Choosing a musical instrument? Here are 3 things to consider

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Acoustic Guitar
Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/acousticjim/5656832995/

There are a multitude of benefits gained from playing a musical instrument. Studies show that learning to play an instrument increases one’s memory’s capacity, as well as concentration. It also been shown to develop cognitive and motor skills in addition to improving your time management and organizational skills.

With so many instruments out there, from more widely-known instruments such as the guitar or drums, to more exotic options such as the French Horn or Erhu; here are some considerations every budding musician should note before embarking on a journey of musical education.

1. The level of difficulty of the instrument

The difficulty and amount of time you need to allot for practice every day may vary, depending on the instrument you choose. Instruments such as the violin, cello and oboe are some of the instruments that are challenging to learn, as they may also require the ability to understand sheet music and musical theory, as opposed to learning the drums.

According to a study by Dr. K. Anders Ericsson of Florida State University, the key in achieving expertise in playing an instrument lies on the type of practice and not on the amount of practice you do every day. Deliberate practice involves repetition of small sections that you want to play and eventually master, followed by closely monitoring it by recording and listening to it. If you want to be good at it, you’re going to have to put in the hours to master it.

2. Research before you make the purchase

Once you have figured out the instrument that you would like to learn, the next step is to do some research on a suitable beginner instrument to purchase. If you’re just starting to learn the guitar for example, a basic acoustic guitar is a cost efficient way of getting started compared to spending thousands of a Fender Stratocaster or a Gibson Les Paul. If you’re considering an electric guitar, do remember that you may need to also spend money on a small amplifier and cables which are costs that may not seem apparent at the beginning. Our advice would be to invest in a quality beginner’s instrument before moving on to more expensive brands and makes.

3. Whether to take music lessons

Some musicians are self-taught and today with the internet, it’s easy to teach yourself how to play using resources found online. However, if you’d like to fast track your musical education and start off with the right foundation and fundamentals, there is no substitute to learning from an experienced musician or tutor. By signing up to a music school and attaching yourself to a professional music teacher, you’re able to be sure that you learn the right beginner techniques; and it’s always useful to have another seasoned musician to provide feedback and guidance on your technique.

Be sure to select a teacher that you feel has good chemistry with as you should be in this for the long term. An ideal instructor would be one that is well versed in the instrument that you choose, have passion and patience when it comes to teaching as well as have good communication and motivational skills.

If you still aren’t sure if you could get the hang of playing a certain instrument, music schools such as The Sound Lab located in Melbourne Australia offer free intro lessons to get you acquainted with the school and instruments. They also provide you with instruments that you can borrow, so that’s a good way to find the instrument you’re more in tune with!

This post was made in collaboration with The Sound Lab

One thought on “Choosing a musical instrument? Here are 3 things to consider

  1. Great article. In my experience passion is the key ingredient to learning any instrument. I always ask students who are not sure what instrument to start with to close their eyes and picture themselves playing an instrument and that often reveals what they really desire.

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