Ever been envious of people who get a guitar passed to them at parties and they are seemingly able to cover any song, and play that instrument as if it is as easy as breathing? Learning to play a musical instrument is definitely a great hobby to have. But it helps if you are passionate about picking up a particular instrument. Whether guitar, piano, ukulele or saxophone, here are some tips for lowering the cost of music lessons.
1. Buy a used instrument
You can't even begin practising without an instrument, so your best bet is to do some research online and check places like Carousell and Qoo10 to see if anyone is selling old instruments of reasonable quality at a good price.
When you're just starting out, your playing dexterity may not be as skilled yet so there's usually no point spending thousands of dollars on a branded model. It's better to get a good, used instrument to start off with first and then replace it as your skills improve and you start to require better control over the sound.
2. Learn from YouTube tutorials
If you're picking up an instrument that is not dependent on being taught by a real live teacher, such as a guitar or ukulele, YouTube can be a free way to learn and practice in the privacy of your room. Some of the famous YouTube cover musicians started out by watching online tutorials and then try to build upon what they have learnt.
The best part about online tutorials is that you can repeat them over and over again if you're unsure about a particular part. Try doing that with a music teacher and he/she might start strangling you. Here's a list of some guitar tutorials to start off with.
3. Do fortnightly lessons instead of weekly ones
If you're mastering an instrument in which progress is largely dependent on being taught by a real live teacher (such as the piano or saxophone), try taking up fortnightly lessons instead of weekly ones.
80% of your progress is going to depend on how hard you practise. Your parents can resurrect Mozart himself to teach you, but if zero practice takes place in between lessons, better music will be played through Spotify instead of your hands. And to be honest, most of us don’t practise enough to warrant weekly lessons and would do better with fortnightly lessons instead.
This gives you an extra week to practise whatever new material is taught in class, and also instantly halves the amount you pay for lessons.
4. Consider hiring student teachers
A full-fledged music teacher with a music degree or performing experience can be quite costly to hire. On the other hand, hiring music students studying for diplomas or degrees in music at NAFA, Lasalle or the NUS Conservatory can not only reduce your cost significantly, but may also result in the same quality.
They might not be as cheap as your next-door neighbour who’s been learning the violin for four years and now wants to make some extra pocket money, but the quality of their playing will be much higher. Not to mention, you'll also be helping a brother out with his music school fees.