Students taking piano + another instrument - Do students have time to devote to two?

Play more than piano? Interested in a different instrument, including voice? Talk about it here.

Postby Stretto » Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:47 am

Do any students take instruction on two or more instruments? How do you fit in the practice time on each? Do you ever let practicing slide on one instrument while concentrating on the other? What advise would you give to other students wanting to take two or more instruments at once? How best can one divide the practice time?

As teachers, do you give lessons to students taking another instrument also? Do you ever notice the practice lacking on the one you teach because the student was concentrating on their "other" instrument(s)? What advice would you give teachers and students on ensuring plently of practice for each instrument? Do any parents have any advice or experiences based on your child learning two instruments at once? How do they balance the time practicing the two?

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Postby 108-1121887355 » Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:37 am

I feel that the piano is the best first instrument. It is one you can see in front of you, touch all the notes, hear each sound a note produces and change it by your touch. You do not have to hold it a certain way, you do not have to blow into it to make a sound, or get cross-eyed trying to see what your fingers or hands are doing.
In schools here, the good old recorder is taught in most 3rd grades. This helps some with note learning but I know of no one who is really enthused about playing it. In 4th grade the students may choose to take an instrument. I have one on a French Horn, one playing a flute and one on viola. All are in the 3rd year of piano.
The student with the horn is most excited about her instrument. She is in her 3rd year of piano, so although the horn may take away some practice on the piano, it is ok. I think it will balance off as she becomes surer on the horn. I really feel that any instrument will be easier to learn after two years of piano. I have told parents this for YEARS. I have had students tell me as well!
A new instrument may take more time at the start, but the piano will be kept up if the student is really interested. If it is too much, the student will decide which one to let go, maybe temporarily, and all instruments are music.(Well, maybe not so much in the beginning.)

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Postby 65-1081382753 » Wed Dec 21, 2005 6:14 pm

I started taking violin a little over two years ago as well as piano which I''ve played for around 7-8 years. It can be tough juggling practise times, especially when I have a performance coming up. I've found it helpful to assign a time slot for each instrument and stick to it.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Thu Dec 22, 2005 4:52 pm


Almost all accredited university music departments make functional piano mandatory for all music majors, regardless of their instrumental or vocal concentration. Keyboard instruments represent the sole medium where the complete harmony or polyphony is available to one player.

A lot of college kids gripe about it ("Well then, why don't piano majors have to take trombone?" etc. etc.)--but you'd be surprised how many of them report back after graduating and securing a teaching or band director position somewhere, to tell us how valuable that training was.

My wife set up and administers the Functional Piano program here at NMSU, and I taught Form and Analysis for 23 of my 30 years there, and we can bear a lot of witness to the problems a many students have with form, theory, conducting, etc., because they've grown up hearing mostly a single line of music. Often when they get together with an accompanist they are thrown off by hearing the complete texture for the first time.

B. L.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri Dec 30, 2005 12:08 pm

Thanks for your informative "plug" for piano. I will use it when explaining to parents.

In the "old" days it seems almost every home had a piano and every child took lessons. Over the years I have tried to have lessons accessible for all, and kept my fees low, gave some partial and full scholarship lessons, and even did some 'bartering'.

I wish the schools offered group piano so more children could have the chance to learn. Dr. Burrows and Ella Ahearn ran some "class piano" in schools in New York and New Jersey. I don't know if it is done anywhere now. I ran some for two summers through the local recreation dept. and some children continued with private lessons. I wish more children could have the musical experience the piano offers.

What music courses are offered to non-music majors in college? How many children are missing out on the joys and learning experiences that music offers?

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Postby Tranquillo » Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:30 am

I now do two instruments ... I have taken voice lessons not for a real long amount of time. My piano teacher suggests at my ability I should at least be putting an hour and and a quarter to an hour and a half a day into my practice. My singing teacher says that a good 20 minutes of vocal excercises a day is a good amount.
That equilates to almost 2 hours a day. So far, I can do this, I think when I start school it would be a whole lot harder.

They say that when you learn one language ... the next language you learn becomes easier. Also the way your brain works it can apply things in the same area of learning.

I am not sure of it but I think it works with taking up instruments. I havent taken voice lessons for long enough to really tell with the progress. However, I can understand things clearly between the two instruments actually even more so with the two instruments.
No really dont think that I am applying myself more in one instrument ... I think that both instruments aid each other. Both my voice and piano teachers know that I play piano and voice. My voice teacher plays piano.
The other day I brought sheet music into my piano lesson and my piano teacher accompanied me as I sang along. My piano teacher is very supportive and my voice teacher commended the fact that I do play piano. They work hand in hand with each other. I love doing both the instruments it is so much fun! :laugh:
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