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How many instruments are too many

14 replies

sittinginachair · 06/12/2021 11:56

My daughter has just turned 7 and is grade 1 in piano and also grade 1 in harp. Distinction in both.

She is asking to also start learning the bagpipes. But I think three instruments at this age is way too many. Can anyone advise?

OP posts:
HPandTheNeverEndingBedtime · 06/12/2021 11:59

At that age, if I could afford it I would let her try a range of instruments and then as she progresses get her to drop the ones she doesn't like as much.

HarrietM87 · 06/12/2021 12:02

I’d think about how the instruments relate to each other rather than how many. Lots of overlap between piano and harp so I think definite scope for adding another if she’s enthusiastic. Also is her harp classical or folk? If folk then maybe bagpipes not such great choice as she couldn’t play them both in the same setting, if that makes sense. If harp is classical then bagpipes might be a nice choice to give her an alternative kind of music making.

Bramshott · 06/12/2021 12:04

I think at that age you go with their enthusiasms if you can access an instrument and afford the lessons. Each new instrument they try could be "the one"! Later on it's good to persuade them to specialise a bit though...

horseymum · 06/12/2021 12:08

If you can afford it and she has time to practice, go for it. No music learning is wasted! She may not be able to sustain the level of practice once she gets further down the line and may have to drop one but she can't know now which she will be best at. Good to have the piano knowledge but also an instrument you can play in a group. Mine have lessons on two then dabble with recorders, ukulele etc for fun so you may find one ends up just being a fun one with no set lessons and practice.

pianolessons1 · 06/12/2021 12:08

You want to hear a 7 year old play the bagpipes??!!

eroica · 06/12/2021 12:09

As long as you can afford the lessons, I don't see a problem. My DD began her third study in Y7, but that's purely because we couldn't find a teacher that we could fit a lesson in with until she joined a school that had a teacher in-house.

Mittenmob · 06/12/2021 12:13

I learnt lots of instruments but I'm not letting my DC do more than piano until they get to secondary school. I want them to get a 'solid' grounding in theory first before extending to learning new physical ways of playing. Having been a child who played in every orchestra going I also am very aware not to overburden them, it's unlikely they will pursue a musical career (and if they do being excellent at piano first will be no bad thing), so I want them to have more time for other activities and have more of a balance.

Having said that I would suggest starting an instrument they can carry and play with others.

Crepuscularshadows · 06/12/2021 12:22

The pipes are a good social instrument, unlike piano or harp (although if it's clarsach there are usually groups you can join). I'd go for it. I think it's easier to start and drop than it is to add things in later. In terms of the din, she'll probably start on the chanter, but make sure she has and uses ear protectors.

CoteDAzur · 06/12/2021 13:26

Allow her to try as many instruments as she likes. Especially at her age, she will only advance if she practices and she will practice if she wants to play the instrument.

One of mine is on her 4th instrument. She is at an age where she is making music for pleasure, in groups with her friends, and she thanks me for having introduced her to music, pushed a little when she didn't feel like practicing, and allowed her the freedom to jump from instrument to instrument.

Santahatesbraisedcabbage · 06/12/2021 13:38

I bet your ndn says 1!!
Bagpipes are amazing. Give me goosebumps..
Go for it op's dd!!
Scotland is our Go To place. Heard bagpipes one day on a country walk. Came across a Piper in full dress outside a lone caravan in a field.
Apparently his dw sent him there to practice!!
Stood for ages and dc clapped!!

rifling · 06/12/2021 13:42

I would prioritize an instrument that can be played with others as this usually means it's more likely she will continue. So, if she wants to play bagpipes in a group - yes!

Minister01 · 06/12/2021 13:55

Maybe get her a penny whistle before the bagpipes unless you live in the middle of nowhere! As an adult I’ve picked up various instruments for fun and put them down when the new one comes along (still stick to my original first instrument as my main one). I always tell my mum how privileged I was for her to support me especially as she didn’t have ear defenders!

VincentBell · 02/08/2023 11:51

I know it's been two years since you posted this, but I wanted to offer some advice on your daughter's musical journey. It's amazing to hear that she was already excelling in piano and harp at such a young age. Her passion for music is inspiring!
Considering her interest in learning the bagpipes, two years might have provided more clarity on her musical inclinations. If she pursued the bagpipes and continued her piano and harp journey, it could have been a wonderful experience for her musical growth.
In the past two years, she might have discovered even more interests, including exploring unique instruments like the Irish bouzouki. It's a delightful stringed instrument that could add new dimensions to her musical expressions.

murpbybridget · 04/09/2023 08:43

Your daughter's enthusiasm for music is commendable! However, it's crucial to consider her age and workload. Three instruments can be quite demanding, and it's important to strike a balance between learning and enjoying music.

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