Niclas Herle – The Core Principles of Learning Any Musical Instrument

Niclas Herle

Many people around the world would love to learn to play a musical instrument and sadly there are many of those who never do, leaving on the ‘bucket list’ for too long. Some people think that they can’t do it, they have no rhythm or that they have missed their chance to learn to play when they were younger. The reality is however that you can start any instrument at any time.

 My great friend and the wonderful pianist Niclas Herle was the person who inspired me to pick up the saxophone after over 40 years of planning on doing so, and I am so glad that he did. My teacher told me in the first lesson that we had together, that there are core principles of learning any instrument and over the years, I have found him to be absolutely right.

 Daily Practice

 These principles are not overly complex but they are something which so many who are looking to learn a musical instrument forget. The key principle above all others is that you practice each and every day, even if it is just for a short time. What you are doing here is learning patterns and routines and in order to perfect that and all of the details which go along with it, practice is an absolutely essential part of learning. Put it this way, if you practice Mon-Sun of week 1, you will be better each day, if you then leave it 4 days before practicing again, you run the risk of going back to how you were last Thursday. Keep practicing and keep making progress.

 Always Learning  

Another key principle to learn is that there is no perfect and you will never reach perfect, each day you are just getting closer to being the very best that you can be. Guns ’n Roses guitarist slash practices each and every day for this reason and if that is good enough for Slash then it should certainly be good enough for the rest of us. What many do is reach a level where they can play a song or two and then they ease up on the learning, there is however many more miles left to run.

 Play With Others

 No matter how good you think you may be, it is not until you play along with others that you realize how much more challenging this is. Playing with other people however is key to your ability to improve and to get into a song. Sitting in your room with an acoustic guitar is all well and good, but when you have some drums, keys and a bass guitar behind you it forces you to learn how to synchronize with other people to create something which sounds great and which feels great to play.

 These three simple principles are key to helping anyone who wishes to learn a musical instrument, no matter who they are.