Instrumental Trouble? No easy solutions there!

Think of all those days when you used to watch music channels all day and attend concerts in the evening.  I am sure that you would have been awestruck by the folks playing the entire gamut on their instruments as though they were nothing but pieces of wood tied together with metal strings or keys. You were/are always inspired by such people and you would immediately want to learn that instrument. You would probably run to the nearest musical supplies store and buy that instrument. When you are at the store, you may even admire your reflection on the glass windows and your imagination would carry you to places hitherto unknown to you. You would see yourself on the stage, performing in front of a frenzied crowd that waves to you every time you hit a high note. A great feeling, ain’t it? Now, the helper at the store asks you to hold the instrument so that you can select the model that fits you the best. There are some people who would even pay you a million bucks just to see the expression on your face at that moment! You are suddenly jolted out of your fantasyland.

Generally, learning a musical instrument is one of those things that cannot be done with a do-it-yourself kit. I had a guitar at home and wanted to play the instrument so badly that I even bought books like “Guitar for Dummies”, “Exercises to help you learn the Guitar” and so on. Only after trying to properly hold the guitar did I realize that I needed help from other sources as well. I still wasn’t ready to approach a tutor because I had little time to “spare”. When every tangible source fails you, the first thing that you should do is rush to the Google homepage. I did the same and found some really good sites. I started learning the chords and other routine stuff, but I still couldn’t switch between them easily. As any engineering student would know, when all the above mentioned sources fail you, your last (or in some cases, first) stop is YouTube. I made the mistake of clicking on a link just because it had the name ‘Joe Satriani’ in it. He was talking about licks, riffs and power chords and produced some kind of music on his guitar that can only be described as wondrous. My initial enthusiasm and excitement waned quicker than a three-inch wax candle. This wasn’t what I signed up for. When you see these people playing difficult notes, you seldom think about the effort that they would have put into perfecting the art of playing.

After this self-learning fiasco, I learned one thing. I hate to use this hackneyed expression, but I have to. ‘Constant practice takes you closer to perfection’. I learned another thing. Playing an instrument is quite similar to typing. When you start off, you don’t know where the keys are and you make a mess trying to type quickly. The same thing happens when you start playing a musical instrument. We may not be familiar with the basics of the instrument, yet we want to see head-banging in our concerts! Once you know where the keys are, it is only a matter of time before you start typing with your eyes closed. Playing a musical instrument is tantamount to typing on a typewriter, not on a keyboard. There are no “Backspace” keys. If you’ve got one note wrong, you have to start over from the beginning. This time, you will be careful and will try to avoid the mistakes that you made earlier.

Now that I have learnt my lesson, I am off to find a tutor.


3 thoughts on “Instrumental Trouble? No easy solutions there!

  1. my case was different.i had all the resources, one fine Saturday afternoon, my father bought me a tabla,there was a tutor at my house waiting to teach me but the only thing missing was my interest. i was interested in keyboard rather. :-\

  2. True. But I beg to differ on one point. Mistakes in notes, tempo, count, blah blah blah are all bound to happen. But the most crucial point is learning to maintain your composure and that poise and plow on with your playing. And that comes only with confidence and continuous practice. And the pep talk of a superb teacher. Playing an instrument requires one hours practice at the novice level and 3 hours and beyond once you progress. Thats the scariest and ‘funnest’ part about music. The intense dedication required. All the best with your musical journey 🙂

    PS: I enjoyed this one better than your last entry 😀

    • Thank you!
      I agree with your point about practice. So now, we’ve established that we all need a mentor, at least to motivate us. 🙂

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