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Tips for Young Musicians

Guest Author - Allan Harris

Want to learn piano? Or learn guitar? Maybe you want to play violin, tuba, trombone or another instrument? If you’re just starting out, and especially if you’re a younger player, the Young Musician’s Survival Guide is chuck full of helpful tips from 18 pros and many young players.

This book covers:

  • How to pick an instrument or switch if you need to.
  • How to make time to practice.
  • How to make practice fun.
  • How to calm performance or competition jitters.
  • How to deal with criticism.
  • How to deal with other musicians that drive you crazy.
  • How to put fun into your music.
  • Assistance in getting an instrument if you can’t afford one.
  • Dealing with braces and sore muscles.
  • How to keep going when people tell you “you can’t.”

I was pleasantly surprised when I read this book, because there is a cornucopia of advice on topics that always come up for musicians.

A big plus is that each topic has tips from different viewpoints, so if you don’t like to do something one way, you’ll find six other ways that might work for you.

When you are learning an instrument, it helps to know what other people who are now famous went through when they were learning – their stumbling blocks and their successes.

Inspiring stories help us all, and there are lots of them. For example…

At age 12, Evelyn Glennie decided to become a percussionist. Not unusual in itself, but Evelyn was deaf. When she decided to become a SOLO percussionist, people really tried to dissuade her, because few people had ever done that. But Evelyn was determined and pressed on because she could sense music through her hands and feet. She’s now an acclaimed world performer on drums, bells, marimba, cymbals and piano.

Gary Larson, the Far Side cartoonist loves playing jazz guitar. He says playing music is just about the most important thing in the world for him, and he tries to practice every day. When he started cartooning, he knew what he wanted to draw, but his hand had other ideas. So he drew a little every day for quite a while. He says the mistakes he made – the really bad, embarrassing cartoons – were an important part of his discovery process. So he knows when he plays wrong musical notes, that’s what’s SUPPOSED to happen while he’s learning.

The bottom line for me is that this book gave me insights into my own practice and how I can make it more fun and interesting for both myself and my students.

There are lots of nice insights from such people as flutist James Galway, trumpet player Wynton Marsalis, pianist Andre Watts, sax player Joshua Redman and violinist Joshua Bell. Add to that tips from many teens who enjoy music and you’ve got a book that will spur you on to your own fun in playing.

This is one book I highly recommend. You can find The Young Musician’s Survival Guide at

Happy Learning!

BellaOnline’s Musician Editor
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Content copyright © 2018 by Allan Harris. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Allan Harris. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Sabira Woolley for details.


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