Switching Instruments? Here’s What You Need To Know

various musical intruments

Learning a musical instrument can be fun and adventurous or pure torture, depending on how you look at it. If you are passionate about learning musical instruments, then this post is for you. If you started on one musical instrument and you’re developing an interest in another, go ahead – you can learn as many as you can. And if you feel that you started with the wrong one and want to start all over again, this post is for you too! Let’s get started!

The Basics

The first thing you need to know is that there are different classes of musical instruments. Each class is played in a different way. For instance, piano playing requires less strength when pressing the keys when compared to pressing the guitar strings or strumming. The different classes of instruments also engage different parts of your body, so when you are shifting from one instrument to another, your body will also need to adjust.

string instruments
Image Courtesy of Flickr

The Common Instruments

The top three instruments that are widely played all over the world are the piano, the guitar, and the drums. In this post, we shall look at switching from piano to guitar and guitar to piano.

Piano to String Instruments

The tricky thing about this transition is in reading the music. Reading the tablature is something you need to be ready for as it is very different from reading sheet music.

Switching from keyboards to stringed instruments can be tricky. If you are switching to a stringed instrument that primarily uses tablature (guitar, banjo, mandolin, lute) you might find that learning to read the TAB is confusing. Via Take Lessons

Secondly, while you are used to the continuous set of keys that make up the keyboard, string instruments like the guitar have 6 continuums.

So for starters, it might help to have a look at the layout of the guitar itself. One way to do this is to see the guitar like six pianos. Sure, seeing six pianos sounds confusing and counter-intuitive to making things easier,  but it’s essentially what a guitar is. Via Online Pianist

When it comes to the energy required to play, you will often find that playing string instruments will be strenuous.

guitars and drum set
Image Courtesy of Pixnio

…with most stringed instruments, you will need to build up finger strength, finger sensitivity (yes, you might start developing calluses on your fingers), and even arm strength when you transition. Via Take Lessons

String Instrument to Piano

The first thing you will need to do is learn to read sheet music. Of course, that is, if you want to learn really good piano!

… if you’re switching from an instrument that is devoted to one clef, you might need to learn a new clef; if you are coming from a TAB-based instrument, you’ll need to learn how to read sheet music. Via Take Lessons

Something to beware of is transferring your old guitar playing into piano playing, as this will affect your quality, and not in a good way:

It’s always easy for me to spot a performer who started out on a stringed instrument and then moved to the keyboard because they tend to have what I call the “guitarist’s hiccup.” There is always a ba-dum rhythm to their playing as the left hand lands on the keyboard slightly before the right hand. Via Take Lessons

saxophones
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

The numbering of fingers is totally different…

The #1 finger for piano is the thumb, whereas, for the guitar it is the index finger. When reading the fingering for a piece of piano music, the guitar players often put’s the wrong finger on a key, so they must learn to translate different fingers for the same numbers. Via Online Pianist

The use of hands can be quite conflicting…

Guitar players train themselves to use their fretting hand like a vise-grip to play songs, such as when they play bar chords. This is in conflict to what good technique is for the piano, where one wants a quiet and relaxed hand.

It is common for guitar players to find it difficult to play both hands on the piano. This is because when they play the guitar, they are in a way playing one instrument with both hands…for the guitar players, it can be a greater challenge because their playing is not exactly two hands playing separate things as it is with the piano. Via Online Pianist

Conclusion

With this basic information, you should be in a better position to switch from one instrument to the other. Now you know what to look out for. Good luck!

Featured Image: Image Credit

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Becoming a musician doesn’t happen overnight. If you’re learning to play an instrument, it takes months even years to perfect your skills. Luckily for you, some of our favourite artistes shed light on the basic know-hows of the instruments they’ve mastered. listen on.

Getting the right beat
Legendary drummer for Watson Brothers, Arafat Kazi gives you a trick or two on playing the drum

How should a learner prepare themselves before getting accustomed to a drum kit?
If you’re a beginner and you don’t have access to a kit, the best thing to do is get yourself a pair of sticks. Get a nice pair like Vic Firth or Vater and familiarise yourself with the way they feel. Since everything’s on YouTube now, you can learn how to hold a stick properly and practise rudiments on your pillow. If you have a kit and the opportunity to play it, then play as much as you can. The more time you spend with your drums the better you’ll be. Via Ice Today

 

PEE-WEE HERMAN’S PAUL REUBENS LEARNED A NEW INSTRUMENT: THE BALLOON

No, we didn’t mean to write “bassoon,” although that certainly would make a lot more sense. But like he’s been doing for years, Paul Reubens proved that just about anything is possible. As a guest on The Tonight Show, he pioneered the art of played the balloon as a musical instrument.

Jimmy Fallon was talking with Reubens about his new Netflix original movie Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, in which Pee-wee plays the balloon as an instrument at one point. Well, it turns out Reubens actually learned how to do it. Reubens revealed that he did that gag in his Broadway production The Pee-wee Herman Show, so it’s not exactly a new concept to him, but that makes it no less impressive.

Naturally, Fallon conveniently had an inflated balloon under his desk, so Reubens grabbed it and did his thing. The balloon wasn’t specialized for this task; it wasn’t just a set of rubber bagpipes or something like that. It was a straight-up birthday party balloon, and Pee-wee had complete domain over it. Via Nerdist

 

13 things they don’t tell you about learning a new instrument

You might think that learning a new instrument would be an easy job; they make it look easy on the TV, right? Wrong.

It’s probably more difficult that you think. But that’s not to say it’s totally impossible. Before you venture into the unknown, we’ve provided you with a few things you should probably know before picking up your brand new, shiny instrument.
1) Choosing an instrument is the easy part: There’s so many to choose from, you can’t really go wrong.
2) Take care of your new instrument: They’re expensive to buy and just as expensive to fix. Be kind to your instrument. Via Maximum Pop