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How to Learn Music Faster

 In Learning to Play

It is the dream of every musician to pick up an instrument and play it masterfully.  Practice does not necessarily make perfect, it makes well-rehearsed. How do we get better at our craft?  Is there a faster way to reach increased performance capacity? Here are a few theories about how you might learn faster.

How to learn efficiently?

Practice more?

Some researchers suggest that the more time you have available for practice, the stronger you will become as a musician.  Author Malcolm Gladwell even suggests that 10,000 hours of practice can create a huge difference in the professional level of musicians.  Other studies suggest that there is a combination of learning, practice, and innate ability that makes the hours of practice shift from being a novice to becoming a professional musicican.  While some people can pick up the guitar and play more complex pieces with little practice, this is not the norm. Most all of us need to spend time learning and making the neurons connect. Routinized practice over time should increase level of ease and talent in the instrument of your choice. In this article there is the suggestion that it is not the amount but the type of practice that increases mastery.  Deliberate practice with a goal set and a coach or teacher helps to move the musician faster than just playing for time. Read more about the time and practice controversy here:

Memorize more?

Do we have to memorize more to learn faster?  Maybe. Your brain has an easier time retrieving information in a path that is well-used.  Learn that song you love and it will come back to you faster if you have spent a long time playing it. Or you can remember more if you learn pieces and connect them to each other. This is called grouping or chunking information.  Make the measures in music connect and then you will remember them. There are other helpful hints in this article from too. Read on here:

Do more?

Playing an instrument is complicated.  There are so many aspects to learning music that come into play that we should pay attention to in addition to the lessons and practice.  Your brain wants to make connections to the information it stores. So give your brain the information it desires. Think about adding a few experiences to your music experience: read a book, listen to a podcast, attend an expert talk, go to a concert.  Nigel Taylor wrote an article on the site about learning and the best practices:

After all of this practice and learning, maybe you won’t be a master musician, but you will be on your way to playing the best you can!

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