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#1308739 - 11/19/09 07:23 PM Can't decide what instrument to learn...
Big_Al Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 24
Loc: UK
So basically I want to take up another instrument but I can't choose which one! Aside from the Piano I already play Organ, Flute and Electric Guitar but I'm looking to diversify even more (and yes, I know that's a lot already wink ).
At the moment I'm leaning toward both the Trumpet and the Violin, but am open to other suggestions... I'd be interested to know what it's like starting out on brass as I've never played it before.

Thanks in advance for any advice smile

PS One of my all time favourite instruments is the Horn, but apparently it's also the hardest to learn? Anyone out there who plays I'd be delighted to hear from you!
_________________________
Bach: Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor BWV 542, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BWV 565
Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata: 3. Presto Agitato Op. 27/2
Chopin: Scherzo No. 2 in B Flat Minor Op. 32, Ballade #1 in G Minor Op. 23/2
Liszt: La Campanella S.140/3, Grand Galop Chromatique S.219
Rachmaninov: Preludes Op. 23

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#1308785 - 11/19/09 08:42 PM Re: Can't decide what instrument to learn... [Re: Big_Al]
TSPhillips Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/09
Posts: 49
Loc: Atlanta
I played trumpet in school band throughout middle and high school. Getting to where you can play a good range for an extended time takes a lot of work, but if you've already learned to play piano, organ, guitar and flute, you should probably have the patience to work up your lips. My sister played the French horn (I'm guessing that's what you mean by horn, sorry if you mean the English horn which is completely different) and from I got from her, is that range and endurance are of a similar difficulty to get to as other brass instruments, but what made the French horn difficult was that fingers never guarantee that you'll be anywhere the right note. I think she even said it was possible to play a melody without fingering anything in parts of the horns very large range (you can play very low and very high on a French horn). You have to have a trained ear like a good singer to hit the right notes in tune.

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#1309310 - 11/20/09 04:01 PM Re: Can't decide what instrument to learn... [Re: TSPhillips]
Lea09 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 31
Loc: Alabama
I'm a flute player also, and took up the mellophone in my sophomore year of high school (looks and is played like a big trumpet, but is a little lower pitched, kinda like a french horn). I took a few lessons over the summer from my band director, and played solos on it in our field show that year. I played trumpet some too later on, for the orchestra and jazz/pep bands.

If you put in a little work, you probably won't have any trouble picking it up (the trumpet). You might want to get someone to help you a bit with the basics of a good embouchure/tone production. The fingerings are easy, and you already know how to read notes and rhythms. Your major gotchas will be range and endurance -- you'll have pretty much none, at first!

I've only played it a little bit, but the horn is indeed different, in that it requires more from your ear/brain/mouth and less button pushing. Also, if you play it in an ensemble you'll probably have to play lots of off beats, which can be tricky if you're not comfortable reading rhythms. Unless buzzing into a mouthpiece totally blows your mind, though, I wouldn't let that stuff scare you away. If you already have a good ear, you're halfway there already. smile

Can you expand a bit on why you'd like to learn a new instrument, and what ensemble opportunities are available to you? I joined the brass section, for example, to have something loud and obnoxious to play in the marching/pep/jazz bands (piccolo was only okay, and the flute was useless). Your profile says you are a student... are you still in high school, with similar opportunities? Does your school have an orchestra? If you're in college, what are your opportunities there? Is an instructor (and for that matter, an instrument) equally available for each option? If not a formal instructor, a friend that can give you some tips?

And which one do you *like* the best? The music you play on a violin is going to be very different from what you'd play on a trumpet or a horn.

I'd file all that away in your brain and head to the music store and try all of them out. Then if you have a particular "knack" for one thing or the other, you can take that into consideration as well.

Good luck! If you can't decide, I vote "all of the above". laugh

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#1309331 - 11/20/09 04:40 PM Re: Can't decide what instrument to learn... [Re: Lea09]
Big_Al Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 24
Loc: UK
Thanks for the advice!
From what you say, the Trumpet sounds like quite a good option, whereas the Horn does not... I have indeed heard that the embouchure is a lot more important when playing Horn over Trumpet, which is something that puts me off; I'd rather start on something which requires solid fingering skills smile.

I am looking to learn a new instrument so I can try out different roles within ensembles, at the moment I only occasionally play Flute and it's not my first instrument. As Piano is pretty much a lead only instrument (the same for Organ), I'd really like to branch out into playing in bands.
I'm currently at college, and there is every opportunity available - symphony orchestra, brass bands, string ensembles etc. One thing which particularly interests me is playing in the string or brass section of the orchestra, I have friends who play virtually all the instruments so I'll always be able to get advice and tips.

To be honest, the solo Violin repertoire is incredible, and as I'm a big fan of Liszt's Paganini Etudes and Rachmaninov's Rhapsodies on themes I'd love to actually play the original pieces, however when integrated in an orchestra the Violin is not as powerful as the trumpet or horn. As group playing is the reason I'm looking to learn another instrument I therefore think that Brass would be the best course of action.

With regards to having a good ear, being able to read music etc. I don't have any problems there, I have done ABRSM Grade 5 Theory, Grade 4 Flute, Grade 6 Guitar and Grade 8 Piano and Organ (8 is the highest ABRSM grade, I think it's different across the pond wink ), and also have experience in improvisation and playing by ear.

I'll be heading into the city tomorrow so I'll probably get some advice from the music shops then, but at the moment it looks like the Trumpet is winning smile

-Al
_________________________
Bach: Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor BWV 542, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BWV 565
Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata: 3. Presto Agitato Op. 27/2
Chopin: Scherzo No. 2 in B Flat Minor Op. 32, Ballade #1 in G Minor Op. 23/2
Liszt: La Campanella S.140/3, Grand Galop Chromatique S.219
Rachmaninov: Preludes Op. 23

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#1309355 - 11/20/09 05:09 PM Re: Can't decide what instrument to learn... [Re: Big_Al]
Lea09 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 31
Loc: Alabama
If you're looking for power in an ensemble, trumpet would indeed be an excellent choice (though, of course, the others are powerful too in their own ways).

When I was trying to decide on a 2nd instrument, my band director let me take a few school instruments home for a week or so to try out on my own. I played around with each of them long enough to at least get through a scale and some simple tunes, and picked the one that piqued my interest the most. I discovered I was definitely not a natural trombone player! :P No idea how (or if) a music shop might handle something like that, but if you could somehow swing spending a wee bit of time with each one (or at least the finalists, if you're pretty sold on brass), it might help you firm up your decision (would be fun, too).

Good luck -- it sounds like you have the background and the connections to dive into any of those and do well! smile

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#1346486 - 01/11/10 06:35 AM Re: Can't decide what instrument to learn... [Re: Big_Al]
Basia C. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 358
Loc: Sweden
Originally Posted By: Big_Al


To be honest, the solo Violin repertoire is incredible, and as I'm a big fan of Liszt's Paganini Etudes and Rachmaninov's Rhapsodies on themes I'd love to actually play the original pieces, however when integrated in an orchestra the Violin is not as powerful as the trumpet or horn. As group playing is the reason I'm looking to learn another instrument I therefore think that Brass would be the best course of action.



Well, since it will take a long while before you get really good at a new instrument I would say that it's an advantage that the violin doesn't stand out so much. grin I play flute and a little piano myself, and would love to get to learn the violin, but don't have the time to do it because of work. (Have even had two lessons for free.) If you want to play the violin and get the chance to be noticed more, chamber music playing or some other group would be an option.

Please let us know how it turned out and what instrument yu ended up with. Good luck!
_________________________
Nothing is accomplished without enthusiasm. - Ralph Waldo Emerson




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#1346519 - 01/11/10 08:13 AM Re: Can't decide what instrument to learn... [Re: Basia C.]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11183
Loc: Canada
How about viola, for the strings option? There is a greater chance of getting into an ensemble since violists are more rare than violinists. The viola is the middle voice that enhances the sound as a whole - sort of like in a C chord, E vs. Eb creates the character. The repertoire is less, and a lot of it cello since music specifically for viola is recent.

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