Many students begin taking music lessons with an ultimate goal of making it on stage and selling out shows. But what exactly does that path look like? It’s different for everyone, but here’s one possible timeline, as outlined by Mission Viejo, CA teacher Pierre L...
So you want to become a rock star? Well, you have come to the right place. As a TakeLessons instructor, I’m ready to teach you the fundamentals in order to prepare you for whichever music style you are interested in pursuing later in life.
But first things first: decide which instrument you think you would enjoy playing the most. This is an easy decision for some people. Others find their favorite instrument only after having tried several instruments.
Next, seek out a reputable music teacher. Without a great instructor by your side, you are setting yourself up for bad habits in the way you play your instrument, and bad habits are often hard to break. A good teacher will help you with all the questions and problems you are running into, and guide you throughout the learning process. And even though the Internet has made self-learning easier, it is not necessarily the best path to take.
Be prepared to set aside at least a half-hour of practice time five times a week. This will ensure that you make good progress on your instrument. It will save you money on lessons, because the more you are prepared for your next lesson, the more time you will have to tackle that new song you may have been dreaming about learning.
Keeping your instrument in good shape is very important as well. Changing guitar strings or drum heads on a regular basis will make playing your instrument much more pleasant, and you will sound much better. Whenever you feel you have outgrown your current instrument, think about going to a store for a trade-in.
After a year or two of practicing on your own, you might think about starting or joining a band. That’s when the fun really starts. You may begin by playing songs written by your favorite artists, but ultimately it can be very worthwhile to take on songwriting. It may take you a while to get to the point where you are comfortable writing your own music or lyrics, but don’t despair.
Once you have developed your own sound, you might be ready to take your act to the stage. Play at any party, café, bar or club that will let you perform. This will be a very important time for your band. The musicians will start to get used to each others’ playing styles and grow into a tight unit.
Your next step is the recording studio. Visit several studios, meet engineers, and listen to CDs that they have recorded. Your gut feeling will tell you which one is right for you and your band. Studio time is very expensive, so go in well-prepared. Practice six songs over and over, even if you are only planning to record four, for example. You might run into unexpected problems with a song, and you’ll be glad that you have a couple of backup tunes ready!
If you keep working at your craft diligently, you will soon find yourself selling CDs and playing larger venues, and maybe even getting invited to go on tour as the supporting act for a well-known band. Now wouldn’t that be a great step closer to becoming a rock star?
Keep in mind that whatever you are learning during your musical journey, it will be with you for the rest of your life. And it will always bring a smile on your face. Believe me, it does to me!
Pierre L. teaches bass guitar, drum, guitar, piano, music recording, music theory, percussion and songwriting lessons to students of all ages in Mission Viejo, CA. Pierre joined the TakeLessons team in November 2012, with over 30 years of experience in the music industry. Learn more about Pierre, or search for a music teacher near you!
Photo by JBo Photo.