Learning to play a musical instrument can help keep your mind sharp, boost your self-confidence, improve your coordination, open up new doors for social interaction, provide a creative outlet, and teach you valuable life skills like perseverance and discipline.
Despite all of these countless benefits, many musicians never think beyond learning to play that first instrument. However, for the few musicians that do decide to pick up a second instrument, a whole new world of opportunities and benefits awaits. After all, some of the world’s top musicians are and were multi-instrumentalists, including Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, and Prince.
If you’re debating over whether or not you should learn to play a second instrument, here are some insights that just might convince you to go for it.
Playing multiple instruments lets you re-live the magic of learning something new.
For many musicians, the idea of becoming an amateur all over again can feel frustrating and unappealing. After all, think of all the practice sessions and missteps it took for you to get where you are today with your first instrument!
While that may be true, don’t forget to reflect on how good it felt to see yourself progressing week by week in the early stages of learning. Remember the thrill of really nailing your first song? Remember how happy you were when that one tricky concept finally clicked in your brain? Picking up a second instrument allows you to re-live those positive feelings associated with learning and improving.
It keeps your “music brain” sharp.
While many musicians do strive to continue their learning after they’ve mastered an instrument, it’s also easy to become complacent and stop challenging ourselves. By going back to square one and starting from scratch, you’ll be able to fire up all those same neural mechanisms involved in learning again.
Playing a second instrument with different sounds and methodologies also helps you fine-tune the way you hear, understand, and experience music. It’s a great way to boost your ability to play by ear and can actually help you become even better at playing your primary instrument.
It broadens your musical knowledge and opportunities.
While all musical instruments operate under the same rules of music theory, no two instruments are exactly the same when it comes to how you play them. Playing multiple instruments helps you understand the bigger picture of how different instruments interact when played together and allows you to understand and appreciate more complex sounds.
Playing more than one instrument also increases your value as a paid musician. If you have the ability to fill in for sick bandmates or play more than one instrument on short notice, you’ll open a whole new door of musical opportunities.
It’s easier the second time around.
Learning to play a second musical instrument is almost always easier than learning to play the initial instrument. Think about it: you already have a solid foundation in music theory and you know you have the discipline, perseverance, passion, and motivation necessary for making music. Those fundamental concepts won’t suddenly change just because the instrument is different!
By learning to play your first instrument, you’ve already proven that you have what it takes to become a successful musician. Since you won’t be starting from ground zero this time around, you’ll feel much less overwhelmed and you’ll be able to progress more quickly.
There are so many reasons to start playing a second musical instrument. No matter which instrument you currently play, picking up another instrument can help you grow as a musician and take your musical abilities to new heights.