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Thread: Thinking of starting a new instrument, but I don't know which one

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    Default Thinking of starting a new instrument, but I don't know which one

    Hello! I've been playing piano for around 11 years now, but I've been itching to learn another instrument, but sadly, as a student, I only have time (and probably money) for one more. I already have a full-size violin but I haven't played that since I was around 6 (and I only played for a couple of years). I might still know the basics of that, but I'm extremely rusty.
    Two years ago I played bassoon with my school band everyday, but sadly I had to drop band the next year, so I haven't played that in a while. I did really enjoy it, but I don't have a bassoon.
    I also have an acoustic guitar at my house that I can use, although the extent of my guitar knowledge are two chords.

    However, I'm open to pretty much any suggestions. I'd actually really prefer an instrument that is more of a challenge but that I can readily find music to practice. And any instruments you think are the most fun are also good.

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    This is really a decision that no one here can help you with.

    All instruments are (roughly) equally difficult to master - they all have their easy attributes, and their incredibly tricky ones. Plus, you can find music for almost anything on the internet nowadays, especially with IMSLP.

    Of course, you may be constrained by price, so getting a flute is going to be more rational than getting a harp, but you really just need to think hard about what you think is the most fun; which instruments you tend to focus on when listening to music; which instrument you would love to play.

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    Senior Member Couchie's Avatar
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    Price could be an issue, but if I were to take up a second instrument (I also play piano) it would unquestionably be the cello. Probably the most gorgeous, expressive instrument of all of them. Well, with the possible exception of the Erhu (could make for a fun, exotic second instrument as well, could be more difficult finding a teacher):


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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    I suggest you choose a second instrument based on what you can afford, in descending order of instruments you enjoy hearing. For example, I would consider cello, lute, guitar, clarinet, viola, English horn...

    and given my 'financial liquidity' would end up with a guitar (which I already know is out of my talent range; they are all out of my talent range).
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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    Take up singing. It's very cheap and possible if you have a shred of a voice. Also it can be combined with the playing.

    All instruments are (roughly) equally difficult to master
    Incorrect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasa View Post
    Incorrect.
    Assuming that by "all instruments" I was talking about all standard orchestral instruments, tell my why (but don't give me anything facetious like the triangle!).

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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    There are instruments that take more time to study. Just ask around in a conservatory how many hours they put in. Even within the orchestra, strings take more time then the rest, French Horn and Bassoon are notably more difficult than their family members.

    And not to forget how the piano, guitar, harp and orgue take a lot more time then any other simply because they're polyphonic, and within those piano and guitar take more because of the touch issues.

    Singers practice a lot less then anyone else (also due to physical limitations).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasa View Post
    There are instruments that take more time to study. Just ask around in a conservatory how many hours they put in. Even within the orchestra, strings take more time then the rest, French Horn and Bassoon are notably more difficult than their family members.

    And not to forget how the piano, guitar, harp and orgue take a lot more time then any other simply because they're polyphonic, and within those piano and guitar take more because of the touch issues.
    The time necessary to reach a moderate level of proficiency on these instruments probably does vary considerably, but wouldn't you say that it would take the same kind of time to reach a technical mastery in each to be good enough for a concert outing?

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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    From what I can see, you're ready to start learning two right away as you have them sitting right in your house...even then, that leaves another you don't own that you're probably ready to jump on as you played it a year already...there are never too many instruments one can play; whether you play them well or not depends on you.

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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polednice View Post
    The time necessary to reach a moderate level of proficiency on these instruments probably does vary considerably, but wouldn't you say that it would take the same kind of time to reach a technical mastery in each to be good enough for a concert outing?
    No. How is that possible if you just said that there's a difference in time until proficient?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasa View Post
    No. How is that possible if you just said that there's a difference in time until proficient?
    I'm talking about a difference between being Grade 5 standard and being able to play a concerto.

    I can quite easily imagine that, for example, getting to Grade 5 on the flute would be an easier (and quicker) task than getting to the same level on the piano. However, in virtuosic music where instruments and instrumentalists are pushed to their limit, there are aspects of technical mastery that take years to perfect, and it is when you get into this region that I think it breaks down, and you can no longer say that one instrument is inherently easier than another.

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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    No, instruments are still easier then others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polednice View Post
    I'm talking about a difference between being Grade 5 standard and being able to play a concerto.

    I can quite easily imagine that, for example, getting to Grade 5 on the flute would be an easier (and quicker) task than getting to the same level on the piano. However, in virtuosic music where instruments and instrumentalists are pushed to their limit, there are aspects of technical mastery that take years to perfect, and it is when you get into this region that I think it breaks down, and you can no longer say that one instrument is inherently easier than another.
    You describe the principle of diminishing returns; it's just as valid in this application as in the usual one. There is a 'rate of acquisition' difference between the skill envisioned in the old advertisement "They laughed when I sat down at the piano" and "I've been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasa View Post
    No, instruments are still easier then others.
    Oh. Thanks.

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    Senior Member Klavierspieler's Avatar
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    Perhaps we should get back on topic now.

    I would say stick with the violin, you already have the instrument and, although very rusty, you still have some slight experience on it.

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