How To Learn Music Composition – One Step at a Time
Learning Overload and Just in Time Learning
When anyone sets out to learn a new topic, it can be overwhelming. The amount of information nowadays, especially with the internet, can lead a person straight into information overload.
This creates a feeling of overwhelm.
But this can be easily addressed by a simple technique called Just in Time Learning.
Too Much, Too Fast
I think that I am a little ADHD. Anytime that I want to learn a new topic, I go to the library or do a search on google, and I find about 40 different books about the topic. I add them all to my wish list and the set about systematically trying to read through all of them as fast as possible. Sometimes even several at the same time.
This is not good. It is easy to get to the point where you are looking at a huge mountain of information, and it feels like climbing Mount Everest.
Just In Time Learning
In steps just in time learning. The key is to be honest with yourself and say, “Can I use this right now?” If the answer is no, then you probably shouldn’t bother reading about it or learning it.
Some people have a problem with this (pointing at myself). If this is you, I recommend that you have a special bookmark folder on your computer, and a place where you can write down book titles or other things that you think you will need (I use my iphone). This way your mind thinks to itself, “Yeah! I will definitely come back. No worries.” Chances are you won’t come back, and this can help free you from having too much info.
How Can You Climb a Mountain, If You Can’t Climb a Molehill?
Growing up in South Africa, my trumpet teacher was an interesting guy. He was born in Austria; was a little kid during World War II; Rode a harley; Played trumpet and classical guitar; and for fun, climbed mountains.
I always wanted to play more difficult pieces on the trumpet than I was ready for, and he would say (in a thick Austrian accent), “How can you climb a mountain, if you can’t climb a molehill?”
If you take it one step at a time, and learn only what you can put into action, then you will actually internalize the concepts. This is the key. Learning without action is pointless.
The Key – Plan Out How to Learn Music Composition
The key is to plan your learning. This involves understanding the skills that you have, the skills you need to acquire, and what is required to gain them. Knowing where your weaknesses are, gives you clear direction for what you need to practice. I put practice in bold because for learning composition skills, is not the same as composing.
Skills must be targeted with deliberate practice. If you deliberately practice musical form, for instance, then you will improve your understanding and internalize the concepts. If you just sit down and write whatever comes to mind, you may come up with beautiful music, but this will take much longer to improve overall.
Using a Guide
If you are just starting out, you will probably want a guide on how to learn music composition. I have a Free Beginner’s Course on How to Learn Music Composition. If you would like to have access when it is available, sign up for the mailing list.
Until next time,