Tips for re-learning an instrument
So you want to re-learn an instrument. Where do you start?
Whatever the reason for delving back into playing; making that decision really is the first step. Then there are some practicalities to overcome..
Have you got an instrument?
If you still have your instrument from before - how long has it been un-played? It may need to be serviced to get it fully functional again. Our workshop can do a free appraisal on your instrument to help you decide whether perhaps the cost of service/repair outweighs the value of the instrument. (Before making a trip, it's worth calling ahead however on 01823 338517.)
If you haven't got an instrument - we can definitely help! Along with selling a wide selection of new and secondhand brass and woodwind, our rental scheme is a great way to get back into playing. It may be that while you've now got the budget for a higher spec instrument than you used to play on, you'd rather get 'your lip back', before making that commitment. With a few months practice you'll become a much more discerning musician to make an informed decision.
Okay, so assuming you're up and running, what next?
Go back to the basics and don't be deterred. Don't be demoralised that you can't play at the standard you used to play at. Acknowledge your previous capabilities and let that be the motivation to carry on - and exceed your previous ability!
It's highly likely you'll want to dive back in at where you left off, but first, make sure you are doing the easy things, well...
If you've done anything like the Couch to 5k, you'll know that the process starts with moments of intensity and then periods of rest. And in this case, to get musically fit again, this is very similar. Try first playing long notes in an easy register and maintaining a steady tone. Holding a strong tone may be hard at first. Try holding for 3 seconds and building this up gradually as you can.
Playing little and often is much better than exhausting yourself in one lengthy session. Try to do it at least every day so you don't forget what you've learned. This is also an opportunity to remind yourself of fingering, how to read music and scales. Once you have remembered the notes and fingering of a scale be sure to take the music away (if appropriate), so you can return to focussing on the sound.
It could be good to get some lessons from a teacher to help get your basic technique back, and help with areas that you've forgotten. Good musicians should always offer encouragement and inspiration.
Sharing the journey can really help. Playing in a group, or having someone to play with will keep the momentum going. If you now have children, why not do it together and bond over music? Of course you could even learn with a friend or a colleague...
Listening to all sorts of music and performers is a great way of getting motivated to play. You can even search on YouTube for performances of pieces that you're playing - it's amazing how many different interpretations you can hear of one single piece of music.
Unlike a lot of other hobbies, music is an art form that takes years of dedication and patience to master. Don't give up; remember that everyone has to start somewhere, with every day's practice you build your own ability, and become the best version of yourself playing an instrument. Don't be competitive - you really can only get better!
For more inspiration you can visit our showroom or contact our knowledgable and friendly team for advice.