Violin or Piano?

Updated on June 17, 2010
S.K. asks from Birmingham, AL
22 answers

My boys appreciate music and want to try playing different instruments. I think they are ready for some formal training in an instrument. I want to ask you mammas, between the two, which is better ....... violin or piano? ..... and why?
Personally, I love listening to the violin and it is easier to carry it around, but what are your thoughts?

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Fresno on

Badly played piano is much easier to listen to than badly played violin. It takes a long time to become good at any instrument, so no matter what you're in for several years of badly played something. Therefore, my vote is for piano.

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answers from Washington DC on

Start them on the piano. The schools don't teach piano, but most start violin lessons in 6th grade.
Starting on the piano teaches them both the treble and the bass clefs. Starting them on the violin ony teaches the treble, the cello will only the bass.
I took 5 years of piano and can pick up any woodwind or string instrument and play the notes, I'm not good but all I need is how a certain note is played and can play a scale.
My one daughter plays the violin and wishes she started with piano as she cannot read bass clef. My other daughter plays both the piano and the violin and is picking up her violin better as she understands the relationship between notes due to her piano playing.
I have a foreign exchange daughter who plays the cello and piano. She started the piano first.
PLaying either instrument is a skill they will always have. If you can swing it do both.
One of mine is actually going ot start flute lessons this fall and she has also had drum lessons this past year.

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answers from Minneapolis on


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answers from San Francisco on

I vote for the piano...more social, and you can play different kind of music.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Piano. If you can read piano music, every other instrument is easy. I started with piano, then picked up clarinet, then trumpet. Violin is a good instrument to start on, too, then moving to guitar is always a smooth transition because your fingers are used to moving along the strings. But as an adult, I'm much happier that I can sit at the piano and entertain myself and my family. I think a violin wouldn't be as much fun. Plus piano sounds really nice even with very basic skills. Violin sounds screechy and pretty awful for a long time before they get any good at it. My girls both play piano and my son will start guitar later this summer. I'm ok with that because he's really not interested in piano and I know he won't be a concert musician, but he'll be able to enjoy playing the guitar his whole life. So either piano or violin would be good choices, but my vote would be piano.

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answers from San Antonio on

My mom started me on the piano. Learning to read sheet music for piano was one of the best life skills ever. I then years later started playing percussion...and was able to pick up the bells, xylophone, vibes, etc because I could read the music. Also, percussion was easy because I knew the way the notes were written. whole note, half note, quarter note...etc.etc

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answers from Honolulu on

it is not a matter of which one is better.
It is the person who has to like it.
that is 90% of the 'battle' of formally learning something and wanting to.

I HATED piano as a kid. Still do. I played the Oboe.
Love it. Still do.

See which your kids like. It will be them taking the lessons. Or they can try different instruments. That is part of the fun.

all the best,

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answers from New York on

I just asked my girls (ages 13 &15 - they play clarinet and flute). They both said piano. Why - because piano is a univeral instrument and you learn both treble and bass clef, therefore, making it easy to read all music and play other instruments.

My youngest was interested in learning piano, there were several reasons why I did not get her lessons. One was we did not have a piano in our home so she would not be able to practice on a regular basis.

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answers from Phoenix on

I think piano would be easier and better but what do they prefer? Sounds like fun! =)

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answers from Baton Rouge on

I would ask the boys what instrument they would like to learn to play - it could be that neither violin nor piano appeals to them, but they would love to learn saxophone or dulcimer.

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answers from Augusta on

Piano first. Mastering the piano can lead to more easily mastering the other instruments.

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answers from San Diego on

Do your children have a preference? I think that if they want to play the instrument it should make some difference in how much they practice and how far they progress.

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answers from Atlanta on

Violins are terribly expensive but once you have one, it's yours forever. Pianos are usually anywhere you go so no carrying anything around. It does make a difference because the lifestyle is quite different. Even though someone who plays the piano does need to practice daily, a violin student, in order to be good, needs many hours a day. There is room for a "good" pianist in many venues but not many for simply "good" violinists. Violinists have opportunities when superb.

How old are your boys? Have you asked their preferences? One of each so they can duet? Both instruments are wonderful...........



answers from Dallas on

Find a way to try out both to see what they like.

We've had a keyboard for years. It was not until daughter was 11 and started the violin in a required music course that she fell in love with music.

She LOVES her violin, plays with the top orchestra group at her high school now. She never showed interest in music until she started violin in 6th grade.

She now plays her keyboard, she can play a song she loves on the radio on her violin within a short time. She writes music as well.

For was the violin she fell in love with. We purchased one that should get her through college about a year ago that sounds perfect and they are not cheap... we got a very good middle of the road one for $3000.

Good luck!



answers from Detroit on

Both are equally hard to listen to when a child is just starting out learning to play (I played flute and it was awful listening until I was able to actually get a scale out) ... that being said, my former band director said that kids should start on the violin and then move to piano and from there, any instrument they want to learn. Have fun and buy yourself and your husband ear plugs. :) They'll help; I used some when my brother learned how to play the trumpet and tuba.


answers from Jacksonville on

You don't have to own a piano for them to be able to practice. These days, you can get a digital keyboard (with 88 keys and that has a very good approximation of the actual feel of real piano when playing the keys) for a very reasonable amount. The one my daughter uses we bought for about $200. She is in her 2nd year. I can buy pedals to attach when she needs them. OR I could've spent $1700 or more on a full size digital keyboard with the console or spinet appearance that already has the pedals. Which is still WAY less than a true piano ($3500 minimum and as far up as you want to go). But for an 8 yr old who may or may not stick with it for very many years... so far we've easily gotten our $200 out of it. She likes the piano a lot, but has never shown any interest in strings.... When she is older... she might. And she'll have a head start due to her music reading abilities. I wish I knew at her age, what she knows. I didn't learn it until 7th grade, and then only the treble clef.



answers from Tulsa on

What do the BOYS want to play, if anything? Be prepared ... badly played violin (and it WILL BE VERY BADLY PLAYED FOR A LONG TIME ... I speak from experience!!) sounds WORSE than nails on a chalkboard!! Also don't buy very expensive instruments at first, cos kids tend to be very fickle when it comes to "love of music"! My daughter (after going through violin & guitar is now playing piano!)



answers from Casper on

To me there really isn't a "better" instrument. I agree with a lot of you posters that it really depends on the child. My mother plays the violin and started giving me lessons when I was about 5. I hated it. I played until I was in teh 6th grade and then decided that playing the piano was more what I wanted to do and quit violin and picked up the piano. I do disagree with one poster on the fact that you can buy one violin that will last them forever.....that doesn't come yet depending on your children's ages. There are several different sizes of violins and unless you can find a place that will rent them and trade up for the next size when ready, you might be in for a hefty price there. Whereas the piano is found in most places where you want to play....schools, churchs, our public library even has a piano. I think it depends on your children's interests. Yes playing the piano enables you to learn both bass and treble clefs but if your school is like ours, the kids can't play precussion in band unless they have had 2 years of piano lessons (that means drums and the xylophones). So if your boys want to play drums it might help to learn piano. Their friends might think that playing the violin is a sissy thing to do too. My advice echos that of what has already been given too, ask the boys and see what they want, but know that there really isn't a "better" all depends on their personalities and their temperments. Good luck.



answers from Texarkana on

Yes, it is much harder to carry a piano around, lol! I think the violin is a wonderful choice. However, since you have more than one child, maybe one can learn to play the violin and the other the piano. Then, after a couple of years, they can switch, so they both know how to play both instruments.



answers from Minneapolis on

piano! i had piano lessons from the time i was in 2nd or 3rd grade until high school. by the time middle school band came around, i could read music, sight read, etc, which really put me above everyone else. i chose to play the trumpet in band in MS/HS and never play it anymore. I still LOVE to sit down at the piano and sight read some sheet music or play a simple tune.



answers from Tampa on

Well, this is a matter of personal preference and the age of your boys. You may want to find a music class that allows them to explore both instruments or find a teacher that does both instruments. I teach Suzuki violin and piano as well as other instruments. Make sure you choose an instrument you wish to get involved in as well, something you like. Violin is very portable and beautiful, at the same time it is more challenging at the beginning because it is an auditory instrument and needs precision. The piano is not so portable (unless using electronic pianos) but is a lot easier to learn from the beginning because it is more of a visual instrument and enhances children's memories from the very start. Both instruments are beautiful (especially when played together) and both have their challenges. The key is what all of you as a family prefer and have the patience for. At some point, the boys can play duets together on either instrument which would be grand! A lot depends on the age and how your boys learn. My 2 1/2 yr old plays the violin better than the piano at this point.
Enjoy the music and remember the most important thing is to have fun and learn to appreciate music while growing a passion for it.



answers from Tulsa on

If you are wanting them to learn the violin, I think the younger the better. Piano is easier to learn. In my opinion anyway. I played piano and did recitals when I was growing up and loved it. I love listening to violin also but never was able to learn it.

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