You may argue that there are a lot more difficult instruments out there that I don’t even know. Well, that might be true. There are 1,500 and 2,000 instruments – with traditional ‘classical instruments’ only making up about 300 to 400 of those…So let’s say that, among piano, guitar, most drums, flutes, orchestral instruments that we commonly seen, violin is definitely the hardest to learn.
I am saying this because I have practiced violin for so man years but I still suck. I have people to back my point. My roommate has played piano for years. One day she picked up my violin and tried to pull the bow. It literally sounded sawing wood. And she said: “I will never learn how to play violin. Piano is much easier.”
The first thing people who are only used to piano may struggle with violin is, to find the placement of each note. To violin, your hands are doing two complete different things – your left hand has to make sure that yo are hitting the right note, while your right hand has to move the bow in a certain direction with appropriate strength and speed. Your brain has to make subtle decisions, and very nuance makes what comes out different. That’s why it is the best to start at a age of 5. It could take months just to get used to the position.
While with piano, there is far less weird noise you can make because every note is neatly separated. You may have trouble hitting the wrong key but you won’t be out-of-tune.
Then another thing my pianist roommate noticed was that, you don’t sit on a bench to play violin. Although lazy as I am, I sit while practicing all the time…but, just think about those concert, where musicians have to play hours. Isn’t solo violinist the only one who stand the whole time?
Finally, and the most struggling fact to people like me who probably have amnesia, violinists play without music score…I can imagine how does the violinist play a 30-minute-long song non-stop. I can’t imagine how many hours of practices is behind the stage.
Anyway, I remember trying to explain my VIOLIN-IS-HARD-THAT’S-WHY-I-SUCK theory to my mom when I was younger, and how she didn’t even bother listening to me. But really, when you decided to pick up a instrument, and it is your choice to crack it, then you have to deal with whatever it takes to excel at it.