Quick Guide for Beginners to Become a Better Musician
Whether it’s climbing trees, writing, or playing tennis, it’s imperative to practice and hone your craft. Music is no different. However, practicing music is only the first step in becoming a better, more polished musician. In fact, there are several steps and best practices you can use to sharpen your skills. Just ask polished musician and music producer Martin Backhausen.
With more than 30 years of experience, he has mastered multiple instruments, musical disciplines, and genres. He regularly mentors young musicians and offers them valuable advice. Recently, we sat down with the music industry veteran, and he offered three key ways for beginners to become better musicians.
Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect. But Better Practice Makes You Better
The importance of practicing your musical instrument is unrivaled. However, it’s not so much what you do but how you do it, mainly… how you practice. Many musicians practice scales to improve their technique. Establishing a dedicated warm-up or practice regime each time is best to ensure the scales are burned into your memory. Once you warm up with scales, it’s onto pieces of music. And it’s here that you can fine-tune your practice regimen for maximum impact.
Martin Backhausen adds, “Are there certain passages in a piece of music that seem to give you trouble? If so, practice those bars. This simple step is more effective than practicing the entire song over and over to get the section wrong each time you encounter it.” There are several ways to practice. And it’s essential you find out what works for you. Martin Backhausen continues, “Don’t settle with what’s comfortable. The key to growth and becoming a better musician is to seek uncomfortability, which means you should push yourself.”
Play Up to Play Better
Along the lines of pushing yourself, find ways to play up. The music veteran explains, “Think of the song that you would love to play but believe you lack the skills to do so. This may be a perfect song for you to practice.” In many instances, the best way to make the biggest improvements is to take on a song you believe may be beyond your skill level.
Stepping up and out of your comfort zone will require you to learn something new and cause you to push yourself a little harder than normal. If you feel as if you have hit a barrier and aren’t advancing at the rate you would like, it may be time to incorporate a new challenging song.
Expand Your Horizon & Expand Your Genre of Music
As an advocate for cross-genre pollination, Martin Backhausen strongly encourages musicians to venture out of their comfort genre. “There are so many different and amazing genres out there. Why not try something new? If you’re looking for a great place to start, check out YouTube. It’s loaded with brilliant musical performances of all types of music ranging from Medieval to Reggaeton to Contemporary to rap to classical,” says Backhausen.
Exploring new genres is critical because it can help you file new sounds and influences away in your brain. “And when you go to practice or write music, you can recall and implement those influential ideas and sounds into your craft. Most importantly, you can make them your own and elevate your own creativity,” Backhausen concludes.