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A Question about learning a second instrument

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A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby SOS Musician » Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:20 am

Hey all,

Got a somewhat personnel question to ask. Recently I had gotten an expensive keyboard workstation bought by my parents for me as a gift. I don't really feel the love of me playing keyboard even though I have a good keyboard right now. I don't hate playing the keyboard but it isn't exactly the instrument I have a passion for, really. I was thinking of taking up on the bass. I have been tossing and turning about whether I should play piano and bass guitar together or just stick with keyboard. I made an "agreement" with my parents that I would practice classical piano until I am done grade 10 classical piano.

So the question is, should I start to play bass along with piano (until I'm done grade 10 classical piano) or should I just stick with playing piano? I don't want to leave that expensive keyboard to not being used that much after I'm done grade 10 classical piano but also want to play bass guitar as a main instrument and maybe even become extremely good with playing bass guitar. I was talking about it with a couple of my friends and they told me to just get really good with one instrument, otherwise you will just be average with both instruments.

I hope you understand what I'm trying to get at here, really tired right now.

Thank you.
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby DC-Choppah » Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:15 am

You are very young. You will have music with you your whole life. There is no wrong answer here. You will grow musically no matter which you choose. It is not so serious of a question.

Lots of bass lines are played on keyboard. If you feel drawn to the bass, then learn how to play the bass line with your bass OR with the keyboard. Just different means to the same end. So those piano lesson will pay off I assure you. My wife always reminds me .... 'The bass player is the coolest guy in the band'.
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby BJG145 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:28 am

If you want an instrument, buy it. Simples.

Don't plan. Just play.
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby The Elf » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:33 am

There are many secrets of music that can be unlocked by a good grounding in keyboard, so don't dismiss it lightly, but if bass makes you want to bounce around the room then do it! Nothing is more likely to kill musical ambition than boredom.
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby BJG145 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:40 am

One friend of mine got grade 8 guitar when they were a kid but never touch an nstrument these days.mseems such a waste.

Would definitely agree with studying piano and playing whatever you like.
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby Dave B » Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:35 am

Bass is a fun instrument to play. I'm a keyboard player by nature, (poor) guitarist by choice and find myself regularly picking up the bass to keep my fingers going. Once you get to a certain proficiency in any instrument, the theory is needed and a lot of the time, theory is taught on piano anyway.

So yes... buy a bass as well as learn piano - you'll find it easier to start transitioning to guitar later as you'll have some fretboard skills and the theory to back it up.
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby Folderol » Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:38 am

Play both. Swap between them. Keyboard ability is always a good background and usually easiest to interpret dots on paper to.
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:02 am

I guarantee that if you continue to play music, especially if you write/arrange songs, even if you stick to bass, there will be a moment when you say to yourself "hmmm, that might sound great with a bit of keys behind it". ANd if you've ditched your keyboard you will kick yourself.
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby CS70 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:22 am

Guess it's not helpful - but it's really a personal thing. I have multi-instrumentalist friends who are very proficient in both keys and guitar, and can play groovy bass lines one moment and a good riff on a Gibson right after. Most of them in a pinch can also produce a passable if basic drum line.

Further, you have the ones which keep things separated - they've learnt the bass vocabulary, the guitar vocabulary and the keyboard vocabulary and stick to them for each instruments; other where you can hear that the keyboard approach influences the guitar playing - typically in improvisation but also in comping approach and the kind of sound they favor (very sustained, lots of layered effects etc).

Then there's me - all I wanted and can do is play the guitar and sing, and I decided early on that having a fixed amount of time, I'd rather use it only one instrument. I'd like to have some basics on the keyboard and I even went on to buy a midi keyboard but it's just piling up dust. If I pick up a bass and play, it sounds like I'm playing guitar; and while my timing skills are pretty good, I'd be lost if I were sitting at a drum kit.

Among "famous" people, there's good examples of both, perhaps (just my impression) with the numbers larger on the one-instrument side. Van Halen comes to mind..

So I'd say just follow your guts. There's nothing right or wrong with mastering one instrument or mastering five. What's not so great is to master none. :) The latter, I guess, just takes more time and effort, but in the end above all you must *like* the instrument and its sound and what you can do with it.
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby CS70 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:23 am

Huge Longjohns wrote:I guarantee that if you continue to play music, especially if you write/arrange songs, even if you stick to bass, there will be a moment when you say to yourself "hmmm, that might sound great with a bit of keys behind it". ANd if you've ditched your keyboard you will kick yourself.

Ah! But that's what that keyboard player pal is for! :lol:
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:01 am

Yup, do both, the bass for fun, excitement and really wild things and the keys for knowledge and 'cos later on (when you get into jazz or whatever) you'll regret not doing it.
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby Stef Andrews » Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:50 am

I'm a guitarist. I was a very good guitarist. I then stopped practicing and now I'm just a good guitarist. When i was 14 I started to learn piano. I was clearly not going to be at the same level player as I was on guitar, but I was impatient, wanted to play all the fun stuff but didn't want to put the hours into the practice that I had (and still did) with my guitar.

Cutting to the chase, my theory isn't brilliant (if i'm being positive!) and my piano playing is non-existent (can anyone say "Let it be", badly). I thoroughly regret it. And now I just don't have the time to learn piano properly (and I don't have a piano...)

Go learn another instrument. Go learn five other instruments if you want. But remember you'll always start at the bottom. practice is how you got good at your first instrument, it's how you'll get good at the next one.

There is no such thing as being able to play too many instruments. Ever.
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby _ Six _ » Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:26 am

If it's classical that's getting you down why not convince your parents to let you learn jazz? It's just as challenging and possibly more rewarding if you're that way inclined.

I play guitar, drums, bass, a bit of keys and can sing to a high standard. Keys helped most from a theoretical standpoint. I've tried learning alto sax but just can't get a note out of the thing!

The more musical skills the better, in my opinion. Do you want to be a musician or just an instrumentalist? Don't restrict yourself to one toy or one particular style.. They're all cool in their own right .....and it's a great skill set to have in a band.
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby Dave B » Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:29 pm

Re: classical piano. To quote Rick Wakeman, it is handy thing to study as it gives you a broad vocabulary and the chops to be able to use it. You will find yourself learning to play some excellent pieces over time and even if you end up as a funked out bass player, you'll still find them rewarding.

Many moons ago, I used to (briefly) have piano lessons from a guy who was an amazing blues/boogie woogie player. His speciality was 17year old girls (down boys). They would learn all the grades (we only go to grade 8 here in the UK) and then get bored and tell their mothers that they wanted to stop. Cue frantic phone calls to Nick as he advertised that he could keep them interested - by teaching them the basics of blues (12 bar and pentatonic) and improvisation. This isn't on the grade curriculum, but IS the fun side of learning an instrument and opens up your whole world, and these girls all had the (classically trained) chops and sight reading skills to learn it all quickly. And enjoy it. Finally all the hard work paid off.

So don't get too hung up on the classical side - find some composers that you like and stick with them. If you like order and patterns, then Bach is wonderfully logical music. Beethoven is pure passion. Mozart is if you're a smarty pants. Etc.

:)
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby The Red Bladder » Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:38 pm

Do you want to become a professional musician?

YES? Then you will need both. The days of playing one instrument in an orchestra for a monthly wage were over decades ago. All the professional musicians I know can play several instruments and not just two! Learn to bang out a tune on anything and everything from flute to penny whistle.

And don't just do classical!!! The market for pure classical music is microscopic! If it was not for massive subsidies in just about every country, it would be dead by now! Learn EVERY type of music!

And don't just cover playing - do composition, lyric writing, orchestration, the lot!

NO?

If it's just going to be a hobby, then do whatever gives you the most pleasure (though I have never heard of anybody doing music grades for pleasure!)
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:39 pm

If you have no immediate need of this "Expensive keyboard workstation" you might as well sell it while it still has value. "Workstation" stuff is far better done on a computer anyway.
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:46 pm

Maybe not to grade 10 (where are you, not UK?), but keyboard is the most useful music learning and composing instrument of them all. Even composers who use another main instrument would kick most people's asses on keys. Best of all (for learning) is music. Plus, if you do a decent music degree you'll probably need ABRSM Grade 6 on keys to get in anyway!
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby Richard Graham » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:11 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:If you have no immediate need of this "Expensive keyboard workstation" you might as well sell it while it still has value. "Workstation" stuff is far better done on a computer anyway.

Have a heart, Wombat! It was a present from his parents! And if he wants to learn piano, he will need a piano-style keyboard to practise on.

It has got 88 piano-weighted keys, right?
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby SOS Musician » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:54 pm

Richard Graham wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:If you have no immediate need of this "Expensive keyboard workstation" you might as well sell it while it still has value. "Workstation" stuff is far better done on a computer anyway.

Have a heart, Wombat! It was a present from his parents! And if he wants to learn piano, he will need a piano-style keyboard to practise on.

It has got 88 piano-weighted keys, right?

Thanks for the input guys, I will continue to do bass and piano. Who knows, I might become a pro at both! And yes, It has 88 piano-weighted keys.
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Re: A Question about learning a second instrument

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:10 pm

Good luck SOS, and try to play with as many other musos as possible.
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