Almost anyone who has learned an instrument has gone through a wide range of feelings, it can be exciting but also incredibly frustrating. Whether you are learning guitar, ukulele, piano or any other instrument, at some point in practising and learning it is likely that you hit a wall. Boredom can play a big part, as can motivation, so how do you make sure it doesn’t get the better of you? The truth is, most people who have started to learn an instrument have also given up. Don’t let it happen to you! We’ve put together some top tips to learning instruments without letting the devil on your shoulder get the better of you.
- Don’t get bogged down in theory. Theory is important, but also daunting. When learning to play an instrument, it is important to have rewards for your efforts, and the only way to get this is by being able to play songs. You can learn theory, and the science behind your actions, but realistically, you’re far more likely to stick with it if you learn songs first. Unpick what is happening once you have mastered a riff or chord sequence.
- Try a different tutor. If you see a tutor in person, have a look on YouTube at some of the lessons, if you’re learning on an online guitar course, try learning in person and see if something ‘clicks’ that hasn’t before. On top of this, a new voice can keep things exciting and interesting.
- Don’t overdo your practice. It can be easy when you first buy an instrument to spend all your time trying to learn, but you can quickly burn out! As long as you’re regularly picking up your instrument and moving forward, you’ll be fine.
- Do you need to read music? This is another thing people can get bogged down in. A lot of top musicians have never learned to read music, and make do with chords and tabs. If you want to be a top classical or orchestral musician then you probably need to learn to read music, to play in a local band you don’t have to.
- Play with other people! There are a lot of groups around instruments as well as bands you can join, friends who can play, etc… Keep things interesting by learning a song with people of a similar level of ability. Playing on your own can quickly get tiresome and it can be less rewarding.
- Play an easier instrument. If you really don’t have a lot of time to devote, an easy instrument can be the answer! No instrument is going to be mastered in an hour, but some will take less time and therefore lessen the risk of giving up.
- Go outside your comfort zone. Learn a style of music you never listen to, play a song you think is beyond your ability level, or just play guitar (or another instrument) in front of someone. Extending your comfort zone is a great way to put a new rush into your practice.
There are a million ways to learn an instrument. No two people who have ever learned have done so in an identical way, and peoples brains all absorb information differently. The key to this is finding what works for you, but the truth remains that boredom and frustration aren’t going to help. Using the tips above to try and help you to learn an instrument can help a huge amount on your journey to becoming a virtuoso musician!