Can I Study Music?
You’ve always secretly wanted to learn an instrument, but never have. Or, you were involved in music when you were younger and want to get back into it. But how do you do it? What’s holding you back?
Just think of the health benefits that studying music offers: fighting Alzheimer’s, engaging the majority of your brain, and critical thinking, to name a few. Plus, learning music is much easier for adults in some ways:
- You’ve been listening to music your whole life, so it’s easier for you to hear patterns and melodies than a younger student. You can sight read and analyze music more easily.
- Because you have more life experience, you can connect to music on a deeper level- drawing from personal experiences.
Many of us never try, but it’s never too late to get into it- or to pick up again! The common challenges are certainly daunting, but there are ways to overcome them.
Challenge 1: Insecurity
Even though we’re novices at many things in life, we are still self-conscious because we are vulnerable. If you don’t want people hearing you play, you’re not alone. In fact, this problem is so common that musicians and retailers created products and techniques to address it.
Solution 1: Dampen the Sound
Headphones: A little obvious, but still important. If you’re learning an electric instrument, use headphones on your amp so only you can hear it.
Practice mutes: They won’t completely mute you, but they’ll do a lot to dampen the sound. These are especially helpful for people with thin walls and nosy neighbors.
Drown out the sound: This one may seem a little weird, but it can be helpful. Let your music or television play while you practice in the same room (as long as it doesn’t distract you). It can drown out your sound and give you a noise shield from others.
Solution 2: Set clear boundaries
Questions, comments, and interruptions can deter practice. Communicate to your family and friends that you need space, and designate a time and place for your rehearsal. Other household members can take that time to study, listen to podcasts, watch something with headphones, take a walk… whatever will accommodate you.
Solution 3: Inspire yourself
Something made you want to learn about music. What was it? Go back to it when you’re discouraged. If you remember why you started, you may reignite the desire to continue.
Challenge 2: Poor Methodology
You may have already tried to learn an instrument but struggled until you eventually quit, citing that you’re just not a musician.
That’s probably not the case.
Chances are, your methodology is flawed: How did you practice? What tools did you use to learn? Were you using a free source, like a book, online tutorial, or video guide?
Self-teaching materials have their merit; they introduce the instrument to you and can show you how to get started. But, they aren’t always reliable.
The problem with learning sans instructor is that there is no one addressing your specific needs. You may think you’re doing everything exactly as the material shows, but in music even the slightest change can make a huge difference to the sound.
For example: A violinist’s bow keeps screeching while they play. What a video can tell you is that the bow needs to be parallel to the bridge. What it can’t tell you is why this particular violinist’s bow is not parallel to the bridge. It could be that their wrist isn’t moving right, the elbow is too far back, they aren’t moving their arm correctly, they’re playing too close to the bridge, the bow hair is too loose or too tight…
Do you see the problem?
Even though you may know what the problem is, you may not know how to fix it, and a tutorial cannot show you because it cannot serve your specific needs.
Solution: Spend some time with a private instructor.
You don’t have to study forever, but working with someone one-on-one means having a personalized lesson plan. They can tell you why something is wrong, and show you how to find those problems on your own.
Did you know that we have lesson studios at all of our locations? Visit our website to view our teachers!
Things to Remember…
You probably won’t become a professional musician, and that’s okay. Enjoy the journey and take the time you need to learn.
Attitude is more important than ability.
Actually, lots of things are more important than ability: discipline, practice, and commitment, to name a few. If you remember why you’re learning and enjoy the process, you will have success!