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meghdad Offline OP
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Where to start...

I started with the harmonica around 10 years ago, and tossed it aside after about one year of practice, in favor of the guitar. Pretty much the same story with the guitar which led to buying a DP and now after about one year, I'm inclined to learn the recorder, in a more serious way than what's common with children.
It seems I can never make up my mind.

With each of those instruments, I find some aspects to be their plus points, while having some minus points. For example, the piano has great flexibility in the note combinations, while lacking in expression and techniques such as vibrato, which is one major ability of wind instruments; Or portability, that is the advantage of all those instruments over the piano, on the other hand, the piano can be played completely solo without any jamalong. Plus, most style of music can be adapted to the piano.

I know that, two major factors contribute to this state of confusion and diminished interest. One is that, having a mid-range DP and not a true acoustic piano, and being low on budget in a third-world country, I would hardly be able to afford the real thing, if ever.Whereas, other above-mentioned instruments are very easier to afford. Next, it seems to me that at the age of 34, it's going to take a long time for me to step up my level such that I can enjoy the experience, compared to the recorder which is arguably a simpler instrument to learn and master. That said, I know that I should enjoy the journey, rather than get lost in the thoughts of destination...

Also I've found that I like the feel of playing wind instruments better than the string instruments (more soothing/fulfilling), but the recorder's limiting factors mentioned above, kind of hinders me to switch over. Besides, even though I'm supposedly still at beginner-intermediate level, nevertheless I have put quite some time into learning the piano, in addition to the cost of equipment and teachers.

I've been in such a state since a month ago, and almost everyday my mind juggles between the two instruments.

Have you been there? Should I suppress this constant desire to hop between instruments? Or is this just normal experience until one can find his/her favorite instrument?

P.S I don't see myself learning the two at the same time, given my age and usual life business.

Last edited by meghdad; 12/07/21 04:40 AM.
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I have gone through a lot of instruments over the years. Clarinet and recorder as a kid and young adult, then the bluegrass instruments - banjo, dobro, and a little fiddle. But when I restarted on piano that was it. Nothing is as satisfying as harmony on a piano. And the piano is self-sufficient. No other instrument is needed to make it complete. I accompany my wife on clarinet, and she agrees. The two together are greater than either alone, but solo clarinet is not as satisfying as solo piano.

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Sometimes I wish I didn't love the piano so much. Because there are many instruments that would be easier to play. Like Sam said in another thread, his partner can sightread a piece, he needs to practise. Also, it would be so nice to play together with other people! But, it is the piano I love and no other instrument. So no, I have not been there.

Originally Posted by meghdad
Also I've found that I like the feel of playing wind instruments better than the string instruments (more soothing/fulfilling), but the recorder's limiting factors mentioned above, kind of hinders me to switch over.

In your case, I would switch to playing wind instruments. At your age, you still can become very good at them! And see your period of playing the piano as generally developing - for instance for your brain to learn to play two staffs at the same time.


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If I were to choose a different instrument today I would go with saxophone. I like the sonority and it's a great solo instrument. The main disadvantage of wind instruments is that you can't sing at the same time (not that I would ever want to wink ).

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It doesn't have to be either/or. The recorder is *way* easier to learn than the piano, and you could do both. I taught myself to play the recorder when I was 11 (using the Trapp Family Singers instruction book). I played both soprano and alto and got pretty good at it, though I later switched to the flute (for that you really do need lessons).

Obviously I play the piano too or I wouldn't be here. I actually think it benefits both instruments to have experience with playing a solo line (or singing), as well as the harmonic richness of the piano.


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Originally Posted by Sam S
I have gone through a lot of instruments over the years. Clarinet and recorder as a kid and young adult, then the bluegrass instruments - banjo, dobro, and a little fiddle. But when I restarted on piano that was it. Nothing is as satisfying as harmony on a piano. And the piano is self-sufficient. No other instrument is needed to make it complete. I accompany my wife on clarinet, and she agrees. The two together are greater than either alone, but solo clarinet is not as satisfying as solo piano.

Sam
I wholeheartedly agree with this. I began my music life playing on a two tier Lowry organ when I was 6 years old until maybe 12 years of age. I also took 4 years of clarinet lessons in high school and got good enough to be a first clarinetist in our high school concert band. My parents purchased a baby grand when I was 13 years of age and that was it for me. Neither the organ nor clarinet could match the piano's sonority and grandeur. We essentially have an entire orchestra at our fingertips! What other instrument save the venerable pipe organ could match the music making ability and flexibility of the piano- an instrument that responds to the touch of all of our ten fingers. It's matchless.


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Originally Posted by meghdad
Have you been there? Should I suppress this constant desire to hop between instruments? Or is this just normal experience until one can find his/her favorite instrument?

One thing you need to give serious consideration to ....

It is entirely possible (probable ?) that you enjoy the early stages of learning a new instrument.

That is a time period when you make huge leaps of progress and it is just wonderful.

Later on .... improvement comes more slowly and only with a higher level of effort and and repetitive practice sessions. There seems to be no end to it.

You begin to feel like you are getting nowhere.

That is when you decide to "try something else".

And ON and ON it goes ....

Very common occurence.

Last edited by dmd; 12/07/21 03:48 PM.

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Going from 1 instrument to the next doesn't mean giving up the first instrument completely. I learned violin many years ago and still playing it with a music group. In my school days, my music teacher used to say if we want to get somewhere in music, we have to get into piano playing as a first or second instrument because we can play complex arrangements that we couldn't do with a violin, flute or clarinet.

We can focus on specific instruments and not completely lose the others we learned along the way.

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Originally Posted by dmd
It is entirely possible (probable ?) that you enjoy the early stages of learning a new instrument.

If that's what you love, then, why not? It is like taking introductory foreign language courses.
Of course it is unlikely that you would ever develop any proficiency at any of them, but if you're not seeking proficiency, then there's no problem. You choose to have knowledge that is miles wide and inches deep rather than deep knowledge in a single area.

Suit yourself!


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Life is short, try them all.

I do not say this to be facetious. Sometimes it takes a lot of experimentation to find "your" instrument. Your tastes and interests can change over time also. I have played a number of instruments over the years - from piano as a child (which, at that time, most definitely did not feel like "my" instrument), to classical guitar, oboe for many years, recorder, clarinet. Now for the last several years I am back to the piano and, to my own surprise, completely obsessed with it. Each has had its pluses and minuses, and I believe that each has contributed something to my sense of musicianship. Now the piano most definitely feels like me, and that feeling has not wavered at all, only grown stronger.

Trying to suppress the interest in trying a new instrument will only cause you to resent the old one. Let yourself experiment. Good luck to you! smile

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I'd say if you're planning to play with others, you might want to rethink the recorder. It has serious limitations. As Qazedcft suggests, the saxophone might be a great choice for you. It's relatively easy to play and it's very versatile. On the other hand, if you're going to be playing mainly by yourself,
learning piano, in my opinion, will give you the most satisfaction.


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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by meghdad
Have you been there? Should I suppress this constant desire to hop between instruments? Or is this just normal experience until one can find his/her favorite instrument?

One thing you need to give serious consideration to ....

It is entirely possible (probable ?) that you enjoy the early stages of learning a new instrument.

That is a time period when you make huge leaps of progress and it is just wonderful.

Later on .... improvement comes more slowly and only with a higher level of effort and and repetitive practice sessions. There seems to be no end to it.

You begin to feel like you are getting nowhere.

That is when you decide to "try something else".

And ON and ON it goes ....

Very common occurence.

I also had that thought. Early learning shows quick progress. Then it gets harder, and slower, and frustrating.

If you want to play expressively, think about how hard/easy that would be, on recorder. You p!ay louder, the instrument goes sharp. As a violinist said to me:

... "Playing the piano is easy -- you press a key, and a note comes out. "


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I would disagree with the comment on digital pianos. I practice on a digital piano and really they are excellent now so it's no longer a disadvantage. You don't need to have an expensive piano to play well. Its a very bad reason to stop piano. A really strange thought tbh that I've never heard of before. A good pianist can make magic from all sorts of piano. I see plenty who spend money on grand pianos and they can't play them. Better to pay for lessons.

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I'm also not sure the recorder is easier to master. wind instruments are difficult to make a nice sound from. Especially a recorder where you can change the sound by even blowing harder or softer. A recorder player has to learn various recorders. The advanced music is mostly baroque. It's not like piano with loads of pieces and textures You could try it but Im not sure what the appeal is. It's better to learn an instrument where you could join an orchestra with. I think you'd get bored quickly.

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Originally Posted by Moo :)
I'm also not sure the recorder is easier to master. wind instruments are difficult to make a nice sound from. Especially a recorder where you can change the sound by even blowing harder or softer. A recorder player has to learn various recorders. The advanced music is mostly baroque. It's not like piano with loads of pieces and textures You could try it but Im not sure what the appeal is. It's better to learn an instrument where you could join an orchestra with. I think you'd get bored quickly.


This instantly reminded me of this. wink


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meghdad Offline OP
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First of all, thank you everybody for the replies.


It's recorder music like this that intrigues me a lot. The old-time medieval and baroque esque music:





As simple as some of them might sound, it feels very intimate to me. Also to me the sound is in general reminiscent of something distantly unknown and pleasing. Probably something to do with my childhood experience that I can't put my finger on. Saxophone doesn't bring out such feelings in me.

Regarding the DP comment, I would say you might actually be correct, and it might be an excuse from my subconscious mind. Nevertheless, the experience is lacking in one way or another. You may laugh, but even those subtle vibrations coming out of natural acoustic instruments makes a big difference.

@dmd: That's a good comment and one that has crossed my mind. According to stoics of old times, you will develop tolerance to any given pleasure and then it would feel dull after some time. This could be it, but I'm not sure.

So in general, there are two suggestions here so far. Either to stick solely to the piano, or to learn the two at the same time. Alas I don't have the time and energy for learning both. I would rather become pretty proficient at one instrument. Granted, I've been self-learning the recorder on and off using a method book, mostly simple folk melodies (still fun though), but beyond that I would probably need a teacher and dedicated practice.
I also agree with the comments about the joy of playing in a group, even though I'm mostly a loner by nature. It's also nice to have a portable instrument...

Sometimes I wonder if playing instruments is just my shallow hobby -a sporadic fun- and maybe I should not be pursuing it seriously...thus try not to make a big deal out of it. I dunno...

I'm gonna consult my teacher as well.

Last edited by meghdad; 12/08/21 02:59 AM.
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Originally Posted by meghdad
Regarding the DP comment, I would say you might actually be correct, and it might be an excuse from my subconscious mind. Nevertheless, the experience is lacking in one way or another. You may laugh, but even those subtle vibrations coming out of natural acoustic instruments makes a big difference.
I'm not going to laugh because I know exactly what you mean. They can say what they want about DPs - I have owned several and have played even high-end hybrids with a real mechanism - it's still WAY more satisfying to play a real grand piano. It doesn't compare to anything.

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Originally Posted by keystring
[quote=Moo :)]This instantly reminded me of this. wink

That was so funny. ­čĄú

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meghdad Offline OP
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I watched it yesterday. It's interesting that she refutes most of those points made by the violinist. Particularity the chord part came as a surprise to me.

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Might you be a Renaissance Man?

Some of us love learning more than just about anything. And, our histories show a long trail of seriously undertaken, but later abandoned intellectual conquests. The excitement each new adventure brings covers over the angst of the previous departure, making the trail of "been there-done thats" ok.

I have been that way. I've performed at very high levels in a number of endeavors, but not stayed at any of them for a long period of time. I don't have any serious regrets about it, as, I'm almost always engrossed in a new, fresh, rewarding adventure of one sort or another. My life has been rather unconventional compared to those around me, but, that's ok as convention didn't really suit me.

I'd suggest that you take a look back at your life (I know you're young. Still, 34 years provides a substantial history.) and consider whether you might be one who loves the learning more than you love the learned. And, you might also experience, as I have, a settling later in life, where my appreciation for the learned seems to be catching up to my appreciation for the learning. If you think this might describe you, I can tell you as someone a lot further down the line, that it works out just fine. Although I would never in my younger years have been comfortable with my current diminishing avocation levels and narrowing array of interests, I am comfortable with it now. For me, it's that time of life.

I hope this helps. Good luck to you.


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