6 challenges in learning music with simple tips to overcome them 

Is learning music, joining a singing class, or playing an instrument on your bucket list of things to do in life? Have you really been meaning to learn but just not gotten around to doing it? Understandably, there are some tough odds: dealing with tight schedules, not finding the right teacher, perhaps being told that you were tone deaf, or, everyone’s favourite, just not having enough time. None of these reasons are flimsy and yet, isn’t there a way around them? 

Well, first things first, you are not alone. It is very likely that many a Taylor Swift and Yanni have been lost in the midst of schedules! Why is it so difficult to get around to doing something simple like learning music even with the best of intentions? Let’s explore some of the common challenges in learning music; and see if some of these small tips can help you circumvent them and do more than just check the box in your bucket list, let’s rather sing and play our heart out!

1. Time limitation

Time constraints

Most of us have day jobs or pursuits that prove to be regular obstacles to our dreams of learning music. If you are a working professional who plays music on the side, or a student who tries to keep up your music practice, it may be difficult to regularly make it to a class. A sudden assignment, project deadlines, exam schedules, team meetings, all very plausible demands on your time. What can you do to ensure that you don’t eventually drop out?

Tip: If making it to a regular live class is proving difficult for you, you could try some of SaPa’s self-paced courses where you can learn at your own pace and time. This would ensure that you can learn regularly if not daily. The wonderful aspect of self-paced courses is that you get the benefit of learning from educators who are industry experts and international performers – music veterans with whom you would ordinarily not get to learn from. So, don’t miss this unique opportunity! 

Where does music fit into your life?

Do you feel like there is a Whitney Houston inside you that only the walls of your bathroom have been privy to? Do you play rock songs on your guitar with headphones attached – a Jon Bon Jovi waiting to be discovered? Or do you simply like to be around music – the idea of creating harmony on your own just enticing? Whichever bracket you fall in, it is clear that music appeals to you. Just how much you prioritise it, is what decides the part it will play in your life. We all tend to make the mistake of procrastinating our real interest in life. Don’t wait to follow your passion! Join singing classes, learn to play an instrument, or learn music composition and production now with. SaPa can show you the way.

2. Space constraints

Are you a budding violinist, an L Subramaniam in the making perhaps? Well, that’s an admirable end product. What does your raw material sound like though? Have you been described (kindly!) as a bit screechy and scratchy? Hmm…now it is tough to plug everyone’s ears with cotton as you go through those initial sounds of disharmony. It would be great to have a sound-proof studio to practise in so no one needs to testify to your dire requirement for more practice! But not all of us are so greatly endowed with space. This is another common challenge to learning music.

Tip: A separate room might be your best bet at home. But really, you know you can be heard even with the door shut and the gaps filled with sheets! What to do? Perhaps, try to pick a time when you are home alone. Many famous bands started out in garages (think Ramone and Nirvana) – you can explore that option. Or join a live physical music class and see if you can use the classrooms there for practice. 

Music is everywhere

It could be the chirping of birds in the morning, the buzzing of the bees, the pitter-patter sound of raindrops, the crackling sound of fire, or even the melody that plays as a car reverses. There is no mistaking that from dawn to dusk, most of us are privileged to listen to music in some form or the other. If you look around you (and even within you) there is rhythm in everything in life. From the clock ticking and the clicking sound of heeled shoes to the beating of your heart, if you can appreciate the rhythm in life, you are, by nature, a music lover. It is a challenge to not be touched by music!

3. Commitment issues

Commitment overload

It is difficult to make time for a hobby in the midst of a busy schedule especially if you are a student. At some point, you have to make a choice and, typically, subjects that are not part of your major courses tend to bite the dust. How do you counter such an obstacle to learning music as music is generally relegated to the position of a minor subject? 

Tip: Fortunately, India’s National Education Policy (NEP) has recognised the necessity of learning music for a well-rounded education and stress-free life. Consequently, it has emphasised on a multidisciplinary approach to education where both arts and sciences move in tandem and forward together. So, there are many more opportunities to study music formally as part of the curriculum. 

4. Unstructured learning

Many students start learning music with a lot of enthusiasm, which fritters away when they encounter tough lessons. Perhaps the first song you learnt had some simple notes and then as you tried slightly harder pieces, you lost your way. What you need is a structured curriculum that takes into account common learning obstacles that students face.

Learn step-by-step

Tip: Buy dedicated music textbooks for your lessons. A structured and well thought out curriculum will ensure that you learn systematically. It will even address the common pitfalls that students face while learning. Of course, the best guide is a qualified educator; he/she can handhold you through the difficult lessons with well-timed tips and insights into techniques. 

5. Financial constraints

Financial constraints

“My violin teacher told me that I needed to upgrade to a better violin that would be at least Rs. 45,000. He said the hand-assembled violins were the only ones that would sound good with more advanced violin lessons. That was beyond my budget.” Suraj’s problem might resonate with you. Many of us cannot allocate large sums of money towards, say buying a piano or a drum set or in this case an assembled violin. Perhaps you don’t even have space at home for such a large instrument. This is a challenge that many students counter when they learn music.

Tip: Joining a good music academy could give you access to instruments and, more importantly, educators who could guide you on a feasible way to progress in your music education. You might even explore the option of renting an instrument.  This would enable you to practise before performances or exams.

6. Indefinite learning goals

What is your ultimate objective of learning music? Some people want to perform, some want to get certified, some just want to learn for fun, for others it is an effective stressbuster. When you learn with some end goal in mind, you are more likely to continue it. Otherwise, you will find yourself meandering and, ultimately, dropping out. 

Define your learning goals

Tip: Have small but definite goals in mind. It could be performing in front of your friends or in your community hall. 

You could also aim at learning your favourite songs, play in a band, or take part in group performances. Motivation to learn music is important.

Group performances

Did any of these tips help you overcome the challenges you faced while learning music? Are there more challenges you faced while learning? Reply with comments and let us know and we can address those too!

Learning music is a pursuit that inspires and de-stresses. So, learn, play, sing, listen – enhance the role music plays in your life – even if it is a little bit at a time. You can be sure that music will stay with you forever – walk hand-in-hand with this harmonious lifelong companion!

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