You are never too young or too old to learn to play a string instrument. In fact, these type of instruments can be the simplest to learn. When learning a new instrument, practice makes perfect and experience doesn’t happen overnight. Music To Your Home, a string instrument instructional school in NYC, recommends practicing at least 4 times per week for the most success. Below are six basic tips to make the experience a little easier for you:
1. Harden Those Fingertips
No matter which type of string instrument you choose to play, the tips of your fingers are going to get sore, raw or even blister as they get used to pressing, plucking or strumming. This can lead to an inability to practice or play the instrument.
Soaking your fingers in paraffin or surgical alcohol after each playing or practice session will toughen the sensitive skin on your fingertips. After a few months of playing, a hard callous should form so that you should experience no further pain or discomfort.
2. Stretch Those Fingers
Stretching your fingers (especially on the left hand) will help you reach those tricky chords easier. Spread your fingers wide and then one by one, try to touch your wrist with each finger. This exercise will help loosen rigid muscles, tendons and joints to give you a greater reach.
Tapping your fingers against the palm of your hand or on a surface can help you increase your speed and rhythm. You can perform these simple exercises wherever and whenever you like. It is, however, best to stretch your fingers before you start playing, in the same way, you would stretch your body before exercising.
3. Find Music You Love
Learning a new instrument can sometimes seem a bit mundane and boring. To keep the process interesting, find music to your favorite songs or scores and play these in your practice sessions. You should be able to find the scores online or purchase a book that contains the music for all time favorites.
Keep challenging yourself as you progress by trying more difficult and complicated scores. If you find a specific piece too challenging, don’t simply give up. Rather take a few minutes every day to practice a chord or note that you are struggling with to minimize the frustration.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
It should go without saying that practice makes perfect. The more you practice, the better you will become. Dedicate at least an hour a day to practicing the music that you love and to playing the pieces that form part of your learning program. Record your practice session so that you can listen to how the music sounds. This will help you identify what you are doing right and where there is room for improvement.
Remember that the most accomplished musicians spend hours a day practicing their art and learning new scores and musical pieces. Learning to play a string instrument is an ongoing process.
5. Start Simple
Don’t go all in for playing the most difficult musical scores at the outset. Start with simpler pieces and work your way up. If you attempt to play more complicated musical scores early on while you are learning and are unable to get it right, it could discourage you from continuing. Get the basics down, and the rest should flow from there.
Once you feel that you have mastered a specific piece of music, don’t be afraid to share. Play for others or record a session that you can share on your social media pages. Be prepared for some criticism, however. Not everybody will appreciate your music the same way you do. However, take any negative comments as constructive and identify whether there is any truth in what is being said. Every musician can only benefit from constructive criticism.