01903 523 288
Am I too old to learn an instrument?
I have taught a number of students who took up an instrument in their 70s, and more than a few have gone on to join wind bands etc. Mature students often have more drive and determination and a wealth of life experience that aids learning. The reason to learn an instrument is for fun; we can’t all be virtuosos.
How long does it take to learn a musical instrument?
I am still learning and practising! That’s the great thing about music, you can never get bored of it. But to give you an idea, on average people can achieve a grade a year, and there are 8 grades. The higher ones, of course, can take a little longer.
Why does my clarinet/saxophone squeak?
It could be a fault on your instrument or it could be you. Not having the correct mouth shape or tongue position. Not covering tone holes properly or pressing keys down firmly. Catching keys mistakenly or fingers not moving together can all be causes Also, incorrect instrument set up, wrong posture and breathing will all affect the sound. Nothing that can’t be sorted in two or three lessons or fewer.
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What if I can't read music?
Reading music and playing a musical instrument go hand in hand, the one helps the other. You will find yourself reading music in the first lesson. I have never had anyone who does not pick this up. I am quite sure you won’t be the exception.
How much time do I need to practise?
The more you practise the quicker you will progress, but to start with 10 or 15 minutes a day would be good. You can try to build this up to 30 minutes a day but this does not have to be all in one go.
At first three 10 minute practice sessions can often be more beneficial than one half hour. Little and often is the key.
How and what should I practise?
Learning how to practise effectively is all part of the lesson experience no matter what level you are. Most people, when teaching themselves, try to learn too much too fast and at too quick a tempo. Take a step back, relax and it is surprising how much more quickly you can learn.
Other things to consider:
• What reed should you use?
• What do you need to keep your instrument clean and hygienic?
• What mouthpiece should you buy or is the one that comes with the instrument OK?
• Get a music stand – essential for good posture
• Get an instrument stand – not essential but you will practice more if your instrument is out and accessible
• Get a metronome, it gives you a beat to practise to – even professional musicians use one of these as a practice aid
How to buy an instrument
You could buy one outright but consider hiring one; this will give you a chance to find out if you are going to enjoy the instrument without a too big a financial commitment. Hire schemes will vary, but with most the final purchase price is offset by the cost of the hire.
You can find some good secondhand bargains but be careful. These instruments may need work on them which may cost almost as much as buying a new one!