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By Megan Regina

So you want to be a musician?

You have decided what instrument makes your heart pound with excitement just thinking about playing it, and you have purchased it. Now comes the most important step and the most fun step in your musical endeavor-learning to play it.

Learning to play an instrument is like learning to play a sport or learning any new skill. It takes time and dedication, but the results are worth all the hours of lessons and practicing. There are several ways you can go about this exciting portion of your musical experience.

  1. Taking private lessons
    Working one-on-one with an instructor is one of the best ways to learn a skill. Private instructors are better able to assist you in finding your weaknesses and in personalizing how you learn. You can usually find private instructors in your area by word of mouth or by asking in your local music store.
  2. Classes at a local music school
    Another way to learn an instrument is to go to your local music school. Most music schools have a community division offering group classes on everything from beginning instruments to community ensembles and music theory classes. Some programs offer degree tracks for pre-college students. Group classes offer a different advantage to individual instruction by giving you the chance to learn from your peers as well as from your instructor.
  3. Podcast and blog instruction
    An advantage to being in the digital age is the invention of the long-distance instruction. You can find podcasts and blogs on almost everything, including playing different musical instruments. Generally these are used as a supplement to private instruction as a way for students to help reinforce the ideas and concepts they are learning in their lessons, but there are several that are designed to start you from scratch playing a musical instrument. The difference between these and private instruction is that they are not as personalized because the person making the podcasts and the blogs doesn't know what struggles you are having with your instrument. A quick Google or Bing search will help you to find different podcasts and blogs for your instrument.
  4. YouTube
    This goes hand-in-hand with podcasts. YouTube is actually a very powerful resource for both beginning musicians and advanced musicians alike. Generally you can find master classes from renowned musicians on just about every instrument on YouTube. Also, if you are struggling with something specific that a podcast doesn't cover, it is a great place to find videos of professionals talking about that topic. It is also a great place to find recordings of masters of your new instrument so you have a reference sound and technique to aim for.

No matter how you choose to go about learning to play your new musical instrument, remember that it is supposed to be fun to play. To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, congratulations, today is your day. You're off to learn music, go off and go play!

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