Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on hello@boards.ie for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact hello@boards.ie

Can Anyone Learn an Instrument?

Options
  • 31-03-2021 11:57am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 14,990 ✭✭✭✭


    Hey Folks,

    My apologies if this isn't the right forum, I wasn't sure where I should really put this post.

    I've always really enjoyed listening to music and have felt that I'd love to learn to play the piano. However, I have no rhythm, I absolutely can't dance and had to once, under pain of death. It was horrific.
    No-one in my family plays an instrument so I never had any exposure to it growing up. I'm really wondering if someone can learn to play an instrument and consequetly compose some simple tunes? Are some people just musically inept? I kind of feel that I would be and am hesitant about shelling out for a decent keyboard/lessons.

    Another part of me likes the idea of playing around with some electronic gear. I bought a Korg Kaossilator Pro sometime back as it really appeals to me but having no idea of what I'm doing I'm hesitant to get into this area as I'd just be buying things with no idea/ability of what to do.

    Long story short- can anyone be thought to play an instrument and then create simple compositions themselves? Or are some people just going to be hopeless.

    Many thanks.


Comments

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,532 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    i have resigned myself to the 'hopeless' category. tried to learn the guitar in my teens and failed, bought one again about ten years ago and failed again.
    i have a tin ear, i am on the other end of the scale from having perfect pitch. i listen to music a lot, so it's not purely down to lack of exposure.

    i know many talented musicians and it amazes me how easy they find it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,410 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    My own experience is yes anybody can learn. I would say of the four instruments I learned to play, the piano was by quite a distance the most challenging..so be prepared to invest time and patience. Invest in a good keyboard at home from the get go. Your ability to practice is key.

    Both my cousins play to an excellent standard though so it just depends on the persons aptitude. You won’t know until you try, book a lesson package and get started, nothing ventured nothing gained... get a keyboard for starters.. so you have an instrument to practice on at home, i was using my neighbors which was limiting...


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,269 ✭✭✭twowheelsonly


    Technically, yes, anyone can learn to play an instrument.
    To what standard and how 'natural' anyone will be is anyones guess.
    There's no magic formula unfortunately and it really is a case of putting in the time to get the technical/physical aspect of it down.
    My two eldest taught themselves guitar as they entered their twenties or thereabouts. ( I play a little as well)
    Number two did it first, immersed himself in it, practiced constantly and is a decent player to be fair to him.
    Number one went next and literally just fell into it. He was completely natural and picked it up in no time. He blows both myself and number two out of the water. Number two is very good as well but just doesn't have that same relaxed style and rhythm of the other fella.
    Strangely enough, neither of them can really sing - they'd seriously struggle with Doe a Deer !!


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,532 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    Strumms wrote: »
    My own experience is yes anybody can learn.
    your own experience doesn't say whether anyone (in the 'everyone' sense) can learn though.
    i *did* try, but my wife (degree in music, was a choral scholar in trinity) laughs at how bad my ear is.

    obviously a lot of it is to do with how early you start to learn, but obviously your ability to pick it up drops considerably with age.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,311 ✭✭✭nullObjects


    There's lots of tutorials on youtube if you wanted an idea of beginners music theory or even just what to expect when you start learning


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 21,023 ✭✭✭✭Ash.J.Williams


    Hey Folks,

    My apologies if this isn't the right forum, I wasn't sure where I should really put this post.

    I've always really enjoyed listening to music and have felt that I'd love to learn to play the piano. However, I have no rhythm, I absolutely can't dance and had to once, under pain of death. It was horrific.
    No-one in my family plays an instrument so I never had any exposure to it growing up. I'm really wondering if someone can learn to play an instrument and consequetly compose some simple tunes? Are some people just musically inept? I kind of feel that I would be and am hesitant about shelling out for a decent keyboard/lessons.

    Another part of me likes the idea of playing around with some electronic gear. I bought a Korg Kaossilator Pro sometime back as it really appeals to me but having no idea of what I'm doing I'm hesitant to get into this area as I'd just be buying things with no idea/ability of what to do.

    Long story short- can anyone be thought to play an instrument and then create simple compositions themselves? Or are some people just going to be hopeless.

    Many thanks.

    If course you can , in fact go with the Korg and write some synth stuff, I’d recommend reaper for your computer to get you started as a recording artist

    https://www.reaper.fm/


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,410 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    your own experience doesn't say whether anyone (in the 'everyone' sense) can learn though.
    i *did* try, but my wife (degree in music, was a choral scholar in trinity) laughs at how bad my ear is.

    obviously a lot of it is to do with how early you start to learn, but obviously your ability to pick it up drops considerably with age.

    The key is ‘can’ learn... the question from the op is ‘can’ not ‘will’.

    So yes, everyone CAN learn... does or WILL everyone ? No.

    If you are in possession of the instrument, have sourced a competent and professional teacher, are willing to put the time in to practice and have the discipline ie, phones off and ignoring the universe around you come practice, willing to experience and enjoy... you have all the foundations for learning.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,111 ✭✭✭PMBC


    Very interesting. I think you should give it a try - whats to lose?
    I dont play but my BH can play a bit of piano. So son is quite a good guitarist but just plays for his own enjoyment.
    My first cousins were musically very talented and were multi instrumentalists, drums, guitar, tin whistle, accordion! My friends used rave about the guitarist, sadly now RIP.
    Even it was a cheap guitarist you could learn the chords and enjoy. Someone once said that the best instrument is your own voice. Now thats something I can do - sing well and in tune.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,532 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    Strumms wrote: »
    The key is ‘can’ learn... the question from the op is ‘can’ not ‘will’.

    So yes, everyone CAN learn... does or WILL everyone ? No.
    i'd argue that that is a quantitative rather than a qualitative answer; and you're addressing the bare question in the thread title, rather than the more multi-layered question in the post there.

    you could rephrase it as 'can anyone learn calculus' and in a bare sense, the answer would be 'yes', you can sit down with a book and slog through it. but that's not what i suspect was being asked. some people have the ear, some don't.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,538 ✭✭✭paddylonglegs


    My experience:

    A big help is *wanting* to play, and not just feeling you *have to* go and practice. If you come in from work and all you want to do is sit down and play, then that’s a good start

    But to make that happen, you need to have a goal. Why do you want to learn a piece of music, what do you want to achieve from that? If you can set a goal to learn a piece so that on a specific date you’re going to perform it - to friends, on the street infront of strangers, on Facebook live, on YouTube, whatever. Having a goal will motivate you on to achieve and set your sights on something. If you are getting lessons, mention this to your teacher so they can put that in place.

    Even check in here on boards with your performance and look for feedback. Maybe we should set up a thread for “play your piece” to help motivate players?


  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,532 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    i have asked my wife would she be able to teach me piano, with the target of being able to play avril 14th.
    she listened to it and suggested something simpler first.


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,317 ✭✭✭✭seamus


    She's right, of course. You can make that your ultimate target, but with piano it's not as simple as learning the first five seconds and then building onwards and upwards until you can play the whole song.

    You'll be able to play that one song, but it won't transfer easy to other songs; you'll have to learn each of them from the start again. Where if you start simple, learn to read the music, then learning to play songs is a matter of reading and playing rather than rote learning. And then any notion of having an "ear" for music is unnecessary.

    This is in contrast to (say) the rhythm guitar, where if you learn to play one song which which has four chords, then playing any other song with those four chords isn't a big leap. Add a fifth chord and you open a whole new repertoire.

    So rather than jumping in and teaching you to play avril 14th, if you learn the basics and practice the basics, then six months later she can put that sheet music in front of you and you'll be able to play the song on your own. Slowly at first, but you will be able to do it yourself from start to finish, without guidance.

    In terms of the question, I think it's best to think of music as a language as much as much as it is a skill. If someone grows up learning to read and write in English, but they are surrounded by people speaking (say) German quite a lot, then they will have a natural "ear" for German. And if they go on to learn to speak it properly and to read and write in German, it will come very naturally and easily to them.

    Someone who grows up hearing no other languages but English, can learn other languages, but they will find it harder.

    Same for music; IMHO. If someone is surrounded by music; not necessarily having musicians in the family, just music being on in the background, people singing and dancing with them as children, etc etc; then they will have a very natural "ear" for it and learning an instrument when they're older will come that little bit easier to them.

    But everyone can learn.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,212 ✭✭✭✭Tom Dunne


    I was in a similar position to the OP many years ago - I have an "ear" for music, have what is generously described as an eclectic taste in music (everything from Led Zeppelin to The Weeknd, don't judge me), but never got around to learning an instrument.

    I was at the checkout in a Tesco and noticed a CD with music arrangement software on it (this was a good few years ago) - I believe at the time it was Dance EJ. Basically, it provides a load of samples, such as backing tracks, bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and even lyrics, which the user basically arranges on tracks into songs. It was possible to "arrange" as opposed to "play" music that actually sounded like proper songs. There are plenty of this type of software available now that might get you started.

    So I gained some confidence in arranging/creating a number of songs that sounded professional (but in hindsight, we utter tripe). Today, some 20 years later, I am just finished my first year of piano/keyboard lessons and currently sitting in between a Yamaha PSR-E463 keyboard, an Akai MPK mini both connected up to Cakewalk DAW.

    Am I writing the next chart-topper? Absolutely not. Am I having fun with music? Absolutely.


Advertisement