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Thread: learning more than one instrument at a time

  1. #1
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    learning more than one instrument at a time

    I've been playing guitar for a long time but only a year ago did I really start to LEARN the guitar, and I've still got a LOOOOONG way to go to get where I want to be.
    BUT I want to learn the piano and classical guitar at the same time.

    I have LOADS of time to study music, Im only 17(well in a couple of months I will be), and I'm home schooled.

    I want to learn the piano but at the same time what I really love is the guitar, do you think its possible that I could juggle learning classical guitar, piano, and at the same time continue learning more conventional electric guitar stuff(alt picking, sweeping and all that shred stuff)?
    (not that theres anyone I know of that teaches classical guitar around here)

    I also want to go to College for music and I'm not more than a year or so from getting my High school diploma. So it would be nice to already know the basic of the instruments I want to learn by then.


    and another question, would it be too incredibly difficult to teach myself either the piano or classical guitar?

    which one would it be better to take lessons for?
    "From now on we are enemies... You and I."

  2. #2
    Registered User LarryJ's Avatar
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    This is just my opinion but I would advise taking both. Both are pretty demanding technique wise, and especially if your just starting out it will help immensily to take lessons, in order to get over the learning curve.

    Your lucky however, because piano and guitar are very similar in terms of theory. Most of what you learn will apply to the other instrument as well, especially classical study.

    My advice is get a good foundation in theory and how they work, Piano lessons would probably be better for this, and then the skill of playing will follow.

  3. #3
    Registered User Metal Dan's Avatar
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    No way man. If you are going to study classical guitar get yourself a teacher. There are WAY to many naunces that are very important to that kind of playing that you are going to miss if you are self-taught. All this stuff is important because classical is a very formal style of playing... but hey... what do I know

  4. #4
    Registered User Spin 2513's Avatar
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    Well , Hal Lennord "the fast track" learning books are really good for key board . Blues rock type stuff .

    Piano is a good reference point for music , because on hand plays the bass notes and the other plays the top chord .

    Kind of like bass and guitar go together .


    As far as Classical goes , stick with your own instrument .

    There are a lot of classical TAB books , with Pieces like GreenSleeves and Bouree in E minor , Study in D minor , Fornando Sor's studies in B minor C and "Romance" are pritty cool , the only thing about Sor is , his pieces are mostly Major keys so , i don't know Classical sounds better in Minor keys if you ask me , but about growing your finger nails long and all that , i don't think it's really necessary , if your a rock guitarist , looking to apply music from somewhere else .

    The way i see it , Classical guitar is a young classical form , Segovia was really the first guy to transcribe Bach pieces really extensively , and Bring the Classical Guitar to where it is today as a classical solo instrument .

    Segovia is tough stuff , he's playing difficult piano pieces on guitar .

    The way i look at it simple pieces with a lot of melody , or a cool picking pattern , are the way to go.


    After all Alex Lifson, of Rush ,studied classical for about 3 years , and applied it to rock music , with great results .

    So did the guys in Queensryche , infact "Silient Lucidity" closely resembles, the Piece "Romance" by Sor , or aleast the main riff does , you get that alot , with the more well know classical pieces , they show up in rock music alot .

    Ben Bolt has really good Books , and anything with the more common pieces to you , stuff you want to learn , not necessarily by all the same composer either , alot of the more commonly know Classical Guitar pieces are composed by " Anonymous" you may find . Or like "GreenSleeves " are taken from Celtic Folk music .

    The Composer Bartok , based alot of melodies on Folk Music , and his use of Sus chords was adopted by alot of Rock Guitar players .

    There is alot of "Musicianship" to the Progressive Era bands like , Rush ,of course Rush was really the best at it , from a Guitar point of view , " Fly by Night " did alot for music . Side one of Moving Pictures , Floyds "Darkside" Had the greatest Blues bass line structures , that arn't quite 12 bar either , i don't know what your take on rock music is in general , but mabey you can comment on that a little .


    her's a link .

    Classical Guitar inTAB Books .
    Play Loud

  5. #5
    Registered User LarryJ's Avatar
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    Right, like spin said it depends how you want to approach it. If you want to be strictly classically trained, then it definitly helps to get a teacher as I mentioned above. However, if you just want to apply some classical stuff to your playing, you can listen to some music and get your way through it, if its about ideas, not a playing style. They are two seperate issues entirely.

    I recently had this idea as well, and played alot of classical type stuff, like Bouree and Pachabels Cannon in D, and Dee by Ozzy. I'm not the greatest at classical stylings, but it gave me some ideas and a new usuable style, although its still not something i want to devote myself 100% to.

    I reccomend some Rush, Randy Rhoads, Los Angeles Guitar Trio, and Transsiberian orchestra for some classical stuff thats got a rock feel to it. Theres tons of it out there, yngwie, blackmoore etc. Depends what you want to do with it.

    If you dont know how to play either instrument yet, music school will be a definite stretch at this point, no matter how much time you have to put into it. If your really serious about it, you should definitly think about getting lessons in one, or both instruments, because it will help to jumpstart your learning, and help you prepare for school, as well as teach you the correct way to play both instruments. You should ideally concentrate on one instrument, instead of devoting equaltime to both, if you plan on 'majoring' in one instruments study.

    Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

  6. #6
    Experimentalist Koala's Avatar
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    Ill cut to the chase, yes it can be done. Youll definitely have to sacrifice time to master one single instrument, but you might find it a lot more rewarding to play many instruments quite well rather than achieve absolute expertise on just one.

  7. #7
    Registered User Spin 2513's Avatar
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    That'sums it up pritty good , Koala.

    As far as College goes , I would say a College course in Music is going to be either concentrating on Classical Guitar as a solo instrument , which takes a good 2 years of formal study , or a Jazz improv class, in which you can draw from your personal knowlege , and augment it by playing Jazz charts. Some sight reading is necessary , William Levitts Modern Rock Guitar , is the one for that, if you don't already use it .

    What do you think KFC shredder?

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    I posted a reply but somehow I screwd it up and I have no idea where it went.


    Anyway, I'm going to have to think alot more about the classical guitar. I did'nt realize quite how damanding it would be.

    I am going to take piano lessons, as soon as I find a teacher I like.


    As far as college, all I know is that I want to be a musician. I want to make a living being a musician or doing something musical, you know?
    I figure it would help alot to go to college, but what for exactly... I'm not sure yet.

    .................................................. ...........................................


    Oh, right now I'm reading "idots guide to music theory" by Michael Miller(I'm about halfway through the book), hopefully by the time I'm done reading that I'll have a good understanding of reading music and all of basic music theory.
    Last edited by KFCshred; 02-04-2004 at 07:03 PM.
    "From now on we are enemies... You and I."

  9. #9
    I, Galactus oRg's Avatar
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    I think that classical guitar and piano can compliment each other very nicely. You'll be learning theory for both so the only difference is technique. The one thing you'll gain from piano is the right-hand dexterity. After awhile of playing those you'll be able to pull-off two-handed chords pretty easily and tapping would be a sinch for ya. I say go for it, but do get a classical guitar teacher to help you with guitar. It will pay off in the long run.

  10. #10
    Firebard RandyEllefson's Avatar
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    I was doing rock guitar stuff on the side while earning a degree in classical guitar AND taking formal private lessons in classical piano, but I was a full time college student (with no job). Here's the deal:

    I practiced classical piano 1-2 hours 3-4 times a week, and generally did classical guitar 3-4 hours 4 times a week (and a lot more around my recitals). I earned the guitar degree and was a decent piano player. Then again, I got tendinits later, so...

    Anyway, classical teachers in college do not teach theory, as they assume (rightly) that you're taking a whole theory course, but you never know what private teachers will add-on theory-wise.

    If you have time and are interested, ABSOLUTELY go for both. Knowing even a little piano will serve you well no matter what. As for classical guitar, it is actually less practical because you won't be using it unless you go on to perform. It's more for your amusement. If you become a wedding player or smth, then it may come in handy, but the techniques need to remain fresh once you know them, so you'd have to be pretty serious to do any REAL classical gutar playing (as opposed to fubbing your way through pieces, which is what I did before the degree -- friends and my mom were impressed, but I doubt anyone who knew I sort of sucked was).

    That said, classical guitar will improve your left hand dexterity A LOT because it is much harder on the left hand. It will also make you think of other ways to use chords in the left hand. The right hand technique will not aid you in the least for any pick-style playing though. Be prepared to grow your right hand nails out - this will interfere a bit with playing piano, and it used to get in the way of my pick some too.

    As for teaching yourself, if you can read music, teach yourself classical guitar. For one, you already know how to play guitar in general. More importantly, if you are a "fubber" (mostly doing it right, but not all), you can actually get very good. A teacher will just have to fine-tune what's wrong with your technique. Also, classical techniques only boil down to a few, to be honest, so it is really not terribly complicated. Don't walk away from it without giving it a try. You may be surprised it isn't that hard on technique. It is just HARD in general, but very fun when you're playing cool stuff.

    If you don't play piano at all, get a teacher (they are plentiful), because you have more room to learn bad habits that are hard to break

    Keep in mine I was self-taught on piano and electric/acoustic guitar. I also "fubbed" my way through classical guitar stuff. Then I was formally trained in classical guitar and piano. I was clearly more talented on guitar, but the point is that I was already quite skilled with guitar in general and my technique issues weren't hard to solve. On piano, I never really got much better -- it was a whole new instrument and my half-assed way of playing/writing on it worked for me, but doing the formal stuff didn't really work well.

    Anyway, as for studying music in college, there's another concern for us rockers going the classical route: you will have to audition except at some community colleges where they bypass that. They'll ask your instrument. If you say guitar, they assume classical. Despite my objections, they made me audition on classical guitar when I was only a "fubber". I got in anyway. Also, they WILL MAKE you study piano in private lessons anyway. It's required almost everywhere. You cannot go wrong with a couple years of piano, seriously.

    If you're doing rock guitar + classical guitar, that's a 2 for 1. Excellent practice time. Piano is just 1.

    My suggestion: Learn both now, as much as you can, and if you love it, just go for it. When college rolls around, you have a choice: classical guitar or piano. By then, you'll know which one you like more.

    Final thought: working musicians who can play rock guitar, rock keyboards, some decent classical guitar stuff, and maybe simple piano music, can make a good living as a wedding performer (not that I ever did that, mind you). Keep your future/employment options open.
    Last edited by RandyEllefson; 03-23-2004 at 02:12 PM.

  11. #11
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    I'd say that between piano and guitar there's too much that you can apply between each of them to leave one out. I just started trying to learn piano, and already I can visualize scales, arps, patterns, and sequences in a very different way. I took an applied guitar class at my high school last year, and I hang around there whenever I have free time, but a great deal of what I have done is also because I didn't limit myself to what I was already being taught, and I went out of my way to do more. With piano, I've started pretty late, but with all the time I put into both instruments and into music theory I'm making up for it - and I've cut out a great deal of would-be lesson time by already knowing my theory. I'd say to get lessons in both if at all possible. At the very least you'll have a different approach to both of them, and even if you don't get good at (or completely fail at but want to play anyway) one of them, you'll still have plenty of ideas on the one you become proficient at. Take, for example, Allan Holdsworth - he's one of the best guitarists out there, but he really didn't want to be a guitarist - he wanted to play a horn (so he says) but his dad brought home a guitar, so he makes his phrasing and note choice more horn-like. Thank God he chose the guitar, though! Plus, as Randy said, if you can play several things, you can make a pretty good living as a musician, and *not* just at weddings - case in point: Tony Macalpine.

    Rock On,
    The Jeffinator


  12. #12
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    yes! do it.

    maybe take lessons for classical guitar and piano, (i mean if you are new to these things), and ask to be grounded in the basics and do it for maybe a year. yes to whoever said something about 'the nuances' up above. it's cool to not learn mistakes early on cause they'll come back to haunt you.

    the hard thing about piano is getting your hands to work together, but theorywise it feeds directly into guitar and will help in many ways. i'm not an excellent musician by any means but everything i know on the guitar is somehow connected in my head to the piano. i relate all the theory stuff to an imaginary piano and then to the guitar, because the piano is really an excellent tool for understanding theory. the key of C gives you an amazingly blank, instantly understandable chalkboard for figuring out theory stuff. there's nothing like the piano because of the way it's laid out. so i think studying it can actually help people with guitar.
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

  13. #13
    Registered User theguitarist's Avatar
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    HI,
    i would say learn piano.I also learned piano and giutar at the same time.In fact i learned piano first and then guitar.Learning piano with guitar in terms of thoery is really helpfull.As the thoery is same and you can test it on piano before trying it on guitar and clear your doubts.Learning piano with guitar is not a hard task.But if you want to reach excellence in both then it can be.So decide according to your choice that which instrument you like more and divide your time accordingly.

  14. #14
    Trying To Be Humble! Voodoo-Child's Avatar
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    I have been playing Guitar and Keyboard for a year now, and I find doing both works really well, it took a while to organise my day enough so I could practice both, but I have since worked that out!

    For an awesome Piano book, check out 'Piano Tutor' by Terry Burrows!

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