Sunday, 12 September 2010

Piano and Violin learning curve

I can't believe it's almost nine months since I started playing the piano (casually).  I must make some quick comments comparing the difficulty curve of the violin vs. the piano.

  In terms of tone production and intonation, the violin is magnitudes harder.  You need precise motor control for your left hand fingers, refined muscle control of the right arm for proper bow pressure, and also a trained ear for detecting minor deviations in pitch.  On the piano, all the notes are laid out and varying finger pressures do not affect the tone that much.  This is very good for beginners because a piano student can start playing nice melodies immediately as opposed to waiting for years before producing a nice tone.

  The piano, on the other hand (no pun intended), requires some tricky coordination between the left and right hands.  At the advanced level, this can become excruciatingly difficult (Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2).  But advanced level violin playing have a slew of dizzying techniques on both hands (left hand pizzacato, quick double stops, spiccato, up-bow staccato).  They have comparable difficulty on the upper hand.

Hence, it is reasonable to conclude that violin has a steeper learning curve.


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