Are you coming back to an instrument? Here's our tips...
Getting back into playing after a break can feel overwhelming and - quite frankly - demoralising. The quicker you come to terms with the disappointment that you can't pick-up where you left off, the quicker you can start improving.
You may find that you have forgotten how to read music, you've lost finger dexterity and that you're a bit un-fit and blowing is much harder work than it used to be! So follow our tips and you'll soon be making progress!
Try not to get frustrated if it doesn't happen straight away.
Any journey starts with a first step, so give yourself a break. You've made a positive decision to re-learn something you loved - hold on to that positive energy and channel it into effective and optimistic practice...
Practice... Start off slowly and little by little.
Little and often is a much more effective way to practice an instrument than exhausting yourself in marathon sessions with days off to recover. Use simple music and exercises. Sticking with the marathon analogy, imagine how you would train for a marathon - you wouldn't start with big long runs, but short runs, stretches and breathing exercises - sound similar?!
Breathing is the foundation to any wind instrument, so before you get carried away with learning notes/fingering, master the basics. Work on making a stable tone on a single note with a supported diaphragm. A beautiful tone is far more pleasing to listen to!
Give yourself goals to aim towards.
Maybe you'd like to join an ensemble, surprise someone with a performance, or perhaps do an exam? All are excellent motivators. However, to achieve these long-term goals you may need to break them down into smaller manageable chunks.
Don't be afraid to ask for help.
There's nothing worse than establishing a bad habit, so getting a few preliminary lessons can be really helpful, it's much harder to get rid of engrained bad habits! Many teachers will offer one-off consultations.
Make it FUN!
You're an adult. If classical music was never your thing, then don't force yourself to try and like it now! There's plenty of music out there - Flintstones, Jazz, Baroque... play what you enjoy to listen to and that enjoyment will come out in your playing.
Listening to recordings of the music you're playing can help inspire you and can help with tricky rhythms, where to breathe etc. Try searching in YouTube for recordings.
When you feel brave, make a recording of yourself and observe the things you do well and areas you can improve. You don't have to make them public and they can be a great way to catalogue your journey back into music!