Besides the wonder that is making music—literally feeling the sound come from your own gestures or breathing—there are countless other benefits that can be enjoyed when you learn to play an instrument. Musical knowledge is good for your brain and has been shown in countless studies to reduce the risk of degenerative brain disorders later on in life. Playing music has also been shown to lessen feelings of depression, anxiety and promote feelings of wellbeing and transcendental calm.
All of this sounds great, you say; where do I begin? Like with everything else, learning an instrument isn’t going to be one-size-fits-all. There are countless approaches that can result in brilliant musical skills. This being said, there are some throughlines that are commonly effective. The following will explore some tips and tricks for learning to play a musical instrument. Give them all a try; keep the methods that work for you and ditch the rest.
Learn To Read Music
Of course, you don’t need to be able to read music to play it. You don’t need to be able to read English to speak it, right? People are able to learn to play by ear, but in the beginning, this limits the things you’ll be able to do. If you can read music, you’ll be able to play a wider variety of songs—there are millions of songs available online in musical notation. You’ll have more options and might even find yourself discovering new and beloved songs if you know how to read music.
Listen To More Music
Whatever the instrument you’re choosing to learn, you might want to listen to music that features that instrument heavily or songs that are played entirely with that instrument (no vocals or other instruments present). This will help you form sound-based neural pathways in your brain and allow you to understand the possibilities with the instrument, which could later boost creativity when you’re in the jam session stage of learning. Even more wonderful, you might discover some spectacular new tunes for your playlist.
Don’t Be Afraid To Sound Bad
You will sound bad when you start out. You will. There’s no avoiding it. If you can’t bear to sound bad, you’re not going to end up sounding good. It’s part of the process and needs to be accepted. Let yourself sound bad, let yourself bleed notes together in a terrible, awkward way, let yourself fumble, and leave big gaps between your notes. Anyone who plays well at one point played terribly. If you’re struggling with this, schedule a practice time when everyone’s out of the house.
Consider Online Courses
The world is full of talented musicians, and many of them teach music as well, either as a hobby or as a business. You can look up free online courses on Youtube or other social media apps to get yourself started or, as can be seen at https://www.allstringed.com/, read through reviews of paid courses. If you’re in an isolated location or in a territory where there are strict pandemic protocols in place, there are plenty of paid online lessons and tutors available on zoom or other video chat platforms. No matter where you are, you should be able to find lessons.
Use The Goldilocks Principle For Practice
When you’re practicing, you’re not helping yourself at all if you’re simply rehearsing something you’ve already mastered. Likewise, if you’re tackling an intense classical tune that requires ten years of practice to play, you’re probably working on something that’s so hard you won’t be able to feel the progress. Practicing is an art. You don’t want something that’s too challenging or too easy, but something that is just right: pushing you beyond your current capabilities but still feeling possible.