Dave Ballard
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Why play a musical instrument?

Well there are several reasons really. It gives you confidence, teaches you discipline, gives you co ordination, relieves stress, helps you appreciate and understand your emotions.

Also it opens doors. It's a great way for meeting people. It helps your social life no end. There is a strong sense of bonding between musicians when you are in a group, band or orchestra.

Even learning an instrument can give you a sense of pride and achievement as you go from strength to strength. To some extent, there is a feeling of empowerment when you realize that you can do something that on one else can do.

Some people end up doing it for a living or at the very least as a sort of paid hobby. Most of all though, without a doubt, it's fun.

Choosing a musical instrument.

Nine out of ten people, they say, can play an instrument. Just as most people should to be able to swim, ride a bike, drive a car, or use a computer. It's just a matter of choosing the right one for you. Playing the recorder is a good start, it can lead you on to other things. There is the flute, of course, for which a relatively small amount of puff is required and considered by some to be the easier of the woodwind family. Then there is the clarinet and saxophones which are single reed instruments. If you are thinking of playing the saxophone you would be well advised to start with an Alto .The reason being that the tenor is slightly heavier and will need a bit more puff and the soprano is not so easy for a beginner because of the intonation. It's worth noting too that someone who plays flute or clarinet find the saxophone easier to learn if they have been playing for a while. Then there is the double reed instruments which are the bassoon, oboe and cor anglais.

Perhaps you would prefer to play a brass instrument. Ideally its best to start with a cornet but you could play any of the brass family provided that you could reach the valves and slides comfortable. The French horn is better taken up by someone who already plays something else, piano for example, for they are with out doubt the hardest of all the brass family.

Whatever your your choice, good luck and I hope you get a lot of pleasure from it.

Playing your Instrument.

Anyone who says that playing an instrument is easy is telling you a lie. It takes many hour of endless practise with scales and notation but the rewards are fantastic. If you already read music it will be of tremendous value and it's a good Idea to learn. If however you are one of those people like me who prefer to play by ear then you are not alone. Neither John Lennon or Paul McCartney, among others, ever learned to read and look were it got them. Playing by ear can have its advantages but learn to read if you can.

There are many ways to learn an instrument. You may find a teacher very useful but you can also use the various teach yourself methods that are found on CDs , DVDs, CD ROMs and videos all of which are usually accompanied by a book as well. They are great to play along with and you can play them as often as you need to.

When you feel you are ready you can join a group/band or orchestra. James Galway says in his autobiography that he learned a lot from the person sitting next to him when he first started. Quite frankly I have found it to be true.

Whatever instrument you choose to take up, the thing to remember is you need to set a certain amount of time each day to practise if you really want to master your instrument.

You know what the say, an instrument is not just for Christmas, it's for life.

Take local music lessons with the top music instructors.

Dave Ballard,
27 Albany Road,
Isle of Wight,
PO30 5JA
01983 529903

077 4003 2003