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Are there any instruments where it is impossible to self-teach?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Fassa Albrecht, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. Are there any instruments you cannot teach yourself?

    My vote would be the violin or harp, With the violin you need someone to teach you the correct positions and bowing technique. With the harp the sheer size and complexity of the instrument would be an issue.
  2. sulu


    Aug 20, 2008
    I saw a sitar in someone's house once. I went over to it and had no clue as to how to make a proper sound.
  3. hey


    Jul 8, 2006
    Definitely Violin. No way in hell would I be playing one now if it weren't for an instructor.
  4. Yes, definitely those fretless, wooden things that you play with a bow.
  5. Probably tablas. You can make so many different sounds and use so many different techniques it would be very hard to figure them all out by yourself.
  6. i said tabla, but it was like a half hour after you said tabla.
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Bassoon would be challenging, I'm sure.
  8. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    I'm self taught at violin, viola, cello, and upright. Its all about having a good ear and knowing how notes relate to eachother when you do chords. The hardest part is the bowing technique, which was daily practice for me, several hours a day, for about 3 years before I felt comfortable playing in front of people.

    Piano was always really hard for me, and still is, since you're using both hands at once playing two different things. Its a totally different mindset than a string or horn instrument.
  9. mikeboth

    mikeboth The last thing you'll ever see

    Jun 14, 2002
    Tallinn, Estonia
    Operator: prophecysound systems
    Unless you are very flexible, skin flute.
  10. Sneckumhaw


    Apr 26, 2006
    No. I would say there are no instruments where it is impossible to self-teach. Every instrument in this thread so far, at least, has had people playing it without formal training. The tabla and sitar would be very challenging though.
  11. stewart8980


    Apr 11, 2008
    Rhode Island
  12. uethanian


    Mar 11, 2007

    i think just about anyone could teach themselves a western instrument, given the amount of resources available. but with world instruments (and india is a good example because the system is very complex), you really need some help. i'm sure a guitarist/bassist could pick up a sitar and noodle on it and sound ok, but there's so much unfamiliar music theory that goes along with it, you'd need a pro to teach you.
  13. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Surgical instruments.
  14. Somebody had to be the first person to play every instrument. Seems pretty likely that each of those people were self-taught. And of course in many cases, playing has probably evolved significantly since the instrument was first introduced. But at some point, someone had to be the first to do something.
  15. +1

    I had a friend in university who could skillfully play pretty much ANY western instrument, modern or classical (yes, strings, woodwinds, brass, i mean anything) who claimed that the one instrument that he simply couldn't nail down was bassoon. Something to do with finger positions and technique, I believe he mentioned. I remember him saying something like there are not only open and closed fingering positions for the holes, but there are *partially* closed positions as well, and that you're required to combine them all to acheive certain notes. Google bassoon finger charts and you'll see what I mean.
  16. palm grease

    palm grease

    Dec 10, 2007
  17. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Your right thumb alone has 13 different possibilities.
  18. dmq89


    Feb 21, 2006
    Selkirk, MB, Canada

    Unless you have proper instruction, you will NEVER get the proper breathing (blowing) technique down; same goes for the chanter fingering and grace notes, slurs, etc.

    Sure, you could make it sound decent enough to a layperson, but a REAL piper would know the difference.

  19. I'd also say the shamisen- not because of anything to do with the instrument itself but its function. The styling of the music is INCREDIBLY formal and there are lots of theory ideas specifically connected with Japanese culture and mythology.

    Even if you COULD learn the instrument, you'd have to know Japanese and live in Japan, somewhere like Kyoto where traditional arts are preformed.
  20. cello.
    say hello to carpal tunnel!

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