We all love music; it brings us peace, motivates us, and elevates our moods. Going a step up; you can also try learning a musical instrument. It can prove incredibly beneficial for your mental and emotional well-being- it also teaches valuable lessons of patience, persistence, self-discipline, and hard work. Not to mention the satisfaction you’ll get from your success.
If you wish to take a step up from simply listening to music to actually taking up an instrument- you will find these tips helpful. Don’t be discouraged if you are an adult- you aren’t any less likely to master your instrument just because of age. We talked to the experts and brought together some great pointers that can help you along the way.
- Start Simple
“When people hear I am a music teacher, the first thing they ask me is, What instrument is the easiest to learn to play? I personally recommend the ukulele because it is portable, simple to care for, affordable, and just plain fun! I have taught so many students who doubted their music-learning abilities, and all have come back later to tell me how grateful they are that I recommended the ukulele as a first instrument.
“My best tip for picking out a ukulele to purchase: get good strings and tuning pegs! Nothing is worse than a broken string or a string that won’t stay in tune.” (Andrea Orem)
- Get a Good and Caring Teacher
“Find a caring and quality teacher to guide you, especially in the very beginning. My newest student, a retired woman in her 60s, came to me a few weeks ago with a ukulele she purchased in Hawaii. She bought it excitedly, hoping to learn to play at a free class while she was there, but soon got lost when the instructor moved on and didn’t bother to check in to see if she was understanding or had any questions.
“She told me recently, I wish I had found you sooner! My ukulele sat on a shelf for far too long because I thought I just wasn’t cut out for this, but I really just needed a good teacher to start me on the way to success.”
Andrea Orem has bachelor’s degrees in K-12 Vocal Music Education and Music Composition. She has been teaching music to people ages 6-96 in private lessons, small groups, and school classroom settings for over 10 years.
“As an adult learning a musical instrument, you have one big advantage over people who start learning at an earlier age: patience. Think how impatient you were as a child or teenager. Chances are, you wanted instant gratification. Now that you’re an adult, you understand that good things come to those who can sustain persistent effort over time. This is what learning a musical instrument requires.” (Erik Rolfsen)
- Keep Showing Up
“Every little bit of practice helps. Never get frustrated that you’re not as far along as you’d like to be. Instead, take a moment every so often to appreciate how far you have come since you started. Then keep going. If you do this, I guarantee that you will wake up one day and realize that you are a musician.”
Erik Rolfsen, Editor RosewoodAndHog.com
“You should persevere throughout the learning process. This process will be lengthy and tough for most people. You will not be able to find time everyday to practice but you will have to struggle. Learning something new can be quite tough but you have to keep pushing yourself to keep going despite feeling discouraged. Once you master the instrument, all these tough times will not seem so tough.”
Jacob Hubbard, Editor at TheGoodyPet
- Practice 15 Minutes a Day and Learn Your Favorite Songs
“Like any new skill, practice makes perfect. If an adult can set aside 15 minutes a day to practice their instrument, then they will see progress over a year’s time. The best way for a beginner to begin learning and stay inspired is to learn songs that they love.
“There are lots of ways to learn basic chord structures and scales without having to get deep into Music Theory. Music Theory has a huge part in learning an instrument, but I’ve found that it helps only after developing the fundamental skills of actually playing the instrument.”
Brad Johnson, Founder & Songwriter Song Production Pros
- Just Start- And Once You Start, To Be Consistent
“One thing I hear adults say a lot is I wish I had kept learning music when I was younger. They seem to think they are too old to learn an instrument. But the truth is, anyone can learn an instrument if they are willing to put in the hard work and practice consistently. I recommend finding a good teacher, setting actionable goals, and being patient with yourself- because learning any new skill takes time.”
Rachel Counts, Founder littleredpiano.com
- Practice Your Scales
“As boring as it sounds, when you’re starting out, you should practice scales every time you pick up your instrument. Scales are great for three reasons: they build muscle memory, they help develop your ear, and they make it easier to pick up new songs as you improve. I recommend practicing three different scales: the major scale, the minor scale, and the pentatonic scale.
“Once you can effortlessly play each scale up and down, you can experiment with your own exercises that alternate the notes within each scale. It’s really easy to find the basic scales online or on YouTube, just do a quick search!”
Evan runs Stock Music Musician, a website dedicated to helping people make better music and license it for TV and film.