Learning process of music

The learning process of a musical piece is something not many people think about. At least not until they reach a certain level. Not even musicians. Which is not a problem in itself. There’s certainly no one to blame for this. Because learning takes time, and sometimes the mechanics and details of something kills the fun. For that much smaller group who has arrived to that point from where they become interested in the learning process, here it is.

The learning process of music

1. The first barrier: Yep. The learning process of a piece starts with a barrier right away. It’s that initial awe. The state of what we commonly call “wtf was that?!”. It’s when you hear a piece, and try to wrap your mind around its complexity. Or in the case of your own composition, it’s that moment of “how am I gonna learn this shit”. And of course you don’t have a single clue about it.

learning process of music2. Audio memory: This is stage where the tune gets in your head. You pay attention to what happens musically in the frequency spectrum of the piece. You also learn all the musical aspects; the melody, the harmonies, the rhythm. If it’s your own music, this step of course has already happened during the compositional phase.

The learning process of music

3. Nuts and bolts: In this stage of the learning process, you dive in deep. The instrument gets a major role. You start figuring out all the notes one by one. Also the right posture and the best position for your fingers, arms and other limbs (let’s not go there). At the end of this stage, you pretty much have the piece together. It’s also the first burst of success. Success of achievement, because you have actually created your own path in the woods. You figured out how to play the whole damn thing.

4. Practice makes perfectly imperfect: At this stage, you start practicing that mental and muscular map you have created to yourself in the previous step. And we have arrived to the 2nd barrier in the learning process. Because it can and usually does get frustrating. You need the whole muscle memory stuff to stick. Your fingers just don’t want to do all that weird stuff. Don’t blame them; the lil’ fuckers haven’t done most of it before. That’s when you really slow it down, and practice it over. And over and over. And a hundred times more. Both the whole and the critical parts alone.

The learning process of music

5. Freedom: Congratulations! After a certain amount of long, relaxed sleeps, you have learned the piece. Now you start making the tune your own. With your muscles and part of your brain on auto-pilot, you have time to improvise, embellish and to have fun with the tune. The major part of the learning process has ended.

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