Learning the harp - how to take the first steps
Most people start learning an instrument at an early age. However, it's not always possible to start expressing yourself musically in childhood. Even though it's known to be easiest for children to learn new skills, you can still dedicate yourself to a new instrument in adulthood. But how exactly can you learn an instrument as an adult and what are the tips? We'll show you what hurdles you can expect when practicing and which instruments are best for you.
For many children and young people, it is primarily the joy of playing, and the musical possibilities that make them want to learn new instruments. Even if this joy is not necessarily less pronounced in adults, there is often simply no time for this ambition and motivation in stressful everyday life. Focusing on learning an instrument is hardly possible and thus becomes a hurdle. Moreover, learning is part of most children's everyday lives. We adults don't pick up new things as quickly and find it harder to learn new things. So it is especially important for adults to work out a basic learning strategy in order to reach the goal quickly and in individual steps as a beginner.
To be able to learn an instrument as an adult, professional lessons can also be a good help. Of course, this depends on the instrument you choose. You can find out which instruments we recommend for your first steps into the world of music later on in this article.
The decision to learn an instrument should initially always come from the heart and not be made through pressure from other people. Here, we adults with a sometimes somewhat stronger self-confidence and will have an advantage. Then it comes down to the right learning strategy and the choice of the right instrument. It is best to orient yourself to your individual possibilities. For example, the more flexible your fingers are at an older age, the more likely it is that you will choose a stringed instrument or even play the piano. You have an enormous lung volume? Then look around the world of wind instruments. And then consider how—and above all—when is this journey best approached?
Having a more mature age does not always have to be a disadvantage. Compared to children, adults usually have much more stamina. This is a decisive advantage, especially in lengthy processes such as practicing instruments. But it's not just the basic motivation and willingness to tackle new challenges that is higher in adults. The following aspects also stand out very clearly:
For children and young people as well as for adults, new instruments are anything but a no-brainer. For this reason, it is important to choose a direction that can give you long-term pleasure and fun. Because of work, adults often have much less free time than they used to as children. The hobby you choose should therefore be challenging and exciting at the same time. But how should you proceed methodically to learn a new instrument as an adult?
From a methodological point of view, it is important not to overestimate your own abilities. For example, your joints are usually much tougher in your old age than they were in your youth, which can be a problem, especially with quick grip changes. It is therefore best to check in advance which instruments are suitable for your abilities and which variants you would be better off avoiding on this basis.
In addition to the necessary skill, you should also make sure you have a good overview of your learning schedule. At what times do you want to practice your instrument? Do you prefer to practice alone or in a group? Which pieces and styles do you like best? When choosing a new instrument, always make sure that it fits in with your daily routine. In this way, you increase your chances of reaching a high level of proficiency, despite the fact that you are starting rather late, and thus of progressing beyond the initial stage.
When it comes to choosing your instrument, there are no limits. As already mentioned, however, you should be honest with yourself and consider what suits you and your everyday life best at this point:
The guitar provides quiet and at the same time powerful moments. Even if a certain sensitivity is advantageous for fast pieces, many songs can be played fluently after some practice. Above all, your fingers should be in good shape here and coordination is also a decisive advantage.
The piano is a true classic. Both slow and faster pieces can be learned quickly if learners are aware of the basics of notes. When it comes to the piano, however, it must be clear that the very big skills for adults will probably be difficult to learn later, because the instrument is quite complex. The piano is therefore best suited for you if you have already had a few points of contact with the world of music.
An interesting and intense instrument for adults is the drum set. Especially for people who enjoy making music in groups, the drums can be a great first instrument. Some momentum and strength in the arms are definitely conducive to learning the instrument as an adult. This instrument can be physically demanding, so you should be in good shape.
The most obvious instrument for every adult is their own voice. Both solo singing and making music in a choir provide you with many options to show off your voice perfectly. With a wide variety of pieces in all registers, there is something for everyone, making singing the center of your music with little effort. The most important thing here is a feeling for sounds and harmonies, as well as a certain control over your vocal apparatus.
Many adults first try to learn the instrumental context at home and learn the instrument on their own. If you have a quiet place where you can devote yourself intensively to practicing your instrument, this is of course a great choice. However, make sure that you have a clear schedule and that you do not allow yourself to be distracted during this phase. While this is usually much easier in a music school or studio, learning at home requires a certain amount of self-control. This way, fast progress is practically guaranteed. Use good learning apps or proven learning and sheet music material at home.
If you find it rather difficult to focus on practicing at home, it is also advisable for adults to take advantage of private or public lessons. While the audience in music schools tends to be a bit younger, there is no age limit for private music lessons. This makes it easy to dedicate yourself to music free from any distractions and focus on making the necessary progress. Find out exactly what the advantages of private lessons are in this article.
Whether you are a senior citizen or still in your teens, you can still organize your free time in a positive and varied way with an instrument. On our blog you will find many tips, for example, on how to start playing the piano or practicing the guitar. If you want to get in touch with other musicians, our personals here at mukken are just the right thing. We always look forward to accompanying you musically!
Originally published on March 10, 2023, updated on March 13, 2023
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