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Originally Posted by kitandkat
I always liked piano more, I think because I had more choice over what to play. But it would be fun to play in a group again, I think, and that’s probably easier with horn!

It's sure as heck easier for the horn player to show up to a gig. Our sax / flute player makes one trip in from his car. My wife (drums) and I (upright bass, and sometimes vocals) have to make a lot more trips! laugh


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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I’m a “multi-instrumentalist”, albeit at a pretty beginner level in all of them (haha). I play/learn piano, saxophone, classical guitar and violin. I’m learning each in a “serious” way, meaning I have a qualified teacher for each of them and I follow a recognized method (either RCM and/or Suzuki).

Considering that you are doing this as an adult, I think you are in the best position to answer this question!

As a long-time clarinet player, I often whine think about how much harder piano has been to learn...but who knows. It's been over 30 years since I learned to play clarinet, and I don't remember all the struggles I went through back then. Plus, it's just so much easier to learn something like this as a kid, especially while going through the band program with your friends.

I also haven't taken lessons on clarinet since I was 18 and that was only for about a year. I've now been taking piano lessons for 2.5 years. It seems like I'm constantly adding things to the list of what I don't know or need to improve on...I sometimes wonder if it would be the same for clarinet if I were to take lessons again now, no matter how advanced I *think* I am.

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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
I started with a recorder which is an easy "woodwind" instrument. After that moved onto a violin which requires good ears. Unlike guitar with frets, putting your fingers slightly off would be out of tune. Just carrying the instrument home from school in winter would cause the strings to be out (moving between warm & cold).
.


Originally Posted by kitandkat
I always liked piano more, I think because I had more choice over what to play. But it would be fun to play in a group again, I think, and that’s probably easier with horn!

It's sure as heck easier for the horn player to show up to a gig. Our sax / flute player makes one trip in from his car. My wife (drums) and I (upright bass, and sometimes vocals) have to make a lot more trips! laugh

Absent from this discussion is the difficulty of putting your piano into checked luggage or bringing it to the park.

Last edited by tbonesays; 02/07/21 09:11 PM.

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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I’m a “multi-instrumentalist”, albeit at a pretty beginner level in all of them (haha). I play/learn piano, saxophone, classical guitar and violin. I’m learning each in a “serious” way, meaning I have a qualified teacher for each of them and I follow a recognized method (either RCM and/or Suzuki).
Just now reading this. Amazing! I suppose that you are an adult, and I cannot begin to understand how you can manage this! Four teachers for four instruments, and all of them seriously! How is this possible? How do you do it?


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Originally Posted by tbonesays
Absent from this discussion is the difficulty of putting your piano into checked luggage or bringing it to the park.

Pianos used by concert pianists do get shipped to various places for performances such as Glenn Gould's Steinway and Angela Hewitt's Fazioli. When it comes to portable keyboards there are 2 in the market: Piano Duo that separates into 2 and Folding Piano 88 that folds into 4. The 1st is more playable but the 2nd is more portable. The Folding 88 fits into a hand carry with the computer while the piano duo needs to go into a luggage. I acquired a folding 88 before Christmas for travelling. It's better than the 61 roll-up keyboard I have. No need to explain the keys are not weighted & touch-sensitive as tradeoffs for something portable. In January I posted a review of the Folding Piano 88.



Here is a post by Adyan Stafford. Anybody can agree or disagree with his picks:
The 10 Best Musical Instruments for Beginners

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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I’m a “multi-instrumentalist”, albeit at a pretty beginner level in all of them (haha). I play/learn piano, saxophone, classical guitar and violin. I’m learning each in a “serious” way, meaning I have a qualified teacher for each of them and I follow a recognized method (either RCM and/or Suzuki).
Just now reading this. Amazing! I suppose that you are an adult, and I cannot begin to understand how you can manage this! Four teachers for four instruments, and all of them seriously! How is this possible? How do you do it?

Very similar to my niece! At school she has been studying piano, saxophone, classical guitar and singing. All seriously!

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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
I started with a recorder which is an easy "woodwind" instrument.

So do you think an adult with a 9-5 career can handle learning the recorder alongside the piano?


I can't afford an acoustic piano therefore I have a digital piano; And I appreciate it. I have to.
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A recorder is an instrument a lot of primary schools would teach to introduce kids to music. It’s a woodwind instrument like a clarinet, oboe & saxophone. The note range is limited and a lot of repertoire were written pre-19th century. It’s not a popular instrument for performance. Like any instrument, you can learn it as a hobby. Piano is a more popular instrument that can perform solo or with other instrument. You’re reading more than 1 note at a time so focusing on piano would take up a lot of time already.

Learning more than 1 instrument you’re not actually starting each one from scratch. Once you learn to read the Treble & Bass clefs, the notes are the same for many instruments like violin, cello, flute, oboe, etc. Just need to learn basic fingerings & techniques.

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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I’m a “multi-instrumentalist”, albeit at a pretty beginner level in all of them (haha). I play/learn piano, saxophone, classical guitar and violin. I’m learning each in a “serious” way, meaning I have a qualified teacher for each of them and I follow a recognized method (either RCM and/or Suzuki).
Just now reading this. Amazing! I suppose that you are an adult, and I cannot begin to understand how you can manage this! Four teachers for four instruments, and all of them seriously! How is this possible? How do you do it?

Well, Animisha, I think you are very kind but I don't think anyone would think I'm amazing. I'm sure people think I'm just crazy, which admittedly I might be! crazy

I'm an adult with a full-time career.

How is it possible? Well, numerous factors come into play but I think the major ones are that since the pandemic, I have been working full-time from home, meaning that I no longer have to do my 3-hour commute. Therefore, I have 3 extra hours in a day and what better to do with it than take music lessons online and practice?

The second factor is likely because I'm not a practice junky. Practicing a lot simply does not work for me. I practice until there are no more additional benefits, at which time I stop. And this has meant that for me, 1 hour, 4 - 5 days per week of practice on the piano is plenty enough. I will get no more benefits from practicing more, so I don't. I have also found that resting my brain a couple days a week does wonders for it to process and consolidate what I've learned over the week. So that's what I do. This unconventional practicing philosophy works for me.

My sax practice is almost every day but for only 40 minutes. That's as much as my lips can take. There's no point in practicing any more as I'll just be forcing it and injure myself.

For violin and guitar, these instruments I just picked up a few months ago and so far, practicing on these have been admittedly sporadic. Sometimes it will be a couple of hours on the weekend, sometimes I'll play 30 - 45 minutes on a weekday, but never every day. Violin I'm doing Suzuki and have worked my way through the first couple of tunes in Book 1, as well as RCM Preparatory scales and etudes as a supplement. Classical guitar I'm working through a method book and some other repertoire.

I'm all for efficient practice and results. My brain and body can only take so much and I make a conscious effort to not go beyond what they can handle.

I don't progress at lightning speeds in any of my instruments but I progress enough to see that I'm progressing and that is sufficient for me. For example, I started with Faber All-in-one in April 2019, moved onto RCM Preparatory Level also in 2019 and am now in Level 3, so I can clearly see progress, albeit just not crazy fast. And I'm fine with that. Ditto for my sax progress.

When in-person work starts up again, I might drop one of the instruments though. smile


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Now I'm going to go back and respond to some of the other comments. I read all of your comments and thank you for them.

Originally Posted by johnstaf
I think the difficulty of an instrument depends on what you want to play on it, and how well you want to play it.

Every instrument has music written for it that requires almost superhuman skill.

Couldn't agree more.


TonyB, I actually find the classical guitar to be the most difficult of the 4 instruments but I didn't want to offend the violin or piano folks lol! Hush, hush!


Originally Posted by terentius
Being motivated is the key to progress and enjoyment- without that you’re pushing a boulder uphill everyday.


Ding, ding, ding! Yes, yes, yes!


Originally Posted by David-G
Very similar to my niece! At school she has been studying piano, saxophone, classical guitar and singing. All seriously!

Your niece is lucky! I can't sing to save my life. I just have poor genes.


Originally Posted by meghdad
So do you think an adult with a 9-5 career can handle learning the recorder alongside the piano?

My opinion is "absolutely".

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 02/08/21 02:18 PM.

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Hi,
I played the violin (very badly) at school.

Although I can read the treble clef (and now the bass clef), I could never get the hang of counting anything beyond a dotted quarter note in Western Classical Music notation (and I even have difficulty with that sometimes).

I have been playing (rock) guitar for many, many years, and as of about twenty years ago started to dip in and out of playing Classical sitar (despite not having maintained regular sitar lessons over the past twenty years, I have maintained a passion for North Indian - Hindustani - Classical Music, and I consistently go to ICM concerts).

A few years ago I started to play ukulele.

About 3 months ago I decided to make a concerted effort to get to the stage on piano of being able to play songs I liked (rock songs, mostly), and to be able to come up with piano arrangements of my own songs as well as being able to come up with piano arrangements of songs that were meant for/originally performed on guitar.

Despite being a mediocre musician, I have amazed myself by learning to play a few songs quite well - 'Imagine', 'Let It Be', and a Dylan song.

During the last few months I did try and eventually gave up on learning to read from Western Musical notation, so have been learning by ear and from videos (and using my guitar to help me at times).

One thing that has surprised me about learning piano is that I have reversed my position on the difficulty level of learning and playing piano in comparison to playing guitar.

I had previously thought that learning and playing piano was more difficult than guitar, but, even taking into account the difficulty of using both hands on piano (which I think is more difficult that using both hands on guitar), I now think that the piano is actually an easier instrument to learn.

I have reached this conclusion because I realized that playing the piano lacks the dimension of having one's hands directly on the strings (as is the case on guitar and other stringed instruments).

This, in turn, means that the necessity of either preventing the strings from bending out of tune, or (the opposite) trying to bend the strings to a desired pitch, is not part of the equation.

Also, the construction of the piano keys activating a hammer to strike the strings (and the emulation of this in digital pianos) creates a sound that is of a known, professional, acceptable level to others' ears, even in the hands of a beginner - once again, the only dimension available is how loud the note is.

On the guitar, there is not only the dimension of velocity, and of having to fret the strings well in order to give the desired pitch, but there is also the variable/dimension of having to fingerpick or strum (or both, in the case of hybrid picking) evenly, or to a professional standard acceptable to others' ears.

Last edited by drutgat; 02/08/21 06:25 PM.

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Originally Posted by drutgat
Hi,

One thing that has surprised me about learning piano is that I have reversed my position on the difficulty level of learning and playing piano in comparison to playing guitar.

I had previously thought that learning and playing piano was more difficult than guitar, but, even taking into account the difficulty of using both hands on piano (which I think is more difficult that using both hands on guitar), I now think that the piano is actually an easier instrument to learn.

I have reached this conclusion because I realized that playing the piano lacks the dimension of having one's hands directly on the strings (as is the case on guitar and other stringed instruments).

This, in turn, means that the necessity of either preventing the strings from bending out of tune, or (the opposite) trying to bend the strings to a desired pitch, is not part of the equation.

Also, the construction of the piano keys activating a hammer to strike the strings (and the emulation of this in digital pianos) creates a sound that is of a known, professional, acceptable level to others' ears, even in the hands of a beginner - once again, the only dimension available is how loud the note is.

On the guitar, there is not only the dimension of velocity, and of having to fret the strings well in order to give the desired pitch, but there is also the variable/dimension of having to fingerpick or strum (or both, in the case of hybrid picking) evenly, or to a professional standard acceptable to others' ears.
About how much control over the sound can you exert with your fingers?
And do you think this is why pop rock songs sound somewhat lacking when played on the piano?


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Thank you Weaklefthand for your explanation, that was very interesting to read!


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In my school days when I played violin, I thought piano is a harder instrument. Over the years, I appreciated playing piano more because I don't need to worry about being out of tune. In the school music room full of string instruments (violin, viola, cello & bass), there was a piano at the back. A student walked over and played a few chords from the TV show "Hill Street Blues" theme that was popular back then. Although the teacher did introduce some music theory including intervals & chords, I didn't know enough to play simple chords on a piano.

Many years ago my parents paid for the private music lessons. My sister started violin a year before I got into it. Out of convenience we shared the same instrument and a teacher at home. Even if I wanted to get into piano badly, I could not convince my parents to buy a piano and pay for a separate teacher.

Once a cousin who took piano lessons showed me an easy song from a beginner's book. The bass has the same repeated chords. The 3-note chords looked impossible. Even playing 2 notes at a time looked difficult. 3 decades later playing chords on a piano is just part of the routine.

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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
Originally Posted by tbonesays
Absent from this discussion is the difficulty of putting your piano into checked luggage or bringing it to the park.

Pianos used by concert pianists do get shipped to various places for performances such as Glenn Gould's Steinway and Angela Hewitt's Fazioli. When it comes to portable keyboards there are 2 in the market: Piano Duo that separates into 2 and Folding Piano 88 that folds into 4. The 1st is more playable but the 2nd is more portable. The Folding 88 fits into a hand carry with the computer while the piano duo needs to go into a luggage. I acquired a folding 88 before Christmas for travelling. It's better than the 61 roll-up keyboard I have. No need to explain the keys are not weighted & touch-sensitive as tradeoffs for something portable. In January I posted a review of the Folding Piano 88.



Here is a post by Adyan Stafford. Anybody can agree or disagree with his picks:
The 10 Best Musical Instruments for Beginners

That was all very informative, I was only vaguely aware of folding pianos. It also speaks to the extreme difficulty of piano mobility.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/angela-hewitts-rare-fazioli-piano-dropped-by-movers/ar-BBZSTHN


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If you are interested in travel pianos, check this thread Travel piano

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Found a travel keyboard that looks more playable than the others and can go into your luggage for travelling. The keyboard separates into pieces.

It's not available retail, on Amazon or eBay and the engineer behind the keyboard is from France. The product is in limited production so needs to pre-order and have it shipped.

Piano de Voyage the portable travel piano keyboard

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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
Found a travel keyboard that looks more playable than the others and can go into your luggage for travelling. The keyboard separates into pieces.

It's not available retail, on Amazon or eBay and the engineer behind the keyboard is from France. The product is in limited production so needs to pre-order and have it shipped.

Piano de Voyage the portable travel piano keyboard

It is discussed in the PW link I referenced above.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
Found a travel keyboard that looks more playable than the others and can go into your luggage for travelling. The keyboard separates into pieces.

It's not available retail, on Amazon or eBay and the engineer behind the keyboard is from France. The product is in limited production so needs to pre-order and have it shipped.

Piano de Voyage the portable travel piano keyboard

It is discussed in the PW link I referenced above.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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I think in a sense the piano is one of the hardest instruments out there because of its skill ceiling. So many people have played the piano that pianists keep stretching what is physically possible.

I can understand what it means when you're talking about intermediate repertoire, but at the highest levels I would say the piano is definitely one of the hardest instruments. I can imagine someone playing for ten years, and playing like <insert famous guitarist> in terms of technique. I really don't know if that's possible with the piano -- I doubt anyone's going to get good enough to play Finissy or Sorabji's OC in ten years. For 99% of the people, stuff like Godowsky's Chopin etudes, or hard Liszt pieces, or the Rach 3 will be pretty much out of reach even after a decade.

Many instruments do not have compositions of that complexity written for them. I would venture to say that more violinists starting out can eventually play Paganini caprices, than pianists starting out who eventually learn to play Don Juan or something similar.

Overall I think it is possible to compare difficulty somewhat objectively, but it's going to take a lifetime for most people to get anywhere near the pinnacle of playing any instrument (and most people don't even aspire to), so it shouldn't really be the deciding factor in choosing to play an instrument.

Last edited by ranjit; 02/12/21 09:51 PM.
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