Deciding to learn a new instrument is not easy. For beginners who have no experience, it can be expensive to commit to getting a musical instrument, maintaining it, and signing up for lessons. For those who are switching instruments, you may have to start from square one. It will take a while before you can reach the same proficiency as with your previous instrument. When deciding to play a new instrument, there are three things you should consider that can smoothen the entire process.
- Do your research, go over basic lessons on your own
Avoid going into anything blind. You can watch videos online that show people playing and talking about their musical journey. You may find someone who has the same circumstances, age, finances, workload, and abilities; contextualise your future journey based on theirs. Read articles about the instrument you want to learn. It can be funny fluff pieces that talk about the highs and lows of playing the flute or a technical bit about how to tune a guitar.
If you feel like you are familiar enough with the scene, try to learn the basics on your own like reading notes. You do not have to aim for perfection, but at least familiarise yourself so that the learning curve is not so steep.
- Find a teacher who matches your learning style
Not all teachers are created equal. Everyone has their style and approach to music. Do not commit to one from the get-go, test the waters and see which one suits you best. The right teacher can make such a big difference in your musical journey. There will be a point where the initial excitement and charm of the instrument will wane, and you must push yourself to take the classes. When you have a good relationship, their encouragement bears weight and can help you avoid missing classes because you “do not feel like it”.
- Do not buy the instrument brand new
Even if you are determined to learn the instrument, avoid buying instruments brand new. While your research can tell you about models suitable for the beginner or brands that are reliable, you still do not know enough. You might not even stick with the instrument for long. You can buy a second-hand one from musical instrument specialists who can still give you beginner recommendations.
Besides purchasing your instrument second-hand, you can also find places to rent your instrument for a couple of months. Pricy instruments, generally from the brass and wind family, can be rented online for only a fraction of the original cost.
Your musical journey can be long. There will be times when you question whether the time, money, and effort you put into it will be worth it. Just remember the reasons why you wanted to try in the first place, be it for the love of the sound or to challenge yourself. Every frustrated practice and difficult piece paves the way for you to reach greater heights.