This guest post is by Alvina Lopez. Guest bloggers are needed, so if you have some music business advice to share with our readers then get in touch.
As you may know, there are tons of options when it comes to educating yourself in the art of music. Methods of learning include music business books, DVDs, online lessons, private lessons, and formal higher education. Any of these resources can help, but some will suit your needs better than others. The way you choose to educate yourself on the music business will depend on how you learn best. For example, some people can get all the information they need by reading a book, while others may need a mentor near to answer any questions they may have.
Below are some of the options available for increasing your music business knowledge.
Online Music Resources (Free)
While online only resources can be very useful, I advise you to be critical of it. Not everything on the internet is true (gasp), but a lot of the information out there can be helpful. Test any new idea available for free off the internet with all of your previous knowledge, and if there appear to be gaps or conflicts, look for other sources. If you have no prior musical knowledge, I do not recommend learning the basics online unless you are pointed to a specific website by a professional.
DVDs, Books, and Online Music Lessons (Not Free)
There are a lot of good music books, music DVDs and music courses that you can get hold of, but there are also a lot of useless ones. A good one can give you all the knowledge you require for your area of music, while a poor one isn’t worth the time it takes to read it. So how you you pick out the good ones that will actually push your music career forward?
Well, it’s always a good idea to get feedback from other people who have taken these courses before, or at least make sure you have seen enough of the course provider’s work before you decide to join. This way you know you will be getting a good deal.
Private Music Lessons
While this is probably the most expensive option, I highly recommend this option for anyone starting to learn their first instrument. There are so many aspects of instrument technique and musical interpretation that are critical to your growth as a musician. Even if you have a great book, guide, or DVD, it can only help you so much. It can tell you what to work on and how to play properly, but it can’t tell you what mistakes you’re making or how to improve the subtle aspects of your musicality.
Of course, not every instructor is great or reliable, and that is why you must be picky when it comes to choosing one. You need to be clear in understanding your goals as a musician, and how you want your private instructor to help you achieve them. Also, asking instructors for good resources (online, books, etc) is always a good move. This means you can carry on learning even when you’re not with them any more…
In high school alone, you can learn a lot about music e.g. how to play an instrument. Even if it isn’t the instrument or style of music you would like to make a career from, learning how melodies and beats work can be carried over to the type of music you do want to make. In college however, you will have quite a few options in terms of musical courses you can take. Here are just some of them:
- Music Theory – While not a course everyone will like, music theory can change your life as a musician. Essentially, the class explains written music through patterns and formulas, somewhat similar to what you would find in a maths class. But why go through all that trouble? Well, the better you understand music and the relationship between what’s written and what’s heard, the better you can play music in any environment and on any instrument. Knowing scales is always helpful, but knowing chord progressions and the rules that bind them are vital for anyone with an interest in writing music. Also, most music theory courses emphasize listening and aural exercises, which will result in a better musical ear and intonation.
- Music Ensembles – This should go without saying, but it may be a good idea to join any musical ensemble that interests you. Even if an ensemble isn’t exactly the style of music you’d like to start a career from, you can learn valuable lessons about the rehearsal process and playing with others. This will make a huge impact with how you play and correspond with future musicians.
- Music History – While not every musician needs to know the details of baroque or classical style, understanding the history of how music has progressed can make you a better musician. Admittedly, this isn’t the most vital course for all musicians. Still, it will open your mind to different possibilities and styles of music. This in turn will make you a more versatile, clever song-writer.
- Music Appreciation – This is a course that most universities require, but it’s probably something you’ve been doing for decades if you truly are the musician you aspire to be. Essentially, courses like these will require you to attend performances and perhaps write about them for a grade. Attending and studying performances is vital for any musician of any level. Being critical of others’ performances will lead to you being critical of your own. From here, you can learn from the mistakes of both other people and yourself.
Music Courses Conclusion
Learning is an essential part of your music career. While some people will naturally pick up good business habits by watching other musician, this isn’t true easy for everyone. In this case, it’s a good idea to get additional help to make yourself a more all round musician. So have a look above again, and see if any of the mentioned types of music courses are for you.