You know the only way to get better at music is to practice. After all, you’ve heard it a thousand times! But practicing on your own feels awkward, and you’re worried you’re doing something wrong. Thankfully, there are some inexpensive tools to help you get off on the right foot:
- A tuner. Practically every musician will need a tuner at some point, whether they play by themselves or with others. Heat and cold affects ALL instruments, sending their pitch sharp or flat respectively. On stringed instruments, the strings will stretch over time and use, which also sends the pitch off-kilter. If your pitch is off, it can affect how all the other notes sound, as well. Tuners can come in a variety of species for a variety of applications, but you can usually pick up a decent chromatic (good for all instruments) for around $30.
- A metronome. In the early stages of music study, it is essential to learn to keep time. A metronome is a device that marks music tempos with a beat or click. A good digital metronome can be had for around $20.
- A music stand. Learning to play using proper posture does no good if you aren’t consistent — which is difficult when you have to crane your neck to see your music. A music stand can be had for $20 (or under) and can save you lots of grief (and pain) later.
- A proper chair of some kind. Not all chairs are created equal. When you sit properly, your feet should be flat on the floor and you shouldn’t feel stretched or cramped, or like you have to “hold yourself” in the seat. Likewise, the chair should have a straight back, if possible, or none. (These days, I find I prefer short stools for my music-making.)
While these few things aren’t the magical “silver bullet” to making amazing music, they’ll definitely help you get started in the right direction.