Musicians come in every stripe and flavor, from conservatory-trained opera singers to guitarists who learned their craft by watching YouTube videos. The age of information has offered hundreds of ways for budding musicians to learn how to sing, play, and perform. But the value of taking music lessons with university or conservatory-trained professionals – for any instrument or voice type – is unmatched when it comes to the professional, personal, and physical development of musicians. Whether you're a veteran or brand-new to the music scene, taking music lessons is a great investment for your career – not to mention your health. Here are five reasons to take music lessons.
Learning Great Technique
While there's zero shame in being a self-taught musician, self-teaching means imperfect technique. Over time, this can pose some serious problems – not only will you not be able to fully master your instrument or voice without quality technical training, but imperfect technique can cause a number of health problems, from arthritis and bone spurs in instrumentalists to vocal nodes in singers (an especially expensive condition to treat, since insurance doesn't cover node removal unless the nodes are cancerous). Taking lesson will help you perfect your technique – and keep yourself safer from health issues associated with poor technique.
Becoming a Master of Your Craft
It's certainly true that you can learn a great deal on your own as a musician without benefit of a formal instructor – from blogs to YouTube, tons of information and instruction on all things music are available as learning resources. However, music lessons not only help to address unlearning bad habits and mastering technique, but having a one-on-one instructor that you personally work with helps to adapt technique to the individual musician – something you just can't get with books or digital resources.
Having a music instructor can definitely help to boost your networking as a musician, particularly if you impress your instructor with your dedication. They may know other musicians, promoters, or agencies you don't, and can help you connect with them – boosting your career opportunities. They may know of competitions, open mics, and other performance-focused events that can help you show your best in front of brand-new audiences of thousands. Either way, most music instructors know the lay of the land when it comes to their local music scenes, and it's worth your time to work and connect with them.
Getting better at what you do almost always results in better and more frequent work opportunities, and this is especially true in music. Taking lessons will absolutely help you get better at what you do, and this ultimately will help you find and land work opportunities that less skilled musicians may not have access to, like select or juried shows or session work.
Becoming a Music Instructor
While most music instructors have degrees or credentials in music, this isn't always the case. Some have simply studied independently and taken music lessons for years – and become just as qualified to teach as those with university degrees. If you think teaching might be a route you want to pursue in music but don't want to attend university or conservatory for a degree, start taking lessons – and if you study long enough, you may find yourself being approached by new musicians who want to learn from you, or job opportunities at local studios (maybe even the one you've studied at all those years!).
Regardless of what genre you work in or instrument you play, music lessons are a vital investment to any dedicated musician – and taking lessons will help you advance and expand your career.