Finding Time to Learn Music: Balancing Work, Life and the Love of Song

The typical modern schedule is more hectic and demanding than ever, and that can make finding a healthy balance between work, family, and life’s many other demands – and pleasures – difficult to achieve.

Unfortunately, it’s the things we love to do – the things that are good for our bodies, minds and spirits – that often get pushed to the back burner in favor of fulfilling obligations.

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That makes the pursuit of music even more important, as studies of music’s effects on our well-being have shown that listening to music – and especially playing music – can impart a multitude of benefits to the overall human experience.

Finding time to learn piano or guitar, or any other instrument, might seem impossible to fit into your already overloaded schedule, but the online learning trend has made music lessons much more accessible for everyone, no matter how busy juggling all the other mandatory components of day-to-day life.

Why Is Music so Important?

Music speaks to everyone of us on some level. Music can be energizing. Music can be calming. Music can inspire us. Music affects our mood and even our behavior. Research has shown music to have an actual physical effect on our bodies at a cellular level, and music demonstrates a major influence on the various systems of our brains. The spiritual benefits of music are more difficult to quantify, but we all acknowledge the effects that music can have on the more soulful aspects of our lives.

While simply listening to music has proven to be beneficial in many areas of our lives, the art of playing music produces an even greater experience. There is a sense of personal expression found in playing music, as well as a deep feeling of satisfaction in sharing that music with those around you. In this aspect, finding time to learn music is more than just mastering a given instrument; it is a chance to share the deeper elements of yourself with the world.

A New Way to Learn Music

Is finding time to learn music easier said than done? Of course. But it’s not impossible. In fact, it’s probably much easier, and even more affordable, than many people think. We’re all familiar with music lessons in their traditional format of weekly scheduled lessons and daily practice of the same material over and over again until the next lesson time. And that’s just not a practical model for many of us to follow. The more flexible the course options, the more likely we are to be able to make the time to pursue a love of music; to do something enjoyable and beneficial for ourselves.

The modern day alternative to traditional music lessons is based around online learning. What a wonderful tool the World Wide Web has become, allowing people from all walks of life, anywhere in the world, on any schedule at all to learn anything and everything they so desire… including how to play an instrument. This online learning platform offers a high degree of flexibility in addition to being much more economical than traditional music lessons, in most cases. There are several options out there for learning to play music online, with the most popular and effective curriculums offering a combination of printed lessons and video tutorials, as well as encouraging a community atmosphere among both students and instructors.

How it Works

Whether you’re learning to play music for the first time, picking it up again, or simply wish to improve your playing ability or, perhaps, learn some new styles, there is an appropriate course for your skill level and objective. Online music classes are taught by certified instructors with advanced experience. You can progress through your course on your own schedule, which makes finding time to learn music an actual possibility, provided that you’re dedicated to the endeavor. And while practice makes perfect, as they say, boring repetitions do not induce enthusiasm for the learning process. For this reason, online music lessons often feature a curriculum based around popular songs, in a variety of genres, so that students can learn in a way that keeps them engaged and moving forward.

For Beginners:

If you’ve never played an instrument before, don’t worry – it’s never too late. In this case, it would be wise to begin with a course in music theory, to learn to read music, etc., though you will learn to play by ear, as well.

For Intermediates and Beyond:

If you currently play an instrument you’ve got a head start, but, as every musician knows, there’s always something new to learn. Pursue a more advanced level, or learn a new style; the options are many and, since online music lessons allow you to learn on your own schedule, you have the freedom to continue learning and improving almost indefinitely.

The Benefits of Online Music Lessons

Finding time to learn music has never been easier, thanks to the extreme flexibility offered by online lessons. But the benefits of this modern learning style don’t stop there:

Schedule flexibility: This is the most attractive feature for most people, as it’s this flexibility of schedule that allows us to fit music lessons into our daily routine in the first place.

Variety of Learning Tools: Different people simply learn in different ways. For this reason, the variety of learning tools used to facilitate online music courses is a very beneficial aspect, as students can focus on the tools that help them the most.

Progress Acknowledgement: One might assume that the lack of personal interaction in the online learning arena could result in a lack of progress acknowledgement and teacher-student encouragement, but that’s not the case. While online music lessons do take place in a sort of virtual studio, direct student-teacher communication is also encouraged.

Fast Rewards: Nothing is more motivating than early success. Online music courses gear the learning process toward the individual student, with the promise of quick gratification in playing familiar songs of the student’s choosing. Some students are playing a full, familiar song in as little as one day, which provides great motivation for continuing.

Community: Online music lessons are often accompanied by a virtual community. This goes beyond student-teacher communications, encouraging interaction between the community of students, allowing peer-to-peer encouragement and support.

Economical Learning: Online music lessons are generally just a fraction of the cost of traditional lessons. In some cases, the entire course costs less than just 1-2 traditional lessons. Monthly subscription music lessons are extremely affordable and allow for continued learning.

Are Online Music Lessons as Effective as Traditional Lessons?

You might be wondering if you can really learn to play music online as well as you would with traditional lessons. The answer is yes, absolutely, and quite possibly even more so as you will find it easier to remain dedicated to learning. There is one catch, however – you have to practice. Here are a few tips for success:

Determination and Focus

As with any discipline, a certain amount of determination and focus is necessary to succeed. Fortunately, these elements are easy to incorporate into the online learning process. Finding time to learn music is simple when you are free to choose your own time and space for learning and practice. But, without the accountability that comes from more structured, traditional music lessons, a personal commitment is necessary. Remember, you’re doing this for yourself – don’t let finding time to learn music get pushed aside in favor of other obligations. 

Make a realistic commitment.

Before setting your goals, take a realistic look at the time and energy you will be able to commit to learning music. There’s no rush, after all, and over-committing and then subsequently failing to keep up with that commitment can quickly turn pleasure into stress. Make a realistic time commitment, and then stick to it.

Be patient with yourself.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Mozart’s repertoire. Your talent will evolve as your skills improve, so take care not to be too critical with yourself as you go through the courses. Learning is a process, and one that can be quite enjoyable, so stay focused on that enjoyment and the music, itself, and the results will follow suit.

Celebrate your successes.

Give yourself a pat on the back once in a while. Celebrate mastering a new skill or particular piece of music. Share these accomplishments with friends and family, and your virtual community of fellow music students.

Incorporate others.

Music is most enjoyable when shared. Recruit a friend to take music lessons with you. Since your lessons can be accessed from anywhere via computer or tablet, you can be in two different places, yet learning together. An added bonus is that you can hold one another accountable to ensure neither of you lets this goal get deprioritized. Better yet, why not take music lessons with your child? Learning together and creating musical memories… these are some of life’s greatest gifts.

Keep Going.

In music, there’s always more to learn. Once you’ve completed your first course, why not continue on to a new one? And then another? By proceeding with this kind of ongoing education approach, you help to ensure that playing music becomes more of a habit than a luxury, encouraging you to make a little time for it each and every day.

Squeezing Music Practice into Your Schedule

Practice, practice, practice is the key to success. While online music lessons certainly make instruction more convenient and accessible, your success will be largely based on your dedication to practicing those lessons regularly. Whether you’re practicing an hour a day or just 15 minutes, the real key is consistency. Here are a few tips for squeezing music practice into your daily schedule:

Schedule practice time – in ink.

Once you’ve made finding time to learn music an “official” daily task – as opposed to an optional activity that can be bumped for a “higher priority” obligation, practice time will become part of your day-to-day routine more easily.

Minimize distractions.

Your practice time will be much more effective if you are able to focus completely on the lessons. Turn off the television. Turn off your cell phone. Send the kids outside to play. Whatever it takes to be able to clear your mind and experience the music completely, do that.

Recruit support.

Especially if you live in a busy household, the ability to focus on learning music can be difficult. Sit down with your family and explain that this is an important endeavor for you. Ask for their support in helping you stick to your practice schedule – with limited distraction. Ask for privacy if you need it. Ask them to respect your practice time as time that you are focusing on yourself and your music.

Find some extra time in the day.

Don’t we all wish we could squeeze in a few extra minutes for ourselves? Well, the truth is, if you are dedicated enough to making practice time, you can do just that. Can someone else take the kids to soccer practice? Can someone else in your household be responsible for dinner a couple of evenings per week? Is there an activity that you could give up or cut back on, and replace that block of time with music practice? Can your daily schedule be rearranged just a bit to create a regular block of time for music practice?

Often times, a sincere review of your schedule will reveal an opportunity you didn’t realize was there. If not, you might have to get a little creative, but if you make finding time to learn music a priority, you will find a way to squeeze practice time into your schedule. Even if that time is limited, try to practice at least a little every day.

Finding time to learn music while balancing all of life’s other demands is possible, and well worth every ounce of dedication you put into it. The advantages of online learning are many, and the very reason that even crazy-hectic schedules can accommodate ongoing education of any kind. Thanks to the flexibility of online lessons, you can fit music into your schedule any time that works for you; on your lunch break, while the kids are at school, in your pajamas on a Saturday morning… Once you’ve simply made the commitment to incorporate time for the pursuit of music into your daily schedule, you’ll find it becoming easier and easier to follow through, especially as you begin to experience first-hand the rewards of learning to play music. Learning a musical instrument is more than just a discipline, after all – it’s a well-deserved gift to yourself.

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About Liberty Park Music
LPM is an online music school. We teach a variety of instruments and styles, including classical and jazz guitar, piano, drums, and music theory. We offer high-quality music lessons designed by accredited teachers from around the world. Our growing database of over 350 lessons come with many features—self-assessments, live chats, quizzes etc. Learn music with LPM, anytime, anywhere!

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