By Philip S. – So, I’ve started learning to play the saxophone! I am actually really excited about this, I’ve wanted to learn a music instrument for a while. Whenever I see people playing an instrument I think “that looks great, I’d love to be able to do something like that.” But I’ve never been able to figure out how to get started.

Then, about two months ago I talked to a friend of mine who is in a band, and shortly after I talked to the rest of the band. I asked them all how they got started playing music, and I actually learned some really interesting things that have been very helpful! Sure, some of them said “I’ve been playing since I was a kid.” But three of them actually only started playing when they were much older, and now they are all really good.

Here’s what they shared with me, hopefully it will be of help to you as well!

1. Try A LOT of instruments first

You might think you want to learn the guitar, or the violin. And maybe these really are the right instruments for you. The thing is, most people never even consider or try out more than one or two instruments in their life. That is a big mistake. The first thing you need to do is go to your nearest music shop and try EVERYTHING there. Just blowing into a flute, or hitting some drums, might make you realise something you never knew before: “I like this instrument.”

2. Know that you will be terrible in the beginning

A lot of people tell you this, but it’s so easy to forget. In the beginning you will not be good. In fact, you will be terrible. Almost every note you make will sound wrong. Don’t let this get you down, you have to keep your motivation during that first month. Just understand that this is normal. It doesn’t mean you are bad, it means you are learning, and that is something to be proud of. Keep going, soon things will sound better.

3. Learn the rules of music (they are not mysterious)

How do some people just play music? Is it a secret talent? Something they are born with? There is no doubt that some people have musical gifts. But believe it or not, music is actually mostly based on rules that anybody can learn! These rules are really simple, and information about them is easily available and can be learned in just a few hours. By putting in that little bit of time, music will seem a lot less mysterious, and your musical ability will improve a lot faster.

4. Copy your favourite easy songs first, then progress

So many people want to write their own songs, or create their own rhythms. Everyone is in a rush to get to the exciting stuff in music. But the reality is you have to do the basics first. There are smart ways to learn, and bad ways to learn. The smart way is actually very simple: start with the easiest stuff that you already kind of know. When you are perfect at those things, then you can progress to the really cool stuff.

I’ve been following these guidelines for the last month, and I am happy to say that I am definitely getting better and don’t think I will be giving up any time soon. Music is a real joy, if you want to bring it into your life then just follow (and share) these tips!

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