hey gang.   i'm thinking about taking a break from the piano (not from playing entirely, just from regular practicing)and using the time to work on my blues guitar chops.  i've been playing the piano for 9 1/2 years now, and the time i put into it has seriously limited my ability to learn anything else.  i don't have enough time to devote time to it and another instrument.  also, i've become a bit jaded and just want to start bending some notes.  has any one else done this kind of thing recently?

7, do you have any advice on taking up another instrument?  is there any way to develop on two instruments at once?
There are 17 comments, leave a comment.
i also get the feeling that if i was to devote an hour a day to each, i still wouldn't progress quickly enough, or at all.


you can take a break from piano and buy a synth, with a nice pitch bender :)
i play better solos than my guitarrist and it kills him.. lol!
i have to admit that i've been hankering to take some time out to get back to classical for a while. that could be because i found an excellent teacher last year and my technique improved. i'll be interested in the advice given here.
kai,

i have set the next three months (and the previous month) aside as a time to go back to my classical repertoire and really polish it up.  i have about 23 pieces, which i am going to try to memorize and polish, including chopin's fantasie impromptu and rachmaninoff's prelude in g minor.  these are all pieces i have learned at one time, but never felt i had really polished.  

i highly recommend doing this, if you are serious about maintaining your classical chops.  i have found over the last month that i have been able to improve my classical playing substantially.  i also have found that when i sit back down to play some jazz, i haven't lost anything.  in fact, it seems to me that i can come up with some fresher ideas now that i have been away from the jazz for a while.  i think it is always a good idea to break up your routine.

i have a lot clearer idea now of what i appreciate about classical and jazz music separately.  i find that the precision of the classical music is refreshing.  at the same time, i realize that my jazz playing has loosened me up a lot and i am able to get a lot more expression into my classical playing than i used to.

my plan is to do 3 months at a time concentrating on different styles.  first, its classical.  then i will be working on blues/boogies.  then i will work on my bebop.  then i plan on working on 'new age' style improvisations and smooth jazz.
i think that one of my main issues isn't that i'm afraid i'm going to lose my existing piano chops.  i just can't stand the thought that i won't be improving on the piano for a few months.  it's my main instrument (that and my voice) and it kills me to have to give it up for any period of time.
i may have been guided to some help by a higher power today...i was flipping through brother ray (rc's autobio), which i've read before.  next thing i knew, i found myself reading a passage where ray talked about how he always wondered if he could have done what tatum did at the piano if he had been able to devote all of his attention to playing the piano and jazz.  but he said that he just too devoted to singing, writing, arranging, and playing the sax to stick to one style or instrument. (it might help that ray is no slouch at the piano regardless). he also compares tatum to bird in terms of instrumental virtuosity.  

this has inspired me somewhat.  i know i'm not going to be the next tatum or a concert pianist.  that's just not going to happen.  so if i want to switch to guitar for a while, what's stopping me?  i'm planning on going into musicological research and teaching anyway so it's not like i'm putting a performance career at risk or anything.

the only thing holding me back is that i still don't feel i've mastered the piano enough yet to start woodshedding on another instrument.  it's like leaving it unfinished.
"i also get the feeling that if i was to devote an hour a day to each, i still wouldn't progress quickly enough, or at all. "

"i think that one of my main issues isn't that i'm afraid i'm going to lose my existing piano chops."
i can't imagine doing what you propose, diluting myself between two instruments. it sounds to me as if you are not all that serous about piano.
do you say diluting with regard to attempting to learn two instruments at once?  or taking up another instrument period?
also, i plead again for advice from 7, as he is (to my knowledge) the prominant multi instrumentalist on the site.
there is a difference between learning the technique and conventions of an instrument and learning music with a capital m.

(hopefully this will not turn into another slagging match about what it means to master an instrument and whether or not i can play.)

once you have grasped music (with a capital m), learning another instrument means simply understanding the mechanics of said instrument and understanding how its characteristics relate to arrangements and ensemble situations.

for instance, everybody plays the same scales and chords on every instrument, but each instrument approaches those tools from an entirely different point of view.

this means playing the piano the way a pianist plays piano, playing the sax the way a saxophonist plays sax and playing bass the way a bassist plays bass, etc.

what so often happens when an instrumentalist picks up a second instrument is that the tendency is to play the second one using the same licks and tricks as the first one.

that ain't how it works.


as far as "diluting" is concerned, i believe the advantages of cross-pollination far outweigh the dangers of "time wasted".

the time i spent learning any one of the languages that i'm fluent in is roughly equivalent to the time spent becoming fluent in any one of my given instruments.

did the time i spent studying those languages (which was considerable let me tell you) did not detract from my ability to play music.

yes, i could've spent that time studying my music more, but hell there's a lot more to life than just practicing an instrument.

did the time i spent travelling all over the world (without a piano) make me less of a musician? that might be someone's naive opinion, but you gotta stop and smell the roses baby!

bottom line: it's your life. you decide what you want to do - and then do it!


as far as stopping playing piano for a time to get into something beautiful - go for it!

you just have to understand that you're addicted to the piano - and once it's in your blood it never leaves.  

you'll start having withdrawal symptoms and soon you'll find yourself back on the piano bench with a whole new agenda.


as regards learning two (or more) instruments at once is concerned, it's simply an issue of time management.

plan carefully (and live long enough) and you'll very probably find that there is enough time in your life to fulfill all your dreams!

more power to you!

7
i stopped playing piano for 9 months and ended up on seroxat.

bro'
"the only thing holding me back is that i still don't feel i've mastered the piano enough yet to start woodshedding on another instrument.  it's like leaving it unfinished."

is our learning ever finished? like many things in life, infinity can be seen by those with creativity.
i'm mostly a guitar player (32 yrs and counting) that is trying to learn piano and while my main instrument holds most of my attention, every time i put in some hours with a piano i learn something helps my overall musicianship and ultimately my guitar playing.  a huge part of that is because piano is so different from guitar that the old tricks and habits don't carry over and i have to really listen and think about what i want to play when i'm in practice mode.  

on the other side of the coin, a cool thing about learning a totally different instrument is being able to just make music with child like abandon when you have little to no knowledge of how the instrument works and only your ears to guide you. it might not sound like much sometimes but it sure is fun
hello,

about 6 months back i was wondering whether to start to learn the sax. well i took the plunge and am now really loving it. i made time to learn it by using my lunch hour at work for practice. it doesn't therefore impact on my other tasks.

i found that knowing music theory and all the stuff i learnt on piano makes it a whole lot easier second time around. like i was sight reading standards after a few weeks. knowing about harmony learnt from the piano really helps with improvisation.

main things :-

1) it improves your ear, as each note has to be fine-tuned even though you have pressed the right keys.

2) you can't look at the keys, its very tactile and it encourages you to memorise tunes in terms of intervals.

3) it makes you focus on the melody line (horizontal vs vertical)

4) it can be so much more expressive than the piano.

5) i can carry it on my push bike and busk anywhere.

so yes both instruments complement each other. why didn't i start it 20 years ago ?? just do it before you are thinking about it 20 years from hence.
kai and marksdg have given me inspiration. i too used to play (at) fantasie impromptu but never could really conquer the hardest 10%. it's time to give it another try. and i remember that after a classical practice session i really needed a dose of jazz to "free me up"!
i like the way it lays on piano in eb.  
who else here plays it in eb?

| f-7  | bb7  | eb   | ab  |
| d-7b5 | g7  | c-   |     |
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