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The desire is there..I was gifted a second hand violin..and beautiful Yamaha guitar…but piano is possessive over my time …


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I whiled away part of the darkest days of the pandemic by picking up violin again (I had been dabbling with viola for years), even getting a friend of mine started with playing violin by Zoom, since he wasn't able to do in-person lessons until his quarantine lifted. Turned out that he is very talented, and the local teacher he has now says that I didn't ruin him, which I'm rather proud of. laugh


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Funny you bring this up …the piano IS the other instrument for me!

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I should expand on that…

Totally enjoying playing Bill Evans transcriptions and Bach’s wtc on the grand piano that came back home during covid. Piano is wonderful.

During this covid pause in engagements for us pro players, I also grabbed my violin off the wall and have learned it. This violin has been in my family a hundred years. The other day had fun playing a very difficult study that my auntie played in 1936, complete with dated instructor notes, on the very same violin she used. Too fun.

So even if you are old, like me at 66, you can learn a new instrument!

Last edited by CaseyVancouver; 07/04/21 09:23 PM.
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Originally Posted by CaseyVancouver
Funny you bring this up …the piano IS the other instrument for me!

Same. I started violin first and enjoy playing it as I do piano.

OP you will be enriched musically by playing two instruments even if you don’t master either at a high level.

I don’t think piano will suffer from learning a second instrument but it’s a question of how much time & energy you have.

Hire one and try it for a while.

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Sometimes when I’m not feeling classical music, I play bass guitar along with my favorite rock and metal songs. In a former life, I wanted to be a rock star, so I learned electric guitar, bass guitar, and drum set (which was actually my first instrument I learned, before ever starting piano). I also enjoy choral singing, though I don’t have the voice to be a rock or metal singer, haha!

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Actually piano is also my "second" instrument, although it is the only one I've been playing for the last 7 years.

My first platonic instrument is the pipe organ. I've never studied it but maybe sometime in the future i'll try it. It is the only one instrument that would make me put the piano aside. Pedalboard technique is scary though, and possibly my back and joints could not endure the necessary long hours of practice from scratch to master it. It would be awful if i get the pedalboard and all the equipment just to realize that my body is no able to learn it. That's the main reason i don't try it.

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Piano is my first instrument and still my main passion, but I just started violin as well. Had 1 lesson with a teacher (the plan is to have 1 lesson every 2 weeks going forward) and I'm enjoying it. I'm still in the "this is crazy hard!" phase. Been practicing playing 1 octave of the A major scale and I'm light years away from making it sound bearable to the ear :-) (let alone in key)


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Originally Posted by Ubu
Last couple of weeks I've been fighting against a strong impulse to start playing cello.

I’m one step ahead of you: I got the cello! I even had a few months of lessons a few decades back. I adore the instrument and regularly have the urge to learn. So far I’m being held back by the need for lessons (not possible at the moment), but above all, time: at the moment that time spent at the piano is paying dividends and splitting it between two instruments would mean going nowhere on either. So personally, I’m not ready.

But one day I shall get there! Beyond the sound and feel of the cello, I love how much more sociable than the piano. And it is a little more portable…

I did get to early intermediate level on classical guitar at another time when I had no access to a piano, but didn’t love it enough to keep it up.

I think you should give into the urge, at least so that you can think about it in more practical terms. It might even become your main instrument!

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As a student, spending that kind of money makes me reconsider whenever I think of taking up another instrument. I'd rather spend that money on my next piano lesson anyway if I'm borrowing from my future! Although I do plan to learn guitar someday. And maybe the violin. I know I'll be the most annoying student ever lol, pestering the teacher to teach me everything in one lesson! I'm sure my experience with the piano would help though. If there was an instrument in front of me, I can't resist trying it out. I did play Happy Birthday on a violin before :P

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Originally Posted by CodySean
Originally Posted by Animisha
When I was fifteen, I had guitar lessons (extremely bad and uninspiring ones) for about a year, and I remember my hurting fingertips and how eventually I got calluses on them, losing sensitivity. I would never want that to happen again, so all string instruments are a no-no for me.

the calluses are a badge of honor, you should have embraced them! When I started playing more lead stuff and bending and sliding like crazy, those calluses were an absolute necessity. Same with playing most open chords on an acoustic...

Musical instruments are not the only things I want to touch. So I say thank you, but no thank you to this badge of honor, and keep my sensitivity.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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I had the impulse to pick up a second one for a long time and I finally gave in and got a guitar. The way I see it doesn’t take away from my piano study at all. Being an adult learner I know when I’m done with piano for the day and the fact that I played guitar for a few minutes didn’t shorten that time if anything it has me playing more. When I’m done with piano for the day or after I had a beer or two and fingers don’t work on piano I love messing around with the guitar for a bit. I’m just using a book and an app. If I stick with it for a while I may take a lesson for it. I say go for it and get that cello it’s not an awful idea and I don’t think you’re over it. That impulse will come and back and you asked here so sounds like you’re still thinking of it. laugh laugh laugh

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Originally Posted by Ubu
Last couple of weeks I've been fighting against a strong impulse to start playing cello. I guess I've been playing piano now for long enough to feel it's becoming boring. Or maybe is the necessity of playing something that has a more direct contact with the strings. Anyway taking cello now would be an awful idea, and fortunately i think I'm over it. But it has been a really agitated couple of weeks with this cello caprice. Probably from time to time you can not avoid having some curiosity for trying new things. Does it happen to more people?


You make it sound like a bad thing and that you're cheating on piano. It's perfectly normal and acceptable to want to learn another instrument. I've played violin on the side on and off for a few years and it's actually strengthened my love for piano. The reason for wanting to learn violin is that I like the finer control/nuance of individual notes.


There is a big difference between knowing something and being good at executing. One is conscious, the other is subconscious, and the path to the subconscious does not usually lead through the conscious.
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I practice a keyboard, not piano. I have enough sound effects not to get bored playing. For church hymns I can switch to the organ sound.

Do we need a second instrument? In my school days my music teacher told the Strings (violin, viola, cello & bass) students if we want to continue our music education we'd need piano up to a certain grade. This means piano as a 2nd instrument. If it's already the first instrument, no need to drop it since a piano can reproduce the sound of an orchestra with 2 hands.

The 2nd instrument is good for making recordings. You can record yourself on piano and then on a 2nd instrument and combine them as a duet. Otherwise there is enough piano pieces available online to last a lifetime. Always finding new & exciting pieces to play.

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Yes, and piano isn't even my first instrument!

I played sax as a kid (through high school).

I took up upright bass in high school, majored in music in college but had to switch out when the RSI problems hit, still play bass (electric and upright) today as a hobby.

I got halfway decent at guitar at one point, but lost interest in a while back, don't do much but noodle on it.

Took up piano about a decade ago, still lots of work to do. smile

Recently bought a lap steel guitar just to have some fun with, nothing major, but that's my "new" instrument post-piano right now.

No intension of learning anything else at this point, but who knows?!

Last edited by TheophilusCarter; 07/11/21 06:40 AM.

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Before i start playing piano I played viola.
Every instruments has its own strengths and weaknesses.
You can do many things on viola that you can not do on piano.


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I started piano when I was six, but since there was no way to do it as my elective in middle school, I picked up cello in sixth grade to be in orchestra. My piano helped me a lot, and after a year I got a scholarship for private lessons (we didn't have much money, so I would have had to choose). In high school I decided cello was my main instrument (I loved playing in orchestra and in chamber music) and I even took a semester off from piano. But towards the end of high school I realised that I missed the fact that as a pianist there is a ton of solo music available, whereas as a cellist you are pretty much always playing a part, and that there's not that much interesting music for cello solo, other than the Bach suites (there are a few other amazing works for cello solo, like the Kodály, but none appealed to me at the time).

And so, when I graduated high school, I dropped cello (it was a lot to do both, and I had other interests, like filmmaking, coding, language).

I don't regret it, exactly, but I have missed it. And so, when I decided to take a year off of work last December, I decided that I would also pick up cello again (24 years after my decision to quit). It is nice to be able to pick it up after 20 years. I am loving it. I'm optimistic that I can manage well enough to play in an amateur orchestra and maybe find a string quartet to play in at some point, if I choose to keep on it. It's amazing how familiar it feels, and yet I can now revisit it with a lot of the progress I made in college in understanding music intellectually as a pianist.

I'm also enjoying recording myself on cello or piano and then accompanying myself — something I'd never done before. It's very interesting to try to anticipate your future self, or play along with your past self, and I think that gives me a slightly different view into the music than I've ever had before. I recommend it, at least for fun.

So, @Ubu, the only reason not to do it is because time and money are finite and you are making tradeoffs. And only you can know what those tradeoffs are. But the upside is nice, and I'm fairly certain that the second half of my life (if I'm blessed with a long one) will be filled with the Bach cello suites, even if I don't end up making the time commitment to join an orchestra.

Being a pianist will give you a serious shortcut into learning cello — after a year of study you would certainly be much farther along than you would have been if you'd done a few years of cello as your only instrument.

You mention a weak left wrist holding you back — I'm curious about this. I've never found problems with my left wrist while playing cello, and I don't remember hearing anyone complain about it. I feel like piano is much harder on the wrists than cello, though there are techniques (like Arrau) that do a lot to mitigate that.

And for the back — well, one thing I've found: with piano I've never found it possible to maintain good posture and if I practice a whole day it does start to give me some trouble. But with cello, you pretty much have to maintain good posture, it's a key part of how you hold the instrument.

Last edited by Jun-Dai; 07/13/21 11:16 AM.
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Quote
Probably from time to time you can not avoid having some curiosity for trying new things. Does it happen to more people?

There was a moment in high school that I thought I should learn all the instruments. I had an independent music study class with the orchestra teacher, and in addition to composition she helped me learn the basic mechanics of a violin, trumpet, french horn — but I never took it further than that. I do sometimes fantasise about an alternate life where I did learn all the instruments of the orchestra. I suppose that's a fairly extreme version of what you're describing — a combination of curiosity and completism that I've always struggled with.

And when I left work, some of my colleagues pitched in to give me an oud, as I'd enjoyed listening to it so much during all my trips to Jordan for work (half-flats ftw!). I've been picking at it a bit — it's such a pain to tune! — and I would really love to take it further, but I don't want to distract too much from my focus on piano, cello, and composing. And other things. As ever, I still have too many interests to give any of them the focus they deserve, but in my mid-life I've finally made a bit of peace with that. I'm just the sort of person who will always have a bunch of interests, and a basket of unlived fantasies of what it would be like to pick one and drop all the others.

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Jun-Dai

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I do. And it is truly a need, in contract with others who objected against the notion.

What is a need? It's a lack of something, that you yearn to have. It's wanting something out of a desire to gain something missing. We're not talking basic needs in terms of Buddhist or stoicism way of life; in that sense, the piano itself is not a need, not a basic one. Hence, I feel the need to play other instruments and I have already tried a few of them. I started with the harmonica, could not get fulfilled. Then I bought a guitar, again did not feel fulfilled. Admittedly I never reached beyond a beginner level for each of those, to feel the joy of playing them. Still, the desire to switch itself, speaks of the need that one instrument alone cannot fulfill.

Then I bought a piano. At that point, I felt like I was going nowhere with the constant switch of instruments so I struck a deal with myself to keep learning piano no matter what.
However, in the process, again the desire came back, and I bought a recorder. Now among the different instruments that I have, I wish to stick with the piano and the recorder as my second instrument. However, I haven't made a determined effort at the recorder yet. I may start that today.

The intimacy, and the ability to sustain and control dynamics and the many many articulations on a recorder, feels great. And that aspect is missing when I practice my (digital) piano. So I believe it's a need in that regard, because something is missing.

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