As everyone knows, during the Covid-19 pandemic the amount of time we spent at home and inside was increased dramatically due to lockdowns and social distancing restrictions being put into place. Because of this, many people understandably found the desire to take up new hobbies to beat the boredom of not being able to socialize and having more time on their hands.
Even though restrictions are easing up, society has changed greatly after the past year and a half, including the way in which we run our workplaces. Many people are now continuing to work from home, cutting out the entire commuting portion of the day. In some cases, this is giving people hours more of extra time on their hands, which is perfect for learning a new skill. If you’re in this position or having some free time elsewhere, and you’re wanting to learn an instrument, here’s what you should consider when starting off on this new journey.
Choose Your Instrument
Arguably one of the most difficult parts of learning a new instrument is deciding on exactly which one you’re going to be investing all of your time into. You might be lucky and be entirely set on one particular instrument. But you might also have multiple favorites to pick from, and it could feel like an impossible task deciding which one to choose. To help you make that decision, you should consider a few different points and answer them honestly.
First of all, if this is the first instrument you’ll be learning to play, do you feel like you have a good enough grasp of music to choose some of the harder to learn instruments such as the violin, flute, or the cello? If so, it might be worth sticking to easier instruments for the time being such as the guitar or recorder to help develop your understanding of music theory and rhythm.
Know Your Budget
Another thing to consider is how much you’re willing to spend on this hobby. Taking up the challenge of learning an instrument, especially if you’re also going to be paying for lessons can get expensive. Ideally, you’ll not settle for the cheaper models either as they can provide you with a lower quality sound than more carefully crafted and therefore expensive items. Learning a new instrument is not just an investment of your time so be sure to pick the right one and be prepared to spend. Speaking of lessons, another thing to consider is whether or not you’ll be able to find a tutor, or if you’d be prepared to teach yourself how to play. There are lots of online tutorials for every instrument, and even one-to-one online lessons. But if you feel like the best way to be taught is in person, you’ll need to make sure that you have access to a nearby teacher.
If you’re completely at a loss of what to choose or no particular instruments are attractive to you, but you’re still dead set on following a musical path, there are some other options. If you’re interested in the production side of music from writing lyrics to mixing songs, maybe you could become a DJ or even a music producer. Having the ability to play with music that you create is a hugely enjoyable perk to DJing and you’ll find you can develop a great appreciation for music, maybe even more so than learning one particular instrument.
You can find great resources online to help you along this path such as this blog piece on how to DJ from Pirate. It’s important to study as much as possible about this hobby and potential profession. There’s lots of equipment you’ll need unless you plan to just use a laptop, and there are also quite a few rules and regulations when it comes to using other people’s music for mixing.
Patience Is A Virtue
Many people quickly give up on learning an instrument after as little as a week once they fail to see any obvious progress. Instant gratification is rare when it comes to learning to play music, but it’s important to remember that, given enough time and practice, you can learn pretty much anything. Some instruments may take more dedication than others but remain patient and avoid getting too frustrated during the process. This should be a fun hobby so don’t let anger and disappointment erase your determination to learn. Take regular breaks especially when getting annoyed or if you feel like you’re just not picking it up. But don’t forget to carry on practicing later with a fresh perspective and positive mindset.
Music Theory For All
As well as practicing how to play your new instrument or mix, edit, and write songs, you should make yourself aware of the theory behind the music as a whole. While it may seem that the practical side of things is the most important part, it’s actually a good understanding of the musical theory that will help you to transition from an amateur musician to an expert. Some people that have gone on to master music theory can flawlessly copy a song by ear with very little effort as their understanding and identification of notes and chords becomes second nature. Spend some time, either with a tutor or on your own, learning about form, harmony, and rhythm, as well as techniques to train your ear to differentiate between certain notes, and you’ll be well on your way to perfecting your knowledge of music.
Learn From Others
There are countless musicians around the world and many of those willingly share their musical knowledge and experiences via online formats such as blogs and videos. Join forums and online communities to benefit from this shared pool of knowledge and you’ll find yourself learning things you never expected. As well as tutorials, you can find sheet music and tabs that others have written, and a lot of these even get simplified for beginners. There really is no better time to get into a musical hobby, and it can also be beneficial to learn with someone you know too. Learning an instrument with a friend or relative can both encourage you to practice and you’ll also be able to teach each other techniques that you pick up when practicing alone.