Learn to Play Music
I was just a kid when I picked up my first guitar and tried to make some experimental sounds with it. It wasn't what I would call music at that stage: that came a little later, although kids are very fast learners and I think I had strung together 3 or 4 chords by the time I was 8 or 9. The memory of those innocent, peppercorn days is a fond one to me: with my (very) old Rickenbacker guitar, a Vox practice amp and a set of very old strings, I felt I could take on the musical world singlehandedly.
Back then, of course, you had to learn the guitar parts of a song the hard way: by listening to the record, over and over again. Of course, you could get lessons, if you could afford them: but I couldn't, and besides, I needed all my precious pocket money for buying the latest Kinks, Stones and Faces records. Guitar tablature didn't exist then either, and there was a real sense of achievement in successfully nailing a guitar riff all by yourself.
After a few months of playing my guitar alone in the attic, and successfully increasing my repertoire of chords to about 9 or 10 (many more if you count the Barre chord and its various positions on the fretboard) I ventured out to find other musicians (or wannabe musicians) that actually possessed their own instruments and soon hooked up with a keyboard player (who wanted to be a piano player but couldn't afford a piano), a bass player, a singer and a drummer that could play the drums better than most kids his age. We were just students looking to practice together and discover and share a new musicial world with each other: and often the sound we produced was truly terrible.
However, we were patient and totally into the music. We would follow one another, develop our skills, listen to the music, create some songs out of basic notes and chords, and - every once in a while - produce sonic delights that were exponentially greater than the sum of their parts, and almost zen-like in their rhythm, tempo and groove. It was these moments that I realized what a joy it can be to make music with others. Those were really great times.
Of course, these days it is all very different and young people do not generally find each other of their own volition and learn to play music together in one of their garages. That era is gone, swept away by manufactured talent shows and the sterile mainstream music industry of today that no longer focuses on talented players, only those that can sing a certain style.
Of course, these days it is all very different and young people do not generally find each other of their own volition and learn to play music together in one of their garages. That era is gone, swept away by manufactured talent shows and the sterile music industry of today that no longer focuses on talented players, only those that can sing a certain style.
With it all the fun of figuring out for yourself how things work: in the pre digital era I learnt to play guitar in, the floor of our recording garage was always decked out in a spaghetti sea of cables that would have any health and safety officer in a sweat in 2013. The first time I got a digital effects pedal for my guitar I was quite disappointed by the ease which which it could be set up and how plastic and fragile it felt (I soon when back to my old board of metal analog pedals with the associated cables as I found it to be much better). The first time we played to an audience as a band was certainly an experience and one perhaps better saved for another article and day.
Life was certainly grand back then, and I feel privileged that I was lucky enough to have picked up a musical instrument at such a crucial age. Music has been a companion to my throughout my life and learning to play an instrument, especially musical theory, gives one the ability to analyse and even enjoy music on a much deeper level. I'm not talking about radio-friendly stuff as this is not written by composers. But in the golden age of popular music, musicans were composers that wrote and performed symphonies with just 3 or 4 instruments. This is no small feat when you think about it, but if you have any kind of musical training at all, then you can hear the subtle layers in any good rock or pop song instinctively, and appreciate the thought and sweat that went into it.
However, it really is never too late to learn to play music and many people begin when they reach retirement and finally have the time to devote to it. That's not to say learning to play an instrument takes a great deal of time: it needn't. Thirty minutes a day is ample time to get to grips with any instrument. The point is, learning to make music is such a huge distraction (if you're one of those people that take to it, as I did) that you will want to spend more than 30 minutes on practice each day. One of the benefits of making music is that it really puts you in touch with your inner self: and it's also a great stress reliever and that is one of the reasons I love it.
Whatever your age, and however much time you have on your hands, you can also learn to play music. Perhaps playing music will even bring you as much great joy as it brought, and continues to bring, me. You don't need any formal education in music to get started (although, and as with everything, this really helps), but I would advise you to use some musical learning resources to set you off on the right path.
Of course, the first step is to choose a musical instrument that you like enough to want to spend a lot of time with every day, and this is not always as easy as it sounds! Some people are lucky enough to know instinctively what tool they want to create their own personal brand of music with (or perhaps mimic the music of others), but others have more difficulty in finding an instrument that is a good match for them and have to try several out, at sometimes considerable expense.
It was easy for me: way back then I was a big fan of Chuck Berry and only really wanted a guitar at first so I could try out the duck walk. (Incidentally: I got pretty good on the guitar quickly, but was never able to master the duck walk at the same time as playing it well, and still can't to this day!)
So first, look inside your soul and try and visualize the instrument you like and that defines you. If you have any musical idols then this might help - but you don't have to copy the instrument and playing style of a famous musical icon in order to be inspired by them. Instead, look at how they approach musical challenges such as composition, improvisation and performing. Perhaps it is the piano, that versatile and ancient tool of the composer, which many say is the key to unlocking the secrets of musical theory and mastering any instrument (it's apparently true: learn the piano (or keyboard) and how to read music and play by ear if you want to master the guitar, bass guitar, saxophone, harmonica or violin). But playing music has to be as much about fun as it does theory, notes, chords and scales, so find an instrument that speaks to you on all of these levels. And if it is a ukulele then so be it, be proud of it: George Formby was a great musician (I love his work).
Once you've found the musical instrument that speaks to you as a musician, and bought it (used or new, depending on your budget: either is OK but if you buy used then make sure you get a second opinion on the condition before parting with your hard earned cash) then consider - REALLY consider - getting lessons. Musical lessons from a professional are the difference between learning to walk or run in the first few months. However, not everyone can afford a teacher for private or even group lessons, and this is not the end of the world for the beginner. It's actually the reason we built this page!
Making Music on Tradebit has dedicated an entire site sub-section to learning to play a musical instrument. You might think that playing a musical instrument is all there is to making music: well, you would be partly right, but not entirely. You also have to care for an instrument, learn to record, engineer, mix and master your sounds and negotiate the at-times treacherous music business. We've built dedicated pages for those aspects too, but this page is for the real music lover who loves to play or wants to start to play.
Gathered here are the very best in learning to play music downloads and tips on the Tradebit catalog, whatever instrument takes your fancy and whatever your current skill level: learn how to play guitar eBooks, drum sheet music, learn to play harmonica video lessons, how to play piano guides, articles on music theory and online voice lessons (to name just a few). You can learn to play from the comfort of your own home for just a few dollars on the right learn to play music download that will teach you all you need to know about your new found interest. We hope this part of Tradebit will help you on your way.
Enjoy learning and making music, from the team at Tradebit!