I borrowed a cheap Washburn mandolin last week, and have been working on learning to play it.
I discover it's much tougher on my left-hand fingertips than is my violin. Of course, that may be because it's a cheap instrument and therefore the strings are a little higher than they should be, so to prevent a buzz out of the fretboard. Of course, when I play it, it buzzes anyway.
I've made 10 years of piano in a public conservatoire, but when I reached 15, I noticed I wasn't good enough to become a professional musician (I reached my limits).
Still, I can play it fairly well when I have time to focus and practise (when I have time... hmmm... I'd wish I had more). Alas, I play only classical music, no jazz. I have a slight preference for Bach and Debussy, although I also enjoyed playing Satie, Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven, Mozart being often the trickiest composer of this crowd when you need to interpret his music.
I also played church organs, I mean very large ones, since I used to train in Saint-Sulpice (Paris), which has the same dimensions as Notre-Dame's cathedral. When you play the BWV 565 Toccata on such a powerful instrument, believe me, you feel like God in front of keyboards! The whole building is resonating with sound, almost trembling.
The idea is not to make a single mistake, or else it booms into your ears during several minutes (much to your own shame).
Despite this experience, I usually prefer to play only for myself (when I need to calm down a little, for instance), and dislike to have an audience. Let's say it's one of the few introverted traits I hide in my extroverted shell...
"A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire
guitar. started playing really late at 26. I'm 29 now. I thought the first 2 years were very difficult. Now I'm intermediate and very happy to find that I'm able to compose something of my own. There's nothing better than a tune in my head that I've made myself.
Piano, acoustic guitar and harmonica. Completely typical.
Started piano in primary school, stopped in secondary. Picked up the acoustic guitar 2 years ago, am now intermediate-level, I guess. I'm not too bad. Just picked up the harmonica this year, I need to learn to breath properly before I'll be ok with that.
Hope that I'll have enough money next year to buy my dream electric guitar and finally start playing with all of the effects pedals and mixers though. Acoustic gets slightly repetitive after a while, especially since I'm no classical guitarist.
I'm okay with [electric]guitar and bass. I can play piano, in a plodding sort of way (need to practice more).
I used to play clarinet and cello in elementary school.
My favorite instrument is a computer, however. Synthesized/electronic music.
I can sing pretty well. I have over a three-octave range, and the next best thing to perfect pitch (can't recognize notes at hearing them, but I can mimic them). I've been told I should go professional. *shrugs*
I essentially play Indian percussion instruments, which are completely different to either the standard western drumkit or things like Latin and African percussion, which I would expect most people to be more familiar with. Indian percussion is very technically demanding and incredibly difficult to play even up to my current standards. Which are actually quite high for a Westerner, from a notably non-musical background, who didn't start playing any kind of instrument, let alone this stuff, until his mid 20's. Without the foregoing qualifications, however, I should probably classify myself as mediocre but improving. I studied a couple of years with one of the best British tabla players (actually a Jewish Hindu from New Zealand, ah, well).
As I doubt many people will actually know what I am talking about if I simply name the instruments I can play I shall hereby provide a brief description along with the names of said intruments. I'll list them in rough order of my ability (best to worst).
Tabla (Tuneable kettledrums, the most important and popular Indian drums, normally played in pairs while sitting on the ground. They slightly resemble bongo drums in appearance but have a completely different sound/playing technique.YouTube - Zakir Hussain Masters of Percussion Most people probably will have seen them (or at least heard them) as they're quite extensively used/sampled in a wide variety of music, especially world, fusion, and electronic music. Sometimes I even hear mutilated tabla samples playing as a background beat in the pop charts
Pakhawaj (A big double ended wooden barrel drum played horizontally. It sounds like a massively bassy tabla. It's quite physically demanding to play for long but I love the sound when I'm in the mood. So far as I know they're only used in Indian temple music and and an old form of Indian classical music known as Druphad. Until I introduce them to the experimental rock world, that is
Khol (A twin headed flask shaped barrel drum, normally made out of pottery and played hanging around the chest by a shoulder strap so that the drummer can dance if they want to. I presume that's why they're so popular with the Hari Krishnas, or whatever they're calling themselves these days)
Khol (A sort of folk version of the Pakhawaj, smaller and more simply constructed. Probably the easiest one to play for people who haven't studied Indian drumming technique.)
Khanjira (A very weird little creature, like a tiny tambourine with only one jingle. Incredibly difficult to play, not least because the head is highly abrasive sharkskin - I kid you not - which has the ability to separate skin from hand in no time at all. It makes a pretty amazing funky sound if played correctly.YouTube - Balamuralikrishna's concert - Thani Avarthanam Part 2 I can tolerate a certain amount of pain in a good cause.)
...and not forgetting
Gopichand (A strange kind of stringed instrument which has only one string and makes a quite unearthly wailing sound which may or may not be considered music, particularly when this particular drummer has finished with it. I "play" it if the neighbours have upset me in some way, or when pisshed. Both together are obviously ideal My last neighbour informed me that she was quite happy for me to play my tabla at 2am if I so chose, providing I desisted from playing THAT at any time...)