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Picking up a second instrument (after piano). #1231938
07/15/09 12:03 PM
07/15/09 12:03 PM
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marimorimo Offline OP
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I only have a couple of months of piano lessons under my belt, but after discovering the joy of making music, I'm starting to be interested in other instruments as well. So I'm thinking of picking up a second instrument some time in the future. But there are so many beautiful instruments out there it's hard to choose! Here's a list of my candidates:

1) Violin :
the instrument I've always admired second to the piano. But I hear it's very hard to learn. You have to find and create the right notes, unlike with the piano where all the notes are already there. It might be doubly hard for me because I don't have a very good ear and am slightly tone deaf blush But if I had unlimited time and resources, I'd definitely pick up the violin!

2) Guitar :
there are lots of guitar shops and guitar players in my country. Guitars can be bought quite cheap. If I pick this up, I'll be leaning heavily towards classical or acoustic (what's the difference between the two?). I see a lot of music written for guitar, which is also an advantage.

3) Banduria /Ukulele/ mandolin :
I just like how small they are compared to a guitar grin And I feel they're more unique because guitars are everywhere!

4) Flute :
I haven't heard music played with flute that captured my heart (admittedly, I haven't heard a lot of music played in flute either!). What attracts me is how portable this instrument is. It's quite frustrating that I can't bring my digital piano with me to practice during the weekends! EDIT: saw some youtube videos and am now impressed with the tonal possibilities of flute.

5) Harp :
I absolutely love the sound of this instrument, but I think it's too big and heavy. And it's probably hard to get a teacher around here.


I won't be taking up another instrument this early in my piano studies, but I want to let the idea simmer for a while. Piano will probably always be my main instrument, so a secondary instrument will probably only get 30 minutes or so of practice in a day. Do you think a non-musical person like me can reasonably pick up a 2nd instrument?

Btw, I have no intentions of playing in an ensemble. Just solo.

Any advice/suggestions appreciated smile Are there other people playing other instruments around here?


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Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: marimorimo] #1231940
07/15/09 12:05 PM
07/15/09 12:05 PM
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I play guitar as well as the piano. Self-taught and pretty bad at it, but it taught me a lot about improvisation and some chord structures so I can sit at the piano and play without the sheet music I usually learn from.

Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: marimorimo] #1231961
07/15/09 12:29 PM
07/15/09 12:29 PM
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Boira Offline
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Originally Posted by marimorimo

5) Harp :
I absolutely love the sound of this instrument, but I think it's too big and heavy. And it's probably hard to get a teacher around here.


I LOVE the sound of the harp. Unfortunately, it's really difficult to find a teacher in Barcelona, and the few available have very limited schedules.

Violin is in a league of its own. I wish I would have taken lessons as a child. Now, my neck bones wouldn't allow me to try to learn to play it.

Violin or harp would be my instruments of choice, were I given the opportunity.

Instead, I'm playing gralla, a typical folk Meditettanean instrument. It's the oboe's medieval precursor. I don't like it that much, but the Governement's Department of Traditional Culture pays for the lessons, the instrument and the rehearsal room.

Everything to play anything... *sighs*

Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: Boira] #1232004
07/15/09 01:57 PM
07/15/09 01:57 PM
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Ages ago I played the clarinet, but without frequent practice I lost the ability to form the embouchure. The same is probably true of any woodwind or brass instrument.

I do play the banjo, and can fake the dobro (tuned very similar to the banjo). I know a few chords on the mandolin. The attraction of another instrument is the portability. You just can't take a piano with you on vacation.

A very popular instrument now is the ukulele. Only four strings, easy to play, and it doesn't require calluses on the fingertips like the mandolin.

So many instruments, so little time.

Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: Sam S] #1232013
07/15/09 02:07 PM
07/15/09 02:07 PM
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I have a hammered dulcimer, which is a shade more portable than a full-sized harp or a full-sized keyboard, but less so than a penny whistle laugh There are folk harps which are smaller than a full-sized harp that would be fun.

Cathy


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Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: jotur] #1232044
07/15/09 02:56 PM
07/15/09 02:56 PM
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Marimimora, not my field of expertise, but it seems to me you probably do need some time to focus on one instrument before moving on to the next (similar to studying foreign languages) but sure it is fun to think of learning other instruments. Probably comes down to what interests you the most.

What are peoples' thoughts on the xylophone? I never hear it mentioned much but that would be my choice.

Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: nan] #1232060
07/15/09 03:16 PM
07/15/09 03:16 PM
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Something to consider is that as you progress in piano, you will need more practice time. Once you get to advanced levels, you'll be looking at at least 2 hours per day. I don't know about the other instruments in your list, but I do know about singing, and my time is quite divided maintaining two instruments at an advanced level. I love them both so there's no way short of a debilitating accident that I'd quit one or the other, but I often envy those who just focus on one. I'm not telling you not to do it, but just make sure you can devote the time needed to do both well.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: Morodiene] #1232111
07/15/09 05:03 PM
07/15/09 05:03 PM
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I agree with Morodiene.
I have begun the piano a little bit more than one year ago without any musical background and, despite every advice, I've recently picked up the violin too (today was my 2nd lesson).So far it doesn't take too much of my time and it is quite fun !

However, the main issue is how you will manage your time. If you think you can add another practice time without cutting on your piano, go for it.

Concerning the difficulty of the instrument, it will surely take several years but keep your motivation :p

I hope that you have a budget for the extra teacher and for buying a violin (it is quite expensive - for the time being, I'm renting one).

I don't really know the other instruments but you don't seem really into them with the exception of the harp but the violin is much more portable (and you'll have more chances to find a teacher) !

Last edited by AlexDreamer; 07/15/09 05:04 PM.

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Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: jotur] #1232194
07/15/09 08:21 PM
07/15/09 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jotur
more portable than a full-sized harp or a full-sized keyboard, but less so than a penny whistle laugh


I keep a pennywhistle in my backpack, and play it when I need to wait around for public transit or appointments or whatever. Also nice to take out into nature. It's hard to beat for portability.

I also mess around with various sizes of recorder, and recently picked up my first Irish flute (unkeyed). But I've always loved the sound of flutey things, so piano is actually the aberration for me. I started playing it again because I wanted to learn more about chords and harmony.


Please step aside. You're standing in your own way.
Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: AlexDreamer] #1232212
07/15/09 08:50 PM
07/15/09 08:50 PM
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Thanks so much for the advice smile Certainly, I am not going to pick up another instrument at this point. I already had experience studying 2 languages at the same time in college and I agree the results weren't too pretty. The 2 languages messed up my head, and in the end, I ended up progressing much more in Japanese than my major, Spanish! However, I have a feeling that if I learned one or the other when I have built a reasonable intermediate-level foundation in one, I may have done better. This is what I'm planning to do when I do start on another instrument. My goal for piano is up to advanced level, but I'd probably be satisfied at a decent intermediate level for a second instrument.

It would still take a while, but want to think about it earlier so I'll be better prepared. I'm pretty good at budgeting so I can make sure that I can afford the lessons. But what surprised me is how expensive even starter instruments are! I thought since they were smaller than the piano, they'd be a lot cheaper. Cost-wise, I'm leaning towards classical guitar because there are so many guitar makers around here so the cost is relatively low. That'll make it easier to get my feet wet.

After researching a bit, I found out that I quite like all these instruments (they all have their particular charm). If only one had unlimited time, talent, and resources! tired


nan : The xylophone sounds interesting too! And the starter metal xylophones sell for cheap around here. I may look more into it.

Last edited by marimorimo; 07/15/09 08:58 PM.

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Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: marimorimo] #1232245
07/15/09 10:23 PM
07/15/09 10:23 PM
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You asked what was the difference between classical and acoustic guitar. Acoustic (as opposed to electric) guitars used for folk and pop music have steel strings and are mostly played with a pick. while classical acoustic guitars have nylon strings and are played with the fingers. Fingernails are a big deal to classical guitarists. My piano teacher's first instrument is the classical guitar, and he came in one day with a kind of a fake fingernail glued on because he had broken one and couldn't play his guitar without it.


Piano self teaching on and off from 2002-2008. Took piano instruction from Nov 2008- Feb 2011. Took guitar instruction Feb 2011-Jul 2013. Can't play either. Living, breathing proof some people aren't cut out to make music.
Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: FormerFF] #1232312
07/16/09 02:27 AM
07/16/09 02:27 AM
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To me having a second instrument is great. I am on my second year of flute playing and love it. When I get tired when practising the flute I sit down and practice a moment at the piano, and vice versa. And the best thing is that there are many more opportunities to play with others in ensebles and similar, wich I find is really a lot of fun and a motivation booster.

As for price, there are good beginner flutes that are not too expensive. I would recommend Yamahaa, which has a good reputation. But ask a teacher, or experienced player to help you. (By the way, I did not follow that advice myself, but instead bought a flute (a good choice fortunately) and then called the local music school looking for a teacher. I got a response from a terrific teacher. Well, at my very first recitial, as the only adult student, my teacher introduced me by telling about how I just a few moths ago had called and said that I have bought a flute and now need help to learn how to play it. blush )

Sorry, Now I got side tracked. smile You can also rent an instrument until you are sure you will continue playing.

I would say that if you choose violin you need to be prepared to be patient, really patient. It takes a lot of work to make the violin sound good, but if you stick to it I assume it is a beutiful instrument. I won two free violin lessons once at a student recitial, and it was great fun to try.


Nothing is accomplished without enthusiasm. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: FormerFF] #1232314
07/16/09 02:35 AM
07/16/09 02:35 AM
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marimorimo Offline OP
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Thanks for the info, FormerFF! What a shame. I was thinking classical guitar might be a good choice, but then I read that classical guitarists need to keep their nails long and constantly care for them. I'm a girl and would need to be doing housework like washing dishes/cooking, and getting my hands wet would be detrimental to fingernails frown Oh well, maybe it's time to consider flute....or should I dare try the violin?? grin

Basia: Nice to hear from someone playing both flute and piano! Can I ask what are the similarities between both instruments (though they are very diff. from each other!) and what makes learning flute easy/hard? Also, how much does a good beginner flute cost?

Last edited by marimorimo; 07/16/09 03:39 AM.

Working on: Schumann Album for the Young, Clementi Op 36 No. 1 (all movements), Various Bach, Czerny 599
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Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: marimorimo] #1232331
07/16/09 04:34 AM
07/16/09 04:34 AM
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Oh, what a difficult question, Marimorimo! Let's see...

Flute is portable, which is great. The large difference between piano and flute, I think, is that piano is a chord instrument. That is, you play several notes at a time at the piano, and just a single note at a time at the flute. This means that flute usually sounds best if you have some kind accompainment, or if you play duetts for example.

A super plus with the flute is that you do not move around the hands in the same way as on a piano, and consequently the fingering is so much easier to learn. Sightreading is a lot easier!

I cannot sing at all, and the flute is an excellent substitute. I feel I can express music differently then on a piano, have a different control of the tone. Flute is a more personal instrument to me.

The piano is on the other hand excellent when it comes to help us understand theory and to visualise music. There is almost no limit for what you can do musically on a piano, after a lot of study at least. wink

About learning. It is much easier to self-teach piano then flute. No matter if you wish to continue with lessons or not, it's a good idea to have a good teacher help you out at the beginning.

Don't worry if you can't get a sound the first time you try. whistle It is all about blowing so that the air hits the hole (exactly!) at the right spot. According to me, the basics are easy to learn, but then you can work for ages trying to improve the sound. You'll practise breathing correctly so that you have good air support, practise adjusting embrouchre (how to shape the lips when blowing) so that you get a better tone and so that you can adjust the pitch so that you can stay in tune when playing with others. On flute small details can make a big difference in sound.

The things that you have learnt on the piano will make learning any new instrument easier. For example rythm and general music reading.

Flute can be used in different music styles such as classical and jazz, so it should not be a problem if you would like to try something new sometime.

Here is nice site with plenty of flute information for all levels:
http://www.jennifercluff.com/articles.htm

I think there are other (more experienced?) flute players around here, so please correct me if you have additional information.


Nothing is accomplished without enthusiasm. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: Sam S] #1232333
07/16/09 04:38 AM
07/16/09 04:38 AM
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Barcelona
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Originally Posted by Sam Smith
The attraction of another instrument is the portability. You just can't take a piano with you on vacation.


My thoughts exactly!


PS: ¿Hablas español, Marimorimo? smile

Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: Boira] #1232346
07/16/09 06:27 AM
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Thank you so much for that informative post, Basia! One thing that concerns me about flutes and violins is if they'll sound good solo (I don't know of any musicians who will accompany me and I have no intention of playing in an ensemble). Though I did see a youtube video of an extremely good solo flute player and it totally blew my mind. I can't sing at all, too! That's why I'm trying to uncover some musicality by trying out instruments blush

I was also wishing for something more portable unlike the piano.... if I can't make up my mind, I just might end up with a recorder or a penny whistle myself! grin


Originally Posted by Boira

PS: ¿Hablas español, Marimorimo? smile


No..ya no hablo español blush He olvidado todo... Pero lo entiendo un poco.

Perdona los errores.

Last edited by marimorimo; 07/16/09 06:50 AM.

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Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: marimorimo] #1232351
07/16/09 07:10 AM
07/16/09 07:10 AM
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Barcelona
Boira Offline
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Originally Posted by marimorimo


No..ya no hablo español blush He olvidado todo... Pero lo entiendo un poco.

Perdona los errores.


Hey, that's pretty pretty good! thumb


Back on topic,
Celtic Harp is also a good option or even Cello. Not as portable as a violin or flute, but still easier to carry with you than a piano.

Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: Boira] #1232365
07/16/09 07:56 AM
07/16/09 07:56 AM
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The saxophone.
Pick-up an alto, which is probably the easiest to play. It's very portable, about the size of a violin case.
The clarinet is a good portable option also, but in my opinion, the alto is easier to play. And the sound more hip.
If you haven't played them before, they are very challenging. Good tone production is key.
The downside is that these instruments are expensive.

If you want to play solo with no accompaniment of any kind, then the guitar is probably your only serious option.

As far as ultimate portability, the chromatic harmonica is good also. But I warn you, it's a very difficult instrument to play. You don't use your hands except for the one button on the side. So finding notes can be quite tricky.

I think you'll be surprised at how difficult these instruments are, compared to the piano (except the guitar).
Have fun!


Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: knotty] #1232418
07/16/09 11:17 AM
07/16/09 11:17 AM
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Hm, most of the intruments will sound more interesting with some kind of accompaniment. I agree with Knotty about the guitar.

However, you can always record your own accompaniment om piano since you play it. And there is much sheet music that includes a cd with background music in case you want it. I wouldn't worry too much about it, since you will likely find people to play with if you notice you want to later.

Is there a possibility you could try some different instruments out (with someone showing you how)? I think you should choose by your heart, and consider in what context you would like to play one day. After all, you will be spending a lot of time listening to yourself practising.

Now I'm getting curious about what the end result will be! grin Have fun!


Nothing is accomplished without enthusiasm. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Picking up a second instrument (after piano). [Re: marimorimo] #1232419
07/16/09 11:25 AM
07/16/09 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by marimorimo
I only have a couple of months of piano lessons under my belt, but after discovering the joy of making music, I'm starting to be interested in other instruments as well. So I'm thinking of picking up a second instrument some time in the future. But there are so many beautiful instruments out there it's hard to choose! Here's a list of my candidates:

1) Violin :
the instrument I've always admired second to the piano. But I hear it's very hard to learn. You have to find and create the right notes, unlike with the piano where all the notes are already there. It might be doubly hard for me because I don't have a very good ear and am slightly tone deaf blush But if I had unlimited time and resources, I'd definitely pick up the violin!

2) Guitar :
there are lots of guitar shops and guitar players in my country. Guitars can be bought quite cheap. If I pick this up, I'll be leaning heavily towards classical or acoustic (what's the difference between the two?). I see a lot of music written for guitar, which is also an advantage.

3) Banduria /Ukulele/ mandolin :
I just like how small they are compared to a guitar grin And I feel they're more unique because guitars are everywhere!

4) Flute :
I haven't heard music played with flute that captured my heart (admittedly, I haven't heard a lot of music played in flute either!). What attracts me is how portable this instrument is. It's quite frustrating that I can't bring my digital piano with me to practice during the weekends! EDIT: saw some youtube videos and am now impressed with the tonal possibilities of flute.

5) Harp :
I absolutely love the sound of this instrument, but I think it's too big and heavy. And it's probably hard to get a teacher around here.


I won't be taking up another instrument this early in my piano studies, but I want to let the idea simmer for a while. Piano will probably always be my main instrument, so a secondary instrument will probably only get 30 minutes or so of practice in a day. Do you think a non-musical person like me can reasonably pick up a 2nd instrument?

Btw, I have no intentions of playing in an ensemble. Just solo.

Any advice/suggestions appreciated smile Are there other people playing other instruments around here?


I vote for guitar. It's portable, easy to learn, especially with the right teacher, if you like to sing, it's great for that and most of the sheet music you buy for songs has guitar/piano/voice.

There's also a very neat feature at musicnotes.com, where you get 2 free software programs to read and listen to the sheet music you buy. You get something called Guitar Guru, which gives you a graphic of the guitar playing the music. Not to mention all the guitar lessons on Utube etc..

I took a guitar class at the junior college with my daughter and the teacher is phenomenal. He has taught us riffs, songs, theory, a classical piece, finger-picking, strumming, all in a few weeks.

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