5 Stars Who’ve Learned to Play New Musical Instruments
Picking up a new instrument and learning how to play, these 5 celebrities have all decided to challenge themselves by learning something new. Some had to play a musical instrument on screen and didn’t want it to look fake so they took it upon themselves to actually learn the basics so it would look realistic. Others wanted to push themselves to learn something new and decided they wanted to try a new musical instrument as part of their own personal growth.
Russell decided to learn violin: “I said to myself, ‘You’re not allowed to pretend that you’re a violinist. Richard is the director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and we’ve become friends, so I asked him to be my violin teacher. It was a very long process and very strange things happened. I used to put my violin down after 45 minutes of rehearsing and I’d feel very lightheaded and euphoric and I thought that’s amazing that it makes you feel like this. Then I realised that I wasn’t breathing while I was playing. I started getting really bad sore throats, so I came up with this system where I would hold a bit of rock candy between my teeth so at least it kept saliva going down the back of my throat and I taught myself to breathe with the playing, as if I was singing. I can’t say I claimed the instrument but I was OK.”
Vanessa picked up a guitar and learned how to play: “I learned how to play the guitar for ‘Bandslam’ – and I got to rock out at the end! It really hurts your fingers though, and I had the worst calluses. My hands are tiny too so I was doing crazy things with my fingers.”
Rachel learned how to play the accordion for a role: “We were in Serbia when we were doing the scenes and I learned the accordion with a professor who spoke no English and I spoke no Serbian. I just wished someone had made a documentary of me trying to learn the accordion because it was so silly. Then I had to learn the banjo, guitar and fiddle. I was doing my homework in my room for hours learning the chords. I had to look as if I knew how to play these instruments.”
Chiwetel learned the violin for his part in ’12 Years A Slave’ and didn’t want to fake it: ”It turns out the violin is a very tricky instrument if you’re trying to fake it, so I got a teacher. She was great and we’d practice when we had any time – lunch breaks or whatever – so it was good to learn the tunes and the different positions because it’s a fiddling this which is also quite complicated.”
Kelly wants to learn guitar: “I don’t really switch off. I’m always thinking of songs or ideas. I’m going to take guitar lessons. I watched a documentary on producer Berry Gordy and it showed that, in between albums, his acts – The Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder – wouldn’t be chilling; they’d be learning an instrument, brushing up on as true artists.”