First of all, i have no background in music except for singing. I'm 15 years old and i recently got really interested in classical music, and the instruments that have me the most interested is the piano and the violin. We have an electrical piano at home so i'm familiar with how the piano feels etc. (i like to play for fun, i know some melodies) but i haven't ever held a violin! If i play piano i can play with some of my friends and play classical pieces, but i'm more intruiged by the violin. Any tips or recommendations?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Matthew Read May 1 '16 at 19:10

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  • Do you have to choose, or could you do both? – topo morto May 1 '16 at 9:38
  • I'd advise playing one instrument for now, because it takes most people a lifetime to even master one. Thus choose whichever one you think you'll be happier with. Later on, after some level of proficiency, you might consider picking up the other instrument. – Airdish May 1 '16 at 10:16
  • And why can't you play violin with your friends? You can still play violin-piano duets. – Airdish May 1 '16 at 10:17
  • I could do both, I'm just worried it'll be too much work since violin is a difficult instrument to play, especially in the beginning! – PrincessMarth May 1 '16 at 11:53
  • What I meant was that I have some friends who play guitar, bass and drums etc so I could play keyboard/piano with them! I don't know anyone who plays violin nor piano, but if I were to pick one up i'd probably meet people who played so I guess that isn't very relevant anymore! – PrincessMarth May 1 '16 at 11:56

I see no reason why you can't play both if you are interested in both. I started playing drums and guitar at the same time at age 15 and now 19 years later I still play both and I have also dabbled in other instruments (like piano) but I consider drums to be my main instrument.

Learning piano is widely applicable to other instruments and the visual layout of the keys makes it much easier to learn music theory, compose songs, etc. So learning piano is definitely worth it even if you decide to focus primarily on violin and only learn the basics of piano.

Another benefit I found to playing more than one instrument is when you hit a rut on one instrument you might be more inspired to practice another instrument. Sometimes just taking a break for a little while is what you need to feel inspired again, but instead of watching TV during your break you have another instrument you can go play so you are still improving your overall musicianship skills. :)

  • I haven't thought of learning both, but I'll talk to my parents and see what they think too! What worries me about that is that since the violin is difficult to learn in the beginning it would be a lot of work and that I wouldn't feel like I was practicing enough of both, though. – PrincessMarth May 1 '16 at 11:59
  • You can divide your time up to practice more on violin if you feel that is the instrument you are most interested in. If you can devote 30 minutes/day to practice, then a general outline could be 20 minutes on violin and 10 on piano. The most important thing especially when first learning is to practice consistently. Even a small amount of practice time every day will give better results than practicing for hours on one day and then skipping a week. It is ok to allow rare moments of taking a break just to get away from it entirely and clear your head, but try not to make that a regular habit. – Tekkerue May 1 '16 at 15:40

PrincessMarth, if you are unsure or if you already see your yourself as a diversified musician, perhaps not as profficient at any single instrument but able to fulfill different roles in a band or your personal project, or become mainly a composer, then go with Tekkerue's advice and try both, at least for while until you're more familiar with both instruments and are able to make up your mind.

But if your purpose in the long run already is to excel in your instrument, then I think you should follow Airdish's advice above and focus your time and energy in a single instrument. Achieving proffiency in an instrument will require daily practice of several hours for quite a few years. Splitting your time and energy between two instruments will almost for sure be detrimental to that objective.

Piano or violin? That's a bit like chosing a girl or boyfriend friend, if you're going to dedicate yourself to one, you have to be in love with it (so to speak, I think it was Arthur Rubinstein who said that he didn't love the piano, because it has three legs :-).

  • Sorry, but I completely disagree that you can't excel while playing multiple instruments. There are far to many incredible musicians who play multiple instruments to list off, but as just one example Tommy Emmanuel is arguably one of the greatest guitarists of all time and he's also an amazing drummer as well. So I'd say playing other instruments other than guitar didn't hurt him at all. In fact, if anything it helped him become an even more amazing musician...look up some live videos on youtube of the "drum solo" that he plays on his guitar at live gigs. ;) – Tekkerue May 3 '16 at 1:54
  • Tekkerue, I agree that some outstanding musicians are brilliant multi-instrumentalists (more on the rock and jazz fields, as in classical music it's an extremely rare occurence) and that may be a goal worth pursuing. But the fact remains that if you split by two instruments the time that you have to practice , you will have less time to practice each instrument. So depending on one's goal and practice time available, it may or not be wise to endevour into learning two different instruments from scratch at the same time. – José David May 3 '16 at 8:32
  • True, you will have less time to practice a particular instrument, but what you gain from learning other instruments will help you become a more knowledgeable and better musician overall. Especially piano which is such a universal instrument that many music colleges require piano courses even if you play another instrument. Pairing violin with a chordal instrument like piano is a good combo because on piano it will be easier to understand the big picture of how notes and chords relate to each other. Having a good musical foundation will allow you to better express yourself on any instrument. – Tekkerue May 3 '16 at 14:28
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    Thank you so much for the advice and help to both of you, I'm currently deciding with my parents and I'm going to try a piano lesson and violin lesson at a local music school, after that i'll decide if i'll pick up both or just one of them! :) – PrincessMarth May 6 '16 at 21:19

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