Whenever you start studying music, you’re taking on a challenge. There are some people who are referred to as “naturals” where music is concerned and, indeed, some people do have an almost spooky ability to play music with very little training. Most of us don’t have this ability. In fact, most of the best musicians you’ve heard spent a long time learning how to play properly, even though you may not have guessed that from the way that music seems to flow naturally from their fingers or through their voices.
One of the most common mistakes that beginner students make is trying to play songs too quickly. When you are first learning a new piece, play it slowly. Very slowly. Take the time to understand the proportional differences between each note. For instance, if you need to stretch a whole note out to last a full two seconds so that you can play a passage of 16th notes in proper time, do so. Using a metronome can help this process as it will keep your tempo steady. Don’t rush through music, as it’s only going to make you more frustrated.
Choose Realistic Pieces
Remember to choose realistic pieces of music to learn from. This may mean learning Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star before you learn anything else. It also may mean playing that song to the point where you can barely stand to hear it anymore.
Everybody has to start at the beginning. Unless you have some strange ability to play the violin that science hasn’t really figured out a way to explain yet, you’re probably going to have to start with learning your scales, learning a few simple songs, and trying to master them.
One way to think of this that may make it less frustrating is that you only get to be a beginner once. When you are studying music, it actually is one of the most exciting times, as literally everything you’re going to study is brand-new to you and you can go in any direction that you want.
Don’t Over Criticize
Don’t criticize yourself too harshly. Remember, if you’re taking music lessons just so you can learn an instrument for fun, you don’t need to hold yourself to the standards that somebody who plays for a professional orchestra needs to hold themselves to. In fact, there is a very good chance that you’re never even going to be in the league of somebody like that, and so what? Learning music is worthwhile in and of itself. If you never ascend to the level of a professional player, that in no way means that you have lost anything in terms of the experience of studying music.
As one final tip, students are oftentimes encouraged by their teachers to record themselves playing and then play it back. If you’re frustrated with something, don’t listen to the playback right away. Wait a day. This will give you a more realistic assessment of how you sound, as you’ll forget about most of the unnoticeable mistakes that you made when you were recording it.