From teachers to students to studio owners and managers – if you’re in the music world, you’ve been exposed to misconceptions about learning music! We’ve come a long way in today’s information-based society, but despite the large number of music schools out there, many misconceptions about learning music are still going strong.
A love for music often begins at a young age and can continue throughout your entire life. Though your tastes may change, music plays an integral role in most people’s lives – and you may not even realize it!
Can a great song pull you out of a bad mood? Do you have a favorite workout playlist? Have you sat around a campfire singing songs? That’s the power of music!
So, for music lovers and music instructors alike, let’s put an end to these fallacies. We’re exposing popular misconceptions about learning music for what they are: myth and legend!
Not convinced yet? Keep reading to discover the most common misconceptions and let us help to set the record straight:
MYTH #1: NATURAL TALENT IS REQUIRED
Many people believe that without natural talent, music lessons are a waste of time. This is one of those misconceptions about learning music based in almost no fact whatsoever!
According to Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers: The Story of Success, “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”
Confused? The fact is that time trumps talent every time! While “natural talent” might offer a head start, it does not guarantee success. Hard work, dedication and hours and hours of practice is the true formula for a great musician.
Look at it this way: even someone who starts off with a certain amount of talent can’t get by just on that. It’s not enough. So no matter what level you’re at when you start, practice makes perfect.
Natural talent is not required, a love for music and the desire to learn is all you need!
MYTH #2: THERE’S AN AGE LIMIT
One of the most common misconceptions about learning music is that you have to start early in life. Expressions like “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” certainly help to perpetuate that notion. The truth is, it’s never too late!
Are you a music instructor? We know that adult classes are filled with motivated, committed students! All you need to master is how to market to them to increase your client roster.
Want to learn music as an adult? It’s a myth that adults can’t learn, in fact adult music classes have been known to enhance memory, spatial reasoning and language skills.
Wait, music can help adult cognitive function? Yes, sirree! Now that doesn’t sound like adults shouldn’t take music classes, does it? Definitely not. Another misconception about learning music: debunked!
MYTH #3: IT’S TOO EARLY TO LEARN
Funny enough, a conflicting misconception about learning music is that you can start too early. Many music schools insist that children under five years of age lack the sub-conscious understanding that learning music requires.
While this belief may be applied to formal lessons, banging pots and pans, clapping your hands and singing in the car are all fine examples of how toddlers start to informally recognize and make their own music at a very early age.
Consider this: a group of kindergarten students were asked whether they could sing well. All of them raised their hands and were eager to brag about their skills. Three years later, those same kids were asked that question again but this time, 20% fewer children claimed they were great singers.
Why does this matter? It means that the confidence and enthusiasm you have when you’re a child diminishes as you get older, so it’s important to start early (if you got the passion for it)!
Thinking that an appreciation for music begins at a certain age is one of those misconceptions about learning music that ends here and now.
Starting music lessons early in life – formally or informally – could just be the start to a lifelong love of music…
MYTH #4: I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO PERFORM
This is a misconception about learning music that many people hold in their hearts, and the truth is that it should be a non-issue.
People often carry around a fear of performing, or what’s commonly called “stage fright.” Being nervous to perform is only natural, in fact even famous performers like Beyoncé and Adele have admitted to suffering from this phobia.
Where does it come from? It can come from being a perfectionist (wanting every performance to be perfect) and waiting for something to go wrong. This can surely cause unease. Or, it could be that you feel under-prepared and are worried about making a mistake. Or, it could come from a number of other anxieties, but we look at it this way: why let anything ruin your love of music?
So it looks like you have a choice: to perform or not to perform.
If the fear of performing is holding you back from learning music but it’s something you want to master, then got get ‘em! Practice like crazy, bring notes with you, make eye contact – there are a number of tricks you can employ.
Start with a small group and grow your audience as you get more comfortable. Maybe the idea of starting with a group lesson appeals to you. Or gather a few of your friends together to practice and perform in front of each other in a comfortable space.
It’s also important to note that learning music can also increase your social skills, possibly making performing in public an even easier feat as time goes on.
Use whatever tricks it takes to get you to the stage. It is manageable if you’re motivated. You never know, you might decide that you love performing once you find your groove.
Now, after assuring you that stage fright can in fact be beaten, maybe that’s just not your jam, and that’s okay too! A love of music does not mean you have to get on stage. Rather, it’s just as fulfilling to just focus on learning to play your favorite songs. It’s just as exciting to learn music for the sheer joy of it!
Just because performing on stage scares you doesn’t mean that music lessons aren’t for you! This is another one of those misconceptions about learning music that needs to go.
MYTH #5: IT’S TOO HARD
No matter how old you are when your love for music grows, the notion that it takes hard work to progress is an accepted truth. Music is no different than anything else in life: if you want it, you need to work for it.
As it often does, the issue comes down to how badly you want it and how much you love music. If there’s a goal that’s important to you, hard work and discipline are required!
When it comes down to it, there’s a vast difference between learning music for the love of music and learning to play as a profession. The truth is that if you are learning music for the love of it, then you can do anything you set your mind to.
At the end of the day, is learning music hard work? Yes. But is it too hard? No. Myth: busted!
MYTH #6 THERE’S NOT ENOUGH TIME
We live in a busy and fast-paced world! And though that can make us hesitant to add anything to our overly-packed schedules, don’t be fooled by this misconception about learning music. There’s always a way around!
How can you find that extra time in your day? Look for classes that work around your busy schedule. Go to a studio on your lunch break. Squeeze in extra practice sessions by giving up something that’s less important to you. Be honest with yourself, how much time are you spending per day on social media or watching TV? Can you spare an hour of that to practice music?
If you’re an instructor or school owner, consider this impediment something to solve!
Schedule lessons for adults while their kids are in lessons and poll your students to see what times work best for them – the more convenient you make your classes, the less this misconception can continue to hold weight.
Just the Facts
Debunking these common misconceptions about learning music leads us to the obvious conclusion that love – a love for music – conquers all. Stay focused, stay committed and practice until you get to the level you’re seeking. Now that we’ve set the record straight, nothing’s stopping you from soaring to great musical heights!
If you’re a music school owner, you might encounter these misconceptions even more often than the rest of us, so help us spread the word! If you’re ready to bring new musicians into your community today, look no further. Book a free, no-commitment demo with WellnessLiving today to find out why our music school software is the perfect duet partner!