At first, learning to play the piano is a little easier than learning the guitar. With a piano, a beginner can simply start playing by pressing the keys, while with a guitar you’ll need some practice to get your fingers and hands strong enough to play the notes correctly. Also, your fretting hand’s fingertips need to develop calluses in order to play guitar without hurting your fingers.
On a piano, all the notes are laid out sequentially and each note can only be played on one specific key. The keys are also coloured black or white, which makes it easy to see how the notes are laid out in relation to one another. Intervals are also clearly visible. On a guitar, the notes are laid out differently to accommodate for different hand positions. This allows players to play the same note in many different places, which makes it a bit harder to grasp musical theory with a guitar.
Reading music is also much simpler with a piano as the written music (bass and treble clef) is easily translated to the piano (left and right hand) while with a guitar, the music is written slightly differently to accommodate the tuning of the strings.
Pianos are set up and tuned by a professional once, and only need to be tuned again when it is moved or for occasional routine maintenance. Guitars need to be tuned every time they are played. For beginners, this also makes the piano a better choice as you can first learn the basics and properly train your ear without the need to worry about tuning. Incorrectly tuning your guitar might make it difficult to properly train your ears as you might not tune your guitar correctly all the time.
Budget and portability are also huge considerations here, as a piano is far more expensive than a guitar and is generally a “fixed” instrument, meaning it is set up in one place and rarely moved ie. in a Church. Guitars, on the other hand, range from cheap beginner guitars all the way to guitars that cost as much as a grand piano. This allows for a more flexible budget when buying your first guitar. Guitars are also portable and great for performing musicians as they can perform on the same instrument that they practiced with, which isn’t the case for pianos – unless you are Alecia Keys, who travels around the world with her grand piano.
When choosing between the two instruments, it comes down to personal preference and the type of music you would like to play. If you’re still undecided…
Consider learning piano if you have access to one and you are keen to develop a better music theory foundation for yourself. With good music-theoretical knowledge and a developed musical ear, you can carry over your skills to other instruments more easily later on. Also, if delayed gratification is a problem for you, the piano is a much better choice as you can play satisfying music much quicker.
Consider learning guitar if you want to play an instrument that is affordable and you plan on performing/practicing in different locations. Guitar is a good choice if you’re up for a slightly steeper learning curve in the beginning and have the patience and persistence to keep practicing until you develop the strength in your hands to play the chords and notes correctly.
A piano is a large acoustic instrument that houses a soundboard and strings which are struck by wooden hammers when a key is pressed. The vibration of the strings is muted when a key is released and can be controlled for volume and length by two or three pedals. A standard piano has 88 weighted keys that give the player more control over tone and volume. Pianos are generally “fixed” instruments, meaning you permanently set it up in a single location where it will be played ie. in a Church. They are simply too large and heavy to be considered mobile and they need to be tuned by a professional every time they are moved.
A keyboard is an electric instrument that resembles a piano but comes in various types and sizes. With a keyboard’s lighter keys, the player does not have the same feel and control over the tone. However, modern keyboards today have many sounds and features that allow the player more variety in the types of music they can produce. Most keyboards today come with hundreds of sounds, backing tracks, metronomes and more, allowing for more options when it comes to producing modern music. Keyboards are great for performing musicians as they are easy to transport and set up at different locations. This also allows musicians to perform on the same instrument that they practiced on.
For a beginner, it can be more satisfying to play the piano because you can produce a satisfying sound from the harmonics of the surrounding strings after hitting one note. A piano also has a better “feel” with the weighted keys. However, some keyboards also have weighted keys but these are more accurately called “digital pianos” which give the player the same “feel” on the keys but don’t produce the same harmonics.
Pianos are much more expensive than digital pianos and keyboards, so if you aren’t committed to practicing the piano for a long time, you might consider starting off with a more affordable keyboard until you become good enough to take full advantage of the beautiful tone and feel that a piano has to offer.
If you are still undecided…
Consider learning piano if you can afford access to one and you prefer to play with the weighted keys and uniquely beautiful sound it produces.
Consider learning keyboard or digital piano if you’ll be playing at different locations and if you want to especially make use of all the extra sounds and features modern keyboards offer.
Pianos and violins are both hard instruments to master but when it comes to perfect tone, violins are much harder. For a beginner, it’s a little easier to get started with a piano; with a violin, you’ll have to develop muscle memory to accurately press the notes.
A violin is a stringed acoustic instrument much like a small guitar or ukulele but has no frets and is played by sliding a bow over the strings instead of plucking them. With no frets, it is especially difficult to get exactly the note you are looking for as your finger placement needs to be precise, without any visible indication as to where you must place your finger. This means that violins require a trained ear, apart from tuning the strings a violin player actually tunes each note as they play.
On a piano, the keys are laid out sequentially so it’s easier to learn where all the notes are and much easier to produce a nice sound, as a beginner. With a piano, a beginner can quickly learn how to play a simple song which helps keep them motivated to continue practicing. With a violin, it can become discouraging when you’ve practiced a lot and still can’t produce a satisfying sound.
These are two very different instruments both in the way they are played and in the sound they produce. So again, the choice is based on what music you want to play. However, if you are still undecided…
Consider learning piano if you want to learn music theory and be able to play satisfying songs quicker.
Consider learning violin if you don’t mind the steeper learning curve and won’t get discouraged by practicing long hours with little progress at first.
Piano and cello are both difficult to master but the piano is easier to get started with and will give you more satisfying results quicker. Also, the skill learned on a piano is more easily transferable to other instruments later on.
A cello is a bowed string instrument of the violin family that is mostly used to play bass. It is the second largest of the violin family, played upright with the base resting on the floor between the player’s knees.
With piano, you’ll be able to play a simple song like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” within a couple of hours, whereas with a cello you’ll need a fair amount of practice just to correctly draw the bow over the strings to produce a decent sound. Also, because a cello is a fretless instrument, it will take a fair amount of practice to put your fingers in the right spot to play the notes in tune.
A piano allows the player to play a complete composition including bass, rhythm and melody. With a cello or violin, the player is limited to play only one of them at a time which can make solo playing less fun.
There are a lot of resources available to learn and practice piano on your own. A cello is a much harder instrument to learn without a teacher.
These instruments each fall into their own categories and produce different sounds, so making your choice based on what music you want to play should be easy.
If you are still undecided…
Consider learning piano if you want to learn music theory faster and you have access to a piano. Pianos are also great if you want to play a larger variety of music.
Consider learning cello if you like a deeper sound, prefer a stringed bow instrument and you have access to a skilled cello teacher.
A guitar and a violin are both stringed instruments but fall under different categories, where a guitar’s strings are plucked with your finger or a plectrum, a violin’s sound is produced by drawing a bow across the strings. Furthermore, a guitar is a fretted instrument meaning it has thin metal strips placed along the neck to ensure a specific tone is produced when you press your finger between two frets. A violin has no frets meaning no guidance on finger placement when trying to produce a specific sound. If finger placement is even slightly off, the sound will be off too.
A violin helps musicians develop a more in-tune musical ear, as the player relies more on the sound of the note than on a visual indicator. However, in the beginning, it can be frustrating as it can take a long time and a lot of dedication to get to a point where you’ll be able to get a satisfying sound out of your instrument.
A violin is considered to be one of the hardest instruments to learn compared to other stringed instruments. A beginner guitar player will play better guitar in a month than a violinist will play violin in the same amount of time.
When played correctly, violins have a beautiful sound, more unique compared to most other instruments. The learning curve is much steeper with a violin than with a guitar, especially in the beginning, but produces a much smoother sound in the end. This means if you are dedicated and committed to practicing for a long time, honing your skills, you will be able to produce much nicer compositions from a violin than that of a guitar.
Guitars have thicker strings and will hurt your fingers until you develop calluses. With a violin, the strings are much thinner and easier to press down, however without frets the slightest movement will change the pitch so your hands would still need to develop the strength to keep your finger in the correct place to produce exactly the sound you want.
Guitars are better for multitasking ie. singing while playing. This is much harder(almost impossible) to do the same with a violin, as the instrument is held under the chin.
If you are undecided…
Consider learning guitar for a slightly flatter learning curve and if you plan on singing while playing. Also to take advantage of the ample online guitar learning resources for self-study.
Consider learning violin if you prefer a bowed instrument and don’t mind putting in a little more effort and practice with a skilled teacher.
The guitar has a slightly steeper learning curve in the beginning compared to a keyboard, but both are equally difficult to master. While keyboards require finger dexterity and rhythm, they don’t require the same strength and calluses that guitar playing demands. This makes it a little easier and more satisfying for a complete beginner to learn the keyboard, as they would be able to produce some nice sounding chords quicker, without the need to go through the painful part of developing calluses.
A keyboard lays out all of the notes in a linear fashion, and colour codes your sharps and flats, making it easier to visualise and remember them. A guitar’s notes are laid out linearly on each string but each string starts on a different note, making it more difficult to visualise and learn the notes of the stacked strings.
The keyboard also makes music theory, chords, scales and sight reading easier because of the above. With a guitar, written music looks a little different to accommodate for the tuning of the guitar, where with a keyboard it is easier to read the bass and treble clef as they correspond with your left and right hand.
Consider learning guitar if you prefer stringed instruments and don’t mind the steeper learning curve and painful fingers in the beginning.
Consider learning keyboard if you want to learn music theory quicker and be able to produce many different sounds from the same instrument.
Cellos and violins are both stringed bowed instruments but cellos are larger and tuned to play lower bass notes while violins are much smaller and tuned to play higher melodic notes.
A cello is placed upright on the floor with the base of the cello between the player’s knees while a violin is held between one hand and the player’s neck.
Cello is considered easier to learn because of its more natural position while playing. However, many violin players say that after a while of playing, the position a violin is held becomes natural, too.
Consider learning cello if you prefer the low-frequency sound it produces and if you have the budget to afford one. Also, if you prefer the position it is held when played and don’t mind travelling with a much larger instrument.
Consider violin if you prefer a smaller and much more portable instrument with an affordable price tag and a higher-frequency sound.
Cello is more difficult than guitar because it has no frets, similar to a violin. Getting the intonation right on a cello is much harder than with a guitar, so you’ll definitely need a teacher to help you. With a guitar, it is possible to follow online course videos to get the same or similar results you’d get from a teacher.
Even though a guitar can get you playing more quickly, the skills developed with a cello will make you a much better musician in the long run. Cello skills are more easily transferred to other instruments, especially bow instruments.
With a guitar, it is easier to accompany yourself with chords while a cello is not really designed for chords and is mostly played as an accompanying instrument with orchestras and bands.
A guitar offers more variety to play different types and genres of music while a cello produces a very unique deep sound. Your choice will depend a lot on the type and genre of music you would like to play, as each instrument falls into a category of their own.
If you are still undecided…
Consider learning cello if you can afford a cello along with a skilled teacher. Also, cello is great if you want to develop a more accurate musical ear.
Consider learning guitar if you want to play a variety of genres and plan to sing along.