I highly enjoy music, and would like to know what would be better to play in if I do not have any real preference for any genre (I listen to rock the most often and I am the most familiar with it, but in the end I like them all equally). I enjoy most styles of music, but here is the list of the genres that bother me:

-Pop (only if it's lead by synths and electronic drums or just chords/too simple melody on acoustic guitar/piano; other than those two styles, I don't mind the genre)

-New popular rap

-Some forms of electronic

-New country (or more appropriately, rural pop)

Obviously, neither ensemble would play those genres at all (or at least extremely unlikely), but just to give the idea that my musical tastes are flexible.

Also one final question: what are some advantages and disadvantages of each besides instrumentation? They can relate either directly to music and/or the personality of the people in each ensemble, since I am a relatively social person in addition to having a passion for music. (I already know that orchestras have the advantage of more sections and more types of instruments, but band has a better variety of instruments in the sections that are in a band).

I've also been playing piano for about three years. I mainly play classical and traditional songs. I know piano is not used in either of these ensembles, but if I were to join either of these ensembles at one point of my life, what instrument would my piano skills carry over to best?

Also, I'm sure you understand this, but just to make sure, I am referring to a concert band with about 40 - 70 musicians and brass, woodwind, and percussion sections, NOT a rock band with about 3 - 6 musicians and guitar, bass, drums, etc.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Dom May 17 '18 at 1:46

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


Let me begin by saying that I can't really answer your question about whether you should join a concert band or an orchestra (mainly because I find that to be highly subjective), however, there is one point in your question that I believe is important to address:

As far as I understood, you want to learn a new instrument and join a band/orchestra with that (since the piano isn't really present in any of these two). I believe that if you changed the order of making your choices you could be a lot happier in the long run:

Instead of

  • choosing between band/orchestra
  • then looking at which instruments are used in that specific ensemble
  • and choosing one out of those that is closest to the piano

I'd recommend you:

  • Try out as many different instruments as possible
  • Choose the one you enjoy playing the most
  • See which form of musical ensemble has a place for someone playing that instrument
  • Choose between one of those

I think you should prioritize picking the instrument that you enjoy the most, because in the end this is what you'll have to play and practise for the band/orchestra. Making a wrong choice here could bring you a lot more frustration in the long run than choosing the wrong type of ensemble to play in.

Also I would like to point out that just because you play the piano now, you generally shouldn't restrict yourself to instruments that are similar when picking a new one. Every instrument is different and if you commit to learning it from the ground up, just like you did with the piano, you are going to see a lot better results. You should also note that it's not just your technical skills which "carry over" to the new instrument but also your general musical knowledge - which is even more important in my opinion.

I wish you the best of luck with whatever instrument and type of musical ensemble you decide to go with!


Having just returned from a fabulous concert by an amateur band in rural France, with nigh on 30 players INCLUDING KEYS, a concert band will do you fine. It doesn't have to be a brass or wind band, and most orchetras play the more 'serious' music.

In this band, the keys used several different sounds (as I do when playing keys with various ensembles), so it wasn't purely piano. But, that's only part of the question you pose. With piano skills, the theory is part way there, so you'll only need to transfer that knowledge onto another instrument. Basically one which plays single notes (unless it's guitar) so it should be far easier following one stave instead of the usual, for you, two. You then have to find an instrument which you can produce a fair sound on, and learn where all the notes live on it.

  • Two issues if the OP chooses to play keyboard with an ensemble are (1) he/she will probably be in a minority of one as the only keyboard player. That's may be fine, but it can be a bit "lonely" apart from the actual "playing music" part of the total experience. (2) in the long run, the more instruments you have some practical experience playing, the better musician you will become . For example, even if you only play a string or wind instrument badly, you will have more empathy with a good player when you are accompanying them on a keyboard. The OP might also consider singing in a choir. – user19146 May 22 '16 at 20:50
  • @alephzero - addressing your comment - playing keys is probably less lonely on one's own, as with most other instruments, all one can do is play the melody line. Yes, one is out on a bit of a limb, not being part of an ensemble of sax players, for instance, but one gets to play stuff along with the band but also some solos. I attend a particular open mic., and could take guitar, along with several other guitars, but am better off playing keys, being the only one there, usually. Second point - true, more instruments played, better muso., but do you want to be the worst player in a band? – Tim May 23 '16 at 5:51

So what instrument, apart from piano, DO you play? What ensembles are available to join in your locality? Do THEY need YOU?

Here's my advice. Don't pre-plan too much. Accept any musical opportunity that presents itself. Go to a local band, tell them you have some musical experience and ask what instrument they're short of. "Siberian nose flute? Great! Can you loan me one and arrange lessons?"

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