Learning a Musical Instrument

About 2 years ago I decided to learn a musical instrument. I have always been interested in string based instruments so I decided to learn how to play guitar. First, I tried out a friend’s guitar and then I realized that I really liked it, so I bought a cheap acoustic guitar.

My knowledge about playinng musical instruments was very limited, I knew very basic things from school most of which have faded over time.

I didn’t know where to start, so I did what I always do when I don’t know something I searched about it online. I have to admit you can find a lot of things online, in fact you can find so many things that it becomes overwhelming. You don’t know where to start and what to read first. So, instead I bought 2 books, one about music theory which includes the notation of music and another book with exercises for practising.

Before going that path though I tried some other things like apps that help you learn, unfortunately none really helped. The apps that I’ve used didn’t help much (not even the paid ones), since there was no feedback loop to tell me what am I doing wrong. Unfotunately, the same happens with the books. One app that has probably helped me the most was the one for tuning my guitar.

After two years of practicing, I’ve learned the following things about playing an instrument.

Learning #1: playing an instrument is very hard

When you see people playing it looks so easy, but it’s not. It probably looks easy and sounds good because they are very good at it. I have started to appreciate musicians of any kind much more the past 2 years.

Learning #2: practise makes it better (or perfect)

When you listen to music and it sounds nice it’s because the person playing the music has practised a lot. Some people can play some tunes quicker than others, but still they practised. So if you want to learn, but at the same time you are busy with work I suggest to practise once a week and always know in advance what you are going to practise, i.e. don’t just grab your instrument and start playing be consistent and organized (it will help learn faster). Don’t take long breaks between practises.

Learning #3: divide and conquer

One thing that I was told by some friends that play music already is to divide the part I’m practising in parts, improve them individually and then try to play them all together.

Learning #4: get a teacher

Getting a teacher will help a lot, especially in the beginning. Someone that already knows can help you with the very basics, which are not apparent most of the time, e.g. how to hold a guitar properly. If you can’t afford it, ask a friend that already knows for help and tips. You will notive an immediate boost on how you play when someone corrects your mistakes.

Learning #5: don’t give up

This lesson is connected with learning #2. The more you practise the better you become, but if you give up quickly you will never become good enough.

Final thoughts

I like playing guitar and I want to become better, learn more about music theory and even learn another instrument. Playing music is a craft and it requires a lot of practise.