The potential advantages of exploring several instruments at once and remaining unfocused
I’ve been away for a while (perhaps to the benefit of every member’s sanity) Mostly because of college, picking up new instruments and styles. Also, my password wasn’t working and I couldn’t be asked to change it lol. I just wanted to share my experience, and perhaps start a discussion about learning multiple instruments at once.
I know it seems I’ve gotten swept along wherever the wind blows so to speak. It seemed like every month I was picking up a new instrument or musical style despite everyone’s advice. I feel like everyone saw it as too ambitious and crazy. I have to say there are times that even I see it that way, but I’ve found that there are benefits to this approach. At least for me. Putting down a new instrument can seem like it would damage my playing ability, and perhaps it has. However, I often find that the knowledge I bring back to my original instrument that I studied in my time away from it imperative to my progression as a musician. As I studied classical guitar I’m slowly learning to focus my hearing on base lines and the subtle harmonic shifts. As I studied banjo I learned to sync my singing voice with my playing and improve my rhythm in the process. Reading music, technique focus, slowing my internal rhythm and practicing slowing recordings in my head (though I have yet to master or even truly practice this one) are all skills (or ideas) I’ve picked up by putting down my whistle for a while.
I will admit that there are certain instruments that I like more than others, but I never find myself regretting the time I spent with them as I can always come back with new tools, techniques, and approaches for progression. If I feel like I hit a wall, I step away. Give my brain time to process what I learned. Really think long and hard about the practice methods that work for me.
Another thing everyone recommended to me was lessons. Now, for most people you can’t go wrong with a good lesson, but for me at this stage in my life, I can’t focus long enough to really practice the way teachers want me to. I can’t turn it on when I need to. I have to want to. Is this beneficial? I don’t know yet, but if I had to say, I think it is for me personally.
In theory I think it should be possible to master many instruments through shared knowledge and crossover techniques. More tools to add to your toolbox is never a bad thing when it comes to creating.
I know I’m 19 and have A LOT to learn about myself and how the world works. There’s so much knowledge to study, and there’s always something to improve about my playing. I don’t know if I would recommend this method to beginners. Perhaps saying all this is detrimental to people who are just starting, but I feel like it’s an important conversation to have. Different things work for different people, and it’s only through experimenting with different methods that I’ve come to that conclusion.
I’d love to know all your thoughts on this. Can using different methods be beneficial? Is it possible to use the knowledge of many instruments and styles to master many instruments?
Thanks for reading another one of my ramblings. 🙂