After Basic Music Lessons – Whats Next?

This blog post is for those who have taken basic music lessons. For years you’ve studied and you’re now about to easily play all your scales, you have memorized and can play at least three advanced songs and can read music with relative ease and you think you’re ready to stop lessons.

Okay, so I’d like to be clear.  “after basic music lessons” is slightly misleading.  Ask yourself if you ever stop learning everything there is to know about a film after watching it only once?  The same applies for learning an instrument, which is like learning a language.  The more you study, the better you become at using it to create the type of art you wish to create.

Basic Music Lessons – Congratulations

So, now you’re able to play.  Congratulations is in order, because that was not an easy task.  I’ll tell you three things you can do now so that you won’t lose any momentum from all the years of practice and study.

Find New Music

This is by far the most important.  The best way to do this is to find your local sheet music store, and browse.  Most of them have a room in the back where you can read the music they have on their shelves.  There are a ton of books that explore different styles that you may not have gotten to try.  Don’t forget to listen to music and try to figure out new pieces based on what you’re hearing.  It’s impossible to cover all styles of music in lessons alone.  So, now it’s your turn to determine the direction of what you play.  Best way to do that is to try something new.

Play Music With Other People

This is actually pretty easy to do regardless of your age, but kids, ask your parents if it’s okay to record yourself and make a Soundcloud or YouTube channel with you playing some music.  Once you make a recording, reach out to other people you see on YouTube or Soundcloud who you think are making good music too.  These are the best types of collaborations when musicians find each other and play together.  If you’re in the same city, you can meet in a music store and play together.  Most piano stores have recital halls that they’ll let you use for free.  It’d be a great venue to meet another musician and bring your instruments and play together and trade ideas.  And who knows, you may make a new best friend.

Don’t Stop Lessons

I know you’re thinking, “but I’m tired of taking lessons”.  Regardless of where you are, or how advanced you are, you can still learn something from someone.  Even if it’s not with the teacher who taught you in the first place.  Most musicians continue to take lessons at least a couple months out of the year, once they’ve gotten proficient with their instrument.  By proficient, I mean the things mentioned earlier, all scales and modes, three advanced pieces memorized, and can sight read at least an intermediate piece of music.  As stated earlier, it’s impossible to cover all styles of music in lessons, which means that there won’t ever come a time where you know everything there is to know about your instrument.  So if you truly enjoy playing your instrument, consider taking seasonal lessons, or maybe look into learning a new instrument.  You may not want to be a musician now, but who knows what the future holds.  As a musician, playing several instruments always makes making a living as a musician a lot easier.

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