Learning music is a fun journey—sometimes easy, sometimes hard, in the end, always worth it. For beginners, the path can seem daunting. Every instrument has its initial “hump” to get over. This poses a fearful challenge for the beginning musician. Unfortunately, many lose sight, give up, or settle for less than what their full potential may offer.
Are you thinking of starting a new instrument? Here are five quick tips (keys, if you will) to help YOU succeed in music. Some are obvious, others not so much. The obvious tips are, unfortunately, the first to be ignored. So make a note, have fun, and get started!
1. Sign up for private lessons
There is no better way to learn music then from an accomplished instructor in a one-on-one private setting. (We’re not just saying this because we’re in the private lessons business). Learning by yourself will only get you so far. Instructors will motivate you, teaching the right way from the start. Arguably, the most important time to take lessons is from the onset.
Further tips: It’s easier to learn good habits than to unlearn bad ones!
2. Schedule practice times
You love music; you know you need to practice; yet when the time comes, it just doesn’t happen. This is life. Every new musician struggles with consistency. To succeed in music, though, you must make practice a priority. So schedule it! Practice must be a habit.
Further tips: There’s no need to shoot for an hour a day. Start small (depending on your instructor’s wishes, of course). Even five minutes a day helps!
3. Have a music space
Not everybody has a garage, or general space, for a band room. What you can do is this: claim a corner of your bedroom. Move stuff around. If you want to succeed in music you have to prioritize it. Having a spot, close by, with your instrument set up and ready to play will increase your practice time. If you have to drag out and set up your instrument every time you want to play, then consistent practice will become more hassle than fun.
Further tips: (Guitar, bass, keyboard, drums): Buy an instrument stand; keep your instrument out and ready. The downside to this is dust, or knocking it over. Creating a safe area, as well as a regular cleaning routine, will be vital to lengthening the life of your instrument.
4. Set goals
You can’t succeed if you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish. “I want to play the guitar,” doesn’t necessarily mean anything, nor does it inspire practice. “I want to be able to play Back in Black by ACDC from start to finish” is a better goal. Be specific! Set goals. Learning albums from start to finish is a great tool to stay motivated with.
Further tips: Find like-minded people who are also learning music. Keep each other accountable with practice and performance goals.
A slight continuation from the last point, performance is a great goal to set. Nobody wants to be found clueless on stage. When you set a date to perform, you light a fire. Performance is, quite possibly, the best motivator for learning music.
Further tips: Sign up for open-mics. These are low stress performance opportunities and (usually) welcoming to beginners. Also, when you sign up for private lessons, make sure the institution offers performance opportunities. I can think of one off the top of my head…