My findings while trying to be a musician

A couple of years ago I started learning music. I’m in my early 30’s and I have no intention of making music a career or be anything other than it being something fun for myself. I had low goals but I worked to reach them quickly. I love it and am very happy with my choice to start down this path. I made some good choices to start and had high commitment which got me through some of my bad habits. I’m going to give a few thoughts on what I found to be the best for my learning.

  1. Make learning the instrument be the goal and not songs. From the very beginning I made it a point to avoid trying to learn songs I liked but rather kept them in mind for when I was good enough to attempt to play them. You always want to learn something that is above your level but the focus should be learning your instrument well and eventually you’ll be able to handle what you want to play and understand what you are doing. It is hard to avoid because there are so many youtube tutorials out there for you to follow along with but it should be avoided. The frustration of not being able to play something correctly because it is too far above your level can be more of a discouragement than good practice. I have also found that I’ve enjoyed playing easier songs made for solo piano rather than a popular song where piano is only one instrument in the band.

  2. Invest in your learning financially and with consistent time I find money to be a motivator and when I commit to something financially it keeps me focused and its really important to not be held back by equipment. If learning piano is your goal you don’t need a grand acoustic but you need something more than a cheap keyboard. I personally bought a decent digital piano and it has been great. You also need to set aside plenty of uninterrupted practice time but that goes without saying.

  3. When you find something that is hard for you do more of that In fact you should be happy that you found it. Any correct practice can make you better but you should work hardest on your weaknesses because that is what will make you grow the fastest.

  4. Learn the theory and learn it well I could have done better originally with this point. I focused on learning sight reading a lot but glossed over things like keys and other basic items that are important. Learning the language of your instrument is very important. Your ability to play the instrument should be matched or exceeded by your knowledge of the music theory. It makes everything more enjoyable and the learning comes faster. Depending on your schedule and daily routine it may be practice that can be done when you aren’t at the instrument.

  5. Avoid bad habits early With piano how to hold your hands and press the keys is much more important than I thought before I started. How to make basic sounds with the instrument should be mastered and worked on all the time and if neglected it will hurt you with developing bad habits. When you are doing something you know is wrong stop what you are working on and correct it repeatedly and come back to it later.

  6. How quickly you move through a music learning program isn’t a sign of your abilities improving.

I always thought that if I got to the next page faster I was doing better. Now I realize that the sound you are producing is far more important and you can learn much more from songs that are within your ability. There is probably more I can say about my findings but these are the main points that stick out to me. It’s been a fun experience so far and as the mystery of music becomes less mysterious to me I continue to find more enjoyment in this path. On a side note while I was learning sight reading I made a free iOS app to help learn the notes: app store link

Good luck