Have you self taught yourself how to play an instrument?

  1. I'm self teaching myself how to play piano and guitar. I've always wondered though: do you often feel you're still worse than others even though you probably could play at their level? Like my friend plays the guitar and he does his chords different from me (as the way he holds down the strings) and even though we make the same sound, I just feel as if he's doing it the 'correct' way. Does anyone else ever feel like that?

    And piano... my fingering is all over the place. It's so hard, and even though it sounds good, when you watch me play I look so weird, but when I watch others they look so graceful.

    So does anyone feel like they're doing it 'wrong' when they've self taught themselves an instrument?
  2. if it sounds good and is coming from your heart and the pit of your soul, don't worry about being unorthodox. there are talented musicians that can't even read music that well! use proper training as a guideline but remember music is a creative non confining medium. sure you will always have the muso purists that study music theory and methods to death but IMO the most beautiful music has been made by the ones who dared pushed the envelope with their unorthodox style and attitude.
  3. I have somewhat taught myself how to play piano. I used to take lessons, but then I just got sooooo bored with it because it just moved too slow, so I quit. I ended up teaching myself "für elise" by memorization, but haven't had time to learn any others. But, I do find that those few piano lessons just to learn the complete basics did help a lot in understanding how to play piano and to teach myself that song. It's a good foundation. I just like the freedom of being able to skip around to different songs of different difficulty levels and have them be songs that I actually enjoy, rather than those songs learned in lessons, like "Johnny the Postman", or something like that.\
    If you want to learn the basics and then branch off from what you know, I have found that those piano instructional books help a lot. They are at music stores, and Guitar Centre has a good selection of them.
  4. Lol I guess i've always wondered whether what i'm playing reeeaally sounds the same you know? Like i've always wondered whether they can hear the disperencies... if I think about it long enough, it does seem pretty stupid doesn't it?

    And I hate lessons because they do go too slowly and the music, excuse my language, really sucks! That does mean I can't sight read though, I actually have to write out all the notes and memorise them.
  5. Non-self taught violinist here. I've had a teacher for 13 years.

    Yes, you certainly can learn to play most instruments on your own, but even if it's for a short period of time, I strongly suggest you get a teacher.

    There are so many bad habits that self-taught players can develop in a hurry and are very hard to unlearn. Poor physical positions can create a myriad of ailments such as carpal tunnel, neck pain, shoulder pain, etc. A good teacher will show you good technique with which to hold and play your instrument.

    As to sounding better, there could be some truth to that. I know that if you don't hold your bow properly playing the violin, you won't get the best possible tone out of your instrument.

    Beyond getting squared with good technique, teachers can be optional if you really just don't have the time or interest in taking lessons. Since you are already hanging with musicians, look at their technique and ask questions. Other players are often the best teachers you can find. ;)
  6. I absolutely agree with everything you said Prada Psycho. As an adult I started playing the flute a few years ago (I'm 51 now). Nothing could replace the valuable knoweldge I have gained from excellent teachers. And, part of the joy of music for me is playing with someone else. Even though this is always only my teacher as accompaniment.

    I do applaud anyone who does study music on their own, though. It's still wonderful to learn to play an insrument, but I think the experience can be exponenetially enhanced with a proper instructor.

    My lessons take place once a week at a studio. They are private and last for one hour. I look forward to going each and every Tuesday night!
  7. I've been so messed up with my botched back surgery that I've not been able to actively return to my lessons in the past 10 months. It's killing me for just the reasons you mention. I ADORE my teacher and my lessons. She always incorporates duets into every lesson and that rocks! I specifically remember the first time we played the Vivaldi "Christmas Concerto #8" (me on first violin) I was high as a kite for the next week. Even her husband came out of the back of the house to listen. He applauded like crazy. Quite a compliment given he's a musician too. :nuts:

    Lordie, I miss my lessons!! :crybaby:
  8. I can only imagine how miserable you must be. First with your physical discomfort from your back surgery and second because your joy of making music has been taken away from you. We play duets too. It's my favorite part of the lesson. My wonderful teacher moved to Pennsylvania this week, but my new teacher is equally as accomplished (and I think a tad bit calmer). I've had her as a substitute a couple of times and I adore her too. The transition will be an easy one! Both of these women were trained at the Peabody School of Music so they are exceptionally accomplished.

    I've had other teachers in the past at other studios and I enjoyed them as well, and certainly progressed more and better than I would have on my own, but my just-departed teacher and my new teacher, make my music and my love of music soar to new heights.

    I hope you'll be able to return to your passion soon. This has got to be a difficult time for you. I wish I could think of a musical instrument you could take up (even temporarily) that wouldn't involve your back muscles and still satisfy your love of playing.:flowers:
  9. I am a music teacher.
    I play;
    Violin, Viola, Guitar, Flute, Clarinet, & Piano.
    I taught myself to play guitar.
    I have played Violin & Piano since I was 7. I play violin in lots of orchestras, and I always feel I play it wrong - even though I am told I am so graceful.
    Music is what I believe is you have to be blessed with it. And if you can teach yourself to play an instrument, thats such a great thing.
  10. I know violin is crazy hard... my brother is learning it and I tried it out and I definitely need a teacher if I want to play violin.

    And I play just for a hobby, so I always debated over whether to get a teacher or not.

    I'm just glad i'm not alone in thinking i'm constantly 'wrong'.
  11. I taught myself treble recorder when I was a kid and I continued teaching myself flute after I stopped having lessons. I have taught myself a bit of guitar but I am pretty awful lol and can play a bit of piana but my grandma taught me that x
  12. Although a teacher can be invaluable in teaching skills and techniques I would say that yes you can teach yourself.
    My daughter (who teaches flute and piano) agrees. She had years of training on her main instruments but taught herself guitar and didgeridoo (!). It depends on what you want from your music. If you are playing purely for pleasure, as a hobby, then it doesn't matter if your technique is not text book perfect. As long as you are having fun with what you are doing, then that is what matters. Music is a joy, enjoy it.:smile:
  13. Great thread!!

    To answer the OP question, yes I taught myself how to play (acoustic) guitar. I just got a bunch of fingering charts and a couple books and just went for it. I DID later take a couple lessons as I understand the wonder on whether you're "doing it right" with technique and all.

    I learned guitar after I had taken several years of piano lessons. Not to toot my own horn (no pun intended), but music comes pretty easily to me, so it was not a super huge struggle...

    Sometimes I relate this to typing...how many of us had keyboarding instructors in school, and how many just learned on our own? There's the traditional technique (learning the home keys, etc), but then I have personally eyewitnessed some of the fastest 'hunt and peck' typists in my previous jobs, LOL.

    Most of all, music is art, expression, creativity and a solace. ENJOY and sing your heart out while you're at it!!
  14. Well, my mom is a professional pianist, so I of course learned as a kid. I was in band at school and I learned to play the cornet (similar to a trumpet), then I moved on to the oboe (by far my favorite instrument). A few years ago I purchased a flute and I was learning it on my own but it's just so darn hard to find time to practice these days ... work just gets in the way of everything!
  15. Yes, the Irish tin whistle. It wasn't so difficult.