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10 Music Tips For Beginners & Pros

Starting a career in music can be a tough gig as you need to put in the time and effort to play like a professional - read our musician tips.

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To become a musician and establish a career, you need to put in the time, effort and patience to play like a professional.

Becoming a musician and as part of your musical journey, you’re going to make mistakes during the writing and recording process, but when it comes to playing live, you need to make sure your musicianship and stage presence is on point every time.

Whether you’ve been playing your chosen instrument for years, or you’re just getting started, no one is perfect and everyone can improve. So if you’re hoping to take that next step towards playing like a pro, or looking for new ways to hone your skills, so here are some great tips to help you become a polished and better musician.

Practice Your Chosen Techniques

This may seem like an obvious one, but the point we want to make is that simply playing your instrument is necessarily not the same as practicing

When a professional musician practices their instrument, they go through scales (or rudiments) repeatedly, working hard to improve their technique. Set yourself a dedicated practice or warm-up regime for each day to burn those scales into your memory.

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Not only should you practice scales and exercises to maintain your abilities, but you should also challenge yourself to master something new as often as possible.

Set Yourself 'Realistic' Goals

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Set yourself realistic targets at every opportunity and work towards them, whether that’s learning a certain scale by heart during one practice, or mastering a full song by the end of the week.

By accomplishing set goals, you’ll enjoy a greater sense of achievement as your skills begin to develop and approach each practice session with a more productive attitude.

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As part of the learning process, you need to focus your time, energy, and goals, learn your chosen instrument and/or vocal skills. At each stage of the learning process, you can gauge your progress which will give you the confidence to continue moving forward.

Be Patient

Perhaps the most important quality in a musician looking to perfect their instrument is patience, especially if you’re just starting out.

No one becomes a virtuoso overnight, so if you hit a wall, don’t worry, just keep going until you get it right and as it takes a lot of time and effort to be a truly great musician.

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There are going to be moments where you will feel frustrated, that feeling that you are not getting anywhere which will leave you with a feeling that you’re not progressing. Take your time – be patient and allow yourself regular breaks during practice sessions. Don’t take your frustrations out on your instrument – Keep calm, practice!

Keep It Fun, Easy

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While it’s important to work on your scales and other (more boring) techniques – don’t forget to keep your practice sessions fun! Learn your favourite songs and work on new material around your more regimented exercises to make sure you feel fresh and enthusiastic about your instrument.

The worst thing for a musician is when playing becomes a chore, rather than an enjoyable experience.

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Focus your time and practice sessions so that you remain focused and attentive to your art and not allow yourself to wain. Keeping it fun and light will help you progress which in turn you will soon discover that your skill base is growing and more precise.

Organise A Jam Session

Whether you’re aiming to set up a new band, or just enjoy a friendly jam with friends, playing in a group can help not only improve your technique but also your timing and improvisational skills.

Playing with other people can expose you to new ideas and methods, and is a great way to receive honest feedback on your playing style.

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It’s important that you don’t keep yourself isolated during your musical journey, you need to bounce off other musicians to learn more about timing and focus.  Organising jam sessions offer you the opportunity to not only learn these skills and to enjoy being with like-mind people who as passionate about making music as you do!

Know What Key You’re In

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Following on from the last point, if you’re planning on jamming with other musicians, it’s important to be able to identify which key you’re playing in at any given time, and adapt your approach accordingly – unless you’re the drummer of course!

Learning scales can help you to stay in key during a jamming session. As the more experienced musicians among you will know, each musical scale focuses around a specific key.

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So, the more scales you know, the better you’ll be at staying in key, improvising on a track, and making sure you sound great playing alongside other musicians.  Again, it takes practice but you’ll soon begin to feel instinctively “in key”.

So there you have it, simple tips where you can make a difference in your shopping habits, helping the environment, and save money!

Find A Teacher

Taking lessons is one of the most effective ways to become a better musician, no matter what your skill level. There’s always something new to learn, and a professional mentor can help you develop new techniques and improve old ones.

However, paying for lessons isn’t necessarily for everyone and there are plenty of self-taught musicians out there. If you’re strapped for cash, you could always ask a musician friend to help develop your musicianship or watch and learn from one of the thousands of YouTube videos out there covering your chosen instrument.

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Again, it’s important that understand that everything you do toward your career as a musician, as all these elements are important to forging and honing your skills. It may take lots of time in finding the right teacher, you may even go through a ton of them until you find the perfect tutor!

Get To Know Your Gear

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A professional musician should have a thorough understanding of their equipment as well as their technique. You can’t produce a great sound if you don’t know the capabilities and limitations of your gear.

However, you don’t want to be an ‘all the gear, no idea’ guy. If you’re new to your instruments, there’s no point splashing thousands of pounds/dollars on a top-of-the-range bit of kit, when you can get the same results from an affordable one.

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There’s an old adage that goes “a bad workman always blames their tools” meaning, choose the right gear to start, don’t go out buying expensive equipment when you don’t even know how to use it. Start off with that first old, secondhand instrument, get into the role, the beginning as it’s from there will you truly learn.

Seek Out Resources Online

Taking lessons is one of the most effective ways to become a better musician, no matter what your skill level. There’s always something new to learn, and a professional mentor can help you develop new techniques and improve old ones.

However, paying for lessons isn’t necessarily for everyone and there are plenty of self-taught musicians out there. If you’re strapped for cash, you could always ask a musician friend to help develop your musicianship or watch and learn from one of the thousands of YouTube videos out there covering your chosen instrument.

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They are plenty of free resources out there for musicians looking to improve their skills and learn new songs. There are thousands of websites that offer access to thousands of tablatures, chord charts, and sheet music. If you want to learn a new track or cover a certain song, there’s nothing to stop you from searching for the chords, tabs, and notation online.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

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It’s often tempting to stick with “what you know”, but as a new, upcoming musician, you should try to leave your comfort zone as often as possible, discover new ways to play and constantly challenge yourself.

Yes, it can be frustrating, and yes it will most certainly be hard work, but the rewards of mastering something brand new are worth it and in a year’s time, you’ll look back with pride to see how far you’ve come!

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There are going to be those times where you feel lost, uninspired, frustrated during your musical journey, so step back and take a break to help you re-focus. The more you dive into jamming sessions and stepping out of your comfort zone, you will soon feel more empowered!

So there you have it, a great point-by-point strategy to start your career as a musician!

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