Despite being busy, many adults find a lot of value in learning a new instrument! In this blog, I’ll share 5 great tips aimed at helping adults who want to learn an instrument and stick with it long term. Whether you’ve been trying to play for years, or have just recently picked up the instrument, the information in this article will be helpful.
Tip #1: Be Realistic
This first tip is hugely important. Many of the adult students I’ve met fall short of their goals because they weren’t intentional and realistic about their time. The only way you’ll be able to learn how to play an instrument is if you take the time to sit down and play, and this does take commitment. Make sure that practicing and playing for fun are part of your regular schedule.
Take some time to create a schedule of your week. How much time do you realistically have for practicing after you account for work, parenting and your other time commitments?
If you can, try to carve out three to four half-hour slots every week in your schedule dedicated to practicing. Less practice is okay, but it does mean that your progress will be slower. The trick here is to be as realistic as possible about how much time and energy you’re able to give. I’ve met a lot of adults who’ve wanted to play an instrument for years who end up taking lessons for a few months and then bam – life hits and they end up feeling stressed and questioning their decision to take on lessons.
Knowing your expectations going in can help you stick to a realistic schedule and continue to make progress, even if it’s slower than you hoped at first.
Tip #2: Define Your Goals
Knowing what exactly you’d like to accomplish will help you make strides on your instrument in huge, noticeable ways. Want to write your own music? How about practicing singing and playing some old country songs that you eventually want to play on stage? Or maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to sing the blues. Defining and setting goals is essential because they’ll give your practice more direction, meaning and urgency.
After you’ve mastered basic technique on your instrument, the types of goals you’ve set for yourself will really steer the direction of the work you do in lessons and practice. If you’re not entirely sure what you want to get out of learning an instrument, that’s completely normal. The act of defining your goals is a process that will get you thinking about who you are in relation the music and what you truly want to get out of your time with music in general.
It’s expected that students will have a starter goal and then allow their goals to change and evolve as they learn and grow. The important part is starting somewhere with your goals. Give this some thought and don’t be afraid to share your honest desires with your instructor!
Tip #3: Have Fun While Learning
You probably won’t get very far with a new instrument unless you’re able to have fun while you’re learning. Adults sometimes have a way of taking the fun out of things, and this can be a detriment to learning new skills and doing things that can truly enrich our lives.
If you’re too wrapped up in the grind of practicing, it might be time to rethink how you’re learning.
Tip #4: Celebrate Your Progress
If you’re able to recognize and celebrate the large and small victories in your playing, you’ll have a much better chance at mastering your instrument compared to someone who is never satisfied with their playing. Learning is hard. Sometimes really hard. And there’s nothing wrong with admitting that.
Every bit of progress you make is important, and you’ll need to learn how to get excited enough about the small stuff to get you through the challenging times. Whenever you get discouraged, try stepping back and recognizing how far you’ve come.
Tip #5: Work With a Great Teacher In Your Area
Finding a great guitar teacher in your area to work with is your best bet at succeeding in learning any instrument. There are loads of free resources aimed at helping people of all ages learn how to play, but nothing can fully replace the expertise, patience and guidance that the right teacher can give you.
If you’re not sure where to find a great teacher, reading this blog is a great place to start. It’s got loads of great tips to get you started.
Read the previous blog
Growing Your LOVE of Music | Cultivating Interests | Expanding Understanding | Honing Skills
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