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#655120 - 06/18/02 05:34 PM Pianists learning a second instrument
Roxane Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 932
The thread "Is the violin hard to learn?" has prompted me to ask what other instruments might pianists play?

After 10 years of piano instruction, I decided to learn the classical guitar alongside my piano lessons, but found it too difficult to juggle the demands of keeping the nails on my right hand long enough for playing the guitar, yet short enough so as not to click on the piano keyboard. I eventually gave up my guitar lessons after 4 years and have continued only with my piano.

However, I would dearly love to play another instrument, and have thought seriously for a numer of years about learning a stringed instrument, as that would really train my intonation. I should add I am not too keen on woodwind or brass (anything that I have to use breath control). At the moment, I am debating between the violin and the cello. I tend towards the former, but I am afraid the initial years with a violin might drive my long-suffering husband insane with poor pitched high-frequency scratching sounds.

I would like to hear from pianists out there with experiences of learning a second instrument. Or anyone with information to share about playing a violin vs cello.

#655121 - 06/18/02 08:59 PM Re: Pianists learning a second instrument
Marquis de Posa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/02
Posts: 157
Loc: New York
I actually took guitar for six months when I was fifteen. I didn't stay with it; it turns out that my real love was for the piano.

I'm auditioning for voice next semester, though. I'm definitely going to try as much as possible to stick with voice, because I have just realized that I love singing, I do love opera, and my wildest dreams involve me singing the part of Mario Cavaradossi from Tosca at the Met.

#655122 - 06/19/02 01:53 AM Re: Pianists learning a second instrument
StanSteel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 646
Loc: Los Angeles
Yamaha makes silent violins to practice with headphones. It is also an instrument I would like to learn, and I am thinking about getting one of those digital ones. First though I need the advice of a violin teacher. If it is ok to learn on a digital violin then I'm going for it!

I took a few guitar lessons as a kid, until I realized there is indeed something incompatible between the guitar and the piano.
I also learned how to play the recorder in middle school. I love that instrument. So simple, so versatile. Produces very nice melodies at almost no cost.
"War does not determine who is right; only who is left."

#655123 - 06/19/02 06:00 PM Re: Pianists learning a second instrument
okat47 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/01
Posts: 193
Loc: Canada
I've played the trombone for 7 years, and almost decided to major in it at University. I really enjoy it because I get to play in groups more often than I would playing the piano. It also has a great sound, however the repertoire is not so great. I took violin lessons, but it's so hard to get a nice sound. I also studied organ for a year (it's hard!). I think once you've taken piano it's easy to branch out into other areas because the piano is so difficult. It's almost a relief to only be responsible for one line of music.

Roxane, I would vote for cello. It's tone is very beautiful and not nearly as scratchy as a violin. It's kind of like the trombone of the string family... sort of.

#655124 - 06/19/02 07:32 PM Re: Pianists learning a second instrument
SR Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/12/01
Posts: 718
Loc: Los Angeles
As a music major there are very few instruments I didn't play. Most very badly with the exception of my major, French Horn. You should consider how much time you are willing to devote and what is your goal. Since you have specified neither I'll take a guess. I assume you are a fairly accomplished pianist and can play for pleasure or at xmas parties or recitals. I will also assume you have always played solo piano and have seldom if ever had the pleasure of playing with others.

If I were you I'd want to do that when picking up a new instrument. Whats the point of another solo instrument ? But, I wouldn't want some instrument that was so difficult (violin) that I'd have to spend 2 hours a day for years to become mediocre. I'd choose an instrument I could learn quickly (not master, but become profficient) and become good enough to play with community band or orchestra or chamber music group. If I had a group to rehearse and perform with I would realize I was greatly enhancing my musical experience. I'd choose clarinet myself. A good instrument is only a couple hundred bucks and they are fairly easy to learn without putting huge demands on breath control as do brass instruments. They also are very welcome in all ensembles from Symphonic to Dixieland jazz to marching band.

In my case I went the other direction and started playing with orchestras and bands and have now migrated to the solo life of a pianist.

See how easy your problem was to solve ? ;\)



#655125 - 06/20/02 01:29 AM Re: Pianists learning a second instrument
StanSteel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 646
Loc: Los Angeles
Doesn't the clarinet hurt your thumb because of that metal hook thingy. Plus you have to chew that other wooden thing before you play...
"War does not determine who is right; only who is left."

#655126 - 08/26/02 10:37 AM Re: Pianists learning a second instrument
Pianorak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/02
Posts: 101
Loc: UK
Roxane:[/b] <>

StanSteel:[/b] <>

Yipee!!!! Having invested in a rather expensive concert guitar I too found that guitar and piano are indeed incompatible. With the above "support" I can now safely dump the guitar and stop feeling guilty.

#655127 - 08/26/02 02:32 PM Re: Pianists learning a second instrument
The D's Pianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/01
Posts: 624
Loc: Southwestern Oregon
Well, I started out singing when I was three, then when I was four I started piano. I find that my strength is with voice, though I also consider myself to be good for my age at the piano. I attempted, when I was in sixth grade, to play flute, and I enjoyed it very much, once I learned the level of pressure it requires and the form of the mouth to make a good sound. I eventually dropped out of band, unfortunately, because the teachers kept changing and there really was no aim.
I also ventured into guitar for a little while, but found that I would play it so much that I would blister and callous my left fingers and my right thumb (which I would use to strum a lot), and I didn't want to jeopardize my performance in piano, so I quit that.
So I am a loner with voice and piano for now, but I DO want to pursue violin or perhaps oboe, because they both have this haunting sound. Especially the oboe. At one of my cousins' wedding this Summer, the music was played by an oboist, and there were times when I would close my eyes and I could see a human sounding identically to what the oboe sounded like. It was truly a remarkable experience. Of course the woman has been playing for most of her life and has the position of oboe professor at a music institute, so I don't suppose I'd reach for quite some time the sublime state she has reached. Oh well.
So there's my thoughts on the branching out thing... hope they helped to some extent... \:\)
Benjamin Francis
(I just changed my sig., so no grief, yeah?)
Sofia Gilmson regarding Bach:
"Bach didn't write the subject; he wrote the fugue."

#655128 - 08/26/02 11:12 PM Re: Pianists learning a second instrument
ChemicalGrl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/03/01
Posts: 643
Loc: Durham, North Carolina
I'll have to admit - the first instrument I ever wanted to learn was the violin. Even signed up for violin lessons at the elementary school I went to (this was before Prop. 13, when the schools actually had decent music programs) ... but on the day I was supposed to have started, we moved from Long Beach to San Diego, my father had transferred duty stations yet again.

So then piano it was for me, and I've been quite happy with it. I tried to pick up the classical guitar when I was a freshman in college, but I just couldn't stick with it. Realised I didn't really have the talent (or the patience!) for it.

And now that all of my college education is completed, I've picked up music again. Took some voice lessons, hoping to continue with that, but for now I'm engaged in learning how to play the organ (and for those who are interested, there is a sort of mini-journal of my adventures in organ lessons in the Organ forum). Yes, it does seem difficult at first to pick up the organ, will be having my second lesson tomorrow evening and we'll be starting on pedalling technique. There are quite a few difference between piano technique and organ technique, but I'm certainly open to the challenge. I guess it kind of helps that I just love the majestic sound from a good pipe organ and am very keen to be able to make music on such an instrument.
Lyn F.


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