Learning Music Questions


in Learning Music

I've gotten a questions lately related to learning music in the areas of styles and proficiency levels. These are serious questions for students and musicians to ask about learning music.

Every music student, including myself, has a different focus and goal when it comes to learning and playing. Here are some of my thoughts on a few of the questions. I hope it allows you to figure out what works best for you.

What Style of Music is Harder to Learn?

I have a definite option on the styles. Classical music is based in the fundamentals of music theory learning the notes, key signatures, scales, and chords.

Rock music is simply a style that uses primarily the basics of classical changing the rhythm and using only the basic scales for melodies and chords.

Before jumping headlong into jazz you can explore the Blues. This is where the standard structures of classical music start to deviate.

Jazz builds off the fundamentals of classical music by extending the chord structures into the extended intervals utilizing what may be considered the non chord tones of the various scales that may be applied.

Jazz by far will be your most challenging and likely most rewarding study. Starting with classical basic fundamentals and getting them down cold is going to make that journey a whole lot easier.

Technique as Related to Style

Playing technique is the second aspect as to self study or using a teacher/mentor. Basic rock style struming and picking probably the easiest to self teach.

In classical you will be exploring more melodic structures and presentation. Learning the theory can be done on your own. Of course that's what my courses are about. However, learning technique and having the reinforcement of a teacher will help you speed up your skills. I would be a proponent of a mentor at this level.

In jazz you're expanding your harmonic ear and learning more scale structure which will be a life time of study. There's lot's of books our there to help you along the path, but I'm going to definately say get some time in with a good teacher when you go down this road.

For me having my eyes and ears opened up by my mentor allowed me to go down the road significantly faster than I would have otherwise. The fact that I had a super solid base in music theory also made contributed to that success.

Practicing on Your Own

Developing good habits in practice without a teacher is about focus. That is not playing for an hour but focusing on a specific technique or scale practice and giving it your full undivided attention from 5 to 15 minutes.

I talk about this in my courses and on the site. It can be done, but takes a drive and an unsatisfiable need to accomplish. In other words you got to really want the end result and be willing to do what it takes.

Read more here:
Music Practice Methods and Music Education Method

Mimic or Understand

Copying what others do is a great way to learn to play exactly what others do. When your taught something you get an understanding and then have more of an ability to put your own soul into the music.

A combination of both good. The problem with just one or the other can be limiting. Copying you don't learn the language of music and therefore don't learn to improvize and do your own thing as easily. Studying just the music doesn't provide enough exposure to hear sound and presentation.

Having a mentor is always better in my opinion, especially when it comes to learning technique. You can leverage that effort by studying theory on your own and allowing that mentor to reinforce the knowledge.

Mastering your Instrument

Learning music is a continuous and lifelong process. How long it will take to really know and master your instrument is going to happen as you spend time with it and explore the different aspects of theory, playing, technique, and performance.

Each adds to your skill and you begin to master it the more you learn.

Hope that gives you some food for thought in these great questions I've been getting lately.

Featured Music Resources

Learn Guitar Online with Videos: JamPlay Guitar

Previous post:

Next post: