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Is Now the Best Time to Learn a Musical Instrument?

By Patrick O'Malley May 02, 2020 Lifestyle

We have all seen our lives change due to the Coronavirus. Whether we are in lockdown, observing reduced contact with others (social distancing), or even just pondering the effects of the global economy in turmoil, the impact is hard to truly measure.

With the general tendency to spend more time at home and with fewer people, a great opportunity arises to spend time on self-development and indeed, our hobbies.

A question I am often asked as a musical educator is whether now is a good time to learn a musical instrument.

I believe now is an excellent time to learn for the following reasons:

  • Having personal time that we didn’t have before is great if we use it well.
  • Being busy is truly a gift in these times.
  • Witnessing self-improvement can give us positivity that we really need right now.

If you feel like the time is right, then here are a few things to think about to help you get started. You will need to find three things in order to learn effectively:

  • the right instrument
  • a learning path (teacher/courses)
  • your practice space.

But what do these look like during Coronavirus?

The Instrument

The biggest factor in choosing an instrument to play is passion. For example, if you have always dreamed of playing guitar and you regularly watch YouTube videos of guitar players you admire, don’t go out and buy a piano!

Your passion is the one gift you have that brings you to the practice seat each day. A great question to ask yourself is: “What instrument have I previously dreamed of playing?”

Another important factor during Coronavirus times is how to acquire an instrument. Many stores are closed, and you’ll either have to order online or maybe you are lucky enough and already have an instrument that’s been picking up dust.

If you are ordering an instrument online, then check the reviews of the product on Amazon. Even a lower budget product should have excellent ratings if it’s good value for money.

For example, the Yamaha F310 guitar has excellent reviews at a low price and can be purchased in a starter pack that has everything you would need (capo, straps, strings, plectrums).

It’s also worth checking delivery times for everything you order right now. All delivery services will rightfully prioritize the delivery of essential items and therefore non-essential items (like your musical instrument!) may take longer to arrive.

The important thing is to choose an instrument that you would be really excited to play – and to check reviews and order times before you buy.

The Instruction

During times of Coronavirus, it may not be possible to drive over to a teacher’s house to take lessons. The good news is that there are very effective online courses for every instrument these days.

There are three things to look for when evaluating an online course:

Student Reviews

Reviews are the most important way to evaluate online courses. When checking reviews, you want a popular course (many reviews) and a quality course (high scores). Read the review messages to get more insight into the course and what past students said.

Available Previews

Previews enable you to watch a selection of the lessons without subscribing to the course. This enables you to get a feel of the teacher before you make a decision.

Do you like their way off communicating? Do you feel they have a structured approach? For example, I have made public a few of the lessons on my beginner guitar course. Previews are important because we all learn in different ways, and we need to find a teacher we like.

Course Price

Price is obviously very important. Given that a music teacher may cost $50–100 per individual lesson, many people feel spending that amount or a bit more on a really good online course is justifiable. Bear in mind you want the most effective course rather than the cheapest!

The Space

One of the often under-looked elements of learning a musical instrument is having a space to practice. Ideally, you want to have a place that you can easily visit, that has your instrument waiting, and that won’t be typically used by other people during the time you want to practice.

If you live in a large house with a garden and balcony, then this may not be an issue but if you live in a small 2-bedroom apartment, it may be more of a challenge!

Another thing to consider is how you can practice without disturbing anyone else. As you can imagine, this is harder to accomplish with a full drum kit than it is with a piano or guitar.

Take it from me, when you even suspect you may be annoying someone else, it is very hard to play freely. This is particularly true in the early days of learning the instrument when we’re not going to sound like Mozart!

Don’t Forget

Now is the perfect time to learn a musical instrument! It’s possible to order an instrument online and choose effective online courses for any instrument.

Choose an instrument that you would be passionate to learn and find learning materials that other students have rated and liked.

It won’t be long before your practice area is your favorite space in your house!

What musical instrument do you want to learn to play? Have you looked up instrument options, prices, and available courses? Do you have a space in your house to practice a musical instrument? Let’s have a conversation!

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The Author

Patrick O'Malley is a guitar teacher, author, and instructor. He is passionate about the impact of learning an instrument (particularly guitar), and over 12k students have taken his online courses. Patrick can be contacted at

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