Perhaps you’re an advanced musician seeking to expand your skill set. Or maybe you’re a total newbie who’s never played a note in your life. Either way, you’re no doubt looking for the easiest way to learn that new instrument.
The good news is that we live in a time that makes learning how to play music easy and accessible for anyone. Of course, living in the information age also means that all of the available resources can get overwhelming.
Take a deep breath, stick to these basic guidelines, and you’ll be well on your way to musical mastery.
Take Advantage of Technology
Gone are the days of having to hire an expensive music teacher to show you the ropes. The internet puts everything you need right at your fingertips, and many of those resources are available for free. You can learn about:
- Reading music
- Music theory (notation, scales, chords, etc.)
- Choosing the right instrument
Once you’re ready for some hands-on experience, YouTube is, of course, one of the most valuable resources you can use. Learn as you watch, pausing in between each step to give you time to solidify your technique before moving on.
Give Yourself Instant Gratification
When I started learning guitar (after 35 years on piano), I remember how frustrating the repetition was. After all, I was learning because I wanted to play one of my favorite songs! The key to motivation, I found, was to choose something simple – yet familiar – to work on while nailing down the fundamentals. Doing so provides that instant gratification without neglecting core skill building.
Join a Community
Learning a new instrument can be a solitary (i.e. lonely) venture. You only answer to yourself, thus inspiration and motivation can become issues. By joining a band or a local music group, you will increase your chances of sticking with it and you’ll probably have a lot of good times in the process.
The importance of patience cannot be overemphasized! Learning a new instrument is exciting and fun, especially at first. Once the sore fingertips and boredom with scales sets in, however, it can be tempting to let up on practice time or even give up altogether.
Patience pays off. Keep the big picture in the forefront of your mind. Focus on your goal – whether it’s expanding your opportunities for gigs, or simply crossing that one item off your bucket list. You’ll get there, and when that happens you will not only have a new skill but the pride that only comes with perseverance!