Studying more than one instrument
I am just curious for those of you who are playing/learning more than one instruments, especially those who play different instruments in different ensembles, how do you manage your practice time? Do you take lessons on both instruments regularly? Is it a problem for you financially, or you find ways to get around it?
By the way, I do consider the viola a separate instrument. Even if there are similarities between viola and violin, I don't think it is practical to practise only on violin and expect to perform on the viola.
Personally, I play both the flute and the violin. I would say if God said that I can only play one instrument, I will always choose the violin over the flute. However, God has to actually show up in front of my eyes before I quit the flute. My current schedule is very messy, I am trying to find time to practise on both instruments, take classes, have string orchestra rehearsals, going to work and doing housework. I am not sure if it is related, but I keep feeling stress during orchestra session and keep waking up in the middle of the night. Then when my sleep is disturbed, I struggle to get up early to practise a little bit before going to work. Also, I always get physically sick before a recital, and I am seeing two of them next month. I am not sure how long I will last.
I play both violin and piano and took lessons on both throughout my childhood. But I only have time to practice one instrument, and the violin is totally hopeless without daily practice. So I only take violin lessons, and I pretty much only practice the violin unless there is something on the piano that I have to prepare. I am surviving on gradually weakening vestigial piano skills from my childhood. Fortunately my piano playing is limited to (a) jazz piano, which is less technically demanding (you can be a decent jazz pianist without having a professional classical technique), and (b) occasional accompanying, usually of Suzuki students. I supposed I could "afford" to take lessons on piano as well, but if one isn't going to practice, then those lessons would be just a waste of time and money.
It is possible, but it depends how deep in your study of each do you want to go... In your case 2 instruments are quite different, so there is less common ground and fewer transferable skills. I would say that your violin playing can greatly benefit from the flute, since breathing (many violinist do not do properly) is an integral part of sound production on wind instruments.
I do, violin and piano. I don't have any professional or "serious" aspirations so I can take the time I want with them. I have some favourite composers for each instrument which I do not wish to stop playing any time soon.
I thought we had agreed to drop the viola jokes.
I do both violin and viola. The teacher who has been my violin teacher for many years occasionally helps me with viola issues. I bring to my lesson whichever instrument/music I need help with. I try to practice both some each day since normally I play violin in community orch and viola in chamber music. At the moment, for various reasons, I am playing viola in the orch for the next concert, so I am practicing/playing it exclusively until June 9. Then back to playing both.
Hi Tom. Good luck with your June 9 concert! My chamber orchestra also has a concert on June 9th and I am also playing viola in it. I find switching from violin to viola sometimes gets confusing to me. Especially when sight-reading my mind seems to want to switch from viola mode to violin mode when the fingering patterns get unusual.
I play almost exclusively viola and only play violin when I absolutely have to. I find that it takes a few days of practice to really get used to the violin. If I pick up a violin and try to start playing without at least half an hour of practice on it, I choke every note with excessive pressure, and often forget that I have an E string at all and instinctively shift far up the A string instead.
In addition to violin, I play classical guitar, ukulele, Irish penny whystle, Irish flute and Native american flute but violin practice takes 99% of my available time. The only time I find for the flute is in the car when I wait for my wife!
My main instrument right now is violin, but I have played other instruments before and am a classical trained vocalist. Currently, however, I'm taking just cello lessons as I'm looking to incorporate cello in some of my musical projects.
Andrew - good luck with your concert. Although there are some technique differences between violin and viola, I still find the biggest problem playing viola for someone who has always been primarily a violinist to be the one you pointed to and that Karen Allendoerfer helpfully calls "having a violin moment." You see the music and forget you are playing viola and want to play an open D instead of B because that is what you would play an open A looking at the same music as a violinist playing treble clef.
I started on trumpet, got braces, couldn't play so well anymore and switched to viola at 13. Got braces off and was asked to play trombone one year and French horn two years in high school since viola taught me good pitch. Picked up a bit of piano as well. Having said that, I only ever really practiced and had lessons on one instrument (viola) with a smidge of piano. The others were just casual and fun.
Like Susan's son, I got a viola because I thought it would provide me with more opportunities. And of course it has. But the problem is that if people know you have a viola and can play it (including reading the clef) then they sometimes ask you to switch from violin to viola where they have a personnel or talent shortage even though you'd much rather play violin. So my advice to Susan's son, which I am sure she has already given him, is to learn how to decide when to say "No, I'd rather play violin here."
Very good advice, Paul, and something he is already running into. His teacher is helping him negotiate it, especially since it's already turned into people giving him extra scholarship if he agrees to play viola. His heart is with the violin, though, so that should keep him steady.
Then there are us rabble of ITM/Scots Trad/OT/Folk players...... "What exactly does it mean ""Study more than one"" " ?
Thank you very much for all your comments. We just have a long weekend here, so I got time to practice and feel less stressed. I think somehow I need to manage my expectation.
"Talk to your doctor about beta-blockers. "
... And talk to your psychotherapist...
Really quick, I just wanted to share a little anecdote about playing different flutes since Sivrit brought it up briefly.
Wesley, I have also tried the alto and bass flute once in a workshop before. I can't quite manage to play the high(er) notes on the bass flute (but I wasn't exact proficient on the flute either). It would be nice if those instruments are more available for people to try-out/play around.
Some skills transfer, some don't. But it gets easier after the second or third one, especially if you know how to practice efficiently and ask the right questions when taking private instruction. Through graduate school and for several years afterwards, I spent an average of 2-3 hours per day on my two primary instruments.
The only real cure that I have found to anxiety-based performance issues is to do LOTS of performances. I found a teacher with a studio that has four recitals a year - and where you play whether or not you are ready. Since everyone is in the same boat you can expect errors - and now I've got to the point where I smile each time I make a mistake. Its just a pothole, not a sinkhole, in the road and I just carry on.
There have been lots of threads on the virtues and vices of medicating for anxiety. My point is just that there is no harm asking your doctor about it. If your doctor doesn't know to think about various reasons for your anxiety then they've got [manure] between their ears and you need a different doctor.
I'm an amateur who has been playing the piano since childhood and is now playing the violin. My only goal is pure enjoyment. I gave up the piano for a few years and took it up again almost at the same time I decided to start with the violin. I'm now taking a weekly hour of lesson on each instrument, and I almost don't have time to practice!
Miguel, can I ask in what aspect you find the private lesson the most useful? I think it depends on person but I am curious on your take, since you are an adult late starter (at least on the violin) and also have limited practice time.
I can tell you that my approach is slightly special. I stated very clearly with my teacher that I may not practice at all between classes because of my heavy schedule and my tendency to get migraine headaches. I also told him that I wanted to learn the violin up to a medium technical level, and that I didn't mean if I reached it 3 or 15 years after starting.
I also play violin and viola, and I consider them separate instruments. But it is nice in that I've had teachers that play/teach both and it is relatively easy to find that combination and only have one teacher. I think it would be harder to find a teacher who teaches both flute and violin, so you'd probably have to have two separate teachers. I let my teacher know in advance which instrument I'll be playing in the lesson. Lately it has been mostly viola. I think my approach is a lot like Tom's, above. If I am playing the viola part in orchestra, I will practice mostly or exclusively viola. I had a rehearsal cycle recently in which I played violin, and I practiced that exclusively for those weeks. I have had weeks and months during which I practiced violin in the morning and viola at night, or vice-versa, but I found that that stressed me out so I've cut down on the switching I have to do on a daily basis, and I tend to switch more on a monthly, or by-project basis. So for example, I have an orchestra concert this weekend for which I'm playing viola, and then a violin chamber music project coming up later in the summer, so it's viola until the concert on Sunday and then it will be violin until mid-July when the chamber music camp starts.