If you are here is probably either because you already take music lessons or because you are interested in taking them. In both cases, these tips will be very helpful for you to know what to expect and how to take advantage of the knowledge you will acquire. Here are 5 tips that we consider useful to approach music lessons.
Your teacher is not a higher entity
Yes, we tend to see our teachers as someone better than us. Someone that has more authority and whose words are sacred.
And that’s not a bad thing at all. We won’t find out if their tips do work out for us unless we pay attention and follow their guidelines. On the other hand, they usually do have better technical skills on the subject. They are better in that aspect.
However, this becomes an issue when we give them too much authority and we place them in a higher position at a personal level. When this happens, we become insecure and:
We are afraid to make mistakes in the lessons.
We cannot express honestly what we think.
We stop making questions when we do not understand something because we think it will disappoint our teacher.
The results are discomfort, a lower rate of improvement, and not taking full advantage of the lesson because we were so worried to fail that we did not pay attention to what will make us a better musician.
Musicians are learners for life. And we, Bom-B Music teachers
, have been, are, and will be students forever. We have been in your position and, sometimes, we have placed ourselves in a lower position. Please, do not do that. We want to see you as you are, so we can help you in your musical journey the best way possible.
Listen, do not rush!
This is very common among beginners in music. We want to show our teacher that we can do this exercise or play that difficult piece. So much that, sometimes, we play over the explanation of our teacher and miss some important information. Perhaps, your teacher is giving you a key tip that will make you able to play that piece of music with no trouble. And you did not listen to it… So relax, stop, listen carefully, and then try again. This will bring your skills up in no time!
Take your time and prepare well
Ok, now that we can communicate openly with our teacher and we have put our attention to listen to their advice, it’s our turn to try again. We take your instrument and immediately start playing. We fail the first note, we try again, still not happy, frustration, “I cannot do this” pops in your head, stress, your teacher’s advice fade in your mind, my teacher will think that I’m not good for music…
Wow, wow, hold your horses! What happened in just 5 seconds? Our mood drastically changed in the opposite direction. Come on, we were doing fine! Ok, what can we do to avoid this? Taking the time we need and prepare for the activity.
Music starts with the first note sounding in our minds! It might seem senseless but people feel it. And ourselves, the performers. Take these steps into account for your preparation. Do not worry, you don’t have to memorize this. It will become automatic over time:
Place your instrument in the playing position. Your hands, fingers, mouth, and anything you need to perform too!
Let the first note sound in your mind. If you don’t know how it sounds, try playing it on a piano (or piano app).
When the first note sounds clear, then start the movement. Breathe at the tempo of the piece you are going to play (get full of air if you are a wind instrument player). 1 or 2 beats should be usually enough.
This is when your performance starts! Go ahead and let your instrument sound!
Dare to make mistakes
Even when we prepare well, we might be afraid of missing a note or not being able to play the difficult part of the piece. We believe that we won’t make it, and, you know what? It’s true! I have experienced this so many times as a student. Both during the lessons and practicing at home. So now, I tell my students to try to fail the note or phrase. I say, try to miss it, try to play it badly! And then they play it much better, immediately! Sometimes, they suddenly play it perfectly.
That has to do with our mindset. When we try to do something bad, we take preassure out of ourselves, we believe more in what we are doing, we relax, and go with the flow. In this condition, it is really difficult to fail. Our brain is designed to learn and make things the way we want.
Once we release that pressure and allow ourselves to fail, it’s when everything connects and we can bring out the most of ourselves. Also, we only learn from mistakes. So be happy to fail and learn from that!
We saw that coming, right?
But there’s nothing better than this tip
to take advantage of our music lessons. When we practice, there’s a series of consequences
We are showing that we really want to learn. That we are committed! So our teachers are happier and more motivated to help us achieve our goals.
We come to the lessons being able to play what our teacher asked. The consequence is that we can continue moving forward and learn new things. Sometimes, there’s no other way. We cannot read a book if we did not learn to identify the letters.
When we practice regularly, our skills will improve daily. And we will be able to play better every time, which will boost our motivation and give us momentum!
In any case, practicing 15-30 minutes every day is better than practicing 2 hours only one day. Take this into account!
BONUS: The one day rule
Do not allow yourself to not practice for more than one day in a row! You can take a day off, yes. But the next day, you will inevitably come back to your practice sessions!
In conclusion, these 5 tips will make your music lessons much more enjoyable and bring your skills up to the skies! Remember:
Put yourself at the same personal level as your teacher
Listen carefully to your teacher
Take your time and prepare before playing
Dare to make mistakes and learn from them
Practice (almost) every day.
Keep in mind that many of these rules can also be applied when learning any new concept. The mindset with which you approach learning will be key to internalize it and be able to apply it as soon as possible.
And so the famous American jazz trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis, thought. We identify a lot with his method to approach learning. I recommend that you take a look at this article where you will find some tips to strengthen your mindset when it comes to learning: “12 Tips on How to Practice: for Musicians, Athletes, or Anyone Who Wants to Learn Something New”.
Now, are you ready to take action? Book a trial lesson with us and get started!