This question can be a bit like the question “how long is a piece of string?” with varying answers for different instruments, different locations and different teaching and learning styles. Answers will not be the same if you don’t have access to teachers in your location and no doubt nearly everyone will have a different approach to the question as nearly everyone will have had a different path through learning music. Some people read music and some don’t for example, therefore some musicians value music theory and some don’t see the point. All the if’s and but’s aside, the most important thing is that you begin somewhere so I will attempt to answer this question with some choices and you can choose what is right and available for you.
1. Seek music tuition
You can hire a teacher. This can either be locally or online. It’s easy because you only need to find them, contact them and book your first session and go from there. With this approach you have someone to guide you in every aspect, even which resources you require.
2. Buy, borrow or Google tutorials
This can work but it’s more likely not to. If you have a great recommendation for a product, such as a dvd set, from a respected teacher or musician and you have knowledge and support that you can access within your personal network, to clarify anything you’re not sure about then you might be able to manage this approach. Perhaps someone in your family plays the piano and can help you understand music? Then you may be able to get along with this path. Otherwise you may not find this option successful.
3. Teach yourself
Again! Careful here! Many musicians are self-taught but many will admit to having flaws in their technique, having learnt to do something a little wrong yet very, very well. This comes from practicing the wrong thing passionately. Yet it can be done – extraordinarily well! Many have proved this method successful so why not you?
There you have it! Your most common options. The 3 ways people usually begin learning music. Perhaps seeing this list you can already identify a method that will suit you best or at least eliminate what is not available or recommended for you. But what if you still have a choice to make? Ok, here goes!
If you have access to and money to pay for one-on-one private tuition with a recommended teacher, either face-to-face or online, and you’re able to commit to a weekly time to attend these sessions then do that. This would be my personal recommendation. If it doesn’t work out then you can swap teachers, instruments or learning approach. But for now just begin.
If you cannot commit time and / or money to regular ongoing sessions with a teacher, or you don’t have access to one then you’re on your own. If you still like guidance then look into dvd/video course type options. This way you do have a teacher when you have time for the lesson, you just get what you get and no more. No questions, answers, corrections of your faults or encouragement.
Finally; you could teach yourself and if you do decide on this path I would suggest starting at the very, very beginning. Yep! Get the kids books! The absolute beginner option. At least you are not setting yourself up to fail but are giving yourself every opportunity to gain confidence and enjoy the process without too much pressure. ENJOYING IT IS IMPORTANT. This is going to take some time and you won’t make it very far if you aren’t having a bit of fun along the way.
What about buying instruments for learning? What should I do?
Should you have an instrument to practice with? Yes! Your sessions become far less in value if you aren’t improving by each lesson and this only comes from practice. You will also take so long to get anywhere that you will probably lose interest. I know, I know – you’re reeeeaaaalllly keen! Everyone is when they first start. And this brings me to my next point…
Don’t spend a lot of money on a beginner’s instrument. You can change your mind about learning music or about which instrument you want to learn. Beginners aren’t great at caring for an instrument either – it’s all new for you – it needs to be able to take some accidental knocks, falls, consequences you didn’t realise existed, dings from travelling to and from lessons etc. Just make sure the instrument is standard (doesn’t have smaller keys for example than a standard key – google it, and can hold it’s tune well enough).
If you’re needing some support or recommendations don’t hesitate to ask us here at Ceduna Music we will help you find a teacher or answer your questions as best we can.