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Which Instrument Is Harder To Learn: Piano Or Guitar?


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Poll: Which Instrument Is Harder To Learn: Piano Or Guitar? (19 member(s) have cast votes)

Which instrument is harder to learn?

  1. Guitar (13 votes [68.42%])

    Percentage of vote: 68.42%

  2. Piano (6 votes [31.58%])

    Percentage of vote: 31.58%

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#1 magnus80a

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 10:21 PM

18 months into this course and I have reached a level where I can play the guitar, but is (very) far from mastering it. I've been thinking about adding piano to my list of instruments to play, but I'm unsure if I'm ready to take the leap. I'm almost 30 years old now (+ a kid on the way) and I'm hoping that I'll be able to take on pieces like Moonlight Sonata, Classical Gas, etc. within a few years. Will adding piano practice to that jeopardize my chances of getting good enough with a guitar? Is piano easier/harder to learn than guitar. Will it be easier to learn piano after acquiring some (practical) skills with another instrument first (like guitar)?

One reason I'm asking is because someone once told me guitar was much harder than piano.

#2 Steve Krenz

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 10:40 PM

I've played both. In college, my principle instrument was classical guitar, but my secondary instrument was piano.

I think everyone should play piano. All of our kids take piano lessons from my wife. If you are born into the Krenz house, then you get piano lessons from first grade to middle school.

I think piano is the easier of the two instruments to begin learning on.

I think there are a few more physical challenges associated with playing a guitar than a piano.

An average piano player can do things that I, as a guitar player, look at and think would require fantastic skills for a guitar player to play. But, truthfully, they are just different instruments.

Don't misunderstand me, though, I don't mean to say that piano players don't have to work. To get to an advanced level on any instrument takes work and dedication. There is no way around that.

But, as a student starting out, it is easier to get an absolute beginner to play Jingle Bells on a piano, than it is to get the same person to do it on guitar. And, even more so, to get the same beginner to do it on an oboe for instance. There are just less physical hurdles to conquer on a piano, than on a guitar or an oboe.

So, I'd say that piano is easier to start out with than guitar. But in order to go from beginner to advanced playing on any instrument it still takes the same things - effort, time, and dedication.

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#3 Plabius

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 10:44 PM

I really couldn't say which instrument is easier or more difficult to learn than the other, but do keep in mind that while you are practicing on one instrument, you are not practicing on the other. On both you would be learning music and music theory, but it seems that you would prolong the time that it takes to master each instrument, since you would be dividing your time between the two.
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#4 Lacks Focus

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 11:15 PM

I think each one has its own set of unique challenges, as well as its own advantages.

Piano pluses:
The keyboard is linear, and each note appears in only one place.
It's easier to "visualize" certain aspects of theory like chord and scale construction (IMO, anyway)

Piano minuses:
I personally think controlling both hands at the same time is harder on piano, particularly when all the fingers are taken into account. My teacher described it once as having to conduct ten individual musicians. This is complicated even further by music that has different rhythmic things going on in each hand.

Guitar pluses:
There are many places all over the fretboard where you can play the same note, chord, scale, etc.
Beginners have any easier time playing basic chords by memorizing their forms. They don't have to have an innate understanding of which specific notes constitute those chords, at least to start out.
I think that when your hands are working together to produce a common sound or effect, it's easier to get them to do what you want, even if one hand's actions are vastly different from the other's (like fretting vs picking or strumming). As alluded to above, I think it's harder to get the hands to act independently when their individual actions are similar, like playing keys.

Guitar minuses:
There are many places all over the fretboard where you can play the same note, chord, scale, etc.
Some aspects of playing are more physically demanding - awkward hand contortions, having to develop calluses, mastering barres.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but those are the ones that come to mind first.
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#5 Ascoli

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 01:15 AM

Here's my perspective on the piano vs. guitar difficulty. For me, piano has been more of a challenge than guitar. I started piano one year before guitar and I love learning both. This has been debated a few times on the piano forum, but I've refrained from getting too involved in the discussion, mainly because everyone is different and has a different perspective. The main challenge for me with piano is hand independence. True, it is easier to play a tune on the piano with one hand for the beginner, but that's not what really makes a piano sound so cool. It is playing with both hands with all ten fingers working as a team. Then you add the foot pedals on top of that. It really is like rubbing your tummy while patting your head and hopping on one foot x10. With guitar, usually both hands are working at the same task of picking notes or strumming chords. I know some piano students learn hand independence quicker than others, but I'm not one of them. I am also started piano at 50 years of age and have never done anything to build hand independence. I'm a fast typist, but that is still hitting one key at a time, not so much help with the 88s.

Here's why I suggest you learn piano along with guitar.

- Learning a second instrument is easier than your first (at least is seemed so when I started guitar).
- The longer you wait, the harder it is to learn and the less you retain.
- Learning piano will strengthen your knowledge of music theory. (chord inversions still blow my mind!)
- You will multiply the GAS factor by two. (is this an advantage?)
- When you hit a plateau on one instrument, you can still enjoy progress on the other. (this has been the case for me)
- You can make recordings that combine both instruments and maybe even start composing.
- Keyboards interface with computer software that is very, very cool (MIDI & DAWs)
- You'll want to learn another instrument (snowball effect)

I totally understand why some people focus on one instrument, but for me it is about learning as much about creating music as I can. Yes, my progress is slower on piano since I started guitar, and I am learning drums at a snails pace, but I can't imagine giving any of it up.

Steve
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#6 Kent

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 07:37 AM

I agree with the two Steves. :biggrin:

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#7 Eracer_Team

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 12:43 PM

- Learning a second instrument is easier than your first


Great I'll learn my second instrument then it will be so much easier to learn my fist instrument.

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#8 Cindy

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 02:46 PM

Great I'll learn my second instrument then it will be so much easier to learn my fist instrument.

Providing your second instrument isn't a bassoon! Even though I play the flute, when I had to learn bassoon in college, it was the most difficult instrument I ever had to learn. :tongue:

I agree with Steve that guitar is more difficult to learn than piano. However, as one becomes advanced on both instruments, I think piano music is more difficult to read because of having 10 fingers and thus the ability to make more notes sound at once than on the guitar. In advanced piano music, there tend to be more notes written in the sheet music than you will find in guitar sheet music.

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#9 savage8190

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 05:23 PM

Just to throw another hat in, dont forget that with classical guitar you are often playing several notes at the same time with different fingers...not chords; theres just alot of bass and melody notes at the same time. Its something Im working on now and its throwing me for a loop :).
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#10 Resurrected

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 05:34 PM

Providing your second instrument isn't a bassoon! Even though I play the flute, when I had to learn bassoon in college, it was the most difficult instrument I ever had to learn. :tongue:

I agree with Steve that guitar is more difficult to learn than piano. However, as one becomes advanced on both instruments, I think piano music is more difficult to read because of having 10 fingers and thus the ability to make more notes sound at once than on the guitar. In advanced piano music, there tend to be more notes written in the sheet music than you will find in guitar sheet music.


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#11 magnus80a

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 08:42 PM

Thanks for the replies. :biggrin:
We'll probably get ourselves a 88 key digital piano (I've been inspired by the Rock Band 3 keyboard), so L&M Piano will probably be ordered along with it.
My wife already plays the piano (even though she hasn't touched one for 15 years) and my preliminary goal with piano is to be able to do the equivalence of session 1 - 8 in the guitar course.

#12 Warren-tx

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 09:34 PM

I'm gonna give it all up and take up the triangle. Only one note so I can concentrate on the proper timing...
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#13 andrew

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 07:38 PM

I hear mastering the cd/m3p player is not hard and you can play what ever you want and sound greatPosted Image
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#14 CapM

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 07:19 PM

Bump. See Steve's answer above. I'm in the midst of L&M Guitar, L&M Set-up & Maintenance, and L&M Blues Guitar. I also bought another L&M Guitar for someone as a gift. I was considering L&M Piano for my 13 y.o. daughter, but I know I will have to do it with her.

Anyhow, based on some of the advice in this thread, I'm taking advantage of the 1/2 off sale and buying the L&M Piano. I'll go through it with my daughter, but I'll still place primary focus and effort on guitar.

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#15 colder

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 08:06 PM

It seems to me like piano would be more difficult. Guitar is more physically challenging in that you have to learn how to produce the notes before anything else and anyone, even a toddler, can produce a note on a piano.

The piano seems as though it might be like playing two guitars at once, since both hands are demanded!

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#16 Don_S

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 05:32 PM

I was trying to do both a while back, but I decided to put the piano on hold until I'm closer to where I want to be with the guitar. I thought I could do both at the same time, but the farther I got into the piano, it just started requiring more and more practice time. Something had to give. I will go back to it eventually though.

#17 magnus80a

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 06:41 PM

Since I have a gig in May I've focused on the guitar, and I play maybe two to three times a month (!?) and I'm still advancing WAY faster than I've ever done on guitar. So for me the initial steps on Piano has been relatively easy, but I'm pretty sure I'll hit my first plateau soon enough especially when I start to focus on Piano instead of Guitar.

#18 Stargazer55

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 06:49 PM

SNIP

Anyhow, based on some of the advice in this thread, I'm taking advantage of the 1/2 off sale and buying the L&M Piano.


I did the same thing. :biggrin1:
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#19 magnus80a

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 06:57 PM

SNIP


Anyhow, based on some of the advice in this thread, I'm taking advantage of the 1/2 off sale and buying the L&M Piano.


I did the same thing. :biggrin1:

Me too. :)

#20 Eracer_Team

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 11:36 PM

a bassoon! :tongue:


Hey I missed this.. did Cindy call me a Bassoon???

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