Music is life-enriching. There are countless studies out there that prove that music makes you smarter, happier, and more productive. Listening to music is great, but learning to play a musical instrument is even better!
You’ve made the leap of signing up for lessons, which is awesome. You’re already on the road to experiencing the wonderful benefits of music. But did you know that there are practical ways to get the MOST out of your music lessons?
First things first. Start at the beginning.
I know how exciting the idea of learning to play your favorite song is. After all, that might be what prompted you to start music lessons in the first place! Chances are though, that favorite song won’t be the best thing to start with. There are foundational elements of music and your instrument that you have to learn first. Whether it’s guitar, drums, piano, you name it – you have to learn the basics first.
Think of it this way: You’re building a house. But rather than starting with the foundation, you skip right to building the walls, windows, doors, and roof – the exciting things that everyone sees and what makes your house beautiful. No one sees the foundation, so what does it matter, right? WRONG! You have to have a strong foundation for a house to last and stand the test of time. Without the foundation, everything else will crumble.
Music is the same way. Sure, learning the basics isn’t always fun. But without them, your favorite song will never come together.
Spending time with your instrument outside of your lessons is crucial to making progress and developing your musical skills. Even those talented, famous musicians practice regularly. Practicing helps to reinforce the skills that you are learning in your lessons, and it also helps to build up the muscles and coordination needed for your instrument.
The more you practice, the faster you will progress, and the sooner you’ll be playing your favorite songs!
Follow your teacher’s advice.
You may be surprised to know how common it is for a student to sign up for lessons, but then never listen to or follow their teacher’s advice. Your music teacher is (hopefully) educated in music and has years of experience both playing and teaching. He has spent countless hours practicing and perfecting his craft. He knows how to get you, the student, from point A to point B in the most efficient and practical manner.
Rather than taking matters into your own hands, listen to what your teacher has to say and follow his advice. That is why you signed up for lessons with him after all, isn’t it?
Listen to music.
Listening to the style of music you want to play is hugely beneficial to your musical development and progress. It will help you to know the feel and sound of that particular genre inside and out, and it will also develop your ear training skills. The more familiar you are with the genre, the better you’ll be able to play it.
Listening to the musical artists that you admire is also recommended. Every musician has artists who influenced them. You should too! Figure out who they are, and listen to their music. Try to emulate their playing, and eventually you’ll develop a style of your own!
Broadening your horizons and listening to music outside of your typical genres is also beneficial. Who knows, you may find a new style or artist that you love but wouldn’t have come across otherwise!
Take the initiative to learn more outside of lessons.
We are obviously supporters of music lessons. But we also know that they are only 30-60 minutes long, once a week. There’s only so much your teacher can pack into one lesson. If you want to get the most out of your musical education, take the initiative to study and learn more outside of your lessons. Take the things that you learn in your lessons, and read more about them; listen to more music that demonstrates that particular topic or skill; watch more videos online.
Be careful though – not everything you come across online will be accurate. But that’s why you have a teacher. Ask them about a source to find out if it’s reliable. Bring what you are studying outside of lessons into your lessons and ask questions. Your teacher will be able to steer you in the right direction and correct any wrong information.
We hope that these five suggestions help to lead you down a more enriching musical journey. If you are interested in lessons or have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us.