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7 Things They Don't Tell You About Learning a Musical Instrument

Updated: Jan 30




Learning a musical instrument is an exciting and rewarding journey that opens up a world of creativity and self-expression. However, there are aspects of this musical odyssey that are often left unsaid. From misconceptions about instant prodigy status to the challenges of practice, here are seven things they don't tell you about learning to play instruments.


1.     Everyone Will Expect You To Play Perfectly Immediately

When you start on the journey of learning an instrument, the misconception that you'll effortlessly transform into a virtuoso from the very beginning can be overwhelming. No matter how vehemently you protest, societal expectations often dictate that you master easy instruments to play and become an instant prodigy.

Such assumptions, however well-intentioned, can add unnecessary weight to your musical endeavors, potentially hindering the joy of exploring music things. Mastering a musical instrument cannot happen overnight; it's a journey that requires time, patience, and dedication. Rather than succumbing to external pressures, embrace the process, understanding that each note played is a step toward your musical evolution.


2.     There's Always Someone More Prodigious Than You

In the realm of musical exploration, the revelation that a six-year-old piano prodigy is captivating audiences on platforms like Ellen can be both inspiring and intimidating. It's essential to internalize the understanding that progress is a subjective and individualized journey. As you navigate through the diverse landscape of musical instruments, resist the temptation to compare yourself to child prodigies. Instead, celebrate the uniqueness of your learning curve.

The joy derived from playing music comes not from outshining others or conforming to predefined timelines but from your personal growth and the fulfillment found in exploring fun instruments to learn. Remember, everyone has their pace, and the true essence of musical discovery lies in the richness of your journey.


3.     Rules for a Reason

Mastery of your chosen instrument involves more than plucking strings or pressing keys; it requires an understanding of the nuances and traditions associated with each musical discipline. For example, the notion that one can use a violin bow on a guitar simply because Jimmy Page did is a fallacy. Similarly, the idea of bare-chested stage performances, a la Nigel Kennedy, is not universally applicable.

These nuances are integral to the learning process, shaping you into a knowledgeable musician capable of navigating all musical things. Embrace these rules not as limitations but as guiding principles that enhance your musical education, fostering a deeper connection with the art form.


4.     Your Practicing Will Sound Terrible At First

The initial stages of music practice often paint a less-than-harmonious picture. Whether you're strumming the guitar, bowing the violin, or experimenting with any other musical instrument, the journey begins with a cacophony of missed notes and awkward transitions. It's a rite of passage, a necessary phase in the learning curve that every musician experiences.

The desire to produce melodic masterpieces from the outset is natural, yet the reality is a symphony of imperfections. Embracing this early dissonance is crucial. Resist the temptation to be disheartened, knowing that even iconic figures like Britney Spears weathered moments of frustration during their formative practice sessions on easy instruments to play. Each sour note is a stepping stone toward the sweet harmony you aspire to create, making the learning process both humbling and rewarding.


5.     Your Fingertips Will Never Be Able To Feel Anything Ever Again

For those venturing into the realm of string instruments such as the guitar or violin, a unique physical metamorphosis awaits—calloused fingertips. The repetitive pressure exerted while pressing strings or drawing a bow transforms once-sensitive fingertips into resilient tools. Initially, it might feel as though your fingertips will never regain their former softness, the pain serving as a constant reminder of your dedication to the craft. Yet, this discomfort is a testament to your commitment and passion.

As you persevere through the initial stages, a subtle transformation occurs. Soon enough, you'll find the delicate equilibrium between precision and comfort, navigating the strings with a newfound dexterity. This physical evolution is not just a requisite sacrifice; it's a tangible representation of your dedication to mastering all music things. In each twinge of discomfort, there lies a promise of musical prowess and the fulfillment of a harmonious journey in the world of musical expression.


6.     It’s Tempting To Give Up

Undoubtedly, learning an instrument is a commitment that demands unwavering persistence, especially when you find yourself pondering which instrument is easy to learn. It's during the early stages, when the road to proficiency may seem steep and progress slow, that the temptation to give up can be most pronounced. The discouragement that accompanies challenges is a common thread in the tapestry of musical education. However, therein lies the essence of the journey.

Dedicate time to regular practice; diligently navigate through the difficult passages; celebrate the small victories along the way. Each moment of overcoming an obstacle, no matter how minor, is a testament to your resilience and dedication. These triumphs, scattered throughout your musical expedition, transform the journey into a worthwhile and rewarding endeavor in learning to play instruments.


7.     Practice Makes Perfect

In the grand finale of the musical learning experience, the struggles and challenges are outshone by the sheer joy and fulfillment that playing an instrument brings. Continuous practice is the alchemist, refining your skills and making you more adept at expressing yourself through the universal language of music.

While perfection might remain an elusive goal, the progress you make and the happiness you share with others through your playing render the entire journey worthwhile. The satisfaction derived from creating melodies, evoking emotions, and weaving harmonies becomes a gift not only to yourself but also to those fortunate enough to experience the beauty of your musical expression. In these shared moments, the true essence of the journey unfolds, making every obstacle faced, every note practiced, and every challenge overcome an indispensable part of your intricate musical narrative.


Bottom Line

Learning a musical instrument is a transformative experience filled with unexpected challenges and triumphs. From managing expectations to embracing the inevitable pain of practice, each aspect contributes to the growth of a well-rounded musician. So, if you're just starting on this musical adventure, remember to be patient, stay dedicated, and most importantly, enjoy the process of making music and discovering fun instruments.

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