By Clay Zimmerman
Is this you? - Another holiday season has come and gone, over which you or your child has just received a brand new electric guitar! Music has always played an important part in your life and it's finally time to learn how to make it yourself!
At this point, maybe you're still picking it up occasionally to slowly figure out how to play a few famous yet easy songs, or you've already sprung for weekly private lessons to get some serious instruction. But learning any musical instrument takes commitment. Serious musicians, whether amateur or professional, all develop a relationship with their instrument because it's something they are revisiting consistently.
Either way, we're now about halfway through January 2024 and we desperately don't want this to be another failed New Year's resolution. How do musicians find the motivation to practice and play their instrument week after week? Well, by doing one of the best parts about playing music: playing it with other people!
Being a part of a band, ensemble, or casual jam session is like the reward you get for playing an instrument, and it doesn't even have to be on stage in front of an audience. I've had some of the most fun ever with music just jamming with friends in the comfort of my own home.
If you're a beginner musician who's struggling to find the motivation to practice your instrument, here are 3 benefits of joining a music group right away.
#1 - You'll Start Learning The Music You Love Right Away
One of the best parts about learning a musical instrument is being able to play songs you’ve always loved. We all want to create that magic ourselves.
Prioritizing learning songs first over a more formal curriculum consisting of theory and techniques is definitely a necessity when playing in a group, but don’t let that intimidate you or think it detracts from you or your child’s music education. They're still getting that necessary information through the songs they play.
Songs of any genre are made up of musical concepts relating to your instrument, meaning you’ll still need to practice them in order to play the songs proficiently.
Self taught players might whale away endlessly at one song over and over again until they get it right. This is neither productive nor fun. If you're enrolled in private lessons, your teacher is there to help break down the concepts within each song (like a scale, chord progression, technique, or famous pattern) so that you can practice them individually. This way you’ll become a more well rounded musician that not only can use these techniques to properly and proficiently play your song, but will often be the building blocks of many other songs you like as well!
#2 - You Have A Goal To Work Towards
Joining a band means showing up to rehearsal every week a little bit better than the last. It adds a healthy amount of pressure and responsibility to practice and get better since not only is it a team effort, but now you have a goal in mind: a real performance in front of an audience!
#3 - You'll Learn To Work Together As A Member Of A Band
When I think about this, I think back to when I joined the marching band at my high school for the first time. My new, big group of friends, who I spent countless hours practicing and perfecting our show with, felt like my family at the end of the season. Our show was at its best when everyone gave it all they had. Your bandmates are there to help you when you're struggling but also to help hold you accountable for your contribution to the band.
For musicians who have already been playing for a long time but aren’t in a group, try and find a way to join one. Jam sessions in particular, whether formally at a venue or casually at home with your pals, are essential for finding out how your musical voice fits into an ensemble. You’ll figure out right away what you need to work on and it may not be what you first expect. This is good especially if you feel like you’ve hit a wall in your playing.
At the end of the day they're called the performing arts, and everything I've said doesn't just apply to music. Whether you're passionate about filmmaking, acting, theater, dancing, or singing, find a program near you that has opportunities to join a group and show off your talents in the spotlight.
If you happen to live in the Santa Clarita Valley or sounding areas, then you're in luck because there's only one school near you that offers all of these programs (and more). VIBE Performing Arts in Valencia, CA is dedicated to providing a fun, welcoming environment to those who wish to become the artist that's inside all of us. Call 661-255-7464 or visit VIBEscv.com for more information.