5

During this quarantine, I really want to take this chance to learn playing instrument but I dont know which one should I choose? Piano or Violin? And I do have a reason why I want to learn playing instrument. Its because I feel lonely and I hope when I have this skills, I can connect my feeling to the instrument I played, sort of like a coping mechanism? So which one should I choose? I need an instrument that speaks to me the most

  • 5
    The question is obviously very personal, so it's not possible to make that choice for you. Playing each is different, as is the route to being able to play. There's the neighbour problem, and without a lot more detail, this question will likely be closed as subjective. – Tim Jun 3 at 6:28
  • 3
    Does this answer your question? What to choose? Violin or piano? – guidot Jun 3 at 8:55
  • 6
    If you want to start with piano, go with a digital one that has 88 real sized, full weight touch sensitive keys and has headphone output so you can practice without disturbing anybody. They also connect with computer, so you can play synthesia or follow online courses. – yasar Jun 3 at 19:12
  • 2
    I started violin at 16 or 17. Started piano at 27 with some but significantly less instruction and time invested. Violin is still harder and sounds worse than my piano. You can be more expressive with violin but that just means it is harder to sound good at all. More control also means more ways to mess up. – DKNguyen Jun 4 at 14:33
  • 1
    @Thomas or your neighbours – crobar Jun 5 at 13:49

10 Answers 10

51

I would normally tend to recommend violin, but as you're asking specifically about what to learn during lockdown: definitely piano.

Violin is almost impossible to learn without a teacher, at least with proper technique, and even then it'll take you years before you'll actually be able to nicely play music. In the first weeks, you will not be able to produce anything but piercingly scratchy noise. If the quarantine by itself doesn't drive you mad, then the violin likely would.

Piano is also difficult to play at concert level, however with a bit of perseverance you can get together something that can be quite satisfying after a very short time. Again, you may acquire a bit of a botched technique without a teacher, but unlike with violin (where bad technique easily ruins not only your tone but your neck and shoulders), bad piano technique won't be too much of an issue until you aspire to actually play fast melodic pieces.

| improve this answer | |
  • 7
    Also, you can practice pretty adequately on an electric piano without disturbing your likewise locked-down neighbours. The violin is almost impossible to pick up without noise complaints. – Kilian Foth Jun 4 at 6:23
  • @KilianFoth I thought about writing about that, but didn't want to go into the acoustic vs electric vs digital discussion, that's done elsewhere. (But – for sure, electric violins are a thing.) – leftaroundabout Jun 4 at 7:45
  • 2
    @AlenSiljak because it prevents teacher-student interaction and because it is a reason to choose something that quickly gets satisfying results. Sure, you can also see it the way “lockdown will cause me to practice a lot, so this is a good time to start something difficult” – but I don't think this is really what the OP was aiming for. – leftaroundabout Jun 4 at 8:17
  • 6
    @AlenSiljak - imagine being confined to home, maybe in a flat, with someone practising an instrument next door. Would you prefer that to be a silent piano, or a screeching violin? – Tim Jun 4 at 8:17
  • 2
    @Crowley - why would it have to be an acoustic (studio or grand)? My digital pianos make as much noise turned on as when turned off. Unless I use an amp. Headphones are available. – Tim Jun 4 at 8:28
6

Regarding the quarantine I would definitely suggest the piano. Even though it is loud instrument, it is not as torturous as a violin when one is learning to play. The (in here) famous non-existent inventor Jara Cimrman invented a sound-proof training chamber for beginner violinist.

I played piano for some years and I was not able to connect with the piano; I connected with the music I was playing. So regarding the connection, any instrument, even you own voice, will do.

Piano, on the other hand, has many disadvantages:

  • It is loud. not as loud as (church) organ but still a whole building knows you are playing.
  • It is not portable, and heavy. It is more like a big piece of furniture that needs good and stable conditions.
  • It is hard to tune it. Although, it keeps its tuning for a very long time.

By the way, why did you end with violin-or-piano choice? There are many more instruments you can play that are more portable than a piano and less torturous as violin.

| improve this answer | |
  • 9
    A good option for lockdown might be an electronic piano. It can be played with headphones, is a lot easier to move, and doesn't go out of tune. – Samuel Jun 3 at 18:18
  • 5
    @Samuel I was in the middle of typing almost exactly that. They vary in quality of course. I would look for at the minimum something with a full range and weighted keys. Learning on non-weighted keys is negative training for when you later have access to a real piano, as the feel is quite different. – Darrel Hoffman Jun 3 at 18:20
  • @Crowley, ahaha both of the instruments are in my choice because i love both of the sound apart from other musical instrument, i mean i love all but not as much as the sound of piano n violin – Deemo Jun 15 at 5:56
3

Lockdown or not, I would say go for what your heart tells you to go for. Go for the instrument that makes you happy. And, if you really like both of them equally then flip a coin or something. Or play both.

Adding the lockdown context tells me that it's a kind of a "throwaway fun" that is used to kill time during the pandemic. In that case you might as well play video games, do squats, learn to bake bread, etc. Most of those new skills can be equally enjoyable and will not annoy your neighbours.

Speaking of which, you never made it obvious what are your constraints. Do you live in Oregon, where your nearest neigbour is 20km away? (or should I use miles, if it's Oregon?) Do you live in a small apartment with paper-thin walls and hear neighbours talking loud?

In any case, almost all instruments nowadays can be found in acoustic and electric form. After all, I'm playing drums in my apartment every day during lockdown and not bothering anyone. These are electric, of course. And so can your violin or piano be.

To address some other mentioned arguments - lockdown will equally well prevent a violin teacher from visiting you as it will a piano teacher. In the same way, both teachers will be available online for classes. I would assume that the same amount of relevant material can be found online, if you want to go it alone. If you have any talent, you may not need a teacher during the lockdown and can just enjoy making music, even if it's involving only three different tones. I had tons of fun with an acoustic guitar without ever seeing a teacher. Just use your ears (and fingers). You may need to adjust some technique later on, if you continue playing the instrument but all musicians do that anyways, throughout their lives.

In any case, asking someone else to choose something you will be happy with has never proved to be a good idea for me.

Have fun! Cheers!

For reference, here are some fairly cheap electric violins on Amazon. There's a lot of material online, including this video of a mostly-self-taught beginner.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    I had to create an account just to up-vote this answer. It is the only one here that makes any sense. The pandemic is just a blip. There are so many factors that go into choosing an instrument to play, and the current very temporary situation is too insignificant to be considered at all. If anything about the pandemic seems relevant to the author of the question, then it's hard to understand why they are wasting time learning an instrument at all. Musicianship, like any complex task, requires time and dedication to achieve even the least amount of proficiency, rendering the pandemic moot – Peter Duniho Jun 5 at 17:22
1

From a humanitarian viewpoint you should learn piano to avoid putting additional stress on Corona-sick neighbours with the sound of a beginning violin player. :)

There are physical restrictions which are age-dependant when playing a violin. You have to twist your left arm in a demanding way hold it and have to be able to simultaneously move your hand and fingers freely. Buy yourself one hour of violin teaching to see if you can stand that position at your age. You usually start learning violin as a child, you can always start learning piano as an adult.

In terms of expressing feelings a violin gives another degree of freedom as you can influence the frequency of tones. You can't do this on a piano.

A violin allows you to play within an orchestra, an important social factor. To be able to do that as a piano player you have to be extremely goood. You are playing your piano typically alone.

But a piano allows you to play keys together what would emulate a bunch of single instruments somehow.

Try both instruments and make a decision afterwards.

I learnt piano from 8 to 18 years and had one year of violin lessons at the age of 18 - too late for me (see the left arm story above).

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    “You are playing your piano typically alone.” – well, you won't play in an orchestra, but as an accompanist one can easily find others to play with. Either for classical sonatas or, much easier, for pop songs. – leftaroundabout Jun 4 at 1:20
  • There are also pieces for two players sharing one keyboard. Piano is one of the instruments that can be played alone and deliver the composer's ideas thoroughly. – Crowley Jun 4 at 8:12
  • There is plenty of other music which incorporates piano playing with others, rather than orchestral. Big bands, jazz bands, pop bands, quartets, etc. – Tim Jun 4 at 8:24
  • Many pianists do play only from the solo literature. That said, there is a very rich literature from the chamber music world. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Shostakovich, etc. etc. all wrote chamber music that includes piano. Unfortunately, though, most is inaccessible for beginning players, whether violin of piano. – Alan Jun 5 at 14:14
1

I'd choose the piano. It is extremely easy to learn. For example, take "Mary Had a Little Lamb" (yeah, it's cringy), anyone can play that on the piano. However, it's quite difficult to play that on the violin as a first-timer due to the difficulty in fingering, the holding of the instrument and the bow, and the pressing down on the strings.


Therefore, I would choose the piano as it is easy to pick up especially during quarantine, and it's fun to play! Just go for some easy piano tutorials online and you should be playing in no time! :)

| improve this answer | |
1

Well, here's my opinion. Both are great instruments, and are a lot of fun to play, but they have disadvantages. For the violin, it's nearly impossible to learn properly without a teacher, and trying it by yourself will antagonize you. On the other hand, it's a lot cheaper than a piano, and it's easy to get. The thing with piano is that while its not super easy to learn, it's easier than a violin. Having a teacher can help, but you could learn it from a book or online. The bad thing is that they cost a lot, and if you don't already own one, it could be challenging to get right now. My best suggestion would be a keyboard or electric piano of sorts. I'm not really sure if I helped, but good luck anyways!

| improve this answer | |
1

I'd choose the piano simply because it's so good as a second instrument. So if, at any point, you decided to change your main instrument, the skills gained until then will still be most valuable.

Paragraph added to elaborate: I think the piano is regarded as the ideal second instrument and recommended as such in music schools, etc. That's probably to do with how well it highlights every aspect that's important in music... like melody, harmony, rhythm, comping (including bass), improvisation, etc. That aspect is pretty unique and helps understand how the everything comes together as a whole. It's also very visual, with a purposeful layout. I think that's also the reason why the piano is the instrument most song arrangers use.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Wouldn't the same be said about any instrument? – Tim Jun 3 at 6:54
  • I've added some words to explain why I think the answer to this comment is no :-) – Alex Lopez Jun 4 at 8:18
  • Thanks - the guitar comes a very close second, and in a lot of song writers' cases, first. (Although not in OP's choice list. Wonder why not). – Tim Jun 4 at 8:21
  • That's very true, so I've now changed writers to arrangers. Cheers. – Alex Lopez Jun 4 at 9:04
0

They are both easy to learn hard to master.

Philosophy aside, may be these "jokes" and quotes might help you decide:

Piano Jokes

Violin Jokes

| improve this answer | |
  • 9
    No, violin is hard to learn and harder to master. (Not necessarily harder to master than piano, but definitely harder to learn at least good enough to produce anything that sounds pleasant.) – leftaroundabout Jun 3 at 10:34
  • @leftaroundabout - can't be that bad - there's usually loads of them in orchestras, but rarely even one piano... – Tim Jun 4 at 8:26
  • @Tim good point. BTW maybe we should warn against triangle, it seems to be one of the most difficult instruments... [Joking aside, it actually is not that easy!] – leftaroundabout Jun 4 at 8:30
  • @leftaroundabout As someone who started on a piano, I agree with your statement, but I can only speak as someone who didn't practice violin when they were a kid. To a young person, a piano might sound awful, because of the forced equal temperament. – Hatebit Jun 4 at 8:32
  • @leftaroundabout - the real hard part of triangle playing is not losing count during the 168 bar rests. – Tim Jun 4 at 8:35
0

Since comments might be deleted at any given moment, I want to quickly put some really poignant comments in an answer as well as add some remarks of my own.

Using a piano will allow you to get an electric piano. these allow you more control over the volume and even often allow you to use a headphone, so you're the only one who hears it. An electric violin generally is more of an amplified violin, so it wouldn't have the same result and you'd still hear the sound of the wand vibrating the strings.

As for my own remarks: generally speaking, an electric piano will always be tuned: you don't have the strings slowly losing their tunes over weeks or months of playing, and you don't really need to know how to tighten those strings in order to retune it. if you press C# now, it'll sound the same as it did 3 months ago and as it will in 3 months.

Finally, while I cannot vouch for their quality, there are apps available for modern tablets that claim to be able to teach you how to play a piano. As said, I will not comment on how good they are or if they work well to teach piano, but if they work, they could save you from having to seek out a trainer.

| improve this answer | |
0

Honestly, both instruments are great but in my opinion, as a violinist, it is better if you choose the piano. It’s really hard to learn the violin and especially if you are an adult (no offense) the violin will give you challenges. I’ve been playing for about... 6 years and I’ve only started to sound good (maybe because I was bad or because I got a new instrument) but yeah. So if you want to continue the violin after lockdown, you can try but it will be really hard. So... I think piano is better. Hope you choose soon!

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.