of money on a nice saxophone or set of drums. They watch a bunch of videos on YouTube and their imagination runs wild. There’s excitement in the opportunity to learn, but then comes the actual learning process.
If you want to match or sustain your excitement during the learning phase, you must establish some clear goals. Otherwise, the frustrations and friction that you experience will wear you thin and persuade you to give up and do something else.
Good goals are SMART goals. This means they’re Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. As you set learning objectives, do so in a manner that stretches you, but also instills confidence and fosters growth.
Learn to Read Music
These days, you can learn almost any musical instrument without the need to read music. However, this isn’t the best path to mastery. By learning to read music and understand music theory, you’ll develop a more balanced and well-rounded understanding of the music world.
In terms of getting practice, try public domain music from a website like PublicDomain4U.com. This type of music refers to any song not covered by copyright law, which means it’s free for the general public to use in any form or fashion.
Find Online Teachers
If you wanted to learn a musical instrument in decades past, you had to find a teacher, sign up for expensive lessons, and attend dozens of sessions per year just to get comfortable with playing. You were limited by the teachers you had access to, and it was hard to make strides without consistently spending money on lessons.
Today, this is no longer an issue. While there’s still something to be said for working with a music instructor in a one-on-one fashion, the internet has changed the game. With YouTube and other video platforms, you can absorb thousands of hours of instructional content on your time and for free! Don’t take this for granted. Find teachers you like and watch them over and over again.
Use a Variety of Techniques
Everyone has a different learning style and a unique playing style. Thus, it makes sense that we would all use different techniques to learn and master musical instruments.
As you learn, embrace different approaches. Don’t just find a practice method that’s comfortable and spend all of your time learning in that way. Instead, try new things. Focus on slowing songs down, playing scales, playing with your eyes closed, playing with music in front of you, playing alongside audio recordings, playing by yourself, playing with friends, etc.
Embrace the Power of Music
There are few mediums in the world that have as much potential to stir emotions, change perceptions, or motivate people to action as music. While we can all enjoy listening to music, having the ability to create music through your own talents is a skill that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Stay on track and embrace progress.
Music is a challenging subject to master, but the long-term rewards are significant.