49 votes

I can learn guitar fast, but I haven't got the nerve to sit and practice for hours, how to practice for long sessions?

Don’t practice. Don’t force yourself to practice. Play. Have fun with it. Start learning to play your favorite songs. Or make up your own music. Every time you pick up your guitar, do some kind of ...
  • 52.2k
48 votes

Why don’t piano teachers teach the chord method of playing to young children and adults?

Just like there's pop, rock, folk, jazz, metal, etc. guitar, there are many different disciplines of piano playing, each with a different set of required skills: classical piano pop piano jazz piano ...
42 votes

What does /r mean in a score?

This is actually tr, the notation for "trill," an embellishment (or ornament) on a note where you rapidly alternate between the main pitch and an adjacent pitch. There are many different types of ...
  • 80.2k
40 votes
Accepted

Is there any "research" in music theory?

My PhD is in Music Composition, but it was a heavily theory-focused program. I also have many theorist colleagues. Your question is interesting, and difficult to answer in total detail without ...
36 votes
Accepted

When practicing on my instrument - which is more important - quantity or quality?

Wrong reps create wrong results. DO NOT play fast and wrong. Practice as slowly as you need to to avoid wrong notes. This is very important. The reason that you need to practice in the first ...
  • 9,036
36 votes
Accepted

How to minimize the pain for a beginning guitar student so they won’t give up before they develop calluses?

Learning the guitar as a beginner has many inherent challenges from the very start. For one, you are asking the new guitar student to teach their brain how to tell their fingers to contort in very ...
34 votes

Can one be too old to learn an instrument?

Even if one can ever be too old to learn an instrument (I don't think so), then this is definitely not the case already at 22. You may not be able to make as fast progress as if you had learned it at ...
32 votes
Accepted

What exactly does practising scales teach?

A lot of the benefit is in how you practice them. If done mindfully and effectively, playing scales can give you a way to focus your practice on the building blocks that make up most of the music ...
  • 6,379
32 votes
Accepted

Can one be too old to learn an instrument?

Certainly children learn more quickly than adults, particularly when it comes to languages, and to skills. (That is, "proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through ...
  • 436
31 votes

How can I learn to compose?

Don't get hung up on 'learning theory' or 'not learning theory'. What you want to do is gain knowledge about music, so you can use that knowledge to produce music. In the field of music, some of that ...
31 votes
Accepted

Primary school child writing music

Today any DAW can play notes as you type them, you can consider it as a late 20 century standard. Everyone uses it. I wouldn't be concerned about getting "dependent" on a single particular ...
  • 12.3k
28 votes

Are very cheap cellos acceptable for a beginner?

I'm going to suggest an alternative route. Get him an electric cello. The weak point in cheap instruments is the acoustics, and to meet the price point they have to be constructed in a more rough-...
  • 4,404
28 votes
Accepted

"The intervals considered dissonant have changed since the 'Middle Ages'"; How so?

OK, so first a clarification of the contexts: The quoted materials are mostly concerned with Western European music. The music of the Middle Ages almost certainly refers to the liturgical music of ...
28 votes

What am I missing about learning French horn?

To paraphrase the familiar Duke Ellington quote, if you learn from them, they're good teachers for you; if you don't, they're the other kind. No, a sample size of two isn't too big for it simply to be ...
  • 8,562
26 votes
Accepted

Standing up acoustic guitar playing position for women

I'm going to post the dissenting answer here in that I feel like you don't want to look for a different kind of guitar or a perfect strap height. Most of my time in bands has been with at least one ...
  • 52.2k
26 votes

For some learning piano at a later stage in life e.g past late 20s, what must they be aware of to make the most of it?

Just one thing. You will make rapid initial progress. Then you enter a consolidation phase. You must maintain regular practice but progress will not be so excitingly rapid. This is the point at ...
  • 81.2k
25 votes

How does your brain learn to play the piano two-handed?

It depends on the individual, but I'm going to talk about my own experience. Two things to note: It's not really true that each hand is doing something different. Both hands are working together to ...
  • 35.8k
25 votes
Accepted

What is the most effective, structured way for an adult beginner to learn drums without a teacher?

If you are serious about drumming I have good advice: Background I've been playing 13 years.I play in my college's jazz ensemble and play in a rock band outside of that. I take lessons with the ...
25 votes
Accepted

Understanding why notes are written on the other side of their stem

Very straightforward. There's no room for them in the normal place! When the writer wants notes that are on adjacent line/space positions, one will have to go on the opposite side of the stem, ...
  • 177k
24 votes
Accepted

How can I keep learning new songs and not forget the previous ones?

This is a question without a single, solve-everything answer. There are a number of different approaches you can take, and different people will have their own preferences. Fake it. This works well ...
  • 6,379
24 votes
Accepted

Would you recommend a keyboard for beginners with or without lights in keys for learning?

Without. Point blank. Lights look fun to start with, but a beginner will end up watching them rather than learning to read. Note, you can usually switch them off, so you don't have to choose a ...
  • 24k
22 votes

How to minimize the pain for a beginning guitar student so they won’t give up before they develop calluses?

To add to these great answers, I only have one suggestion - climbers chalk Moisture in the hands leads to blisters. Chalk alleviates moisture build up in the hands and helps to build callouses. Some ...
  • 1,812
22 votes
Accepted

How can I slow down a YouTube video I'm trying to analyze or transcribe?

There are at least two options: Option 1: You can slow down the video by changing the Playback Speed setting Browser instructions (this link for further alternatives) Click on the Settings menu icon. ...
  • 62.3k
22 votes

Would it take less time to learn the guitar fretboard if it were tuned to all fourths?

If you learned to play a guitar tuned in all fourths you will not be learning the guitar fretboard. You will be learning how to play an instrument tuned in all fourths, or an alternate tuning of a ...
21 votes

Is it possible to play instruments without being able to read music?

Yes, it's called "playing by ear." In fact, one of the pinnacles of musical performance is being able to play anything you hear or can imagine without thinking of notes at all, just playing. This ...
  • 11.2k
21 votes

Understanding why notes are written on the other side of their stem

Tim already provided the answer, but here's a quick mock up of what it'd look like if they weren't reversed: It's hard to tell - are those notes in the second position D-E-F? It'd be hard to tell if ...
21 votes

Would it benefit a beginner pianist to start by learning Bach's Prelude in C?

From a pedagogical standpoint, consider all of the things an "absolute beginner" would have to learn in order to perform this piece: Note names in treble clef Note names in bass clas Note values of ...
  • 80.2k
20 votes

Very little time to learn pretty complex songs. What should my strategy be?

I got 2 weeks to learn 7 finger-burning songs on bass. Any ideas on what should my strategy be? Tough challenge based on how you're framing it up: Their songs are way more complex than pretty much ...
  • 6,713
20 votes
Accepted

Is it hopeless in terms of becoming decent musicians, if they can't count beats?

It's not hopeless, but may take more time than others would. A couple of ideas. While listening to music, start tapping, singing, nodding, whatever, and turn down the sound, initially so it's still ...
  • 177k
20 votes

How can I slow down a YouTube video I'm trying to analyze or transcribe?

I'd probably recommend starting with the built-in YouTube controls. But for the sake of completeness here's another workflow that makes use of 3rd party software called a "phrase trainer" or ...
  • 834

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