Whenever we start some new music, we tend to reach for the instrument we use the most. This makes sense on a certain level. There is also no rule that says you must learn new instruments. However, there are some appealing benefits to taking on the challenge of learning something that exists beyond your current comfort zone. Working with the same instrument over and over again can ultimately leave you feeling creatively frustrated. It can leave you in what most of us would describe as a rut.
Is It Really Worth Learning A New Instrument?
While you can’t do everything to avoid such a rut, a new instrument has considerable potential to keep you moving in creative directions. There are several benefits to learning a new instrument that are worth appreciating in greater detail. The type of new instrument you learn is entirely up to you.
At the same time, it can be pretty interesting, and ultimately beneficial, to learn an instrument with at least some fundamental differences to what you know right now. No one is saying that you have to abandon your primary instrument. If anything, learning a new instrument can give you renewed appreciation and energy for your primary. This happens more often than not.
6 Reasons To Consider Learning A New Instrument
Here are six reasons why learning a new instrument might just be the best thing you can do for your music career:
- Giving yourself a theory workout: Music muscle memory will likely abandon you with your new instrument. In other words, you have your brain and basic instincts to keep you moving along. Using your knowledge of theory to learn the ins and outs of your instrument can go a long way towards giving your music muscle memory a good workout.
- New approaches to melodies: One of the biggest challenges facing musicians involves the effort involved in coming up with a new melody. A melodic habit can be difficult to shake. A new instrument forces you to abandon old habits, which can eventually generate some new ideas.
- Experimenting will breed creativity: There is a sense of possibility, a driving excitement that follows us as we learn our first instrument. It seems likely that this feeling is not what it used to be. That is natural. A new instrument pushes you in the direction of experimentation. The more you experiment, while also learning the ins and outs of the instrument, the more creative you are likely going to become.
- Starting from scratch: How many artists claim a lack of formal training gave them a fundamental, useful source of creativity? So many that there must be something to that notion. Picking up a new instrument means operating on a good deal of intuition. You aren’t learning everything for the first time. As the basics fall into place, use the opportunity you have to really dig deep into playing from an intuitive source. Record and study everything in the early phases of learning your instrument.
- Appreciating arrangement in a whole new way: Playing your favorite instrument allows you to appreciate what that instrument brings to a song. On the other hand, learning a new instrument can be a great way to appreciate the song from an entirely different angle. For example, shifting from the melodic to the rhythm section is a huge shift in understanding. You are suddenly going to find yourself appreciating aspects of a song you never considered before.
- You get to be better at your primary instrument: Believe it or not, but all of this can also translate to playing and appreciating your primary instrument with a greater degree of understanding. Did learning a new instrument force you to appreciate other elements of a song? Did it take you through the particulars of music theory? If so, congratulations. Those lessons are likely to stay with you, once you pick up your primary instrument again. It gives you a new perspective that benefits your work on a multitude of levels.
Remember that you aren’t completely starting from square one. You are taking the things you already know, and you are moving in a different direction with them. The benefits of learning a new instrument are numerous and impressive.