You may have loved music for a long time already. Or this pandemic pushed you to create a new hobby and found a new love for music. As a beginner musician, it may be difficult for you to learn how to play an instrument or create your own music without the guide of a professional. However, you may be able to learn through self-study or with the help of internet resources. If you are on your journey to becoming the next famous cello player or violinist, here are some practical tips to learning and being an expert in your craft:
Focus first on the basics of your chosen instrument
Watching musicians perform on stage is fascinating and inspiring, that sometimes, you wish you can do their skills too. But before feeling envy, keep in mind that, like you, they experienced being a novice too. Rather than focusing on what you can and cannot do right now, adjust your perspective and see the silver lining in these situations.
As a newbie, your first task should be learning the basics. One cannot excel by skipping the very fundamental parts of your chosen instrument. For instance, if you are a cellist, have a good grasp on areas like cello music theory, setting up the cello, correct cello position, cello fingering, and cello techniques. These basic practices are essential and will later help you to get on the advanced level.
Determine your learning style
Like academics, learning how to play a musical instrument involves schooling too, and everyone pickups on their own different learning styles. The question is, “What is your learning style?”
Prior to determining which style works for you, you need to be mentally prepared on this journey first. In this way, you will be in a much better state to overcome every challenge and roadblock that may get in the way. Next is establishing good practicing habits. Are you a fast learner? Or do you want to take it slow to be familiarized with everything? Do you easily get focused on using the Pomodoro technique? Or are you fine with metronomes?
A Pomodoro technique is a study habit that is divided into minutes. For example, you study for the first 25 minutes without any distractions. After the said time, you get a 5-minute break that covers your bathroom break, phone updates, and others. Then, you are back in the 25-minute timeframe. It is suggested to do this in 4 cycles. This technique is one of the keys to better focus and productivity.
When is your music time (how often can you practice)
To be frank, in order to build up good musical skills faster is by practicing as often as possible. But of course, this is not feasible for everyone as each and every one of us has responsibilities and commitments outside music. Still, you can squeeze in some time even just for a few minutes.
For example, consistently practicing at least 25 minutes a day can make drastic changes. This is attainable rather than spending your whole day learning. It will only cause you to be drained and burnt out. Similar to the Pomodoro technique, short and fast-paced sessions makes one more focused and motivated.
Tips in Practicing Effectively
It is very easy to research, prepare, and be inspired. But what is hard is the execution, especially on the day when you are about to do what you have been planning for days. It is about starting, doing, and actually making a move. Here are some tips to practice effectively:
- Start slow. Do not procrastinate as this is not a race.
- Do what works best for you.
- Omit distractions in your workplace.
- List your goal for the day and try to attain it.
- Consistency is key. Find time to squeeze practice sessions.