Why You Should Learn More Than One Instrument?

Why is it that some people can barely play one instrument well, yet others are masters at many? Why should I learn more than one instrument? In the real world, how will it help me?

Both Eddie and Alex Van Halen were trained in classical piano at a young age. This can be heard in Eddie?s synthesizer playing on tracks like Jump and Dreams. Buckethead, the ?mysterious? electric guitar master also plays banjo and piano. Less notably, Sheryl Crowe can play the harmonica.
What is the point of this article? Learning more than one instrument can help you in many ways?

Provide A Change
Just like working a steady 9 to 5 job everyday gets boring, there will be times when your instrument gets boring. Some days I wake up and try and play guitar. My fingers struggle, my notes are out of tune, and nothing I play sounds interesting. On those days I go and beat the crap out of my drumset.
Getting away from your instrument for a while can be a welcome change. Give it up for a couple days, play some other instrument and come back. You will feel refreshed.

Help You Musically
Playing Drums will help you co-ordinate your body. Playing sax will help strengthen your fingers. Playing trombone is just fun. Any instrument you decide to pick up will help you in some way shape or form.
If you go from playing rhythm guitar in your death metal band, and learn trumpet as well, you can learn valuable scales and solo techniques that will help you with your guitar. Even if it doesn?t mean you can suddenly shred like a master, it may at least help you with understanding chord construction better.
I think one of the best things that learning another instrument can do for you is teach you to read music. I?m not bashing on people who can?t read music, but tab does have it?s limitations. Being able to read sheet music opens up a whole world of new music and new influences for you.

Open Up Work Options
Many people complain about how they live in some hick town with only one bassist. That bassist is already involved in some band that plays jazz fusion covers. Now since you don?t particularly enjoy jazz fusion, you find yourself left out of the music scene.
There are 2 options available. Work with that bassist who lives 2 hours drive away, or pick it up yourself and go start a band of your own. I?ve heard that guitarists tend to grow on trees. If you look around, chances are you can find a guitarist willing to put some practice in and join your band. If you?re struggling trying to find a drummer, then maybe you need to buckle down and learn it yourself.
Even if you live in some major city absolutely swamped with musical talent, you might have struggles finding a band who want ?just another guitarist?. Learn another instrument. Have your main band, where you play guitar, but have a side venture, where you play drums. Then you get more musical exposure. You get better known in your musical community. People will come to you, because they know you play more than one instrument, and you will find you get asked to be a session player.
If you know more than one instrument, you will gain opportunities to become a teacher. Yeah, guitarists can find a wealth of articles and advice on the internet to aid their learning. Not so with bassoon players, not so with bari sax players. Don?t be afraid to go out there and offer lessons.

Learning another instrument can also assist with writing songs. If you can write the rhythm part for a song, and also the lead part, while writing an optional marimba solo over top, how could anyone refuse to be in your band?
When you find that your drummer is struggling nailing a particular beat, you can help him out. When your bassist gets bored with only playing root notes, you can show him some sweet riffs that would work.

One of the most important things about being a Multi-instrumentalist is practice. Don?t let yourself settle for less than intermediate. The world is littered with bass players and guitarists who learn to a certain extent and are content with it. Don?t ever stop learning. If you choose to embark upon this musical journey, push hard so that the skills you learn are actually applicable. Why learn something, just to never use it?

-Feel free to critique, give suggestions... this is kind of a rough draft, so i'm open to suggestions...

Anyway... cheers.

Resident Melbournian of the AUSTRALIA FTW! Club. PM the_random_hero or Alter-Bridge to join. Australians only.
Last edited by jazkel24 at Jun 22, 2006,
well said, i play Guitar, harmonica, autoharp, keyboard, bass.
learning on viola as well. (forced more like)
it helps you to understand music better
Joe Walsh = one of the best legends in the history of the world.

damn, wheres the eagles avatar?
Last edited by joewalsh2 at Jun 21, 2006,
great... make me feel good about myself...


ah... so what. was it really?
Resident Melbournian of the AUSTRALIA FTW! Club. PM the_random_hero or Alter-Bridge to join. Australians only.
Pretty good article. Cut the bit about girls, that's pointless.
Member #6 of the Agile LP over Epiphone LP Club. PM iamtehwalrus768 to join.
When it comes to flipping pancakes, it's better than burgers.
Is that really how it came across? I did try and talk about other instruments... I mean really. What other articles have bassoons in them?

Anyway... will do about the girls bit...


Resident Melbournian of the AUSTRALIA FTW! Club. PM the_random_hero or Alter-Bridge to join. Australians only.
Hey, man. I agree with you one-hundred percent. You've covered all of the points. I play Guitar, Trumpet, and the Tuba. (Toooooooooooobaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!) And i am easily ten times better and have a greater understanding of music, as opposed to only knowing one of them.

Right on, man. You got it covered.

Jason A.
I only started playing the guitar for nine months, but before that, I play the clarinet for five years now. I've also had Musical Theory, Analysis and Technics of Composition, Creativity and it helped me alot undertand the concepts of the guitar. Recomended.
Thanks fellas.

Any suggestions?

Resident Melbournian of the AUSTRALIA FTW! Club. PM the_random_hero or Alter-Bridge to join. Australians only.