A guide to getting your music noticed on Spotify in 2021

Image Credit: Heidi Fin

How to get the most out of being an artist on streaming services, build a buzz and get your music on Spotify playlists.

If you want your music to be successful on streaming platforms, it’s unfortunately not enough to whack your tracks up on Spotify and then sit back and relax. You need to create a bit of hype to get it in the right places, which ultimately means catching the eye of Spotify playlist makers.

Getting a track on a popular Spotify playlist is the holy grail. Playlists have fast become the number one priority for musicians and producers, a way for a release to go from a handful to thousands of streams overnight.

But first you need to create some excitement around your music to attract the attention of curators on Spotify and other streaming services. Here are a few tips to help build a buzz on Spotify and get noticed by playlisters.


Generate some hype before release

Start your marketing campaign well before release day. Don’t sleep on Pre-saves, digital versions of pre-orders. They guarantee engagement before the release hits streaming services. And when release day comes about, Spotify will see the strong performance, making it a more attractive prospect for inclusion on their playlists.

Our partner site PUSH.fm offers a Pre-save campaign for free – or get five for free if you’re a RouteNote user.


Make sure to keep your Spotify artist page looking fly

Don’t forget that those coveted play counts and follows are from real listeners, and you want turn a casual listener into one of your fans, not simply a fan of whatever playlist your track ends up on.

That means giving your Spotify profile a more personal feel – make sure your profile picture and featured images are good, your bio reads well, keeping everything up to date, and utilising the Artist Picks section.


Work your music analytics

A constant uptick in subscribers and listeners each month makes it more likely for your music to be noticed and onto those all-important Spotify playlists. Make smart promo decisions and put that boring marketing legwork in to make sure those numbers keep steady.


Spread the word across all your music social media pages

Make sure you’ve got links to your Spotify on all your social media accounts. Wherever you find yourself promoting yourself online, whack the Spotify follow button there too.

Instagram only lets you add one link to your page bio, so you can create a handy landing page with all your links in one. No more copying and pasting individual links. Learn about Fan Links here.


Let RouteNote do the work for you

Release your music for free with RouteNote and, as long as you upload your music in advance of the release date, we can upload your track to Spotify allowing at least a week for Spotify playlist curators to consider your music before it goes live.


Artists can be playlisters too

Putting together a playlist yourself can give listeners an insight into your musical influences and put your music into context with other bands. If you’re a verified Spotify artist you can create playlists on your page.

Try making playlists of musicians of a similar genre to yours, not only for a flowing listening experience but also to attract the attention of other bands who might return the favour by popping you on their playlist too. (Sneak in a couple of your own songs onto the playlists too, of course.)


Unofficial playlists are an easy win

There’s huge promotional power to be found from independent playlisters, and it’s easier to get their attention than the big Spotify playlists.

Whether they’re run by music journalism bloggers or simply music lovers with a knack for matching incredible music together, getting a spot on multiple independent playlists is valuable for plays and inching your way up the algorithm.


Make the Spotify playlist makers come to you

A less needy option than spamming the inboxes of overworked Spotify playlist curators is to make it easy for them to find you. Make sure you’re in all the spaces that you need to be in order to be seen, always active on social media and engaging with other musicians – check out our top tips for social media for musicians here.

Get out there and gig, and seek out opportunities for networking in the real world. If you’re generating a hype outside of Spotify, tastemakers will be curious enough about you to seek out your music on Spotify, and hopefully want to share your music.


Every contemporary musician who’s serious about building a music career has one eye on New Music Friday as the pinnacle of a new song’s success. It’s not all talent and luck. Give your music the best possible chance of success on Spotify and other streaming services by getting noticed by Spotify playlisters.

Top 12 best free DAWs available in 2021

Image Credit: Andrew Welch

Check out our list of the best free music production software available to download today, with our guide to the top free DAWs for musicians and producers in 2021.

Musicians and producers don’t have to fork out for an expensive DAW before getting stuck in making music. In fact, there’s plenty of good DAWs out there waiting to be downloaded that are absolutely free.

It’s fair to expect some limitations in performance and plugin compatibility from a free DAW, but if you’re just beginning to produce or aren’t fussed about getting technical then sticking with free can be a perfect option. Besides, some of the available free music production software is surprisingly powerful.

We’ve run through the top free DAWs before, so consider this an updated companion version. There’s endless options of digital audio workstations to choose between, but let’s have a quick look at some of the best free DAWs available now in 2021.


Tracktion’s Waveform Free

Unlimited tracks! Nice effects! Decent virtual instruments! And it supports third party plugins. There’s not that much difference between the free and full versions of Waveform Free.

The DAW has just had an update that makes it even better, with fresh editing features and a new welcome screen.

Compatible with PC, Mac, Linux, Raspberry Pi.

Cons:

  • Computer keyboard MIDI control is awkward to use

Avid Pro Tools | First

Get a taste for life in a professional studio. A lead in to Avid’s original Pro Tools, Pro Tools First has the look and feel of its pricey cousin but for free.

Pro Tools has for years been considered the ultimate industry-standard DAW, but obviously a free version is going to compariatively lack the power and capabilities.

However, First still features decent editing tools. In terms of sounds it offers a 500MB sample and loop library and the Xpand! 2 virtual instrument with a wide range of options.

Compatible with Mac and Windows.

Cons:

  • No third party plugin support, unless you’ve bought them through Avid Marketplace
  • You’re limited to 16 tracks and four inputs, but that might well be all you need

GarageBand

Apple casually throws in a DAW free with its devices, and it’s crazy easy to use. Recording audio is simple and the interface is easy.

It’s versatile and surprisingly powerful, too. GarageBand is especially good for quickly recording. The virtual Drummer player feature offers a choice of percussionists and drummers to let you produce different great-sounding grooves.

It serves as a lead-in to Apple’s Logic Pro X in terms of layout and workflow, so if you find you’re outgrowing it you can shell out some cash and hop over.

Cons:

  • Only on Mac

LMMS

A very basic but surprisingly versatile free DAW. With a focus on MIDI recording and arranging, LMMS has cool features like the piano roll’s one-click chord writer tool.

You’ll find that LMMS has a similar feel to FL Studio… but free!

Compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.

Cons:

  • No audio recording

Audacity

The mother of all free DAWs, and absolutely perfect for beginners. Featuring a simple, clean interface, multi-track recording and editing is a breeze on Audacity.

It’s probably the most popular free DAW out there, and if you’ve little interest in more complicated pro features, look no further.

Compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux.

Cons:

  • No MIDI recording or VST instrument capabilities

Cakewalk

Previously released as the SONAR DAW for which you had to part with your hard earned cash, the fact that Cakewalk is now free seems… suspicious. But in fact it’s just fantastic software and up there with the best free DAWs.

It’s unlimited and contains professional-standard instruments and effects, and supports third party VSTs. Too good to be true? It seems not.

Cons:

  • Only compatible with Windows

Akai MPC Beats

One of the newer free DAWs, and one geared towards beatmakers. It’s easy to create beats with just a mouse or MIDI keyboard, with a quick workflow so you can jump straight into a project before the musical idea leaves your head. 

Bring VST plugins in or use the included sounds, and explore the 80 effects plugins included. Based off Akai’s legendary MPC products, Beats comes free with products like Akai’s MIDI keyboards.

Compatible with Windows and Mac.

Cons:

  • Only two audio tracks, six MIDI tracks per project

SoundBridge

Unlimited free DAW with a very user-friendly interface. Third party VST compatibility, plus it’s got a fantastic drum machine plugin. You can add endless tracks.

Compatible with Windows and Mac.

Cons:

  • Always requests a donation on startup

BandLab

An easy to use browser-based free DAW, great for beginners. It records to the cloud, saving your storage, and its available on any system you can think of, provided you’ve got access to the internet.

You also have access to BandLab Sounds, letting you drag and drop royalty-free loops and samples into your track. Instantly collab with other BandLab users via the chat button.


Studio One 5 Prime

Free version of PreSonus’ Studio One with a slick interface and workflow. Prime comes with cool plugins of its own, and loops and samples.

It’s a good starter DAW if you’d like to get a feel for professional software.

Compatable with Windows and Mac.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support third party plugins

MuLab 8 Free

A free version of the full MuLab 8 from MuTools DAW with a few restrictions. It’s simple but effective, perfect for if you’re just getting started making music or have limited storage space as it doesn’t require installation.

Recording audio and working in the piano roll are a breeze.

Cons:

  • Limited to five tracks
  • No third party plugins

BONUS “FREE” DAW:
Reaper

Signing up for a free trial of Reaper gives you 60 days free, and afterwards you can continue to use the DAW for free if you can put up with sign-up prompts. Reaper is endlessly versatile and it’s pretty affordable anyway at $60 a license.

Fast, efficient, with huge plugin support and lots of effects.

Cons:
  • Steep learning curve
  • Not technically free, with all the guilt that comes with it

The free DAWs that are stripped down versions of their costed counterparts hope to lure you in to purchase the full version one day. It depends on what you’d like to get out of your DAW. Priorities might change as you grow as a producer, or you might find that there’s little need to upgrade.

There’s new free DAWs releasing all the time. Why not do some research and try a few out. The best part about the software being free is there’s absolutely nothing to lose by downloading a free DAW and getting started making music – all it will cost you is your precious time, and you’ll still learn producing skills as you go.

What’ve we missed? There must be tons. Let us know your favourite free DAW in the comments!


Not only can you go from beat to complete pro-sounding song using a free DAW, but you can distribute that song too without it costing you a penny. Sign up with RouteNote today to get your tracks out to all the major stores and streaming services.

How can musicians and producers tell when their track is finished?

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Struggling to step away and finish your mix when producing and songwriting? Spot the signs that your track is done.

Deciding when a song is finished is one of the hardest parts of producing and songwriting. The temptation is strong to keep sitting at the DAW, mixing away, tweaking and making tiny changes, trying to make the track perfect.

Often the ideas and loops come easy, but it’s completing a track that’s the hard part. So how do you know when the track is done? What helps you get there, short of getting someone to gently take your hands and prise them from the keyboard?

Here are a few signs to look out for, as well as some strategies to help musicians and producers finish a song and walk away victoriously.


Critical listening

Listen to the song multiple times with your DAW hidden, a pen and paper to hand. Jot down anything that you don’t like in the track and anything that you think is missing. Is it interesting enough? If you don’t know what else you can do with it, congratulations, your production is done.

Get someone you trust to listen to your track too. Someone impartial – not your best mate, unless they can listen with a critical ear and point out where the vocal needs to come up in the mix. Sometimes you need someone else to say: “Yes, it’s finished!”


Pressure is good

Set yourself goals. Decide how many tracks you want to produce in a month and try and stick to it. Try working towards a release date, knowing that if you miss it you’ll let down the fans waiting to hear your music. You might find you flourish best under a deadline, and you’ll be forced to draw a line under the track and step away without dragging the process out.


Sometimes you’ve just got to let go

Most music producers believe that a song will never really be finished. There’s infinite options for every track; always a new plugin to try out. If you’ve spent days tinkering away at the track and it doesn’t sound that different, you’re probably procrastinating without much effect. It’s time to be brave and step away from the mix.


Struggling to make a full song?

If you’re used to just making loops, you might not be used to arranging those elements into a structure to make them a full, complete song. Try stopping at three core loop ideas and then turning your attention to arranging them in a linear fashion.

Thinking of the track as a journey with signposts along the way might help you to have the confidence to declare the song finished. You’re following a map, made up of breaks and drops if you’re producing, verse and choruses if you’re songwriting.

Image Credit: Matt Duncan

Finishing a song is a feeling

When a song is ready, some musicians can intrinsically tell. Some producers would say a song is a piece of art that will keep growing and evolving with time and depending who is listening to it.


Lay down fewer but better tracks

Try focusing on making fewer parts and making them as good as you can, rather than endlessly adding instruments and samples to your mix. A full song doesn’t necessarily need a lot of tracks to sound great.


Listen with fresh ears

Ear fatigue is a thing. Put the song away for a couple of days. When you come back and listen again, the bits you were unsure about might have been minor irritations that now sound fine in the overall production. If you still love it, then chances are your track is ready.


Believe in your work

Self-belief is a huge part of being a musician. Try and think of a finished song as an opportunity. If you don’t finish the song, you’ll never perform it at gigs, never send it out to music streaming platforms, and you’ll never know if it’s a hit.


Enjoy the learning curve of the process and be proud that you’ve taught yourself the discipline to complete a track. But equally don’t stress too much about not finishing every song you start. You might find that the ideas you’d had and tricks you’ve learnt will come back and be useful later in future music-making – you’ve sharpened your producing skills without even knowing it.

What mental and organisational strategies have you found that might help musicians and producers close the DAW and declare a track finished?


Once you decide that your song is finally finished, it’s time to let everyone hear it. With RouteNote you can publish your track to all major online stores and streaming services, easily and for free. Learn more here.

6 tips to get a wide mix in music producing

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No more weedy mixes. Check out these techniques to add width to your music.

Feel like your track is missing something? Lacking a certain lushness? It could need a bit of width. A wide mix creates drama and an epic, immersive experience for the listener.

Achieving width in your music is a game of contrasts. Your ears will perceive the difference between sounds as if they were physically further apart. Abolish thin weedy mixes and open up your sound as you produce by widening the stereo field, to fatten up your track.

Try out these suggestions and see if you notice the difference in your music producing.


Panning is your pal

Try panning elements to the hard left, centre and hard right and listen to the difference as the sound is opened up. Bridge the gaps and place some instruments half-way, as panning all of them to the far edges can create a muddier sound, so always make sure you’re trusting your ears above all else.

Check out more panning tips here.


Be generous with effects

Chorus, flanger, delay and reverb can all have a widening impact. A little can go a long way, barely noticeable in individual sounds but making a subtle difference to the whole. Reverb for example is designed to make signals sound like they’re bouncing around deep in a three-dimensional space, not just recorded in a stuffy box.


…Or show favouritism to one sound

Choosing just one sound in your mix and adding effects can give the impression of the whole mix being processed. Try selecting one element of your mix to add reverb to. Using delay in the same way is the same concept. You can also apply both effects at the same time.


Double trouble with double tracking

If you’re recording live instruments, try double tracking for a wider sound. Record a second version of your instrumental audio track. There’ll always be natural differences even though it’s the exact same instrument, player and notes. Now give hard panning a go, whacking one track to the far left and the other to the far right. You can process each track slightly differently, too, adding effects. See how it opens up the sound.


Beware of losing punch

Adding effects such as chorus will give a soaring feel, but you might well lose a bit of attack in a sound. Be mindful of the balancing act between seeking a wider stereo field and keeping clarity in each sound. Don’t neglect individual elements.


Don’t forget about separation

Create separation within a bus by boosting and cutting EQ. For example in backing vocals, boosting signals that are panned to one side, and then cutting on those panned to the opposite side. A subtle difference in the frequency curve between the left and right ears creates a widening effect.


Always check your mix in mono after applying effects to widen the stereo field, to make sure they haven’t messed with the sound quality, and that instruments haven’t dropped out entirely.

Every producer has their own techniques, tips and tricks to add width to a mix. There’s no one solution. Try out different ways and see if you notice your track sounding wider, bigger and better.


Can’t wait for everyone to hear your incredible track? Get your music on all the major streaming services and start earning money from your producing, without it costing you a penny. Sign up with RouteNote here for FREE.

Introduction to sidechain compression for music producers

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Get to know the basics of sidechain compression in music producing with our quick intro.

As you get started producing you’ll soon begin to notice that instruments in your mix that have similar frequencies can interfere with each other, losing definition in sound. One tool available to deal with this is sidechain compression. But what exactly is it?

You can use sidechain compression to bring in sharper rhythm and more separation, making room for instruments in a dense mix. Normal compressors work independently, monitoring the level of a channel and controlling the volume of that same channel. Sidechain compression instead makes sure that a particular instrument is compressed relative to other instruments in a mix.

You can hear sidechain compression applied to the heavy bass frequency at 00:45 of Daft Punk’s “One More Time” as a kick drum enters the chat:

EDM producers refer to that pumping sound as “sidechain”. It’s the same basic idea as standard compression, but sidechaining triggers the compressor when a different signal gets louder – so the compressor affects one sound, but triggered by another.

It’s used when one sound in a mix needs to get quieter whilst another gets louder, much like “ducking” when music on the radio automatically reduces as the DJ begins to talk. In “One More Time” the kick drum dictates when the compressor clamps down, and the bass therefore gets compressed when the kick drum hits.

When a kick and bass play similar patterns, sidechaining makes sure the kick creates the attack, and the bass produces the sustain. It can also be used for example to make more room for a vocal in a dense mix.

Your DAW should come with a stock compressor that has a sidechain, or you can download an additional plugin. It works in two ways – the first part triggers the compressor, and the second lowers the volume. It usually gives you the ability to use high frequency and low frequency filters, so you can key in certain frequencies – and make the sidechain more sensitive to those certain frequencies.

Sidechain compression is most popular in dance and electronic music rather than genres with subtler dynamic nuances like classical or folk music.

It’s a complicated subject and we’ve only covered the basics, but sidechaining is a very useful tool to be aware of. Once you’ve gained an understanding of the purpose of sidechain compression, there are plenty of tutorials around to show you the numerous ways it can be applied.

Which DAW is the best for mixing in music production?

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Let’s explore if there’s an ultimate DAW out there perfect for the mixing stage of music production.

After all your audio tracks are recorded and beats laid down you’re ready to start mixing, to use processes like compression and EQ to fiddle with the levels of your individual tracks and blend them together. Time to let your tracks pop.

But does it matter which DAW you use to mix your tracks? It’s absolutely a question of personal preference. It’s true that every DAW has pros and cons regarding the mixing stage of producing, but generally these differences are based on individual opinions. Of course, everyone recommends the DAW they use themselves as the best.

Every DAW comes with mixing capabilities and you can get a decent result from pretty much any of the commonly used workstations. Some producers view particular DAWs as “mixing-orientated” and others as “production DAWs”. Producers may even record in one DAW and jump over to another for mixing and mastering, finding that hopping across resets the mind to a mixing headspace.

If access to professional mixing functions is a dealbreaker, you might prefer to stick with one of the “mixing-orientated” DAWS:

  • Avid Pro Tools – The industry standard and universally considered to be excellent for mixing. Many professional studios have Pro Tools as their main DAW.
  • Cubase – Helpful features like folders for a neater setup, customisable templates for quick workflow and track presets to save mixing settings.
  • Logic Pro X –  A great all-rounder at an accessible price, but with professional-level mixing capabilities.
  • Reaper – Affordable with a fast workflow with its customisation options, which are tricky to get your head around at first.
  • Studio One – Stock plugins emulate consoles and are very useful for in-depth mixing.

Meanwhile, some DAWs are considered to be more “production-based”:

  • Ableton Live – Designed more for on-the-fly creating rather than post-production mixing. But that’s not to say you can’t use it to mix.
  • FL Studio – Makes it fun and easy to quickly get to grips with the interface and create loops and beats instantly. If you’re looking for high-end mixing, FL Studio probably isn’t the best bet.
  • GarageBand – Great for beginners getting started home recording and producing, but not designed to create studio-quality music.

There’s countless more to choose from. Quite often it will be the first DAW you encounter that you end up preferring – you’ll learn it inside out and get to know all the tips and tricks to unlock your own individual workflow. If you’ve got the time, download trial versions of DAWs to see which you find the most intuitive.

As long as you’ve grasped the technical understanding of what makes a good mix, so much comes down to the producer – you. It’s ultimately your ears that are the best tool for mixing. If you find it more comfortable to mix in one DAW over another, and get a result that sounds great, that’s really all that matters.

5 top tips for using EQ in music production (2021)

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Check out these quick tips for using EQ properly when mixing your tracks.

Equalization (EQ) is the most useful tool a music producer has for mixing. It changes the frequency response of each sound in the track, however you want.

Use equalizers to adjust the various frequencies of your instruments, shaping each sound. The main goal when EQing during mixing is usually to get the instruments in your track to blend together smoothly, so there’s enough room for each of them.

Here are five tips to bear in mind as you start playing around with EQ for a successfully mixed track.


Mix with your ears, not your eyes

EQ plugins on most DAWs show you the frequency response of your track, an analyzer feature so that you can see the changes you’re making to your track as you go. But try not to let what you see affect the way you hear the music – ultimately, its the sound that’s vital.


Certain frequencies have special sound characteristics

The human ear can detect frequencies from around 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz (20 kHz) – the frequency spectrum. Certain frequencies within the spectrum generally have specific sound characteristics:


Be radical

It doesn’t really matter what anyone says – do whatever it takes to make your mix sound good, even if that means cuts or boosts as great as 12dB. You want to make sure that all the tracks blend together as well as possible.

And on the opposite end, push boosts, cuts and filters further to use as sound design tools, to sculpt your sounds in exciting colourful ways.


Try using EQ in two stages when mixing

Split the process up – shaping EQ first, with boosts and cuts, then corrective EQ, which is usually reductions to clear space for other sounds. By putting these moves into two separate EQs, you won’t lose any shape created before corrective EQing.

Take for example if you had EQed a keyboard to sound brighter, only to find that your vocal and keyboard now have a similar sound in the mix. Open up a new EQ to make a pocket for the vocal by clearing some space in the keyboard, and you won’t lose the shape of the keyboard that you perfected in your first EQ.


Don’t get wrapped up in EQing when recording

If you’re recording live instruments to your track, don’t worry too much about perfecting the EQ. Use EQ at this initial stage to get rid of any obvious unwanted frequencies picked up by a mic – but generally as long as there’s a good, clean sound, save EQing for your mixing.


RouteNote can get your perfectly EQed track out onto the major streaming services, so you can start earning money from your music… and it won’t cost you a thing. Create a free account here.

A guide to compressor parameters in music production

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Get to grips with compressor parameters with our quick introduction for producers.

Previously we’ve explored the most common ways to use compression in music producing. But what does each specific setting on a compressor actually do?

A compressor reduces the sounds in your mix if they go above a certain level.

There are generally six parameters on your standard compressor plugin: Threshold, Knee, Ratio, Attack, Release and Gain. Here’s a quick guide to them.


Threshold

The threshold sets the decibel level at which the compressor kicks in to act on the sound. The compressor won’t act on anything quieter than where the thresh is set.

The threshold is set so that the compressor is only triggered when the track hits unwanted louder peaks to even out the overall sound.

The setting is often listed as dB below peak (0db). So a setting of -6dB means that the compressor starts to act when the signal is 6dB below its 0dB mark. (A signal above 0dB will cause clipping.)


Knee

Use the knee knob to control how the compressor behaves while the input signal passes the threshold. The lower the setting, the more gradual the transition from compressed to uncompressed, which can make the compression sound more natural. A harder knee means a harsher transition.

The compressor’s knee setting controls the rate at which compression is applied just as the attack setting controls the speed.


Ratio

The ratio setting determines how much the compressor affects the signal – how much its reduced in volume. The ration 2:1 for instance means that for every decibel the signal goes above the threshold setting it is reduced by a factor of two. So if a signal goes 1dB over the threshold setting its output will only be 0.5dB louder.


Attack

Use the attack knob to control the attack time – how quickly the compressor kicks in to reduce the volume of the audio. The attack is measured in milliseconds, so the lower the set number, the faster the attack.

A slow attack makes instruments sound more natural. A fast attack will quickly control transients like a harsh guitar pick sound, but overuse can mean that the punch of a track gets lost.


Release

Release is the opposite of attack. Use the release knob to control how long it takes the compressor to continue affecting the audio after it’s dropped back below the threshold setting, and get the audio back to the normal volume.

Like the attack, the release is defined in milliseconds. The lower the number, the faster the release time. It’s sometimes referred to as decay.


Gain

Use the gain knob to adjust the level of the signal going out of the compressor.

Adding compression usually reduces the overall level of the sound – you use the gain control to raise the level back to where it was before as it went in. This is often referred to as ‘output gain’ or ‘make-up gain’. It’s listed in decibels (dB).


That’s the very basics of compressor parameters. The best way to get accustomed to each parameter is to experiment with each instrument you have on your track to get familiar with how the parameters affect the audio. Have a play around and you might begin to see the potential of compressor parameters, and notice the difference it makes to your producing.

How old is too old to start learning a musical instrument?

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Isn’t it too late to learn a musical instrument once you’re an adult? That sounds like a convenient excuse…

Look, nobody said learning a musical instrument was easy. It demands an annoyingly high amount of focus and works your mind and muscles as hard as learning a TikTok dance routine to prove your youth. But does age make a difference when trying to learn a musical instrument?

Don’t be put off starting to learn a musical instrument as an adult, just because you didn’t as a kid and now feel like you’re too old to start. The biggest challenge for adults starting to learn a musical instrument is self-motivation, because learning any new skill from scratch requires great patience.

As an adult, no one’s going to force you to practise. With busy lives, it’s easy to make excuses and quickly forget the guilty feeling of skipping the daily practise sessions because nobody will notice (except the neighbours).

Adults are so used to pressure to do the best they can, whether that be in work or personal lives, that this can hold them back from throwing themselves fully into the task, scared of failing or embarrassed at the thought of being overheard struggling to improve. Yes, it will probably sound horrible to begin with, but everyone has to start somewhere.

There’s the freedom of being able to approach the instrument in a creative way, not restricted by school-like lessons, learning whichever songs and style of music most appeal. The independence of adulthood also offers the freedom to learn whatever instrument takes your fancy, from the banjo to the sousaphone.

(Can’t afford an instrument? Carve yourself one out of a spud.)

There are numerous advantages to learning music after childhood. Adults tend to take a more pragmatic, organised approach to tackling the new challenge – seeing the wider picture, learning the theory, history of the instrument, watching endless YouTube tutorials and performances.

The biggest factor for success is putting in the practise time and working hard at the instrument. A workout for your brain, although it’s true some instruments are considered easier to learn than others. Structure offered by taking music lessons might help – again, being an independent adult means they can go in any direction desired, there’s no right way to learn.

Doesn’t mastering anything new become impossible past puberty as the brain ages? Apparently not. Studies into starting to learn music at an early age “provide little support for a sensitive period for music” and little evidence that “early training has a specific, causal effect on later performance and achievement.”

Besides, learning music is good for your brain. Monitoring a group of over-60 year-olds taking up music lessons saw gains in memory planning ability, and other cognitive functions, compared with those who had not received lessons.

So the answer is, it’s never too late to start learning to play a musical instrument. You’re only as old as you feel.