Playing an instrument is a great talent. We can all admire the skills of expert players, but few of us can actually pick up an instrument and play. If you've always wanted to be a musical maestro, now is a great time to start. But what's the best way to learn an instrument - expert guidance or teaching yourself?
Getting taught by a professional is the most common way to learn an instrument, but why? Here we look at the pros and cons of taking lessons:
They know exactly how everything works, and will teach you the basics. As you develop, they will be able to teach you the more complicated parts. Music teachers help you get to know all the technicalities inside out.
Find yourself struggling? They are always on hand to make everything a little clearer. You can take lessons as regularly as you need to, and practice in the mean time. Music teachers are the ideal way to help your kids learn an instrument.
Music lessons can be expensive. At a time where everyone is feeling the pinch, is this a luxury you can really afford? Depending on your level of experience and particular instrument, the cost can skyrocket.
You may also struggle to find time to fit lessons into a busy schedule. You have to rely on someone else having the time to see you. If you work full time, it is sometimes impossible to find a mutually beneficial time.
You also have to learn what the teacher wants you to. On some occasions you will have very little freedom over the songs you learn. By learning in this way, some people find it difficult to adapt their skills to play anything else.
What about teaching yourself then? Is this a more viable option? Here are some things to consider:
If you teach yourself, you can do so on your own terms. You can dedicate as much time to learning as possible. This also gives you the freedom to learn in a way that suits you. Musicians can choose to learn note by note, or song by song.
This freedom also transcends into how you teach yourself. You can learn to play the instrument of your choice by following YouTube videos for example. This way you can continue to go over a specific aspect until you have it mastered. Books and DVDs are also easy, affordable ways to learn at home.
However if you're struggling, where can you turn? If you teach yourself you have no real way of getting over a particular hurdle. This is often the point may people who are teaching themselves give up.
Learning from a novice isn't the same as learning from a professional. There's a chance that you'll miss out on something. For example, your tutorials may not cover tuning your instrument. This will then result in lasting damage.
What's the Answer?
There is no real right answer to this conundrum. It is all dependent on your personal preferences. If you have a little background knowledge, why not start with trying to teach yourself and see how it goes? With so many options though, it's worth trying both.
If you're thinking of taking up new musical instrument, you can find some unusual and great fun instruments at the Djembe Drum Shop.