For all of the people you see who have learned a musical instrument, there might be twice as many stories of failure. While that might be an entirely unverifiable fact, it’s not hard to see that it may be true: how many times in your life did you start or even just want to take up a musical instrument? And how many times did you actually succeed at it?
There’s a good chance that, if you’re reading this article, the answer is simple. You might have tried in the past only to be left wondering how the people who stick with it manage to get so good.
If you’re sick of watching other people play their instruments from the crowd, this article is for you. In it, we’ll take a look at five important tips for understanding what it’s like to learn a musical instrument. It can be thrilling, fun, and occasionally downright tedious. But hopefully these tips will get you over the hump and playing your instrument of choice in no time.
Tip #1: Pick an instrument you can stick with and enjoy.
If you listen to a Beatles song, you might be tempted to learn piano, guitar, bass guitar, and drums – all from the same song! That’s because you’re listening to world-class musicians play their instruments with expertise and relative ease. But even the Beatles had to put in their due diligence to master their chosen instruments. Even if you like all kinds of instruments, you’ll do far better if you stick to one “main” instrument and make it your exclusive focus for a period of time. Achieving mastery in an instrument is all about advancing to the next level and putting in your practice even when those advancements aren’t taking place. In other words, you don’t have any time to spread yourself thin.
Tip #2: Take advantage of the Internet.
In 1820, it was probably more difficult to learn a musical instrument today. Why? Because you’d have to secure a teacher – someone who already know how to play the instrument – in order to help you. Today, you have the advantage of finding all sorts of lessons and tips online. Heck, you’re reading a tip right now! Check out Lifehacker’s Learn to Play an Instrument Online to learn more about the best ways to learn your musical instrument with the help of the Internet. You’ll be glad you did.
Tip #3: Go in small increments.
You want to practice above your current skill set – that’s what makes you better – but you don’t want to aim so high that you get frustrated with your lack of results and eventually quit. If you practice in small increments, you take advantage of your natural learning patterns while giving yourself the opportunity to find the small rewards in the “little” things you’re learning.
Tip #4: Give yourself a definable challenge.
Master a short, simple song to start out with, and keep moving up toward more advanced material. Give yourself a definable challenge and you’ll know what you’re working toward. You’ll also know where your current skill levels are at. It’s also nice to have a song you can play for people who ask you how your “guitar learning is going.”
Tip #5: Persist.
Finally, the one tip you’ll want to always remember: just persist. Keep going, even when you’re not sure you’ll ever get better. You will. It’s an inevitability if you keep putting in your time. You may shock yourself as you find out you discover you may have talents you didn’t know you had, or that you start to grow a musical prowess that you never figured possible.