Playing an instrument can be a rewarding experience, but it’s also likely that you’ve hit some plateau periods where progress has become difficult and frustrating. This guide aims to offer tips and tricks on how to break out of those periods and make more progress by learning specific skills, practicing more effectively, and staying motivated!
1) Practice Effectively
It’s important to understand the difference between productive practice time versus unproductive time. Productive time is when you are actively engaged with your instrument or music-making device in order to improve specific skills (e.g., playing certain notes or rhythms accurately). Unproductive time is when you are not actively engaged with your instrument (e.g., reading sheet music). You can find some easy piano songs or guitar songs online so you can start from there if you’re a beginner. The most effective way to practice is to divide your time into 2-hour chunks, alternating between unproductive and productive time. For example, spend the first-hour watching videos on how to improve your accuracy at playing a certain rhythm, and the next hour actually applying what you learned through play.
2) Practice Intensely
In order to get better at an instrument, it is key that you spend time actually practicing what you learned. This is connected with practicing effectively. It’s all too easy to lose motivation after learning a new skill and then moving on to something else before putting the time into practice. Try to balance increased effort against increased reward. To continue with the example above, if you’re just starting out, try to get an accurate sense of which rhythms seem difficult for you at first, and then try practicing them for at least 15 minutes a day – more than that if you’re having fun and not getting frustrated!
3) Record Yourself Regularly
It can be very helpful to record yourself regularly to see how you’re progressing. This is useful for learning new skills, but also for keeping track of your progress in general. If you do this, try not to focus too much on the minutiae of your playing – instead, look at it holistically. For example, is your overall accuracy increasing? Is one section of a song giving you more trouble than others? If so, what can you do about that? What are some recurring mistakes that happen in that section? These are the types of questions you should ask yourself when you’re reviewing your recordings.
4) Read, Watch, & Listen To Others
You should read articles or books about how to get better at playing an instrument, watch videos on YouTube that focus specifically on the skills that are challenging for you, and listen to music in order to get a better understanding of how the instrument sounds in a musical context. For example, if you learn a new skill on guitar and notice that it takes you twice as long to play as other people do, try to understand why. Maybe your fingers aren’t used to playing those particular shapes yet? Or maybe there’s another technical aspect that is difficult for you. Make a note of that and then look up some YouTube videos or articles that will help you get past that stage!
5) Take Lessons
If you’re a beginner, taking lessons from a professional will provide you with the guidance and feedback that is most likely missing from your practice time. If you have been playing for a while but haven’t made as much progress as you would like, getting lessons could be just what you need to move forward. Some people might think they can learn about playing an instrument from a book or the Internet, but there’s only so much you can do without feedback from someone more experienced. In fact, musicians who have been playing for 5+ years are recommended to get regular lessons even if they’re at an intermediate level! So do your research to find a local teacher or take lessons online.
6) Be Motivated
Staying motivated is the most critical factor in ensuring that you make progress. If you’re enjoying your practice time and feel like you’re making lots of progress, it will be much easier to continue with your instrument. Make sure you experiment with different ways of practicing and stay open-minded about what might work for you! Also, keep track of your progress over time – this is useful because it can show you how far you’ve come from where you started. If you’re having trouble staying motivated, try to find out why. Maybe you feel like your time would be better spent doing something else? Or maybe you’ve hit a plateau and are struggling to get past it. If this is the case, try to stay positive!
7) Be Patient & Don’t Give Up Too Easily
Finally, practice patience and don’t give up too easily! It’s easy to feel discouraged when you’re not making any progress with something, and it can be tempting to just give up. However, if you stay motivated and remind yourself that there’s no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to learning an instrument, then the potential rewards of sticking with your practice routines for longer will outweigh the initial difficulties you encounter. So remember: stay positive, keep trying different things to see what works for you, and give yourself time! Also, it’s ok if your mastery isn’t perfect – what matters is showing improvement over time!
Learning how to play a musical instrument can be a beautiful experience but it is also really hard. There are many factors to consider when trying to get better at playing an instrument, and the most important one is staying motivated. You should experiment with different ways of practicing and make sure you take lessons from a professional. Don’t forget to record yourself so you’ll see which aspects of your playing need improvement. Also, be patient! There’s no such thing as instant gratification in learning how to play music – it takes time and practice for your mastery to improve. Hopefully, this guide was useful for you!