Yes, you can teach yourself to play an instrument. There are, though, a number of points to be considered. If you lack self-discipline, and need a mommy-like figure to be telling you to practice, then this method is not for you. Figuring out what, how, and when to learn certain things is not easy. Some things are really hard to understand unless someone demonstrates them to you. In addition there is no one to evaluate what you are doing. You will have to do your own research to discover answers to any questions you may have. You need to be clear about what you want to achieve and why.

If you persevere through all the trails and tribulations you will find that your self-discipline will have increased as will your feelings of self-esteem. Playing will ultimately promote relaxation and a sense of accomplishment.

To teach yourself to play an instrument you have a choice of three main methods:- an instructional book, an instructional dvd or cd or the newest method of online lessons. Of course, all three methods can be used simultaneously.

Some people have very clear ideas as to which instrument they want to learn. It's the drums or nothing! Perhaps you are not really sure about what is right for you. Start by thinking about the type of music you enjoy listening to. Go to performances and decide which instrument you like best. Could you see yourself playing it? Try and borrow an instrument to get a feel for it. It's very well worth giving some thought to neighbours who are not going to want to be listening to dud notes and screeching bows morning, noon and night.

Another practical consideration worth bearing in mind is how easily can the instrument be moved and set up. There are also physical considerations. A tiny person is unlikely to find a large brass instrument comfortable to play others need long fingers etc.

Consider the social aspect. Band and orchestral instruments will allow a person to perform in a group. Piano on the other hand can be isolating.

Be mentally prepared for some initial difficulties. Your fingers probably will not co-operate initially and perhaps they will ache. Playing a stringed instrument may well make the fingers of your left hand (if you are right handed) very sore from pressing down the strings. Given time your fingers will harden. So at first don't practice for too long. Pay attention to your posture. This is especially important if playing a wind or brass instrument as posture affects breathing. Learning the embouchere for wind or brass may well leave your lips feeling sore.

The Golden Rule is don't try and do too much at the beginning and don't become impatient with yourself. When things are not going well, try something else, and come back to the problem at another time.

There are a whole lot of very good books to help aspiring musicians to teach themselves to play almost any instrument. A book should deal with basic theory for the instrument as well as basic music theory.

One method of musical instruction that is gaining in popularity particularly with guitar players is "tablature" or "tabs". This is not standard musical notation. Sheet music like diagrams allow a guitar player who can't read music to learn a chord, a solo line or a whole song. In this form of notation horizontal lines don't represent a musical staff but the six strings of a guitar. Each note is represented by a number on one of those six lines, representing the fret at which to play a given note on each string throughout the song. Chords are represented by clusters of fret numbers. Tabs and online guitar learning are controversial. Music publishers are threatening lawsuits to shut down sites offering unauthorized transcriptions of songs.

There are at least two good sites offering self-instruction in learning an instrument online. Smart Music has been in existence for quite some time while Star Play is relatively new. Professional music educators have designed both systems. These systems are able to listen to your performance and evaluate what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong. These systems only help with practising the music. Neither deals with technicalities such as the correct playing position for the instrument or how to blow correctly. But once the basics are understood the assessment system will help progress faster than other methods. Smart music allows the learner player to receive assignments from a private teacher who will listen to the recordings and give the individual advice on how to progress their playing.

Show me How to Play is a further online site that helps the budding musician to learn online. It is possible to choose a song and an instrument. You can hear the audio of only that instrument. You can replay sections of the song or play it slower. When you have learned a song you can mute your instrument and play with the band.

Musical Colors is an interactive color coded music theory system. Musical notes are color coded and colorful stickers are applied to musical instruments. This in turn links to a color coded music theory manual. Complex information is presented in a simple, colorful and efficient manner. It is maintained that color helps our minds become more creative and improves memory.

Teaching yourself to play a musical instrument using the internet is just one more area of application impossible without digitalization.

Author's Bio: 

Dzagbe Cudjoe is a Dance and Movement Therapist, Intuitive Counselor, Healer and Ethnologist with a keen interest in promoting Dance as a means of achieving Mind-Body-and-Spirit integration... She is the author of the e-manual "Dance to Health -Help Your Special Needs Child Through Inspirational Dance". available at Dance to Health