If you’re new to the world of playing music or even if you’re just now thinking about playing your very first note, here’s my 7-step plan for beginning musicians:
- Get a cheap instrument.
You probably have an idea of what instrument you want to play already. Don’t waste your money on the best instrument money can buy. Check Craig’s List and eBay for a working instrument. You probably don’t even need to spend $100 bucks no matter what instrument you’re thinking of playing. Then, when you’re ready to upgrade, return the favor by putting it up for sale for the next generation of newbies.
- Just play.
The saying goes: there are no mistakes, only opportunities. Don’t worry about sounding bad or making mistakes. And don’t try to sound like your favorite guitar shred master at this stage in the game. Just mess around without any idea of sounding good. Just make sound.
- Begin to learn the fundamentals of music.
After 15 days, if you’re still interested in your instrument, begin to learn the fundamentals of music. A great place to start is MusicTheory.net. Make a commitment to study music theory for the next 15 days. A single lesson should only take 5 to 10 minutes.
- Find a music teacher.
If after another 15 days you feel like you still want to continue, find a local music teacher. Interview teachers as if you were hiring an employee. You pay them so they work for you. Ask lots of questions and make sure they feel like a good fit. Expect to pay around $50 a lesson and ease into a regular schedule of weekly to biweekly lessons.
- Study music theory.
If after 45 to 60 days you still feel motivated to continue on your musical journey, make a dedicated commitment to study theory. For conventional training, a university setting can’t be beat. For alternative options, try a home study musicianship course. The most comprehensive home-study musicianship courses that I believe in are available at Elite Musician Society.
- Find people to play with.
Your musical journey will maintain motivation and gain speed if you’re not alone. Check Craig’s List for beginning musicians who are looking to play with people. Teach each other what you know. Learn a couple of simple songs together. You can also search for group lessons to get your feet wet.
- Keep studying, keep practicing, and keep playing with people.
In order to keep progressing, remember the 80/20 rule: 80% of your success comes from 20% of the things you do. Resolve to spend more of your time doing more of the things that contribute the greatest value to you and your music.