Is there a best instrument to begin with? - Best instrument to begin music lessons

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

Postby Cy Shuster » Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:34 pm

That's a great quote, Dr. Leland! I'll pass it on to a friend who plays with the Boston Philharmonic.

I myself haven't played since I graduated from WNMU (many years ago!).

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Postby Stretto » Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:36 am

I really like the comment about the importance of learning piano in aiding students to learn to think about and listen for not just the melody but the harmony as well. And I equally like the comment about the visual layout of the piano. I never thought of those things before but they are so true. I'll pass those thoughts on to parents and students who are just wanting a basis in piano before taking their instrument of choice and make sure they get a lot of practice adding harmony before moving on. All of my students who have come for that purpose have taken up the instrument that they were primarly wanting to learn so I'm glad to know the parents and students followed through to that end. One is playing saxaphone, one drums, and one voice after or during anywhere from 2 - 5 years of piano lessons. A current student has taken up violin alongside piano.

One thing I might add from a personal perspective, though, after playing only the piano my whole life having to always be responsible for not only the melody but also the harmony, learning another instrument or voice where I would only have to be responsible for the melody or one line of notes sounds pretty darn good for a change! :)

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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:53 am

My daughter and I argue about whether piano or strings is the hardest to learn (she's a professional violist). She says, "The piano tuner has already done your work--we have to make our own pitches, while you have all the notes laid out before you!" I say, "Yeah, but try to find them!"

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Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby Stretto » Thu Mar 16, 2006 12:58 pm


I love to listen to string music. I love string quartet music, especially Schubert.

A student at a recent piano "party" (guise of a lighter version of a master class, hee, hee.), played the violin for us after a year or so of taking it through school. She apologized for the sound and said she tuned it herself (if she used her piano than it was probably tuned to an out of tune piano) and said she hadn't quite learned the in's and out's of tuning yet. Well, anyway the rhythm of the pieces were pretty awesome! She explained some of what you had to do to get the pitches.

I suppose when switching between instruments, one merely trades one set of "responsibilities" for another.

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Postby drewnchick » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:41 pm

I also think one of the best advantages to learning piano is developing an ear for hearing melody (and sometimes counter-melody) as well as harmony. The visual layout of theory is wonderful too. How can you "see" the relationship of scale degrees, and their corresponding chords, on any other instrument?

As a personal example, my daughters, ages 6 & 7, who have learned piano from me for 2 years, have just started violin as well. They can already read most of the notes, they know how to count rhythms, and they know what a melody is. Now they just have to learn to play a new instrument! Their teacher is very happy with their progress. In fact, my older daughter has a blast playing her piece on her violin, then turning around (literally) and playing it on the piano. She did this all on her own. :D *I'm so proud!*
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