Another year has come and gone, and we find ourselves in 2017. Around the new year’s, many people make noble resolutions to quit bad habits, or to start new, good habits. Others take it upon themselves to learn new skills, and one of the more popular picks is to learn a musical instrument or sing. If you or a loved one has made this excellent decision for the new year’s, here is some expert advice to consider before going head-first into the exciting world of music:
1) Try to stick to a realistic, more attainable goal. Don’t go in with a dream of becoming a concert pianist just within a year! Try creating a list of simpler songs or pieces that you would like to be able to play (or sing if taking vocal lessons); or getting to a level where you can play in a community band or orchestra or casual chamber ensemble.
2) Know that in order to attain these goals you will need to dedicate an ample amount of practice, and especially implement the correct ways to practice (see practice tips blogs for more info!). You may not need nearly as much time to practice as professionals, but you will need to be consistent–as in practice every day if possible. Consistency is key to improving!
3) Procure the necessary materials for your lessons: if you’re a piano student, get at least a good quality keyboard, if not a digital piano or a real acoustic piano. If you are learning another instrument, such as violin or clarinet, get a music stand you can put your lesson books and sheet music on. If you’re on a brass instrument, such as trumpet or tuba, make sure you get valve oil and slide grease, and cleaning brushes to help maintain the instrument.
4) Make sure your teacher is a good fit for you. That’s not to say the instructor is bad or doesn’t know what he or she is doing, but personality types and teaching/learning styles may not match up. For example, a student could be used to learning new things more visually, so the best teacher would be able to relate musical concepts in a visual manner. A music teacher might also have more experience teaching more advanced students, so a beginner would be at a disadvantage. So make sure you do your homework on your future music teacher before you commit to your first lesson.
5) Finally, make sure to have fun and enjoy learning music along the way! Lessons shouldn’t be a dreaded activity and practice need not be a chore. Learning any new skill should be an exciting, adventurous undertaking, so be sure to always have this mindset.
To conclude, when tackling on the near year’s resolution of learning a musical instrument or learning to sing, be sure to have in mind clear, realistic goals. Know that you will have to put in the time and effort for practice in order to progress. In order to be successful, have the necessary and appropriate materials for your lessons, as well as being paired up with the best teacher for you. And simply enjoy the experience of learning how to make sweet beautiful sounds. Now go forth and make music!