Learning a musical instrument is a fun way to keep your brain active and healthy, but it can seem like an expensive proposition. The cost of the instrument, accessories and lessons can add up quickly. However, there are ways to cut down on those expenses. If you want to start a band, scratch something off your bucket list, or be the most popular person around a campfire, I’ve put together five tips for learning to play an instrument for cheap:
1. Surf YouTube
YouTube has over a billion users, which is about one-third of all people on the entire Internet! According to YouTube’s official statistics, people watch hundreds of millions of hours and generate billions of views every day. Since being developed in 2005, YouTube has become the most popular place to watch videos. If you want a free tutorial, it’s a great place to start looking. A simple search for an instrument of your choice will produce a seemingly endless list of videos for you to learn from. A YouTube user earns money when you watch their videos, despite you being able to watch for free. This is because of the short advertisements that play before your video begins. The more views, the more money they make. In an effort to earn as much as possible, many great musical instructors put both introductory and advanced lessons in their entirety on YouTube. There are a ton of options for tutorials and instructors, so filter through until you find your favorite, and get lessons for free!
2. Pick a Widely Used Instrument
Picking a more popular instrument can make it far less expensive to get started. A guitar is a lot easier to find than a set of bagpipes, making it less difficult to find used equipment, materials and tutorials. Because instruments like the guitar, keyboard, ukulele and harmonica are so popular, it can be much easier to find a great deal. With a simple search on Craigslist, I found 602 results for a guitar right here in Maine. When I searched for bagpipes, there were no results in Maine and only one for sale in New Hampshire.
3. Utilize Your Library
If you’re searching for free lesson materials, take a look at your local library. It may have instructional books, music sheets, audio lessons and even helpful videos. Just don’t forget your library card! If you don’t already have one, just bring proof of identification with your current address on it, and you’ll be learning all about your instrument of choice in no time!
4. Join a Group Class
Music lessons can end up costing quite a bit more than you would expect if you choose a dedicated one-on-one class. A cheaper alternative is joining a group class! They may lack the personal attention that a one-on-one class would deliver, but they can be considerably cheaper. They can make learning an instrument more fun as well, as the lesson becomes more of a social event. You can attend with a friend or family member and help keep each other motivated!
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
This may be the most important and beneficial way to save money when learning an instrument. If you’re attending a music lesson and then not practicing what you’ve learned at home, you won’t be advancing with your abilities as quickly. The more you practice, the better you get.
Get out there and pick up an instrument! It’s a fun and healthy activity that can both lower stress and serve as a creative outlet! And if you already know someone who plays an instrument, ask them for lessons and tell them about the 2017 Sound Off Music Competition! By entering, they have the chance to win $500 to Main Street Music Studios and a live performance at the Old Port Festival, the Maine music event of the year!
What instrument do you want to learn? I’d love to know!