Beginning

Beginning Level Music Student arguably need the most guidance. The posts in this section cover musicians that are at the beginning stages in learning and would like help with practice ideas, schedules, encouragement and consistency.

Consistency with Music Practice

Arguably the most difficult hurdle for a Beginning Level Music Student is to remain consistent in their practice. Finding the time and even simple things like remembering to practice often plague a beginner. I usually tell student to work toward consistency but to give themselves about a year to work their instrument into their daily routine. It takes time for anyone to try different scenarios to figure out what works to help them remain consistent. Sometimes this means getting up earlier, buying a travel guitar or doing more mental practice. Whatever the mix is give yourself some time to figure it out and don’t chastise yourself for not being perfect from day one.

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Confronting your Weaknesses

Another common mistake a Beginning Level Music Student makes is to think that they should quit because through lessons or self examination they find that “X” is weak therefore they aren’t talented enough and should quit. I’ve never met a musician that did have a severe weakness that they had to overcome. The trick is to first not let it get you down and second to find the right method to fix your issues.

Patience When the Going Gets Tough

Patiences is probably the most useful advice I can give a Beginning Level Music Student. You will need patiences because sometimes you start playing an instrument because you really want to be able to play “X” song. But, to play “X” song you need to fix “Y” and that can be disheartening because you are now working on “Y” when really you just want “X.” Finding the patience to get through these situations is important. I always say to try and see the big picture, that fixing “Y” will not only allow you to play “X” but allow you to play thousands of songs where you need “Y.”

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Instrument Physiology

The physical aspect of playing an instrument is of crucial importance. First it takes time for your muscles tendons and ligaments to adjust to new movements. The main thing to remember is you should never play through pain.  You need to develop a way to play that doesn’t adversely affect your body. This can be difficult to figure out on your own and few music teachers cover these issues. In general being:

  • Relaxed.
  • Having good posture.
  • Placing your instrument in a way that your joints remain close to the middle of their radius.
  • Become aware of your body so that you can hunt down tension within your body and working at releasing it.
  • Being able to play your instrument without looking at it. A common problem with guitarist where they strain their body to keep an eye on their hand(s). Work toward feeling your instrument and seeing it in your mind.

For guitarists I’ve created Guitar Technique and Physiology. This course can really help guitarists and electric bass players to make sure they don’t make some crucial mistakes I’ve just talked about!

Start Small

Probably the best advice I can give a Beginning Level Music Student is to start small. Get a consistency going with practicing one thing and then branch out to other aspects of your musicianship that need attention. The most important thing to develop is a habit of practicing. Once that is happening then you can expand into other aspect of music that you need to address either because of interest or because you know that it will help you fix underlying issues or expand your knowledge of music in general. Often student try to do too much at the beginning and get to point where practicing is a drag rather than something you look forward to. Start small and always remain hungry for more information. That will keep you coming back to it everyday.

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When Music is Challenging

There are always the Beginning Level Music Student  that has severe musical handicaps. Funny enough those students tend to be the ones that love music the most. Many of them will do anything to become a great musician because music is part of their soul. I’ve spent 40 years coming up with innovative approaches to fixing severe musical handicaps and I’m here to report that if you have the drive and patience you can conquer your weaknesses. It’s a matter of time and dedication combined with the right practice method. Here are some of the common problems with links to suggested ways to fix your problems:

  • Rhythm
  • Ear Training
  • Feel
  • Accuracy
  • Timing
  • Coordination