Whatís the Right
Way to Learn Music?
The right way to learn music really
depends on what you want to learn what your interests and goals are
and to what level of skill you want to develop.
I think when a person says ďI want
to learn the right wayĒ they may be thinking they have to suffer
through a long drawn out tedious frustrating process learning how to
read music and practicing scales and arpeggios for hours a day in
order to be able to play the guitar. Nah, this is not necessarily
Now Iím not anti-music reading or
anti-scales and arpeggios but if your interest is to learn a very
basic skill like strumming and being able to play and sing your
favorite songs or being able to jam in rock and blues you donít
necessarily have to learn how to read music. If chords are to
difficult to jump into right away you could take some preliminary
steps to build up your finger strength or try smaller chord
formations and just get started learning how to strum.
Sometimes for beginners that are in
that direction I do recommend learning to read music in a good
method book only for the development of the basic technique and itís
an easy step to take when getting your fingers use to the strings
and the frets. I also let them know that itís not absolutely
necessary to finish the method completely and weíll get out of the
method as soon as they gain a little more control over the fingers
and can handle chords. This way the learning process can be less
frustrating because if you do start with chords and the chords are
too difficult then you could struggle for months rather than
developing the skill you need by taking small systematic steps.
Most songs in the blues, rock and
country genre are really not that difficult and only require a
minimum of skill. Really, Iím not kidding, Iíve had many students
who only after a few weeks or months were able to either begin
playing or were enjoying the experience of playing along with their
favorite songs on a CD or even getting together with friends and
If you want to learn classical or
jazz than that would require more serious study and practice and I
would definitely learn how to read music because it will increase
your ability to learn at a faster pace. Classical requires good
technique, without it there are pieces that would be impossible to
play while jazz requires a good working knowledge of music theory in
order to develop the ability to spontaneously improvise.
If your desire is to be a more
skillful or professional musician the more you know the better off
you are. Let me digress and make some further distinctions, a
professional musician is a musician who gets paid for what they do.
That doesnít necessarily mean that they are skillful.
On the other hand, I know some
musicians who are not professional but they are very skillful.
Another popular myth is that if someone is famous they must be good
or skillful and that is not necessarily true, many times itís just a
matter of someoneís opinion or they look cute or whatever and
thereís nothing wrong with that. So there are different levels of
skill and if you want to increase your skill than there are some
very specific things that you can and should learn that will do just
that which I will save for another article.
Iíve had many students who started
by learning how to read music and then they gradually moved into the
area of their interest and Iíve also had many students who started
without learning to read music and after learning how to play the
style of music they liked decided to learn how to read music and
they increased their skill even further. So there are many ways that
you can learn how to play the guitar whatís important is to find the
way that works best for you.
the right way to learn?
It's never too late to start.
What is the right age to begin guitar lessons?