Robert Estrin - piano expert

Is it Ever Too Late to Switch Musical Instruments?

Get an answer to this common question

In this video, Robert gives you some guidance on whether changing instruments would be feasible for you.

Released on July 1, 2015

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi this is Robert Estrin at and with a question today. Is it ever too late to switch instruments?

You know, I've known many people who have started one instrument and gradually realized that they were destined for another instrument. Is it ever too late, though? Well, it depends upon what your situation is and your expectations. It also depends upon the nature of the switch.
For example, I know many fine violinists who at one point or another in their career decided to switch to viola. Maybe there was just more market for it, but more than that, the rich tone of the viola really appeals to some people. And you may find that the transition from violin to viola can be relatively seamless compared to, let's say, transitioning from the trumpet to a guitar where it's very unrelated.

So, that's one aspect: How related are the two instruments? The other thing is do you have nay experience with the other instrument? For example, if you went to conservatory on one instrument, but had always played another one, maybe switching isn't a cataclysmic event in your life. It's more of a transition where one overtook the other.

Now, I have known people sadly who, for example, played clarinet for their whole lives and in their 20s thought, "Well, now that I'm an adult, I don't have time to play in band anymore and I'm maybe not good enough to play in an orchestra on a level that I'd really appreciate. I'd love to play the piano with its rich repertoire." Starting piano at that age, you certainly can become accomplished, but it would be very, very difficult to expect a career as a concert pianist at that age because of the massive amount of repertoire that you have to learn as well as the dexterity of the hands.

So, as long as your expectations are in alignment and realistic, enjoy it. If it's for enjoyment, certainly you can change instruments. The good news is that anything you do in music translates to other things, so a rich background, for example, just in singing will make learning an instrument later much easier. And of course, the foundation of piano translates to other instruments magnificently, as well.

Thanks for the great questions. Once again, I'm Robert Estrin. This is and
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Edwin Hawke on August 26, 2015 @3:55 pm PST
Played low brass for many years, added String Bass 5 years ago, and now adding Ukulele... All part of the plan to play more social music, and all very fun. 61 years old, and thinking of 30 more years of playing at the campfire...
Lee Ann * VSM MEMBER * on July 1, 2015 @8:55 am PST
Same here. Violinist adding piano which was the instrument I wanted to learn since age three. I started formal piano lessons a year ago July 17 at the age of 60, moving rapidly through beginning literature and currently learning intermediate-grade literature.
LUIZ SETTE * VSM MEMBER * on July 1, 2015 @7:02 am PST
Nice video. I myself am an example. I'm a pianist and started to learn the violin recently. I'm 57 y old. I did not switch instrument , I've simply added one that I always admired for its fascinating singing capacity. Where am I going to end up with this? Well, a lot of fun is already guaranteed which shall be plenty enough !
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