Jump to content
  • entries
    15
  • comments
    56
  • views
    1,808

Benefits of a Second Instrument

Learning a 2nd instrument can be incredibly beneficial, particularly for drummers.
Most drummers possess a reasonable understanding of rhythm, timing & dynamics, but drums don't offer much exposure to concepts like melody, pitch & harmony.

Because they lack relevance, they’re rarely taught.

 

The thing is, that lack of knowledge leaves a gaping hole in one’s ability to understand, appreciate & create music.

It did for me!

I simply didn't realize it at the time. :rolleyes:

 

During my 9 years as a drummer/singer, I was content to focus exclusively on those 2 skills.

Why?

I'm not altogether sure!

I guess I’d convinced myself that widening my scope would somehow detract from my current abilities.

Looking back, I can see that was a load of crap.

But as we all know, hindsight is 20/20. :blush:

If I had it to do again, I wouldn't hesitate to take advantage of the excellent musicians around me.

Several of whom would have been happy to share their knowledge for free.

Fortunately, in the final analysis, if we learn matters more than when. 

Eventually I did expand my musical horizons.

Specific Instrument Recommendations

 

Both guitar & piano (keyboard) deal with melody, pitch and harmony.

While there are other instruments to choose from, guitar & keyboard offer one big advantage over many others.

Both are capable of playing multiple notes simultaneously.

In other words - chords.

Chords & harmony are inseparably linked…synonymous parts of the larger musical puzzle.

 

Guitar & keyboard offer a wider range of practical applications.

Either should qualify you to:

· recreate recognizable parts of your favorite songs

· play strictly for your own enjoyment

· function as part of a band

· write your own songs

· accomplish combinations of the above

An overwhelming majority of songwriters choose piano or guitar as their primary writing instrument.

I chose guitar.

Last, but not least, learning a melodic instrument aids in developing your sense of pitch. 

As a drummer…even a singing drummer, you may think you hear pitch well.

I did ^_^

But it's amazing how much improvement occurs with the addition of a melodic instrument.

 

I began noticing a difference after my first year of guitar.

I was listening to some of my old vinyl albums & started hearing pitch imperfections in vocal tracks I’d listened to hundreds of times before.

Was I listening differently…was my turntable out of adjustment?

Nope!

All that had changed was my perception.

Pitch imperfections which had always been there, I was now able to discern.

 

Unfortunately, to truly understand what I’ve tried to describe, you need to experience it.  

So, don't take my word for it…find out for yourself !

 

Tom Hoffman
"About Me" Muse Member pg.

Tune-Smith.com

Tom Hoffman YouTube

 

5a959bfc1c55c_Singer-Songwriteredit.thumb.jpg.71a2fb6e52f381ef09f8ad07bde99c76.jpg

  • Like 2


7 Comments


Recommended Comments

As someone who comes from a guitar/piano background, I really want to learn percussion. (If not percussion, I have this wild fantasy of learning shakuhachi, but that's a different conversation. :P )

Actually, two of my favorite modern composer/producers were drummers first. 

 

But yeah, me personally, it's percussion that gives me the biggest headache -- trying to get what I hear in my head on "tape". But I can't give it so much attention right now. It'll just have to wait. 

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

A second instrument is crucial IMHO, for all musicians but especially for a drummer. I wholeheartedly agree. Even more important today since a lot of us are sitting at home playing every part in the musical process that makes a recorded song. You need to have insight into a lot of different instruments, their characteristics, what to play, how to play it, and when to play it.

 

And to spin it even further, my years as a drummer has helped me immensely when taking on other instruments and also when I started to sing, produce...well, all of it. Sadly, I still miss a beat now and then, and one would hope after all those years of practising timing and rhythm I wouldn't but I do, but today I'm too lazy to fix it. I like to say it adds character. :P

 

Good stuff as usual Tom! Thanks.

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this comment


Link to comment
Quote

Sadly, I still miss a beat now and then, and one would hope after all those years of practising timing and rhythm I wouldn't but I do, but today I'm too lazy to fix it.

Don't feel bad...I quit playing for 17+ years, didn't start again till I was 40. 

I will warn ya' though...it ain't like ridin' a bike :rolleyes:

After 17 years of not even owning a drumstick, muscle memory, timing, skills...all gone.

Stuck with basic rudiments & set fundamentals for months.

 

As always, much appreciated...both you guys !

 

Tom 

Share this comment


Link to comment

I don't consider myself much of a musician really. And when I say that I mean that I couldn't really get away with playing guitar in a band for instance, I am just not good enough. To be fair I have played keyboard in a couple of bands before, but let's be honest, not the most difficult thing in the world. Mostly playing pads while getting drunk and smoking fags, kinda boring.

 

But I was very lucky to have been interested in getting a keyboard when I was young, and while I never had lessons, I did learn to play songs. I think the Piano/Keyboard is absolutely the instrument to learn for anyone who wants to write music. It teaches you so much about all aspects of music and is a great tool to experiment on because it is so visual, by that I mean you can see so easily how music is arranged, how scales are built and how chords are made right there in front of you in black and white. 

 

My go to instrument for a long time has been an accoustic guitar, but I know that I would not be able to write songs on it were it not for the lessons I learned on keyboard. I think for anyone who's best mode of learning is visual then they should be learning at least the basics of piano. Maybe those who learn by feel are better served by guitar? Dunno but there might be something there.

 

What I do lack though is rhythm, and it is weird that only since I have got serious about writing songs have I realised how important that is. So many songwriters actually miss this out, and you can tell by their songs. 

 

Been listening to the Lumineers a lot the last few years, in fact I would go as far as saying they are responsible for me writing songs, I played their stuff so much on my guitar that all of a sudden, literally by accident, I wrote my first real song. 

 

They get rhythm, when you are a songwriting duo and one of you is a drummer then I guess some real great stuff can happen. Godley and Creme were the same if I am not mistaken. 

 

So I guess the point is that while yes it may be important for a drummer to learn a second instrument, I think it is just as important for a songwriter to understand percussion and if not think about hooking up with a drummer to write with. 

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this comment


Link to comment
4 hours ago, Murphster said:

I think the Piano/Keyboard is absolutely the instrument to learn for anyone who wants to write music. It teaches you so much about all aspects of music and is a great tool to experiment on because it is so visual, by that I mean you can see so easily how music is arranged, how scales are built and how chords are made right there in front of you in black and white. 

I couldn't agree with this more... I've played guitar for a long time (25 years or so off & on).  I knew some scales... but it wasn't until I started learning piano a couple years ago that I really started getting into music theory, chord composition & songwriting and transferring that back into guitar.  Piano lets you get straight to the music with less of a technical hump as well.

  • Like 4

Share this comment


Link to comment

Similar for me, Triffid - except i am only now starting to learn piano (and I need to spend more time doing so!). I think a piano is the ideal instrument for a songwriter, personally.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

We're stacking up quite a few votes for "piano", so I thought this might be a good time for to add a comment.

Although I wasn't certain of it at the time, "guitar" was absolutely the correct choice for me...at least from a songwriting perspective.

I do agree that characteristics of the specific instrument play a part, but so do personal goals.

 

When I musically re-involved myself at age 40, I did so for a specific reason.

I wanted to write, arrange & record complete original songs...period.

Everything I learned & every choice I made was intended to move me closer to that goal.

Although I have done a few, I had little interest in producing 1 + 1's.

As I look back over 18+ years of material, much of it is riff or interval-based.

In other words, those songs evolved from (were built upon) guitar riffs or interval-based progressions...something guitar accommodates more naturally than keyboard.

Of the 26 songs I currently have available online, "10" fall into that category.

 

Bottom line - given my musical background, personal taste & personal musical goals, I do believe guitar was the correct choice for me.

 

That being said, I'd LOVE to have back the countless hours spent tuning :rolleyes: Score "1" for piano! LOL

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×