5 ways to improve your music skills

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Anyone can improve their music skills with a bit of dedication and practice. If you’re willing to put in the time, here are five ways to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your musical abilities.

1. Listen to music every day

Put simply, the more often you listen to music, the better you’ll be able to play it. This has a double benefit – listening to other musicians will expose you to new styles and techniques that you can employ in your own playing, and just being surrounded by sound every day will help your ear become attuned to what is musically possible. It may seem boring or repetitive at first, but if you listen regularly then soon enough music won’t just be something that plays in the background as people go about their daily business around you – instead it becomes something ingrained into your life through constant exposure.

2. Listen actively

Everyone who listens passively hears the same thing as everyone else, whether they approve of it or not. Active listening means learning to pick apart what you are hearing so you can hear more than just the notes being played. If something is worth listening to, then the first step that needs to be taken is learning how to hear it properly. As an exercise, try writing down some of your thoughts about a piece of music as soon as possible after listening to it. Whatever comes into your head should say more about the song itself than any words could ever convey – one way or another, active listening will make you better at playing for yourself or with other musicians.

3. Learn about music theory

Music theory is the foundation that all musicians stand on, and it’s never too late to start learning it. Even if you don’t intend to become a classical musician, having a basic understanding of how music works will make you a better player. There are plenty of online resources that can get you started with music theory, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Musicians are always happy to help out others who are trying to learn, and there’s no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to music.

4. Practice regularly

This one should be pretty obvious – the more you practice, the better you’ll get at your instrument (or vocals, or whatever else you’re playing). However, it’s not always as easy as it sounds. First of all, practicing can be hard work, and for this reason many people will put if off until they really have to do it. If that sounds like you, try tricking yourself into practicing by making a deal with someone else – maybe offer to teach them something in return for learning alongside them every week. Another option is to find a regular session near where you live and turn up at the same time each week without fail – it may sound silly, but seeing the same friendly faces there every week makes it so much easier to sit down and play no matter how tired or uninspired you might feel at first.

5. Watch music documentaries and interviews

Music documentaries can be a great way to learn more about how music is made, and how different musicians think about their work. Watching interviews with musicians can also give you some insight into their creative process, as well as what drives them to make music. Not only will this help you to better understand your own instrument, but it will also give you a deeper appreciation for the music that you listen to.

Of course, there are plenty of other ways to improve your musical abilities – these are just a few suggestions to get you started. So what are you waiting for? Get listening.

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