We all come to a point in our lives where we want a fresh, new, exciting activity - for instance, I'm learning how to code (trust me; not for the faint of heart!). Besides coding, I love to pick up a new instrument and play - but to those of us that have never played an instrument before, how hard can it be to learn?
It's not - if you know what you're getting into. Like any new skill, the more you know, the more you know. Here's a quick list of things to consider before you buy your coworker's old trombone.
1. If you haven't yet, find an instrument that fits YOUR personality.
Before you drop your next paycheck on that clarinet you found at Goodwill (which you might end up doing anyway!), do some research. Perhaps you played an instrument in school band? Think back to how much you enjoyed that instrument (or didn't), and revisit the sound by going on Youtube, iTunes, Spotify, or another hub for music. Look for classical examples! Classical music often displays your instrument in the best light... although the saxophone solos in Kanye West's music ARE pretty cool.
A particular composer practically did all the work for you already - Benjamin Britten composed "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" specifically to showcase all of the orchestral instruments. Here's a link to the full version! When each instrument has a solo section, they show a close-up!
2. Find a private instructor... trust me.
There's almost nothing more exciting than sitting down with your new instrument and figuring out how it works (even now, I find it fascinating every time).
But then you realize... huh, I don't know how to put it together. Or make a sound... or play any notes. Well, this isn't fun, is it? <--- (excerpt of personal dialogue from when this happened to me). So what's there to do? Easy - find someone that knows how. And who better than a professional?
We all know that not everything you see on the internet it true, and the same principle is true for instrument tutorials. There is a particular tutorial on how to tune the saxophone that is particularly excruciating for music teachers to watch - rather than learn all you are bound to know from the internet, you'll ultimately have a higher quality experience learning one-on-one with a teacher.
Candid Brilliance Music offers lessons on many instruments, taught by practicing and performing professionals. Ask about the instrument that YOU would like to learn!
3. Set up a practice schedule (see above chart for details)
In all seriousness, our adult lives are rather busy as it is... do we really have time to practice? A better question: do you have time to binge-watch 12 episodes of The Bachelor? I think you know what I'm getting at.
Any practice is better than no practice, even if it's just 30 minutes with your horn a week. Your instructor will always end the lessons with objectives to complete for the next lesson, so those are what should be worked out by that time.
Let me come up with a truly-possible hypothetical situation: you just had a lesson, you have three objectives to complete until your lesson in 3 weeks. Only YOU will know how much time is required. But if you need a basic plan, try this: set aside 20 minutes a daywhere you take out your instrument, warm-up, and work on a section of music (or out of your curriculum book). You will learn something new every time, and not feel like you're rushed to finish other work you have to do!
Those are three basic ideas to keep in mind when you're just starting out as a new instrumentalist! Go forth and experience music in this new, exciting medium.