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Second instrument

(11 Posts)
undercoverelephant Sun 29-May-11 21:57:10

If your DC plays more than one instrument, at what age did they start the first, and when did they take up the second?

DS (7) has been learning piano for around a year and has been asking for about 6 months to play a second instrument. His piano playing is OK - he's about to start working toward grade one. I'm less interested in the grades (although realise they are useful), more pleased that he enjoys playing so much. He practices for about 15 mins a day, more on weekends.

I'm wondering whether he should wait until he has reached a certain point (ie, grade 1) before starting something new?

sevenseas Sun 29-May-11 22:30:01

DD1 started piano at 6yrs old and flute at 8yrs old. Both were lessons offered at school, though current school does not offer piano so she now has private lessons for this. She started flute at the earliest age (Yr 4) that she could and this was my only consideration. I think you probably need to consider if they have enough time to practise both instruments but other than that I don't think the level really matters (she has just passed Grade 1 piano btw).

snorkie Mon 30-May-11 13:40:31

ds started individual piano lessons at 7 and cello a year later at 8 (group lessons at school done by all year 4s). He took grade 1 piano at the end of year 4 (after about 2 years) and at that point decided to keep on with individual cello lessons as well as piano. Cello (and probably other single line instruments) seems much easier than piano and he romped through the grades, though as he got older he gravitated back to piano. The two compliment each other very well - it's lovely to have an orchestral instrument as it opens the door to group playing and piano is great as you can make a good sound (in whatever genre you like) without an accompanist.

I don't think the second instrument had a detrimental effect on the first at all, so I'd say if he's keen and you can afford it (in terms of money and time) then go for it.

undercoverelephant Mon 30-May-11 14:31:18

Thankyou, your replies are as I'd hoped! Some family members seem to think I'm pushing him too much by allowing a second instrument. But it's he that has asked - repeatedly, so maybe if there is availability in Y4 (September) we can start a second. Seems cello and clarinet are what's on offer, and he's interested in either.
I suppose it will become apparent after a term or two whether the practice is too much, anyway.

sweatybrawearer Sat 04-Jun-11 01:31:53

DS2 started violin at 6 (DS was already playing and he wanted to be like his big brother). He played for about 6 months, then we moved house and he had a break for about 18 months. He started again last September when he changed school, along with the chanter (pipe bit of bagpipes). So it doesn't matter which instrument he is playing, the practice is delightful on the ear grin.

DS1 (14) has moved on from violin to viola at his teacher's suggestion, as he's big and strong enough - he was finding the violin too cramped. So not really a second instrument, as the technique is the same.

JemimaMop Sun 05-Jun-11 17:40:49

DS1 started playing piano when he was about 7.5. He is now almost 9 and is asking to play violin, but I am not convinced that he has enough time for both at the moment. He plays a lot of sport too, and there are only so many hours in a day! He will be doing Grade 1 in November, so I'm not sure that starting another instrument in September is a good idea. He is going to wait another year until he goes into Year 5.

crazycarol Sun 05-Jun-11 19:35:55

DD started a brass instrument at 8 1/2, and then the guitar at age 10. She loves the guitar but sometimes struggles to put in the practice she needs to. She is currently working on grade 5. She has recently taken up singing lessons too at school. The school make them wait until 13 years to do singing. She just loves singing and it goes very well with her guitar.

A second instrument definitely helps the first, particularly with theory, & sight reading. As long as you think that they have sufficient time to put in the practice as well as doing the school work.

zeus123 Mon 06-Jun-11 18:34:04

Dd started piano at 7 and cello at 7.5 and has had no problem with. Now in grade 5 in both instruments . She is in year 5 and things may change when she goes to secondary school with all the homework etc., From our experience, I would certainly go for the second instrument.

ZZZenAgain Tue 07-Jun-11 15:44:40

I'd ask the piano teacher undercoverelephant what s/he thinks about taking up a second instrument at this stage

undercoverelephant Tue 07-Jun-11 22:21:53

i think you're probably right zzen. I suppose I wanted to get some consensus on whether it was totally ridiculous to be considering a second instrument so soon. DS can't actually sign up for anything new until September (the second instrument lessons would have to be during school time), so we have a few months yet to "cool off," although when DS is determined he doesn't usually go cool!
I may broach the subject at his next lesson.

undercoverelephant Tue 07-Jun-11 22:23:20

Great to hear so many positive stories about learning music - very inspiring!

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