Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

I’ve been learning the violin for almost a year with an exceptionally good teacher and friend of the family, and despite only learning it for only a year, I gave it up when I was about 11, and I’m now 15, and according to julian (my teacher) I’ve picked it up very quickly.
My mate said I should consider the accordian.

From your experience/s, is it too much hassle, or should I take up another instrument in the near future

(I already do ju jitsu twice a week aswell, but I could drop the one lesson)

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

Learning two instruments means your not
concentrating on the instrument of ”YOUR” choice.
jim…

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

I learned to play guitar for a few years before i moved to a second instrument. Then once I felt comfortable around it I chose to take a sort of sideways step and learn the mandolin. The two instruments were not altogether dissimilar so the transition was pretty straightforward. I then settled into a few years playing the mando, while not ignoring the guitar.

A couple of months ago I decided to take up the whistle and it is a move I have enjoyed in so many different ways.Did I do the right thing to take up these instruments? Well that’s a matter of opinion, but to my mind it was a good move.

In your instance I am not so sure the choice is so clear cut. You are still new to the violin and I note that you walked away from it once before. Moving to another instrument now could easily act as a sabotage on your violin. Also I notice that you haven’t indicated any great passion on your part to learn the accordion. Could I suggest maybe you need to sit down and reflect on whether you really want to learn violin. If the answer is "yes" then hold fire on the new instrument for a year or two at least. On the other hand if the answer is "no" then pack it away and go and get the instrument YOU want to play and not the one your mate suggests.

D

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

I wouldn’t advise taking up a second instrument before you have a good grasp of the first one.A year isn’t long to be learning the fiddle, even if you are picking it up quickly. I see too many young people who have a go at half a dozen different instruments at once, and consequently don’t reach a great standard on any of them.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

I think it’s best to get the hang of one instrument before starting another.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

I’d agree with F4, with a proviso - if you are asking the question perhaps you still need to try different instruments until you find the one that ‘speaks’ to you most. I had a go at playing most instruments associated with ITM but the fiddle…..now, that I’m love with. Did I choose it or did it choose me? Who knows.

Maybe you’ll be one those lucky enough to have the ability to play many intruments well, whatever, enjoy the music and best of luck to you.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

I’d agree with all the advice above. Chances are you’ll have plateau periods when youre not making substantial progress at the fiddle. These are the times you dont need the distraction of a different set of problems associated with another instrument. Youve got plenty of time on your hands, many people on this site have taken up instruments in their fifties!

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

I play two instruments - fiddle and ocarina. I took up the fiddle because I love it, and I took up the ocarina (which fits in my pocket) because I figured I spend enough time waiting for buses that I might as well use the time learning to play music. But as soon as I’m in the same room as the fiddle and have a choice between instruments, the fiddle wins, every time. But that’s fine with me, as I plan to become ok at playing the ocarina, and I plan to become really good at playing the fiddle.

The question, then, is, if you took up a second instrument, would you have the time and the motivation to give each one enough attention to become as proficient as you want to be? How quickly do you want to progress on fiddle? On accordion? Are you impatient? Welshman has it right: which instrument calls to you?

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

I have been playing the fiddle for almost four years now and I started to play the box (B/C) four months ago and I never regretted it for one moment. I only practice on the box at the weekends, because I don’t want to neglect my fiddle playing. Everyone keeps commenting how fast I learn on both instruments, so I don’t think it is a bad thing to learn them both. I even think the second instrument is easier.
I think the only person who really can tell you what to do is yourself. Maybe you can rent a box like I did and find out if it "speaks" to you. If it does, go for it. And please don’t put yourself under pressure if things don’t work out fast. Music is supposed to be fun.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

I think you should do what you want. It depends upon what level of playing you want to achieve. Many people play more than one instrument, one well and another. I’ve seen people at sessions I attend pick up different instruments and do very well. One of our regulars plays the mandolin and the whistle. Another has shown up with a mandolin and a guitar.

And, if you are a prodigy - you can do well at different instruments. Many famous composers play piano as well violin, etc.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

Each instrument you play will teach you something new about the music: some new aspect of rythym or melody that’s easier to see from that new perspective. Do you want to be a virtuoso? stick to one. Do you want to explore and enjoy the music? check out more instruments. All this with the proviso that if you screw around on a lot of instruments to the detriment of all of them, then you’re just a dilettante. My opinion is to play enough to learn from them and few enough that you can go beyond the superficial.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

In ITM there are as many people who play only one instrument as there are who play more than one. You can’t take anyone else’s word for whether it will be a "hassle" for you.

Why are you playing the violin? Is it for the instrument, for the music, for family approval, or for the cute girl sittting in the front row who doesn’t spot you in that endless ocean of budding violinists?

Maybe all of the above. But boil this down to: You’re making an effort, so you need to feel like the rewards are going to be worth it. Keep that in your plans and take as long a view of it as a 15-year-old can. Rewards increase the longer you dedicate yourself to mastering something.

Being capricious (prone to quick and whimsical change) and experimenting are a huge part of being 15. It should be normal for you to get it into your head, at any given moment, to start and stop any number of pursuits. If that is the case today, you should know the answer tomorrow or a week from now. Good luck!

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

My kids played more than one instrument when they were 15. Still do, and are pretty good at them.
I’m teaching a 4 year old and 7 year old to play guitar and fiddle. But I have to tell the parents to not say it’s hard, the little tykes don’t know that it’s hard!
My husband is one of those folks that can play multiple instruments as well. I really just stick to fiddle, viola, and some guitar. I’ve tried the mandolin, but really, really suck at it.
I’ve also seen kids pushed on more than one instrument, and they don’t really master any of them, just mediocre on all. "Jack of all trades, master of none" kind of thing.
For some, it’s easier, for others, not so much. Do what your heart is telling you to do.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

just do and take things as they happen, thats what i say. learn what you want to learn. not what people on here say to learn, or trying to learn something for the sake of it.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

hmm there is a saying about chasing two rabbits, you end up catching none! Saying that , your young, so try as many instruments as you can to see what you enjoy.
If you enjoy the fiddle , keep it up. But whatever you do dont give up the 2nd Jits lesson!!!!

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

It can be. But you do have to do it either, unless you are MAD (Musically acquisitive disorder, the victims of this disorder are compelled to acquire musical knowledge by experience at every opportunity, it can be non fatal, depends on your spouse).

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Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

I’m 16 years old myself and I play a number of instruments, and up until last year I had always at least a few years with one instrument before learning a new one. Last year however, it had been three or four years since I’d started a new instrument, and I picked up both the bouzouki and the wooden flute. After I got them, they were pretty much all I played for months, but after a while I kinda found a balance between everything. Once, that happened, I discovered that flute was quickly becoming my favourite instrument to play the instrument I was best at. So, I probably play that one most of all, while I still really enjoy the flexibilty to play other things whenever I want to.

The moral of the story?? Well, I’m not exactly sure. I actually agree with pretty much all the commenrts and advice that have previously been posted. I think it’s possible to play more than one instrument and to become very good at all of them (don’t learn a dozen at one time), I believe that it is probably best to really get the hang of one instrument first, and to only go and learn the other stuff (and this goes for anything in music including you 1st instrument) if you truly believe you can, if you truly want to expand you horizons by doing so, and if you truly love the music you are playing.
Thanks,
Dan

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

The only thought I would add to everything above is that for my musical enjoyment, I love to be able to pick up my other instrument (or stand up and dance sean-nós) after playing so long with the first. It brings a new wind to my session experience or home playing.

Feedback is great and important. Then you should listen to your own heart and move forward from there.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

I picked guitar back up after 37 years to play ITM. It is very seductive for me to want to play the mandolin, the octave mandolin and the fiddle. I have tried all three and the idea of learing another few instruments is seductive because I found I could play them to a certain degree, a stringed instrument is a stringed instrument. But, I have decided that I should get very competent on my guitar before I get serious about other instruments. It’s easy to get good enough to get by, but I’d rather play one instrument really well. Plus, I think that if I get really good on the guitar, it will be easier to get good on a second or third instrument. Just my opionion!

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

When I was 15 (not that long ago!) i was learning 5 instruments: fiddle, viola, piano, organ and saxophone.

I wouldn’t recommend 5, it was a bit too much but a couple of instruments is perfectly manageable on top of school and other activities. You learn to strike a balance between everything.

You’ll know if you’ve taken on too much and can adjust what you’re doing to make life easier. Go for it and best of luck :)

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

I agree with 100% Celtic Guitar.
I’m a guitarist now for 30 years and although I’ve dabbled in a few other instruments I’ve gotten to the point where I realize that there is plenty left to learn about guitar. My practice time for guitar is precious as I am striving to attain an advanced level of play… I’m a parent and of course work full time so to seriously learning another instrument would cut into my guitar practice time (between an hour and an hour and a half every night). I have a mandolin and do play it sometimes for fun but I NEVER let it cut into my guitar time.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

in folk music, it is completely possible to play more than one instrument very well. perhaps you are stronger in one, but you can certainly play a couple very well. however, i would urge that the way to proceed is to stick with one until you get your chops, if not up to absolute, stone-wizardry level, at least, to the point where you sound very good, and have fluency as well as fluidity, albeit at a relaxed speed, before you start the next one. you don’t need to be playing super-fast, but i urge that you need fuency, fluidity, swing, & some expressiveness…..why? because, to get that far, you have to have learned very good musicianship, plus enough about how the genre you are studying is "supposed" to sound and how to achieve that sound. once you are at that point, you can learn a second instrument to a nice standard as well. if you haven’t reached those minimum thresholds of musicianship, trying to do two is going to hurty you as a musician….that is my two cents.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

To answer the question: Yes! How about trying to teach yourself an instrument? Try picking up a 4-string instrument like banjo or mandolin. They’re tuned just like fiddles. Most fiddlers I know play multiple string instruments. I would have to include myself in this category as well. It really gives you a different perspective on the music when you play other instruments. It has improved my musicianship tremendously. I think everyone should learn at least one "melody" and one "backing" instrument. Knowing the tunes and knowing the chords makes you a better musician. You can tell the guitarist what key a tune is in, etc. When you know the tunes, you know some of the twists and turns some of them have and can accurately back. Don’t you hate it when that bad chord is played through a whole tune? Ah! My guitar playing friend picked up whistle last year and now knows a fair amount of tunes. His backing has improved immensely. He "gets it" now. Playing multiple instruments can also be an advantage when playing gigs. It can really change the feel of tune sets when you switch the instruments up. It can also make you more desirable. I know I have been asked to play one instrument over another due to whatever the gig demanded. I may have been asked to play bouzouki one night and then banjo or whistle the entire next night. In a session setting, you could have 5 musicians on one instrument and none or one on another. Would you like to be the 6th person playing guitar? It’s really only been advantageous for me to be a multi-instrumentalist short of carrying around more instruments. ;)

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Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

Greetings, fellow jujitsuka:
You have no bio entries, so I "know" nothing about you. I will, perhaps redundant to the above helpful contributions, express a few basic generalities.
It IS more difficult to "chase two rabbits" with a reasonable hope of catching both, dependant of course upon your personal definiton of "caught" (novice, accomplished amateur, mastery, etc.). What you seek should clearly guide how you pursue it.
I you ride two horses, you will frequently find that they occasionally take divergent paths, and this can work against you. All ITM instruments are not, I think quite arguably, played in the same manner, and each has a different set of skills in interpretation. Tough to really assimilate both at the same time, I should think.
It seems fairly logical to acquire a degree of expertise in one area of ITM before taking up another, if for no other reason than to have a good perspective for examining the second. I will get "all Zen" now (Taoist, actually):

If you know hot, you will understand cold.
If you know hard, you will understand soft.
If you know good, you will understand the bodhran.

[Strike that last one, I hoped to share your first bodhran joke. ;-)]

I think you should also talk to someone of experience who knows YOU (parent? relative? your sensei?), and see what they think your nature may recommend. But, in the end, remember that no one can tell you if you are gaining satisfaction from any pursuit, and no one can ever tell you when you are having fun.
Good luck, and do not give up any mat time in jujitsu.
Hajime!

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Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

The answer to the original question depends entirely on how many hands and mouths you have.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

depends if one (or both) of them is bodhran.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

I’m learning several instruments (fiddle/violin, whistle, ocarina, guitar, uillean pipes, piano, viola, cello, bass, clarinet, flute, trumpet, and others) and I’m only two years older than you, but I waited to get the hang of one before I added the next. Although I can pretty much sit down and play any type of music, and I’m majoring in Music Education, the disadvantage is that I’m not as good on any one instrument as I could be otherwise. It’s simply more difficult to put in the time for all of them.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

thanks ever so much to everyone so far. you’ve all given great advice

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

Great fiddle player John Carty came out with a CD on which he plays banjo called "I Will If I Can."

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Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

I’m and old fart. Oh to be 15 again….Not. The girls were all pretty and I could play any instrument I picked up. No focus though. And I am paying for it now. No focus. Spread too thing.. whatever

I play a bunch of instruments…and always preface with ‘sort of well’.

Focus on one insturment at a time and learn it.

I play professionally and several times a year I get crushed with gigs where I am playing different instruments at different places for different things. The quality isn’t there because you just don’t have the time to keep everything sharp.

Re: Is it worth learning more than 1 instrument at a time?

Music is about having fun. If playing multiple instruments contributes to your enjoyment, do it. There are no rules.