3 Mistakes You’re Making While Learning to Play an Instrument

You’ve started the journey of a thousand steps that is learning to play an instrument. Congratulations! Now that your adventure has begun, watch out that you don’t make these common mistakes most newbie musicians do, and you’ll be well on your way to pro level playing.

Mistake #1: Unrealistic Expectations

Watching someone play the piano, fingers flying across the keys, melodious notes swirling through the air. It’s all so magical, a captivating experience. For many of us, experiencing this magic is what sets us out on the path to learn to play piano, guitar, drums, or another instrument in the first place. But what the professional musician failed to mention during his streetside concerto are the hours spent practicing one chord, the months it took to perfect a single song, and the countless failures he met along the way. Success is hard and it takes time, but learning to play an instrument is the greatest gift you can give yourself and worth every ounce of effort it takes. Just set realistic goals and expectations for yourself so you don’t get discouraged when you’re not playing for money after a mere year of practice.

Mistake #2: Just Learning Songs

Many newbies to the art assume that if they can play a song, they’re really rockin’ the scene. This is a mistake. If you excelled at paint by numbers, you wouldn’t consider yourself a da Vinci, and learning to play a song or two won’t help you advance your musical hobby either.

Playing an instrument is about connecting to the music, hearing the sound behind the symbols, and understanding the various components that make up good music. To really appreciate, excel, and make the most of playing the piano (or flute or guitar or any instrument), study the notes, the rhythm, and the harmony. Discover the meaning behind the melody to appreciate your music in a whole new way.

*Trusting your ear is a good way to combat this mistake. Don’t limit yourself to notes and chords written on paper; stretch your ears and let the music be your teacher.

See Also: How to Read Sheet Music 101

Mistake #3: Not Getting Honest Critique

Some people think they’re God’s gift to mankind while others are perfectionists who can never fully appreciate their accomplishments. Some students try to learn musical instruments overnight, and others won’t touch another piece until they’ve mastered the first one. All these novices are missing out on an integral piece of the learning process: an unbiased opinion of where they are holding.

What’s wrong with not seeing the picture clearly? If you don’t think you’re good enough, you’ll never take the leap forward to really master the piano or the clarinet or the harmonica. If you think you are the best thing since sliced bread, you’ll fail to see the flaws in your music. Avoiding honest critique will limit your ability to expand, grow, and flourish in your newly acquired gift.

See Also: Which Instrument Should You Learn to Play

Wisdom is power. Now that you know what mistakes people make when they start to learn an instrument, you can stay ahead of the game. Avoid these common slip-ups, and start to really enjoy this magical art form that can transform your life.