Tips for Learning an Instrument

Learning an instrument is a valuable hobby to have not only for entertainment purposes, but also to help train your mind to be flexible and receptive to new skills. Often, the most beneficial aspect of the journey is understanding work involved in the process. The successes of this process depends on your ability to train your ears and coordinate your fingers to work together. Whatever skill level you end up obtaining remember that getting started is the hardest part of the process. Here are some tips for easing you into the routine when learning a new instrument. Remember to have fun and take breaks when you become frustrated.

Create a Routine
Remember when you attended elementary school and you had to attend it everyday? Well, you are going to need a less intense routine when beginning to test your skills on a new instrument. Devise a schedule that outlines periods throughout the week that you plan to devote to learning the instrument. Make sure you follow through with the plans as well as use the entire time to practice. Ideally these should last from 1 to 1.5hrs per session. You want enough time to keep your mind fresh and not too much to cause discouragement. Remember, the initial first couple of sessions that you practice will be all about developing a “feel” for the instrument. They will most likely be quite frustrating.

Tutor
At one point or another you will need to hire the services of a tutor. While you can get the music theory from a book, there are certain techniques that only a trained professional will be able to help you with. Finding one that fits your budget can be a problem, but first consider searching out friends that play the same instrument and ask them for pointers. Later on, find a professional and book 2 to 3 sessions to fine tune some of the skills you developed.

Don’t Over Practice
As enthusiastic as you are about learning a new instrument, don’t over practice and give yourself regular breaks. Whenever you feel like you’ve hit a wall in your practice sessions, take a break and come back to it later. Sometimes you just need to allow time for your mind to relax before you return.

Play With Friends
Maybe create a band or have regular jam sessions with other friends. This will help you to train your ear and learn how to play with others successfully. Being around music constantly is also a good way to keep you inspired. Also, music is a universal language and although no one else may share the same instrument as you, they can often read the music and help you to understand what each note is.

Time To Choose Your First Musical Instrument

Music makes the world go round, or was it money? Either way, if you feel you need a new hobby, something fun and entertaining, you could do worse than trying out a musical instrument. There is no age limit on learning to play; there are no time restrictions. You can choose to get professional lessons, learn with a friend, or just teach yourself at whatever pace you fancy. When it comes to choosing an instrument, well, you are literally spoilt for choice. Let’s take a look at the types available and see what tickles your fancy.

Electric Avenue!

Most modern bands will use electrical instruments; they are more versatile and offer more of a variation in style and substance. The obvious choice is the electric guitar. Everyone dreams of being a guitar hero; you probably played the computer game a few times. However, you should bear in mind the fact that it will take some time before you can take to the stage and dazzle the audience with your fancy finger work. The electric guitar can be used for most genres of music: rock, jazz, blues and country. You may prefer the guitar’s smooth and lick cousin, the electric bass; it only has four strings but is invaluable for helping the band keep a rhythm.

Your Neighbors Will Not Be Happy!

The next choice of instrument does not need electric mumbo jumbo to make a lasting impression – the drums! It’s a popular choice, but not with the other house guests. It can take some time to master. However, when you become proficient at the drums, your services will be in demand, by all and sundry.

Brass Instruments

Perhaps Soul and Jazz is more to your liking than rock music? If so, you should consider something along the lines of a saxophone, or perhaps a trumpet or trombone. The saxophone can easily be integrated into blues, soul and rock music as well; it is nothing if not versatile.

Folk Time?

There are a host of instruments that do not require electricity; they are known as acoustic instruments, and there are dozens to choose from. The beauty of something like an acoustic guitar is the sheer portability of the system. You do not need expensive and bulky amplifiers, leads and other gimmicks; what you see is what you get! Other members of the acoustic family are: the banjo, accordion, mandolin, the fiddle and too many to mention here.

What’s Next?

So you have chosen your weapon or instrument of choice, good for you! Sadly, however, you cannot get a decent note out of the beastly thing. Your friends and family are already avoiding you; the house is always empty within five minutes of you playing, how come? Well, it’s probably something to do with the din you are creating, have some mercy on their hearing. For example, a violin in the hands of a novice player will sound like a cat being tortured. There is a solution; it’s called ‘music lessons.’ The good news is that music teachers are fairly pleasant people and will soon be able to get you back on track – have fun, and don’t upset the neighbors too much!

Packing and Storing Musical Instruments

Many musical instruments are valuable pieces of equipment, others are simply treasured for sentimental reasons rather than having any intrinsic value, but all different types of instrument have one thing in common with each other: they are fragile and can easily be damaged or even broken irreparably during moving either whilst being transported or whilst in a storage unit.

Pianos typically range from instruments of little monetary value such as an old upright which has seen better days and will never again be tuned to concert pitch but on which your children are learning to play, right through to the very best quality grand pianos such as a Steinway that can cost substantially more than the average year’s salary for some of us and played by the very talented professional musicians, with every other type of piano in between. You might wonder why anyone would want to put a valuable piano in storage but if, for example, you have been temporarily transferred overseas by your employer then it would be unfeasible to transport a delicate instrument like a piano and expect it to arrive in a new country (perhaps one with a completely different climate) in good musical condition. So sometimes storage is the only feasible option even for a cherished instrument.

But moving and storing an instrument such as a piano so that no cosmetic damage is done but also, much more importantly, that no musical damage is done is a very delicate task. Pianos are especially troublesome to transfer into storage because they are heavy yet also fragile at the same time.

You may decide to use the services of a specialist piano mover who will have moving equipment designed specifically for pianos and will be able to deal with all types of piano including standard uprights, baby grandsand also grand pianos. A professional piano mover will be experienced in the techniques used to prevent disturbing the mechanics of the piano and also be able to avoid damage to the outer case.

But not all instruments are as large and cumbersome as a piano and many musical instruments have their own hard cases and need no additional packing. Although, other instruments might have soft cases such as guitars or violins. The best option for packing and storing small instruments is to try and buy a hard case where possible but if this is not possible (for example, in the case of exotic foreign instruments or unusual antique instruments) then place the instrument in its soft case, if you have one, and carefully wrap with bubble wrap and place inside a sturdy cardboard packing box.

If you own a number of stringed instruments such as cellos, violas or violins, there are special storage racks available for these types of instruments to store, protect and transport valuable stringed instruments. The instruments are kept safe during storage and transport to avoid scratches or other damage to the body of the instrument and many racks have wheels so can be moved easily into its new home or self-storage unit.