How to Properly Learn a New Musical Instrument
Picking up a new musical instrument to learn is a great way to exercise new muscles in your brain, destress, and simply master a new skill to impress your friends and family. Like most things you learn, there’s a right way to do it, and a wrong way. The former will help you learn quickly, while also having fun. The latter will just try your patience and force you to give up sooner rather than later.
While having even the most run-of-the-mill background in music will make learning a new musical instrument a lot easier, you can still face other challenges in becoming a multi-instrumentalist. Conversely, picking up an instrument for the first time without a musical background can work to your benefit in some ways, since your brain won’t be bogged down by different theories or techniques. Here are a few tips to help you master a new musical instrument without losing your mind.
Build on Existing Knowledge
If you’ve learned to play the ukulele, and say, you’d like to learn how to play the guitar, there’s a clear way for you to be able to make the most of your technical knowledge. The ukulele and guitar are luckily fairly similar, so you will be able to develop the necessary skills to work on the latter with few hiccups.
Unfortunately, if you need to learn the saxophone, but the other instrument you’ve mastered is the piano, then you’re out of luck. The only way that building on your technical knowledge can help you is if you’re picking up an instrument that has similarities to the first one you learned, which will help you get the hang of things sooner rather than later. However, don’t be discouraged if your instruments are vastly different; it may take a little longer to expand your knowledge but is well worth the effort.
Use Sheet Music
Sheet music is an excellent way to help you learn an instrument, especially if this is your first attempt. There are many online resources available these days, making digital sheet music readily available to a broad range of users, which can hasten the learning process if used properly. These are further buoyed by taking music lessons, since learning with a good teacher will definitely allow you to understand sheet music fully while learning how to play your instrument much faster. A teacher will disabuse you of bad habits early on and will give you fun tips to help you feel more confident over time.
If you don’t abide by any other rule, at least make sure you don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself from the get-go. Work slowly and be patient, or else you’ll find yourself getting frustrated right away, unable to execute the ideas in your head. Learning an instrument – whether or not you have some kind of musical background – will take time, and you should try to do what you can to take things step by step so that you don’t get discouraged quickly.
Learning a new musical instrument can be a lot of fun, provided that you do it right. If you don’t give yourself a chance to incrementally learn new skills, then you may give up your instrument pretty quickly. If you take lessons, read sheet music and practice every day, you’ll be able to play a new instrument before you know it. Remember, it’s never too late to learn!