Get the correct size of instrument. You want to make sure you end up with both an instrument that works for your size and your hands, as well as an appropriate size of that instrument for you. Long and slender fingers are desirable for string instruments, while some brass instruments are somewhat heavy and require the strength and lung-capacity necessary to play them.
Some instruments, like violin and guitar, are available in lots of different sizes that can be customizable for your abilities and your size. Child-sizes are common. Look into your options, and get something in your budget that feels comfortable. Talk to the employees at the instrument store to get a sense of appropriate sizes and models.
Some band directors try to steer people away from particular instruments like trumpet or saxophone because they’re very popular. Pursue the instrument you want to play. There are one-handed guitarists and petite tuba players.
Learn to hold and tune your instrument properly. You can very quickly develop bad habits by playing your instrument without the right posture, or by playing it out of tune. You need to develop the proper technique with your particular instrument, holding it, sitting right, and blowing or striking the strings in the correct position.
Have your band director, teacher, or music store employee to give you a tutorial on the proper technique for your instrument. If you don’t have access to teachers, videos and diagrams online are excellent resources for technique.
Spend time tuning every time you sit down to play. Even unexpected instruments like the trombone need tuned, or you’ll develop the wrong positioning on the slide when you’re trying to hit the notes.
Learn to read music notation. Though it can be a bit like learning a new language, learning how to read music will expand your musical horizons considerably. You can learn any song just by looking at the sheet music, noting the melody, the rhythm, and even the feeling of the music in the page directions. It’s an invaluable tool for students of any instrument.
Make sure you learn to read bass clef if you’re learning bass guitar or low brass instruments like trombone, baritone, and tuba.
Learn and practice playing scales. On all instruments, playing scales will help you improve faster technically and help you become more familiar with the correct notes, building your muscle memory toward them.
As you progress, consider learning a little theory. Knowledge of simple chords and scales will broaden your musical imagination, you can do a great deal with a just a little. Ask a friend to show you, or find an online resource. Learn these basic structures at a comfortable pace, and you’ll soon be tackling more advanced ideas.
Practice constantly. The difference between learning an instrument and giving it up is practice. Develop a practice routine and commit to it. Practice at least 30 minutes a day, every day, to develop the right consistent habits and learn to play the instrument like it deserves to be played.
Consider taking private lessons. Instructional books and YouTube videos can only take you so far, especially with instruments like the violin or wind instruments. Suzuki method classes spend a great deal of time (sometimes years) playing on fake violin-shaped instruments to get the correct bowing technique. Having one-on-one attention is invaluable when you’re trying to learn an instrument.
Make it easy to practice. Find a nice place in the house for your instrument. Store it where you spend your leisure time, or someplace where you’re going to see it often during your day. The more accessible your instrument, the more you will pick it up and play it. Eventually you’ll be picking it up every free minute you have.
Get rhythm. It’s very important to always practice playing in time. One of the signs of a novice player is that they often will play the notes as quickly as they are able, rather than playing them appropriately. When you learn the difference between playing in 4/4 time and waltz, when you learn the difference between quarter notes and whole notes, these things will be more clear, but it’s critical to play according to the rhythm of the song that you’re learning to play. Even if you’re practicing scales, play in time.
Find a beat off of which to work: there are free metronomes online. A ticking clock or the radio will function well for you too.
Take care of your instrument. It’s no fun to play a trombone with a sticky slide, a sax with old reeds, or a guitar with gnarly green strings. Learn how to take care of your instrument, taking the time to clean, maintain, and respect it for the piece of art that it is. You won’t develop bad habits in your technique and you’ll get more life out of your instrument, not to mention a cleaner and more true sound. Take a few minutes before and after every practice session to take care of your instrument and do it right.
TAJ MUSIC TEAM.