Should I Learn Piano or Violin? (How To Decide)

If you want to learn a classical instrument, learning to play the piano or violin is an excellent option. These two instruments produce a beautiful sound, but both are played very differently. Playing the violin well involves learning pitches, playing motions, and proper finger placements on the strings. 

The piano is more straightforward, requiring no training to hit a particular note. Each key on the keyboard corresponds with a note, allowing you to hit the note easily. There are a few things to consider when learning the piano or violin. This article will cover the differences between these instruments, the difficulty level, and which you should learn. 

Should I Learn Piano or Violin? 

The easier instrument to learn is the piano for beginners and is foundational to learning other instruments. The violin is more difficult to learn, but you master learning the pitch and precision in the hand movements. If you have no musical background, the better choice would be learning the piano. 

What are the Main Differences Between the Piano and the Violin? 

String instruments like the violin require a different skill set than playing the piano. One of the biggest differences between these instruments is the learning curve required to play the instruments proficiently. The violin requires years of consistent practice to learn minor details and play well. 

Playing the piano at an equal level requires less time, but it can also be complex at a higher level. Another difference between these instruments is portability. The violin is very portable and can be carried easily to different locations. Pianos are large and fragile instruments that are difficult to relocate. 

The last main difference between these instruments is their versatility. A piano comes in many different forms, from organs to electronic keyboards. The violin is rarely seen outside of classical compositions, but that is changing with new musicians. These are only a few of the differences between the piano and the violin, but there are many more. 

Which is Better to Play, the Piano or the Violin?

If you want to learn other instruments, playing the piano will provide a foundational understanding of music. The piano is also much more versatile, and musicians play it in various genres of music. The piano is often played while singing for solo performances, and it requires no additional instruments. 

Some of the top musicians in the world play the piano while singing, so it’s a crowd favorite. The violin is a much more niche instrument, but it can be foundational for other string instruments. No instrument is better to play than another. You will need to determine your musical goals for playing.

Is it Harder to Learn the Piano or the Violin? 

In most people’s opinion, the violin is more challenging to learn than the piano. Precision is necessary when playing the violin to play the correct note or tone. You will also need to get comfortable with the playing posture and arm movements. Every new player needs to learn the following skills to play the violin: 

  • Left-Hand Articulation
  • Finger Placement
  • Arm Movement 
  • Playing Posture

Playing the piano is much more straightforward, with beginners playing a note correctly with a press of a key. You will not have to worry about placing your fingers correctly on the keyboard to play a correct note like the violin. While learning the piano, you will need to learn the following essential skills: 

  • Understanding Time and Tempo
  • Primary Chords
  • Proper Body and Hand Positioning
  • Using the Pedals

While playing the piano, you will play a note on the first day. If you were to play the violin, it might take several months to play the same note consistently. The violin is a complex instrument to play, but you will greatly appreciate the instrument as you master it and learn how to play it correctly. 

How Long Does it Take to Learn the Piano? 

Learning the piano requires years of dedicated practice to reach a higher level of proficiency. If you want to learn the basics of piano, it should only be two months of consistent practice. Some of the fundamentals of the piano are accords, hand positions, and rhythm. After a year of practice, you should have solid playing techniques and can play many different songs. 

How Long Does it Take to Learn the Violin? 

Perfecting the violin is a lifelong pursuit, but there are some milestones in learning the instrument. After one year of consistent practice, you will be comfortable with the instrument and know many of the notes. By the second year of learning the violin, you should play faster music without losing tone quality. After three to five years, you can expand into advanced playing techniques. 

What are the Differences in Learning the Piano vs the Violin?

The processes of learning the piano and the violin are very different. When you start learning the violin, you will need to learn finger placement due to the violin being a fretless string instrument. Playing the violin will also require training your ears to ensure you are hitting each note properly. 

While learning the piano, the process is more logical, and the learning curve is not as steep. You will not have to focus on hitting a note correctly, as the keys are already tuned. However, you will need a qualified teacher to teach you these instruments at a high level. Learning these instruments will always be easier with professional instruction. 

Is it More Expensive to Learn the Piano or the Violin? 

If cost is a concern, playing the violin is more budget-friendly. The average upright piano will be between $3,000 and $6,500. These initial costs can be steep for beginners, as you still don’t know if you will enjoy playing the instrument. A high-quality violin will cost between $1,000 and $1,450. 

However, you can find a beginner violin for as low as $350 if you start with a basic instrument. If you’ve never played an instrument before, starting with a lower investment is recommended. You could find out you prefer playing the piano more than the violin after you’ve purchased an instrument. 

Along with the initial costs of the instrument, you need to take into account the maintenance costs. Pianos require very little maintenance, with experts recommending you get it tuned twice a year. Tuning a piano will typically cost between $150 and $200 each time a professional gets it tuned.

Violins will have higher maintenance fees, as you will need to re-string the instrument and polish it properly. Polishing a violin will cost between $60 and $90. If you want to re-string the violin, it will cost $40 to $80. You will also need to replace the bow hairs twice a year, with an average cost of $50. 

Which is More Fun, the Piano or the Violin? 

Since learning the piano is easier, it’s likely more fun to play for musicians. You can quickly learn basic songs on the piano within only a few days of practice. Additionally, the piano is a versatile instrument, and most hit song melodies can be played on the piano. There are numerous online resources for pianists to learn ways to improve their craft. 

However, if you find joy in challenges, playing the violin can be a rewarding and fun experience. To get good at playing the violin, you will need to spend hours perfecting a song before you play it properly. Once you play an entire song correctly, it can be an exciting experience that displays your hard work. 

Can you Learn Both the Violin and Piano at the Same Time?

Learning two instruments is an achievable goal, but it isn’t realistic for everyone. If you want to learn the violin or piano, you will need dedication and a qualified teacher to learn the instruments. All instruments require you to put in a certain number of hours to get good at playing. 

If you split your time between two instruments, achieving a higher skill level will take longer than focusing on only one. Most people also don’t have the time necessary to learn two instruments properly. Many experts recommend spending two hours each day practicing your instrument of choice.

Final Thoughts

The piano and violin are timeless instruments that are good choices for musicians to learn. However, the learning curve for these instruments is vastly different, with the violin being the more challenging instrument. If you value learning an easier instrument, the piano is the better choice. 

If you have a deep desire to learn the violin, it’s achievable with a dedication to perfecting the instrument. No matter your instrument of choice, you should give it your all and develop a consistent practicing routine.