Ask a Music Teacher: What do I need to start music lessons?

My goal as a music teacher is to make learning music a fun and easy activity that you’ll enjoy from day one, lesson one. Students and parents often ask questions that I’d love to answer here. If you’d like to ask a question of your own then please send me a message -  I’d love to hear from you.

Over the 10+ years that I have been teaching music in Dublin and now in Arklow, Co. Wicklow this is one of the most common questions: What do I need to start music lessons?


Before I begin answering this question, I’ll start by saying that whether you’re considering getting lessons from me in flute, recorder, guitar and ukulele or with another music teacher the answer will be the same no matter what you’re looking for music lessons in.


Without further ado, here’s what you’ll need: 

1.   A musical instrumentwoman-playing-ukulele-ronan-mccauley-music-teacher-guitar-flute-recorder-leaving-junior-cert-grinds-theory-arklow-wicklow-dublin-leinster-irelandpng

It might sound silly but it’s important to make sure you have access to the instrument you want to learn. There are amazing shops throughout Wicklow as well as a Musical Instrument Library curated by Music Generation Wicklow.


Why should you have your own instrument? The better level of access you have to the instrument you want to learn the more frequently you can practice. The more you practice to quicker you improve.

Most instruments (especially stringed instruments) will need to be tuned before you play them. This basically makes sure that the instrument is set to play at the correct pitch. In your music class your teacher will usually show you how to tune it up and keep it in tune. As well as dedicated tuners you can get in your local music store you can also download apps on Android and Apple for free that can help with this.

Once you have this one sorted you're actually good to go. That being said, keep reading as each thing will help with making life as a student musician as fun as possible.


2.   A folder  file-folder-ukulele-ronan-mccauley-music-teacher-guitar-flute-recorder-leaving-junior-cert-grinds-theory-arklow-wicklow-dublin-leinster-irelandpng

Whether this is a physical folder or a digital one you should keep all of your resources in one location and keep it tidy and organised. If this is a physical folder make sure that the songs you are currently working on are at the front and once you’re finished working on them, file them away properly.


3.   A pencil  pencils-ukulele-ronan-mccauley-music-teacher-guitar-flute-recorder-leaving-junior-cert-grinds-theory-arklow-wicklow-dublin-leinster-irelandpng

It’s quite simple, you need a way to make little notes on your music. Is it a strumming pattern? A part you need to focus on? A change to suit a performance? Use that pencil and mark it in. Why a pencil? You can erase it if the note needs to be updated.


If you work digitally then replace pencil with apps that allow you to annotate your digital resources.


4.   A Bag  student-bag-lessons-school-ukulele-ronan-mccauley-music-teacher-guitar-flute-recorder-leaving-junior-cert-grinds-theory-arklow-wicklow-dublin-leinster-irelandpng

This one’s simple: have a bag to store all your notebooks, sheet music, pencils and accessories.


5.   A place to practice  practice-space-chair-sunny-lessons-school-ukulele-ronan-mccauley-music-teacher-guitar-flute-recorder-leaving-junior-cert-grinds-theory-arklow-wicklow-dublin-leinster-irelandpng

You don’t need a state-of-the-art studio. All you need is a spot where you can play your ukulele, guitar, flute, recorder or other instrument. Is that the kitchen table? Sitting on the edge of your bed? The garden shed? Find that spot, bring your instrument, folder and pencil there and practice there.

If you have any questions or are interested in discussing setting up music lessons with a qualified music teacher then make sure you get in contact with me. Thanks so much for reading and I'll chat to you again soon.