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How did you learn to play an instrument?

Discussion in 'Art & Music' started by duderino, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. duderino

    duderino One of the Regulars

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    Did you take lessons? Learn on your own with internet/books? Were you shown how to play by people/friends? Can you read music? Do you think reading music is helpful for learning, playing, or growing as a musician?
    I've done a mixture of all of the above for a few different instruments. I can read music okay and know some theory that I learned in college classes, but I have forgotten a lot of it. I'm still not that great of a musician because I go through on and off periods of playing music. Just wondering what other people's experiences have been.
     
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  2. Tude

    Tude Sometimes traveler is traveling.
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    "that one day in band camp ,,," actually it was band class where I started out screeching on a clarinet and went on my own to bassoon, sax and finishing up with oboe in woodwind ensembles. Yeah - I can read music. Tinkered around on piano too. That was in HS - did continue woodwind ensembles though for a bit after HS. Always wanted to learn guitar.
     
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  3. DrewSTNY

    DrewSTNY Sir Posts a Lot
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    Took lessons on guitar when I was a kid. Ended up settling on bass and have played pretty much exclusively that instrument for the last 25+ years. I played in several bands and pit orchestras for various musicals.

    I can read music, but prefer to play by ear or just make it up as I go along. When playing in an orchestra pit with limited instrumentation, I tend to play from the director's copy so that I can fill in the holes where needed. Once learned a complete show in three days complete with bass solos. That was a stressful show as it had a lot of old time radio type music with a lot of swing bass features.

    Primarily self-taught on bass, but had lessons for guitar (as stated above) and organ (that never really took off). Played trumpet in elementary school and junior high. While in junior high and high school played around with piano, drums, guitar, and bass. My favorites are bass and kettle drums :p.

    I can play guitar somewhat if you want someone who can play super chunky chords or straight bar chords.

    Alas, none of that is really useful for busking unless there is a singer and a guitar to backup. I am no Victor Wooten or Jaco Pastorious.
     
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  4. OP
    OP
    duderino

    duderino One of the Regulars

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    This post reminded me that I tried playing the clarinet in a school band in middle school. I didn't last very long though because I didn't like the teacher or having to show up early because it started an hour before school did. I've played the piano here and there too. It was actually the first instrument I learned when my parents put me in lessons when I was 6. I stopped playing piano around middle school. After discovering punk, I decided to learn how to play the guitar instead. I took a couple guitar lessons, and then ended up going to the bass instead because I liked it more. I played bass in several punk and metal bands until my early twenties when I got strung out and sold all my instruments for drug money. After I got clean I went to a community college for a bit and took classical guitar lessons for a couple years. I also started playing piano a little bit again when I was learning music theory because it helped.

    When you played in orchestras, was it with a stand up bass or electric? I don't think I've seen electric basses in orchestras before, but my experiences with orchestras is pretty limited. I bought a mandolin on a whim a few years ago and am now learning how to play it, partly because I'm bringing it on my bike tour and may use it to busk if funds get low.
     
  5. PatchTwist

    PatchTwist Hungry for Knowledge

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    I was in choir in middle school and that's where I learned to read music and dabble in recorder. Unfortunately I was and never have been very good at reading music, but I can work it out if given the time.
    A bit over a year ago I picked up guitar. Several musician friends had passed away and I felt that I had lost chances to learn from them. So I got a chord book and scoured YouTube and have been teaching myself that way. The last few months I have slacked a lot in keeping with it, but I just picked it back up last week.
     
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  6. DrewSTNY

    DrewSTNY Sir Posts a Lot
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    I have played both electric and upright in different bands and orchestras. Every now and then you will see an electric bass supporting a classical orchestra, but it's generally because of a visiting artist. I haven't played upright since college mostly because they are ridiculously expensive and I have been able to get by without it.

    Good deal on the mandolin! I have scene a few people busking with them. The Hurdy-gurdy is another interest, but, WOW are they pricey too!
     
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  7. Coywolf

    Coywolf Sir Drinks-A-Lot
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    I bought a Martin backpacker and started travelling, learned on the road. Lots of time for new hobbies while waiting on a ride.
     
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  8. OP
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    duderino

    duderino One of the Regulars

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    Yeah man, I plan on practicing the mandolin during breaks on my bike tour and getting better as I go along. I want to start drawing, reading, and writing more when I hit the road as well. There's too many distractions at my fucking house to get around to doing things I used to enjoy. My routine is work, come home, get stoned, play video games, watch movies/tv, and then go to sleep. Fuck that. It gets real old. I can't wait to get focused on things that teach and cause me to learn and grow instead of wasting life filling it with mindless time wasters. I'm down to working only 12 hours a week now, so I've already been working on filling my time with more meaningful activities, but sometimes I still get hooked on the distractions. This will be my first time traveling, and I can't fucking wait to hit the road. 3 more weeks and I'm out.
     
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  9. Coywolf

    Coywolf Sir Drinks-A-Lot
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    hell ya! Get out there and have fun!
     
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  10. somn

    somn Appreciated Participator

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  11. ntdxc1878

    ntdxc1878 Celebrated Poster

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    I don't have a lot of musical talent, but I picked up a ukulele for cheap from a music shop, and just started watching youtube videos, namely the Ukulele teacher. From there, just practicing and playing and you can get better at any instrument. I really enjoy playing the uke now, and it's a great thing to pick up, even if youre just going to use it to busk. Once you set your mind to it, learning an instrument is a lot easier than many people make it out to be.
     
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  12. spectacular

    I deleted myself

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    I took piano lessons for about 13 years from age 5-18 and was mainly forced by my parents into it. It kinda killed my interest in piano past playing a few chords here and there when I feel like it. I learned how to read music but since I wasn't really into it I didn't retain the ability to do it quickly. It's been years, approx 12, since I've played a full song.

    I picked up guitar about 5 years ago while living in Austin. I did it on my own and learned off of videos on YouTube. I think that's part of what has driven me to keep it up. I learned by aight off of videos so sight reading is still a skill I have eluded but hope to somewhat get better at. The lack of formality that accompanies the guitar style of playing I picked up is another motivator to keep it up. Playing piano growing up I was expected to play at least 10 recitals a year in front of a giant group of people in a church or recital hall. Awkward. Fucking up was a HUGE deal
     
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  13. zim

    zim Reality Perception Device
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    Ooh sweet. I used to play bass. I played banjo for a couple of years until somebody sat on it and broke it in half. Acoustic for a few years before that. Never could stick to one instrument. Same deal, played trumpet, trombone, tuba, french horn. Didn't move away from brass until late middle school.

    Ditto on playing by ear.

    Self taught. Banjo took a bit of reading to figure out clawhammer and thumb rolling, but otherwise freeform.
     
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  14. Tude

    Tude Sometimes traveler is traveling.
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    My Mom wanted my sister to play an instrument, but she didn't want anything to do with band (probably because most of the band members were in the marching band - now that I hated!) - so she was made to take piano lessons (on an old upright piano that I painted pink with flowers on it - it was atrocious!) and my sister resented every moment of it and finally Mom relented and let her stop - but there were quite a few battles about those lessons.
     
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  15. Bedheadred

    Bedheadred Celebrated Poster

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    Pretty much the same, I got a banjo three months ago and I practice whenever I'm not doing bum stuff or driving or whatever
     
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  16. Levi Hunter

    Levi Hunter is getting to know the place

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    I did band, concert and marching, from the 6th grade (marching from 8th on) all the way through my fourth year in college. Learn to read music, save for bass clef, and play trumpet, french horn, mellophone and baritone.

    I taught myself how to play guitar with Green Day's American Idiot CD and Tab book, and then continued teaching myself by playing along with my favorite CDs.

    Also learned to play set from Rock Band.
     
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  17. Domnique

    Domnique is getting to know the place

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    That's a long story. It begun with 1 year classical piano lessons when I was a kid. A few years later, 1 more year classical piano lessons. I discovered the guitar, a present from my mother when I was 15 years old. 1 year of classical lessons, followed a few years later by 1 more year.

    After, I took 1 year lessons at a modern music school (ETM in Geneva - Musical Technologies School), followed by 1 year of professional studies at the same school, with singing as second instrument (it is so they call it). But I didn't made the second and last year because it was way to jazzy, and I prefer a rhythm and blues approach. I like to play simple things, and use my feeling to play the complications. Anyway, I get a good comprehension of the music and can progress by myself.

    Beside that, I meet other musicians, some of them was very good and eventually, they gave me some outstanding advice. They mostly gave me the ability to develop my groove. One of the best advice I get was from a professional guitar player and singer. I was asking him how to place the singing over the guitar playing. He laughed and said: "Like every body, as you can."

    I stopped to make music, and after 20 years of normal life, I get depressed and begun to make music again. I soon realized I was vaccinated against compulsory work and the way of life of our society. I play mostly in the streets, and have a lot of fun doing it.

    The key for me is to practice every day, even if it is not much, and try to learn something new every day, even if it is just a very little thing, like a variation on a rhythm, a melody, a chord, or so. And to have fun doing it.
     
  18. robgalloway

    robgalloway Just signed up

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    I learnt guitar by buying some guitar chord song books and trying to play along to my favorite songs. The biggest progress I made was by playing along to The Ramones. After that I'm always learning by watching and talking to friends and trying different styles of music.
     
  19. ready2go

    ready2go is getting to know the place

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    I hitched a ride down to Mississippi. And I got dropped off at the crossroads. I waited until nightfall with a soul for sale. When beelzebub appeared I sold my soul. When I went back to my dad's house he gave me his guitar and I made noises with it for two hours everyday until the Prince of darkness paid his debt. And after a few years I got kinda good at making noises.
    No but seriously when I was twelve my dad gave me his Yamaha and taught me some basic major and minor chords and part of that story is true. I just made noises with it for a while, picked up some chord books, and eventually some books on scales and music theory. Took a guitar class in high school and barely passed, because I wanted to learn how to play Hendrix more than I wanted to learn how to the little lullabies in the curriculum.
    After that I ended up getting a job and started being able to buy my own gear. I started learning more about tone and playing with other people. And eventually, I took all that knowledge, and threw it all to the wind and stopped trying to wrap my head around all these keys and scales and modes. And while some of it did help, now I just play whatever sounds good to me. Ikd about other instruments, but i think technique was the most beneficial thing that I've learned and still practice basic picking and chord exercises to this day.