If you want to become a better musician you need practice and practice. Sound simple? In theory it is simple. In practice, it's a little bit more complicated.
You can't just turn up and go over and over what you already know. This simply means you'll be very good an one piece of music and not really improve your overall music knowledge and will certainly not give you the versatility you would need to really call yourself a musician.
You need to set goals designed to progress you to the next level. Furthermore, there's always the question of where you can practice. How long will your parents, for example, tolerate you practicing at home?
Below are five tips to help you become a better musician.
Practice Makes Perfect
You've probably heard that to master your instrument you need to put in 10,000 hours of practice. That is a lot of practice, but don't let that put you off. Members of bands like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles weren't seen as masters of their instruments until years into their careers and lets be honest, you don't need to be an expert to be very good.
Personally, I'm grade six across the piano, which according to the musical learning system, means i'm probably slight above average. That said, there is very little I cannot play. The difference between me and Lang Lang (who is currently one of the most sort after pianists today) is not that far. Yes it would take me years of practice to get close to his level, but if we played alongside each other today, the difference is small.
Progress By Setting Realistic Goals
Practicing by itself doesn't help you to improve. For example if you practice the same scales over and over, you're just going to know those scales. To really improve you need to yourself goals and when you've reached the goal, move onto the next goal.
If you are struggling with something set yourself mini goals. That way you can constantly measure your improvement. And if you know you are improving, you'll want to continue learning.
Don't Be Hard On Yourself
As we've mentioned it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master your instrument; even for so called geniuses like Mozart. So be patient. Understand that you won't become brilliant straight away and at times you may feel you're going nowhere.
The trick is to just keep going and talk to people who have gone through similar experiences. If you are struggling they may be able to emphasis and point you in the right direction.
Practice With Others
After a while it can get tedious practicing on your own. While you probably don't want to do away with it all together, you may want to mix it up by playing with other musicians. Not only are jam sessions fun, but you can learn tips, get feedback and learn how to play in time with other people.
Take Your Time to Find a Teacher
You've probably heard the horror stories; the teacher that pushes their student too hard; the teacher that refuses to teach anything but their particular style; the teacher that insists that is only one way to learn an instrument.
On the other hand there are some really good teachers out there who can improve your playing twofold. Look around for them. Ask your friends for recommendations. Take advantage of first lesson for free offers. If you find a teacher that you can respect, and gives you honest feedback, you will find yourself on the fast track to becoming a better musician.