Second Instrument Points
LEARNING A SECOND INSTRUMENT
Guest columnist Judith Brown, B.A., B. Ed.
Music is a journey of thresholds and much of what makes you successful on your first instrument, such a recognition of sounds and pulse, is easily transferable to subsequent instruments. Here are some reasons why learning a second instrument is beneficial to overall musical development.
1. Sharpens the ears. Focusing on the technique of a different instrument requires the player to inspect pitches from a new perspective. Development of the ear is critical to playing duet or ensemble pieces.
2. Reveals growth areas. Musical skills don’t develop equally, so switching to another instrument for a bit shines a light on musicianship issues that are not instrument specific.
3. Uses muscle memory in a new way. This makes new connections in the brain and makes you a faster learner.
4. Vocal / instrumentalist support. Singing makes you a better instrumentalist by demanding that you hear the note in your head before producing it. Learning an instrument to accompany yourself as a singer keeps pitches accurate and is nuclear-level empowering.
5. Keeps music fresh. Learning a new instrument allows you to transfer skills in a meaningful way.
Not an exhaustive list, here are common pairings by association and contrasting skills:
Piano – Drums
Vocal – Guitar
Vocal – Piano
Violin – Guitar
Guitar – Drums