What is the right time to start learning musical instrument?
As such there is no specific time to start learning music.The day you start learning it,its the best time for you.But it's advisable to learn music early i.e, from childhood. My point is, it really depends upon the inclination of the individual - any adult or child can learn to play well depending on the level of enthusiasm that they have. However, physical and mental maturity will determine how quickly a person can progress. Expectations at each age level are quite different. From six years old you can expect steady progress. At a later age, the progress is typically a little faster because of both physical and mental maturity. Another factor is the music teacher and whether parents are involved. If the teacher (and also parents) can be a catalyst for a child’s enthusiasm, then progress is inevitable assuming the student has average mental and physical abilities. It is important, though, that NOT ALL of the impetus is from the parent who wants the child to play.
What kind of musical instrument (specially for guitar students) should I buy for a child – classical, acoustic, electric?
As a player of classical (nylon stringed), acoustic (steel stringed), and electric (light steel Strings) guitars, I firmly believe that the nylon stringed classical guitar is the best Instrument to start with. I did, and I really appreciate it now. With a firm foundation in Classical guitar, you can adapt to other styles. This is what I did and as much as I love to Play electric, acoustic and bass guitars at live events regularly, I still practice mostly Classical guitar at home. A classical guitar student learns the correct, most ergonomic Posture and hand positions. Also, classical guitar music requires hand coordination to Play music pieces with both melody and accompaniment simultaneously those other styles Such as rhythm and lead guitar playing do not always require. The classical guitar is the most expressive of the guitar family capable of more mellow & Sweet sounds from its nylon strings. It is also the easiest on the fingers – especially for Young players. Steel strings are stung at approximately twice the tension of nylon strings and because the strings are thinner, they can be a little more painful for small fingers. If you have a child who DOES NOT have a burning desire to play the electric guitar, then why not learn classical. Especially if you are going to pay someone to teach, why not learn to read music and be able to play the many published pieces. You will ALSO learn the chords, scales and arpeggios that will be invaluable when playing other styles. On the other hand, if you or your child really want to play steel stringed acoustic, or electric guitar, then I say “do it.” There must be a certain amount of inspiration to play the guitar, or the lesson will be misery for both teacher and student.
What kind of musical instrument should I buy and how much should I pay?
With modern manufacturing methods and an extremely competitive market for musical Instruments, for the beginner, if you can have a player who can accompany you to the store ,it works . Second option is to follow your teacher’s recommendations on what to buy. Buy at reputed stores that allow exchanges, ask your guitar teacher to confirm whether the guitar, violin, or mandolin has a good action and intonation to be an acceptable instrument to learn on. If not, return the instrument for exchange or refund. One important aspect of selecting a guitar, violin or mandolin is how it sounds. As a beginner, you may not have a sense of what sound you like in a guitar. However, if you can have the Salesperson play the various guitars andselect the one that sounds better to you, go with it if it is within your price range. Again, have it checked by a knowledgeable player for good action and intonation with no fret buzz.
How long should I practice?
Generally, this depends on the age. However, some parents guide their children to practice regularly and thus paving way for a future concert player. This is up to the parent. A child with natural talent has God given abilities that I believe should be nurtured. However, there is a danger of doing too much and inducing “burnout”. We need balance in our lives and, in part, our life experiences shape our ability to express emotions musically. As a musician,I enjoy practicing for hours at a stretch. However, a young person does not have the same perspective and needs encouragement and experience. It is important for parents and music teacher to work together to guide the young player.
For younger children, 20 to 30 minutes a day can develop good musical abilities. If this is not possible due to homework, sports, birthday parties, play-dates etc… then at least try to play something every day. 20 to 30 minutes is the amount of time that I typically spent when I was young and I kept it without too much parental “prodding”. For growm-ups, time can be increased depending on the commitment of the individual. If your aim is to enter a good music college, find out entrance requirements and work together with a good teacher to work up to that standard. For those playing for pleasure, to be in a band etc… requirements can be less demanding depending on individual desires. Most people like music and the benefits of learning an instrument other than to become a performing artist are great. Just as there are health benefits from playing sports, music can benefit the mind and well being of us.Actually, sports and physical activities also help us to play better music because we become more alert. So, again it comes back to striving for a balanced life.
How should I practice?
First, you need a plan. It is always good to warm up with scales and arpeggios. Then work on your current music piece with "Divide and Conquer" strategy. Break the piece down into small man parts and play each part over and over until smooth. Then move on to the next part and do the same thing. After several parts are completed, play them together. After doing this for the whole piece, play it through. Your instructor can help with dynamics and phrasing. Also,you can critique your own playing with help of a recording device.If you are extremely short of time on a particular day - just do scales.They give your fingers a workout and keep finger muscles toned ready for the next session. Always, quality is better than quantity and listening to the sounds that you are making. Does the sound you are hearing make you feel some emotion? If not, why not? Balancing being able to concentrate on technicalities and at the same time transmitting emotional qualities through the music will take time, which is why we practice. Another important point is to use proper technique and be relaxed as well as focused at the same time. Being able to be in this state of mind and body coordination can be helped by regular exercise.