Learning to play a musical instrument can be a rewarding experience, as well as a lot of fun.
Studies have also shown that people who play music improve in most aspects of life, with increased social and academic skills, coordination, concentration, and ability to set goals.
But although there are many benefits to playing music, there are also many reasons why people fail to embrace the idea of picking up an instrument and giving it a shot.
One of these reasons is cost- the expenses involved in learning to play music can be exceedingly high, especially if you have chosen to specialise in a complicated instrument like a cello or a violin.
Another deterrent can be time and commitment. Music is not something that can be learned overnight. It takes a lot of practice (learning notes, chords and theory) to be able to play anything, let alone your favourite songs, and most people take years to perfect their skills.
If you have an urge to learn a musical instrument, and aren't sure what to choose, I'd recommend starting with something like guitar. While this instrument can be difficult to play without lots of practice, there is quite a lot of information readily available if you get stuck, and there is a fair chance that you may have dabbled with a friend or relative's guitar in the past. This familiarity can make the learning experience a lot easier.
Time: As long as you need. Remember that practice makes perfect!
A guitar. it can be acoustic or electric, but most people begin with acoustic, eliminating the need to worry about the added extras like an amp (which can be quite pricey).
Assorted magazines, books and instructional DVDs
The first thing you need to decide is whether you are going to learn guitar in acoustic or electric form. As mentioned above, acoustic is usually chosen over electric because it is the cheaper alternative. You don't have to worry about buying an amp, leads, pedals and other bits and pieces if you play acoustic. Many people later choose to branch out and try electric guitar (especially if their favourite musicians play electric) but it's all personal preference.
Guitar is one of the easiest instruments to teach yourself because it is such a common instrument and, therefore, there are many learning materials available. One such learning material is the humble book. You'll find plenty of books around that teach you how to play in all sorts of styles, including rock, blues, country and alternative. These can be found at your local book shop or music store, and provide you with all the information you need to start playing. Some even come with a CD or DVD, to give you further aid.
It's a good idea to invest in a few books if you want to learn the basics
Music magazines can also be helpful when you are trying to teach yourself how to play guitar. They often have lessons or sheet music towards the back that give you helpful hints, and most come with an instructional DVD so you can play just like your favourite musicians.
There are music magazines available from all over the world, that cover a range of styles
Flashcards are popular in schools when learning words, spelling and maths, so why not use them to learn chords and musical notes too? Although I haven't seen them at any music shops, they are available online (http://www.tempomusicards.com/) and can be a valuable tool when trying to remember and learn chords.
These card packs can be extremely helpful when trying to learn chords
Instructional DVDs and online videos are also extremely important tools when learning to play guitar. Sometimes it is easier to learn something when you have seen it done, rather than just reading about it, and this is where videos come in handy. You can see exactly how to hold the guitar and where to position your fingers when watching videos, which gives you an added advantage.
You'll find plenty of instructional videos on www.youtube.com
I wasn't sure if I should add this to the list, considering this is all about teaching yourself how to play guitar, but I figured it couldn't hurt. Having a few lessons with a guitar teacher or tutor could be very beneficial for some people when starting out. Most lessons don't cost too much (especially when you avoid music schools) and you can learn a lot of valuable information. Even if you only attend a few lessons, this can be all you need to kickstart a thriving musical career.
Find a music teacher or tutor locally for some added help