Multi-instrumentalists: Pros and cons of Musical multi-tasking

Learning the benefits of doing more than one musical instruments

It is quite common for any person who studies one instrument for a long time to get curious or interested in another one, especially if they can be connected or they complement it other, such cases can be common in singing and piano, guitar and piano, or even piano and guitar. For example, many guitar players take up a bass guitar and violinists could take up the viola, while they are differences between these instruments, the basic layout, technique and theory remain similar across them. Another common thing is for a student to take up singing alongside an accompanying instrument such as piano, guitar or bass, by doing so the student will be able to accompany themselves and perform songs as a solo act Among our piano students after a while studying it, piano tutors receive this kind of enquiries and it is our responsibility as educators to guide them the best way possible.

There are many reasons why a musician can study more than one instrument, as Thomas Rickerby states in this article “Besides the fun factor of playing several instruments, there are some potential career benefits for musicians looking to make a living out of music. Firstly playing multiple instruments well makes you a more employable musician, with budgets shrinking, many people are looking to hire as little people as possible, so as a session musician playing multiple instruments will get the musician more work whether it is life or in the studio. Secondly playing multiple instruments will allow a musician to understand how to compose for multiple instruments, be it a band or a small ensemble”

But we have to consider as well that this can have a negative impact on the amount of focus the student will devote to one instrument: it is advisable to get to a certain level in one then consider starting another. Also, the second instrument will always come second in the student’s priorities. One common mistake is to deviate the efforts towards the new instrument and leaving behind the first one, so it is paramount for the students to make a study plan to maintain consistency.

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