It’s been said that great athletes are made in the offseason, and the same is true for musicians. Contrary to belief, rock legends aren’t born on stage; they’re made note by note during music lessons. And as with all things in life, there’s a right way to tackle music lessons and a wrong way. With years of experience teaching music lessons in Scottsdale, we at Scottsdale Music Academy know what separates a good musician from a Grammy worthy musician, and while no two musicians are exactly the same, the basic formula for success changes very little from student to student or from instrument to instrument.
Without further ado, here are the most tried and true methods we’ve seen that are guaranteed to help you rock your music lessons like a true star.
Unless you’re blessed with eidetic memory, otherwise known as perfect memory, you’ll want to take notes during your music lessons. Chances are your instructor will share some personal tips and tricks of the trade during your lesson and you’ll want to refer back to that when practicing on your own. Nothing’s more frustrating than walking out of a music lesson feeling confident in your skills only to lose that confidence once you’re flying solo. Taking notes will help you combat that problem by giving you a way to virtually access your lesson, even from home.
Record Your Lessons
Another great way to take advantage of your music lesson is to record your session (with your instructor’s permission, of course). Most cell phones nowadays have a built in recording device that makes it easy to capture almost every moment, and your music lesson is definitely a moment you’ll want to have on hand. Like jotting down notes during a lesson, recording your lesson will make practicing at home so much easier. Not only will you have your instructor’s every word on tape to refer back to whenever you need it, you’ll also have a better idea of what you actually sound like. Plus, recording your lessons is a great way to chart your growth and build an audio archive you can listen to once you’re a full-fledged musician and feel like taking a little trip down memory lane.
Set Expectations and Goals
Before embarking on your musical journey, it’s important to know what you hope to accomplish from your music lessons. Having both long term and short term goals will help keep you on track and ensure you progress from week to week. Whether you dream of sold out concerts or a simple jam session with friends, setting expectations for yourself is key to mastering your lessons and your instrument.
One of the best and easiest ways to ensure you rock your music lesson is to come prepared. While this entails doing basic things like showing up on time, practicing in between lessons and properly tuning and cleaning your instrument so it’s ready for use, it also entails some mental preparation. To get in the zone during your music lesson, you’ll want to clear your mind of any distractions. We recommend listening to your favorite artist beforehand to pump yourself up and get your musical juices flowing, or try taking a few minutes at the start of your lesson to note down any topics you want to cover that day, both of which will help get your mind in gear and maximize your musical efforts.
Embrace the Learning Process
Mastering something new is never an easy process, and learning to play an instrument is no exception. Setbacks and disappointments are inevitable, and the sooner you realize that the better. Some people approach music lessons with unrealistic expectations and a preconceived timeline for success. The truth is no one walks away from one music lesson a bonafide rock star. Learning to play an instrument and play it well takes time and effort. There are no short cuts. Musical greatness is achieved like anything else…one note at a time.
The Bottom Line
Music lessons are the building blocks of any good musician, but whether or not you reach rock star status depends on you. Like notes on a page, music lessons are there to guide you, but ultimately, how the music is played is up to you!