Hardest Instruments to Play

hockeyguy2100

The Top Ten

1 Violin Violin The violin is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. It is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in the family in regular use.

I've been playing violin since I was 5 maybe 6 and I am now 13 so yeah it's hard from my standpoint of view but I also played or still play piano which is also hard having the small hands I do and leading from the beginning from the beginning as any instruments is. I also play the French horn with I have to admit is hard but it's getting to the extreme high or low notes that makes I that getting a legit note is relatively easy compared to the flute which I'm trying (in vain) to learn. I think the violin is really hard at all levels because when you tart off its hard because of learning how to hold it or where to place your fibers or just endurance. How long can you hold a violin up. I started in 1st grade and I was (and still am) pretty weak. You also have to learn to grow calluses on your finger tips. Yes I know that with all instruments it is constantly getting harder the longer you stay with it but with violin there's constantly a new thing to be learned. (Higher positions, ...more

I have been playing the wonderful and amazing violin since I was six. I am seventeen now. And I am nearly not as good as some amazing people out there like my favorite artist of all time. Lindsey Stirling, a girl who is just AMAZING at violin, she plays all of classical, fiddle if you please, and... Dubstep. What more could you ask of an instrument that cool? I love to play the violin, and it is for SURE the most difficult instrument to play. You have to keep the bow strait, tune to the exact, you have to keep your fingers in the right places our you sound like a dying cat that is being attacked by a bear. You have to keep rhythm, you have to sit striate, feet in front of you. To make the notes sound even more extravagant, you have to vibrato, and then shift into positions that are very high. Drones, and fast fingering and bowing and double stops and trillings and playing soft as a butterfly's wings then BAM! Louder than a drum in just seconds. You have to be very talented to play the ...more

Part of that you have to do exactly on horn, and most comply with the horn in the same way. You have to make sure it is the right note because you can easily spot if the sound is wrong or right on the violin, but with the French horn it is different. It takes a very skilled person to know the notes because all the notes are so close together. Also, playing songs with the valves is very complex and takes a very long time to master before you can play off-hand.

It is obvious that this survey is completely biased towards the guitar and piano since it is a common instrument to play and people want to protect their dignity. It is very clear that the violin is the hardest instrument to play and I am not biased because I used to practice with the guitar and the piano. For the piano, every note you press is "correct" while the violin can be slightly sharp or flat. Is there a lot more technical difficulty on the violin? Definitely yes (staccato, harmonics, plucking, greater difficulty playing chords, shifting positions to reach insane notes. ) Yes, the piano can be hard to play, but it does not measure up to the violin. As for the guitar, it is quite difficult to play upon a MASTER level, but most people play it to play mainstream stupid stuff like some jack johnson song. Definitely not hard. However, there are two things that make the violin much harder than the guitar: the position the violin is held and the bow. You would be surprised ...more

You're rather uneducated in the field of brass instruments to believe that the trumpet doesn't deserve a high place. Though I agree that the violin and piano are very difficult instruments, I can confirm to you that pitching and tone quality on the trumpet are very hard. I tell you this from experience having played, some of which I am still playing, the violin, piano, French horn as well as tenor horn, and attempted the trumpet. I can not comment on the cello however, but do not be an ignoramus as to speak down on the trumpet.

I have been playing the violin since I was 7, and now I'm 14 going on 15, and from my standpoint the violin is the hardest to learn. You have to make sure your fingers are in the right places, attempt to master the bow and have the stamina to be able to play the violin. Don't get me started on vibrato! While I do acknowledge that the other instruments are hard, I think that the violin is the hardest!

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2 French Horn

French Horn is definitely the hardest instrument to play. You can play practically every note without any keys down. The Partials are extremely close together. A high F and a high G, notes right next to each other, are the same fingering which means you have to use your mouth to move between them. Which brings in the lip trill, which is awful. My student teacher said it best when he said horn players have to have an ego, if you are the least bit unconfident, you will crack on about every single note. If you have the confidence, you won't crack. You also have to hear the note before you play it or it will be the wrong note/partial. Plus Horn has the tiniest mouth piece ever which are smaller than a bottle's opening. Then horn plays a lot of the wood wind stuff, like trills and running sixteenth notes and thirty second notes, which most of the time has to be tongued by double or triple tonguing. Also, the fingerings for notes in different octaves aren't the same, and we have about seven ...more

I have not played the horn for very long. The thing with this instrument is that it plays in both treble and bass clef. Another thing is splits where you get the option to play low or high. I always play low because the lower register is really cool. And I have to use just as much air as the high notes

I have been playing this amazing instrument for 8 years now. It was the very first instrument I ever learned to play and all through elementary school and Junior High school, I was the only one who could play it. It is a fantastic instrument capable of playing well above the treble clef staff and down below into the low bass clef staff. It usually has the most beautiful runs you could imagine and has such an amazingly distinct sound. But... In order to play those mellifluous melodies, there is a price to play for every horn player. There is not an instrument that compares to it in difficulty for these 20 reasons...

1) It is the longest instrument. Despite tuba being the biggest, if you stretched out every bit of tubing in a double French horn, it is the longest. It takes tons of air just to play it.

2) It faces the back of the stage, requiring more air just to be heard. As if all of those tubes weren't enough.

3) It's heavy. Yes, many instruments like the tuba and ...more

Having played the french horn for four years, I know it's hard. The combination of forming your hand right and putting it in the proper place, making your lips exactly right (if its even a fraction wrong your note is flat or sharp or even a different note), remembering the different fingerings for every octave, and using enough air to push through all of that horn is so hard. It took me hours and weeks of practicing to get the smooth sound the french horn is known for, and some people in my grade and above still haven't gotten that sound. I mean, I can't make a sound out of a clarinet but that's because different mouth types are required for different instruments. But anyone who thinks that finding the right note when they are so close together with such a small mouthpiece and then using enough air to make a warm tone and make it loud is easy are so wrong. There is also slurring, which if you're not careful will come out bumpy and with cracked notes, stacatto can be tongued too hard ...more

It's embarrassing to admit bit sometimes even though I'm using a gd horn my tone still cracks when I try to play loud

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3 Piano Piano The piano is a musical instrument played using a keyboard, which is a row of keys that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands.

"The piano is the easiest instrument to play in the beginning, and the hardest to master in the end."

-Vladimir Horowitz

Indeed, playing the piano seems very simple, especially at a beginner level. You take a finger, press a note and it plays, perfectly in-key (well, usually). You release it, and the note stops. You just press the right keys at the right time and you have a song, right? Well, the further you get in your piano career, the more you realize it's not quite that simple.

The first part of what makes the piano the most difficult instrument is the technical aspect. You are playing with both hands at once, and almost never with the same rhythm. You'll find that even playing something technically simple like Minuet in G can be a lot harder than it sounds for an inexperienced player. And all your left hand is doing is playing single quarter notes most of the time! Rhythm is a big challenge when you're a pianist advancing your skills. Polyrhythms, ...more

The pianoforte is indeed the master of all instruments.

At more advanced levels, many factors must be attended to ensure the most precise and eloquent sounding pieces to sound as grand as their orchestral origin, to be able to imitate every instrument played in an ensemble to recreate the piece on one piano is quite a feat. The treble and bass clefs require the pianist to play both hands in conjunction to each other, each individual finger must be controlled and thus playing each key requires a great deal of concentration. The entire body is used to play the piano, not just the hands. The arms, shoulders, torso, legs and feet all control the movement of the piece due to the posture of the pianist, the pedals used to sustain and soften the keys, and the wide range of the piano itself. Learning notes is only the beginning to perfecting a piece on the piano, not only does it require quick thinking on the pianist's part, but the sound of each note being played must be perfected ...more

When you think of piano, you normally think it's a very easy instrument, right? "I mean, so many people can play it... It can't be that difficult..."

Now, this is where you fall into the trap of the piano. It is very easy to learn as a beginner, but it gets harder and harder to learn, and it is up there as one of the most difficult instruments to master. To be able to play two hands, both the treble and the bass, maintaining perfect coordination of both hands WHILE also needing to keep dynamics, tempo, musicality, etc all in good condition is really not an easy feat.

I have played other instruments before, such as string instruments. The piano is certainly not a difficult instrument to pick up as a beginner, because it really isn't that difficult to hit a key, or several keys. Certain string instruments, on the other hand, require you to position your hand at the perfect spot on the strings to play the exact note. Any higher, it's a flat. Any lower, it's a ...more

I've been getting lessons for 2 years and I'm not done yet

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4 Oboe

I've been playing the oboe for almost 5 years and I can say from experience that it is an EXTREMELY difficult instrument to play and especially to master, which I myself have not even done yet. First off, the reed is a constant challenge. It is difficult to go from high to low notes or vice versa because the reed needs to be reed needs to be either more open (low) or closed/pinched (high) to have anything close to the right tone. Also after playing for a while the reed will simply close completely and not make any noise except for some pathetic squeaks. Then there's also a hassle in just keeping the reed moist enough that it produces sound, yet not like slippery from spit, haha. Also because the reed's air hole is so small, there are times where you have to even exhale before inhaling to catch your breath because you don't let enough air out through just playing. Then another reason the oboe should be listed high in the difficulty scale is because the fingerings are completely random, ...more

I totally agree! I have been playing for 2 years and I can not seem to get enough air. I constantly have to take more breaths than the rest of the band earning me glares from my band director for "breaking the frame" Still LOVE the oboe and would not trade it for any other instrument. 😘

I feel like this vote is off and too biased. Not everyone has played all of the instruments listed here and wouldn't know what to judge, they would only pick their own instrument, believing it is the most difficult because it might've been the only instrument they play. I've played, oboe, flute, clarinet, as well as piano. I have been playing oboe for the longest and still currently play it. I have to agree that oboe has been the hardest instrument, and especially the hardest instrument to start out with.

Even after playing for 5 years and practicing daily, it is still very difficult. Reeds are always an issue, and the $12 reeds you buy at your music store don't do justice. Most beginning players don't know and will continue to buy those disgusting reeds at their music store. A few go out, venture online and take a look at the custom made reeds online which was what I did. I tried a few online reed makers, ranging from $15 to $25 usually per reed. I never found any of them to ...more

I voted for oboe based on my own experience. I have played piano, clarinet, trombone, and bass clarinet. I have learned flute, baritone, trumpet, and mellophone as well, and by far oboe is the hardest. However, every instrument has its own difficulties, and every person will be naturally better at different instruments. Now, to why oboe is the most difficult.
1) THE DOUBLE REED! For those not acquainted with this wooden monstrosity used to play oboe, the double reed is a) difficult to make a sound with b) play with good tone c) keep in tune and is immensely difficult to find a decent reed (especially with oboe reeds) or make your own, and the reeds are super expensive.
2) The fingerings. Not as big a deal, bit with two octave keys, a half hole, 2-3 F fingering, only 1 Db key, it makes the runs and fast passages associated with all high woodwinds hard to play.
3) Tuning/intonation. Multiple oboes are impossible to tune/keep in tune. The only way to tune two oboe is to shoot ...more

Mental breakdowns pretty much everyday? Yes; you sign up for it when you want to play the oboe.

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5 Organ

I'm a brass player, and some of my experience with the other instruments on this list is minimal at best. All I know is: I play the French horn proficiently, I can make a sound on the flute after a while, I can't make a sound on an oboe, and I'm decent at jazz piano. I also took organ lessons for a year, and for me it's the hardest instrument. Reading piano music is hard enough when you have to coordinate two staves and two clefs with two hands, but now you have to ALSO use both of your feet, and often play a different keyboard with each hand. Even if the music is simpler like a hymn and only has two staves (because the pedals will just be playing the lowest line), the coordination necessary to pull it off is maddening. In addition, while with piano you can let the natural decay connect notes when using the pedal or when they're fast enough, with organ you must hold the keys down for the entire duration you want the note to sound. As a result your key changes have to be very quick and ...more

Having only ever played one instrument beside the organ (piano), I don't know how accurate my opinion is. But I think the organ is pretty dang tough. I've been taking lessons for a year now and feel like I have made very little progress. You are doing all these different things at once: right hand, left hand, pedals with both feet, the volume pedal, switching stops in the middle of it. To put it simply; you have to really coordinate. I really enjoy playing it, but it is so tough. I definitely think it is way harder than piano (which I have been playing for four years now.) In fact, I probably would've given up by now if I wasn't so stubborn. Maybe I just don't have the skill for it, but I know I'm not the only one who thinks it's hard. I know people who have been playing it for years and say they are still learning. The organ is a beautiful instrument, though, and I hope to one day play it well enough to do it justice.

Seperates rhythmical patterns at once, varying not only by hand, but by leg or even fingers. Coordination to where the keys are mastered to pianist level, then adding the feet, then understanding the stops, how to arrange them, the ability to leap out and change them during performance, understand the thumb tabs, and the toe tabs, what the different keyboards do, and how to arrange the different voices. You have several keyboards to manipulate, with both hands and feet, literally dozens to hundreds of voices to order, volumes to maintain. Piano allows for some allowances on hitting keys slightly, try that on an organ and the note will play and ring out through the church, allowing for no error. The keys must be depressed properly or a harsh chopping sound will burst from the pipes. I could go on.

I don't get how a regular piano is harder than this... you use your fingers and footwork at the same time which requires more muscle memory

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6 Bagpipes Bagpipes Bagpipes are a wind instrument using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag.

I think it's telling what obscure instruments, such as the bagpipes an oboe end up on this list.

I wouldn't say the pipes are the hardest. With good instruction and a the obligatory practice, it is possible to become a very competent piper in a few years. The pipes only have nine notes, and there are not dynamics or rests, so in a way they are a very simple instrument to play.

But the pipes are incredibly hard to break into. They're not like a trumpet, clarinet or a piano where you can play simple beginner tunes full of minims and crotchets. You're straight onto quavers and semi quavers. Even slow tunes like Amazing grace have short notes. This is made worse because pipes don't handle crossed notes well at all. So fingering has to be perfect from the start. Because there are only nine notes, pipe music is decorated with embellishments - groups of up to six grace notes played very rapidly after each other. They require skill and precision to play properly.

Then ...more

This is very disgraceful that bagpipes are only number 6. As my instructor said a long time ago they are either 1 or 2 for the most difficult instrument. I've been playing the pipes for 12 years now and I still wouldn't say I've mastered it. In so many of the other instruments above this 12 years is a really long time to master something. I'm basing this off of getting to top end level. There are so many embellishments involved with learning the bagpipes and these are some of the hardest out there. Those are also unique to the bagpipe itself. Yes it has only 9 notes but add embellishments to it and it becomes a lot harder. If you add the drones that actually covers the whole entire scale of a piano cause the drones are each an octave lower than each other and the chanter. The pipes take a lot of air and maintenance. It is definitely a very delicate instrument and very difficult. Any change in blowing can make it go out of tune and you sometimes have to play for 20+ minutes non-stop. ...more

Bagpipes are definitely one of the hardest, for reasons stated. I'll say as someone who has only been playing for 2 years on the pipes (3 on practice chanter) that I'm amazed at great pipers-YouTube "gordon duncan" or "stuart liddel" and you will see what I mean. No doubt that any instrument takes years to master it (meaning play it very well); my partner used to play the French horn and yeah-that is very hard instrument to play. For pipes, I'll say that you first have to learn how to play the tune on the practice chanter, then jump and play it on the bagpipes (whole nother instrument) then if you play in a band, have to memorize it again with the band. The goal of a pipe band is to sound like one large bagpipe (sometimes they through harmonies in there too). Put that and have to march in sync and it takes lots of concentration and practice.

Keep in mind that the slightest over blowing or under blowing will put the drones and/or chanter out of tune. Additionally if you don't ...more

Bagpipes are hard 2 play...

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7 Flute Flute The flute is a family of musical instruments in the woodwind group. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening.

Playing the flute for 8 years, I might say that the greatest struggle is the embouchure/lip position and breath control/technique because the beauty of the tone,the clarity of articulations, the precision of harmonics and the accuracy of the intonation relies and everything relies on it. The problem is the lip structure/formation of every flute player differs from one another, and every flute has its own unique embouchure plate;the lip plate might be in different cuts actually, they have C cut, V cut, Z cut etc. So, with the diversity of the lip structures and lip plate cuts the question is- How can the teacher teach his or her student the proper way of the flute embouchure to his/her student, how can he/she teach his/her student the right way of positioning the lips on the embouchure plate, as you can see this sounds really impossible/hard because the lips of the teacher is different from the lips of his or her student...This means that the student doesn't rely everything much to his ...more

I have been playing the flute for over eight years now. I truly believe that the flute has the hardest and most unique embouchure out there. Don't get me wrong I do believe that violins and strings have a lot of work ahead of them, but truthfully they don't have to have the right format for their mouth. Also if on other instruments not all but most if you have the fingering and certain harmonics of the instrument down you can play any of the types.
This isn't true with flutes. Every flute has a different embouchure, because of the size of the head joint and the opening to the head joint.
I should know I had to change my flute four times well mine was getting repaired.
Also that is another thing with flutes you have to make sure you take extra care of everything because if you don't have a good well oiled cork in the right position in the head joint you will cause a natural note to actually sound as if it is a flat. If someone picks up a flute for the fact that they believe ...more

I learned how to play the flute and it is much easier said than done so I do not that the flute is 5th hardest instrument to play.

The flute is by far the hardest instrument to play. Don't say it's easy, it's not. I'm in grade 6 and played the flute for almost two years now. I am in first chair and considered extremely gifted, however you have to work your butt off to play it well. The trumpet section in band say "oh, it must be so easy" but they're wrong. I bet the trumpets would pass out after playing one song, that is if they can even get a sound out of it. You have to deal with a dizzy feeling. It requires a lot of talent, hard work, practice, and determination. I stay after school for an hour and a half every Tuesday so I can practice. Then when I get home I practice for two hours. Every day I practice for two hours at home. I get finished with lunch early, then spend 15 minutes in the band room practicing. Believe me, it's very hard. But I love playing it because it's an escape from reality. It feels good, even if you are dizzy. You feel tired yet energized. I want to be a flutist someday. And if you do, ...more

I have been playing the flute for over a year know and I have to say it is one of the hardest instruments to get a correct sound or any sound at all because if the position is off at all the sound will completely change. Don't get me wrong the violin seems very hard but flutes have to have prefect fingers AND embouchure position to make a sound strings don't have to worry about that

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8 Drums

No instrument can be mastered. It is just not possible, but drumming us by far the hardest instrument to play. Drums have been around forever, anybody who hits anything in time could basically call themselves a drummer. People have been hitting things to a pulse forever, from all time periods, and from all parts of the world. This makes drumming not only one of the oldest musical forms, it makes it one of the most widely played the most widely played. You don't see some guy in the streets of Dubai, or a tiny village in Ecuador playing the Bassoon. Drumming ranges from very subtle and complexed brush strokes for jazz, and advanced double bass riffs for heavy metal to playing a marching snare drum in the cadets (one of the most widely acclaimed percussion groups in the world), or playing bells in a concert band. That's right bells, if you play bells you're playing piano except with sticks. ( right now piano is the #3 hardest instrument to play on thus list right now making drums at ...more

As a 50 year old terrible guitarist I started playing drums about a year ago because it has been relatively easy for me to keep time in my head and on the guitar. I quickly found that that I had a knack for the drums and immediately enjoyed playing them. As I have progressed it is clear to me how difficult the drums really are to play well. I agree with everything said here about how difficult it is to play drums. Although I have listened to thousands of songs over and over now that I play drums I can really appreciate the incredible skill of so many "professional" drummers... Even on types of music I hate. That's another thing... On the guitar I would not think about trying to play styles of music I don't care for but that is not the case with drums. I would recommend the drums to anyone with an interest in playing instruments. Yes they are difficult and impossible to master but compared to some other instruments way more fun! Plus it can be a very good workout!

Playing the drums is much hard than you think. There is a lot more to it than hitting things. There's a STYLE to things, if you can believe it. And there's also an actually proven and true way to hold drumsticks! Did you know that, everyone who points with their fingers on the stick? And then again, there are multiple kinds of drums. If you're counting keyboard and auxiliary percussion instruments, you've got at least 400 instruments to learn. If you think drums are easy, please take the test my percussion teacher use to give me. Please explain to me what a snare drum is, how to tune it, how it works, and name every part of the drum in thirty seconds. Go! And if you can do that, then I'm impressed. Now get out your rudiment book and play swiss flamdragadiddle inverted cheesy taps with the eighth note at 180. After you've done that, you can say drums are easy. Thank you.

It is by far the hardest! I play them a ton, and you have to move around A LOT! Your wrists and arms get tired, and you start sweating, but it is also the most fun instrument to play.

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9 Cello Cello The cello or violoncello is a bowed or plucked string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths.

Yes definitely. I go to a performing arts school double majoring in band and orchestra. I've played viola for seven years, clarinet for six years, flute for four years, tenor sax for two years, and violin last Christmas. I played oboe before clarinet but it didn't suit me. In all honesty, all instruments are hard. No one can just pick up an instrument and play it. They all have their own techniques and tricks to them. I say orchestra instruments (violin, viola, cello, & upright bass) are a greater challenge than that of brass and woodwinds. For those instruments, you have a key/valve to put your fingers down and you can play the note. For orchestra instruments, you have to know where the fingering is on the fingerboard in order to play the desired note. Same with guitar, but it's more difficult having the instrument held horizontally in the air while bowing, or having the instrument held vertical while bowing. For piano, yes that is hard, moving great distances in short time and all ...more

A cello is probably the hardest instrument to play. Mainly because of the increments in the notes are much further apart than other instruments. This requires more shifting, and since the notes are indefinite on a string instrument it is harder to get the correct note. The cello has a very wide range, 5 octaves (approximately, I checked myself a while ago), which gives it a uniqueness to it, which is in fact similar to the male voice. The cello requires you to co-ordinate your bow and fingers together too, and those in themselves need separate co-ordination, like the bow angle, position and speed, as well as a correct bow-hold. You also need to train your fingers to develop a callas on them, so that your fingers are then used to the string and wont develop indents into your finger every time you play. I've played cello for about 6 years now, which have started at primary school learning all the basics. Only a few can use that to progress rapidly and start professionally playing, fewer ...more

In my opinion, the cello is among the hardest instruments to play. As previous commenters have mentioned, cellists must move their fingers great distances to reach notes that violins and violas can play with ease. Although the string bass player does have to move their fingers more than the cellist, their part tends to be very easy because of this. Many times, the cellos will be given the counter melody or harmony part in a piece of music, meaning that they have to play similar rhythms to those of the violins and violas. However, they have a much harder time with shifting, which makes their part more difficult. Another aspect of the cello that makes it difficult to play is tuning. All bowed strings except string basses have large tuning pegs held in place purely by friction. The basses have large tuning pegs with gears. Why, you might ask. Well, this is because there is more pressure on the strings of a bass then on the strings of any other bowed string instrument, as the strings of a ...more

As someone who has played guitar, drums, violin, piano, and other miscellaneous instruments, cello is BY FAR the hardest, the extensions and shifts you have to do even to play simple tunes is insane.

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10 Harp Harp The harp is a stringed musical instrument that has a number of individual strings running at an angle to its soundboard; the strings are plucked with the fingers.

The harp has all the complexity of a piano (two staves, multiple notes in both hands), but the additional plucking action really sets it apart from piano - you have to be on the note and prepare before plucking. Then, seven pedals, each with 3 positions to control the accidentals. But you have to time them exactly right so you don't get buzzing, and if you're doing them fast then you have to release them on the spring rather than putting them exactly where you need to. You have to build up your callouses on your fingers by playing a lot. Painful! And controlling the timbre of the strings is really hard too - I can hear how I want it to sound, but its hard to make it happen. There are 47 Strings! Violins have 4! Why is harp number 11 on the list - its only because not many people play it and vote for it! It should be number 1! (I played piano and oboe before starting harp, but now I just play harp because It's SO CHALLENGING! (But good).

I have been playing the celtic harp (no pedals) for the last 4 years and it is very challenging---despite my having played the piano since I was 7 years old and am now retired. I have a degree in music, am a professional singer, and have taught elementary school vocal music. When I began harp, everyone said it would be easy because I play piano. Yes and no! With harp, one has to "place" all 4 fingers down before playing so one is constantly looking ahead--unlike piano. The finger patterns are very different from piano and hand techniques different as well--so sometimes I have to block out my piano hand technique so I don't try to use it on the harp. Like piano, one is playing different patterns on each hand--simultaneously and that's where being a pianist helps a lot. With both piano and harp though, if one plays musically and corrrectly, then even the simplest piece will sound beautiful and that's one's incentive to keep on practicing!

As a professional harpist, id say that the harp is VERY challenging to play. First of all, you have to play a different note pattern on each hand simultaneously which can be an extreme challenge for some people. Next, when you play the harp, finger placement is very picky. You don't ever use your pinkies while playing and you place your four fingers down on strings before you even play them, which can be especially difficult when it comes to playing faster and more advanced songs. Lastly, when you play the harp, you almost have to multitask. In addition to using both hands simultaneously and keeping track of finger placement, you may also have to deal with levers or 7 pedals with 3 settings too. Playing the harp isn't as easy as it looks.

Belongs near the top of the list. Maintaining correct hand position, correct articulation to produce good tone, anticipating and pre-placing before playing the strings... Much more difficult on the harp than the piano, for example, although you can play nearly the same music. You do need to understand music theory because you can expect to do your own transcriptions and arrangements of things you hanker to play. Not so many composers want to write for us because a best seller might sell, maybe 50 copies.

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The Contenders

11 Electric Guitar Electric Guitar The electric guitar is a type of guitar that unlike an acoustic guitar, is solid body instead of hollow. They use pickups and amps to produce sound that's audible from more than a few feet. They are mainly used in rock and metal music and in those genres are commonly the main instruments. A few notable ...read more.

I agree that violin is tougher than guitar because its fret-less but drums and piano being harder is obsolete. I heard some one say that the electric guitar can be played by anyone without much assistance. Well I too have composed some melodies and arpeggios in piano without any assistance at the first time itself. *BURN*. And its much easier to find the notes of a same key in piano than in an electric guitar. I agree chords are easy in a guitar (although being a guitar teacher for almost 6 months I found out most people have trouble playing them too for a very very long time. I guess I just grasped it fast because of my love for the instrument) but go ahead and start with some crazy legato sessions, big sweep pickings and finger breaking licks and then support your statement. And that's just the easy part. Go way too deep into the theory and you might never come up. Triads, Scales of major, minor and pentatonic and then modes. God help me. Ionian, dorian, phrygian, lydian, mixolydian ...more

Widest spread of music to fully master is on a guitar. There are so many different styles of playing which require masterful finger manipulation. These include flamenco, classical, rock solos, progressive metal (arguably solos are as intricate as the most intricate of piano music). Some of the advanced level techniques for electric guitars including pinch harmonics, double picking, as well as just the general ability to pick and press 32nd notes at precisely the same time are quite difficult to master. Anyone who does not see guitar as a difficult instrument to "master" is deluded by the a few reasons: 1, a lot of people pick up guitar as a hobby and can easily sound good at it just by strumming chords in rhythm; 2, A lot of mainstream music that people learn on guitar is very basic, you wouldn't compare the basic music on piano with intricate guitar solos, would you? 3, If you've ever had piano lessons with a classical instrument growing up, you may be scorned by the ...more

Of course some of the best compositions in musical history have been made on the piano, and I really think that a piano is a really tough instrument and that a really really good player should have at least twelve fingers (just kidding). For me the drums are at the top spot, but it may is, because it is the instrument, which I will never be good at. I am playing guitar since my 10th year of living and had a really hard start with it. In my primary school days I had to learn the flute, not that hard to come into and I also had piano lessons, before I've tried guitar and it wasn't that hard either, to learn something. I can't say how hard playing a violin is, but the unnatural position and the sound itself, makes this instrument very unattractive to me. So of course the choice of the hardest instrument is a personal preference and the 9th spot for the guitar right now, is showing that a lot of people are appreciating the guitar as a hard instrument to play. So coming back to my history, ...more

The hardesr

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12 Piccolo

I say piccolo is the HARDEST to play. I play the piccolo (and flute, of course); it has its similarities and differences. Piccolo is the loudest instrument in the band/orchestra. It is the smallest, yet it takes the most air. The fingerings are the same. I highly recommend you use alternate fingerings for extremely high notes, such as the high Ab. High notes are stupid hard on piccolo. Notes on the piccolo are absolutely nothing compared with flute. You need very good lung power to play piccolo well. If you play with not enough air, you will be flat. If you play with too much air, you will have a sharp tone, so it's hard to find that "in-between" stage. This is all thanks to a different embouchure. It is shrill to the ears, so make sure you have your earplugs handy. I cannot compare flute/piccolo to other instruments, considering the fact that those are the only instruments I play well. Fingers are tightly packed, as well. I guess piccolo is recommended for those with smaller hands ...more

I play the flute, however I plan on playing piccolo as well in ninth grade. My mom played piccolo, she told me how difficult it was, I've met people who play piccolo, my best friend from band camp told me how difficult it was, and you know what? I'm not going to tell you that flute is harder, because I got the opportunity once to play it, and it is difficult. To all piccolo players, I appreciate your hard work, I adore the sound of your instrument, I was honored to play piccolo once for 5 minutes last summer, and yes, it should be above flute. You are all amazing and overlooked by many. When I tried out piccolo, the small keys weren't a problem, I actually liked them since I have small hands, I had to use a thinner air stream and like twice as much air as the flute. Kudos to you for staying strong when playing such a difficult instrument!

I play the flute, but I have to play the piccolo in one of my songs in band, because it has a solo. It is so hard because it requires SO MUCH air. It is so hard to play high, and I have to play way up high in the third octave, and it's hard to get the fingerings right because you hands are packed together. It is also so hard to tune. I am constantly out of tune. I have band first period so I put the piccolo together about 10-15 minutes before band and try and tune it. Even if the instrument is in tune how much air you blow affect how sharp or flat it is, so I still am almost never in tune. It also causes you to lose so much air, I almost passed out during band once. So I say piccolo is hardest to play.

Piccolo should be above flute and I would say #3 AT LEAST. Anybody that has ever attempted to get a sound out of one would know why. Mastering great tone and intonation is by far the biggest problem any piccolo player will come across.
I'm no virtuoso in other instruments on the top of list like violin and french horn but I hope the people that created this list see the true difficulty of this instrument, although it is a very hard instrument to play but can play great music when played by a professional. The instrument is just so small it is near impossible to get a nice resonate tone from the piccolo.
To play a single note you need a lot of air, most people would think that the instrument is so small that much air would not need as much air which for most instruments is true but for cross blown flutes much more air is necessary even for the smallest of flutes. With piccolo, anybody would know that this is the smallest instrument in the orchestra therefore, plays notes that are ...more

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13 Bassoon

I used to play violin (honestly, I don't know how it's considered the hardest to play, I was able to play many songs within the first two months of playing. If violin is the hardest, viola, cello, and bass should be up there as well) and switched from orchestra to band to play bassoon. I wanted something more challenging, and after 2 and a half years of playing the violin just wasn't doing it for me. The bassoon took me forever just to get the first note, F, out of it. It's definitely a test of how much oxygen you can store in your lungs. As compared to most other instruments, the bassoon is heavy and it has keys all over the place. You won't have much luck playing it if your fingers are short- lucky for me, mine are long and feminine. You have to be well aware of what you're playing on the bassoon. One wrong key and you make a very obvious mistake. In class I find myself constantly adjusting my mouth to get the right sound, particularly on the higher notes. This year I was trying out ...more

Bassoons are by far the most difficult instrument to play. Very few people play the bassoon and finding teachers or help at all is almost impossible unless you live near a university or a big city with an orchestra. And unlike other instruments (except oboe and bag pipes) we have to make our own reeds specialized to our instrument! Buying reeds is also expensive ranging from $10-40. The tools to make reeds range to $400! Oh and don't forget that there are many different fingerings for each note! F Sharp has 17 different fingering. You have sensitivity points on the reed depending on whether its a low, middle or high range note. Once you get past second octave G you start using 'Flick Keys" that you play with your left thumb, that's 9 keys for 1 thumb to continually flick for each note. There is no octave key, a bassoonist has to learn specific flick keys, thumb keys and half hole patterns to jump octaves. All bassoons are hand made and there for have different quirks depending on the ...more

To be completely honest I think one of the reasons bassoon is lower down than some other instruments is because it is less popular, so less people have the experience to say how difficult it is compared to something like flute or piano. I think one thing that separates the difficulty of bassoon from some other instruments is that a lot of instruments are difficult to master and become spectacular at, however other instruments are also difficult to begin learning and get to a decent standard. I think bassoon is one of these instruments. I used to play piano and can say that bassoon should definitely be above piano on this list. I understand to master to piano is hard because of co-ordination, however I know it was significantly easier than bassoon. You don't have to constantly worry about tuning and you can do things such as jump 3 octaves quite easily. It is also easier to grasp the basics so that it becomes more interesting and fun to play earlier. Even if I was asked to compare the ...more

Makes me sad. It's an old instrument but it's so fun to play. Sometimes hard though. - Transformers234

I used the play the oboe and honestly I don't know how it is higher than bassoon on this list. It is so much harder.

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14 Viola

I play viola and piano. I started playing piano first, starting in first grade. Piano is played in the very well known clefs of treble and bass clef. When I decided to start playing the viola at the end of fifth grade, I learned that I had to learn that I had to learn a totally new clef-the alto clef. I never even knew there was such thing as the alto clef until that moment! Speaking of that, I didn't even know there was such thing as a viola until I was midway through fifth grade! All I hear about is violins, violins, and more violins! Why doesn't anyone know about violas? I think some people who play the violin chose to play the violin because they have never heard of a viola! People who aren't in orchestra, or don't know anyone in orchestra will not know anything about violas;when those people look at an orchestra they only see the viola section as another part of the violin section. I don't get how violas aren't at the top of this list, really! Violas are really hard because you ...more

I don't find violas hard to play, it's just frustrating to be in the viola section ( Because you're the laughing stock of the whole ensemble ). When we were picking instruments for strings many, many years ago, I remember the teacher giving pros and cons about the instruments, but I'm sure she said something like " There usually aren't many violas. But you have to learn a whole new clef! Moving on the cellos..." Then I started reading the note above the written note on the staff for my treble clef instrument, and I just got so confused. And now someone who I know who is already having a hard time learning Alto clef is going to have to learn treble, and their probably not going to do that well. Basically, Alto Clef is horrible. If you have problems with the finger board, get a violin outfit strung as a viola ( It's what they do in school strings groups)

The viola is definitely harder than the violin, why is it number 9? This is because the steps between notes are slightly larger and harder to reach if you have small hands. I started playing in 4th grade, and now I'm in 11th grade, and I have loved it. The alto clef was the first clef I ever learned, so it wasn't hard for me. I can play Hoffmeister's concerto in D Major just fine, and overall, I can play pretty well. But, the violins always get the fun and challenging parts which I always want, instead of two pages worth of offbeats... I chose the viola in fourth grade because it wasn't the generic, everybody-plays-it instrument. I wanted to go for interesting, and something new. I still love the viola though because each viola section I have joined has been laid back, fun, and usually humble. We are usually the masters of bad puns... Whereas, sometimes I can see some of the violinists' egos from 100 miles away. Also, with all the competitiveness, I would hate the stress of playing ...more

Played violin for 5 years. The Viola is no joke.

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15 Trombone

I have been playing the trombone for at least 2 years now. You need to have great embouchure(the way you place your face on the mouth piece), you have to put the slide in exactly the right position, buzz your lips just right, control the speed and temperature of your air, and much more. The trombone is a tremendously difficult instrument to play. I am not nearly as good as the people who have been playing for 10 years or so. Even with 2 years of studying the trombone, I still don't completely understand how to play all the notes, and play the songs perfectly. The trombone takes years and years to learn the perfect way. To me, and my fellow trombonist, the trombone is the most difficult instrument to learn how to play. Like most people, when we started we had no idea how to play the trombone, learning how to play a song with about 4 measures in it was one of the hardest things that I had ever done at the time. Now I play songs that are about 40 to 80 measures long and it still takes me ...more

Buzz the right pitch with your lips, place the slide at the length that best amplifies that pitch and allows it to resonate, make fine adjustments with the slide hand for tuning purposes, and articulate with the tongue... All simultaneously.

Like the orchestral string instruments, the trombone is not a fixed-pitch instrument and requires constant tuning adjustment on the fly. The trombone takes a great deal of air and playing it is a very athletic endeavor indeed. This instrument is incredibly challenging to play both musically and physiologically.

I LOVE the trombone! When it comes to trombone, I agree it takes air and tuning, especially for those high notes, and I have been cursed with short arms that can't reach slide 7 without the need to dislocate my shoulder to reach it LOL. But thankfully I never found it hard to play for long amounts of time as I am an active person and do not easily become light-headed (also heard that the trumpet and flute take more air than the trombone). But the slides? they can be confusing and it only gets harder because slides aren't like buttons or keys, you must move to them and moving takes time, not fast enough and you've messed up rhythmically which is why I suggest alternate slides. And then you learn to slur, took me months to get the slurring right, because, again, not buttons or keys and if you don't get your tonging right, you can hear every single micro-tone in between! The trombone is a nice challenge and I recommend it to anybody who wants to play a unique and fun instrument (just ...more

I have only one point to make. That is that, you have to put the slide in exactly the right place, every single time you move it to be in tune.

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16 Accordion Accordion Accordions are a family of box-shaped musical instruments of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone type, colloquially referred to as a squeezebox.

Playing accordion is like having to play two instrument at once, and not being able to see properly what either of your hands are doing so having to play by touch. In the right hand you have the keyboard, which is fine enough coming from a piano background, but in the right hand you have a shed-load of tiny bass buttons which each do something different. Having to pump the bellows adds an extra degree of difficulty. I've been playing piano for 9 years, I also sing, play guitar, bass, drums, a bit of sax, and some classical strings, and I've also tried organ and harpsichord, but accordion is without a doubt the most difficult

I recently took up the button accordion and I have to say of all the instruments I have experienced, this is by far the most difficult. The button accordion in my opinion is far more difficult to lay that the piano accordion. Each button on the button accordion plays two different notes depending on if you're pushing or pulling on the bellows. It plays much like a harmonica. I have the Hohner Panther which is a 3 row button accordion, and it has 12 bass keys. It's tricky to learn but very rewarding.

It is the Hardest to play. Both hands doing completely something different at the same time and you are using the bellows not only to produce the sound but for expression. And it is 30 lbs hanging of you back. It is on the top 2 hardest instruments. Not many people stick with. Need to build up endurance not to mention never ever seeing you 120 bass notes.

At first it takes time to learn the right side and then the side where u can't see! And to get them together is a challenge. U also have to know how to use the bellows right way. So actually three things u have to know

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17 Trumpet Trumpet A trumpet is a blown musical instrument commonly used in classical and jazz ensembles. The trumpet group contains the instruments with the highest register in the brass family.

Wow, I'm stunned. I thought trumpet would be up there with #1 being the hardest. I have played and performed on several instruments in my life: accordion, piano, drums, guitar, bass. None of them has been as hard as the trumpet for me which I recently started about 3 months ago (just to see how far I could go on it). Having my musical background I was able to pick up the mandolin and violin and within three to five months I was able to play something for people and entertain in a pro situation (with fiddle tunes, no classical). However, acquiring a usable range and stamina to play something performance worthy (solo) on the trumpet, as far as I can see at this time, is long way off for me -- perhaps years.

I guess I agree that violin and piano is probably the hardest at a advanced classical level. But, the trumpet is the hardest from the get go -- just to produce a pleasing sound! It's NOT an instrument you can pick up and start jamming on within a few months for sure, at least ...more

What? Trumpet below trombone? We need to fix this! Compared to "physical" instruments that require touch or finger placement, the trumpet is more difficult an instrument to play because it requires correct tongue arch level for different ranges, and change in and control of the airstream in addition to the memorization of valve combinations. There is also the build up of micro muscle that are required of the trumpet that is more extreme than any other western instrument aside from Frenchhorn (which is comparable, but the proximity of partials makes the instrument's range more accessible). The Trombone and other low brass family instruments use larger muscle groups creating better endurance and recovery from playing. It also makes low brass instruments easier comeback instrument. When playing a woodwind instrument, most utilize a fixed embouchure that requires less muscle build up than brass instruments.

Trumpet is by far the hardest instrument to play and master- you ...more

I have been playing the trumpet on and off since I was about 8 and I am 51 mostly self taught but I have done a music access course and my first year of a music degree that I left because of written exams and not theory or music ( I'm dyslexic and understand music theory a lot better than the English language, something that I found out recently is English language has not got a governing body so being judged by others interpretation of what is correct has little meaning. I am English therefore I am that language!? )

The trumpet and any instrument that requires the player to make the sound rather than just pressing, hitting or plucking etc is obviously harder, then we have to pitch the correct note physically and mentally to produce a pleasant sound that is of suitable volume, ( the harmonics get closer the higher you play, without pressing any valves the notes that sound are C,G,C,E, GBbCDE and that changes and crosses each other when you use the valves like 1&3 will also play ...more

so o hard

V 137 Comments
18 Didgeridoo

I tried the didgeridoo when I was in Australia in 2000. I could get a sound out of it easily, but I couldn't for the life of me do the circular breathing. I also couldn't get it to sound anything as funky as the locals were doing.

The instruments I play to a certain degree:
PIANO: My main instrument. I got to Grade VI standard in less than a year when I was 18. Therefore I consider it a fairly easy instrument to learn.
FLUTE: As I could already play the recorder from when I was a kid, my sister (who's an expert flautist) said the fingering was more or less the same. I could sight-read Grade IV pieces the first time I picked up her flute - including dynamics. Therefore, I consider it a very easy instrument to learn. Embouchure was incredibly easy.
DRUMS: I could sight-read a Grade IV piece within a week of taking up the drums. The main trouble I had were demi-semi-quaver beats and fast triplet groups. Otherwise, it's a fairly easy instrument to pick up. If you can ...more

I learned how to play the didgeridoo last year and can still barely play it. You have to blow out threw your mouth and in threw your nose at the same time. Ah It is so hard but not as yard as the violin or piano which I also know how to play.

You have to learn to circular breathe!

THERE IS A HARDER INSTERMENT!

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19 Percussion

Percussion looks easy, but in reality it really is difficult. Take for example the triangle, a seemingly easy instrument to play, this notion is wrong, you have to hit the triangle at a specific angle in a specific place in order for it to have the correct sound, if you get either of those wrong, your triangle will sound horrible. The thing about percussion is that it has so many instruments to learn how to play and each one is so varied and deep, in my percussion class, we spent 2 hours talking about the different ways of how to play a tambourine, different techniques, when to use each technique, what their effect is, etc. Many percussion parts require the player to play multiple percussion instruments. It gets difficult when one song requires you to play 6 mallet marimba, shakere, and bongos. How about those percussion instruments that aren't even instruments, but the composer decided to put them in the song, for example figuring out how to play spoons, chains and washboard. Or a ...more

I am a percussionist in my high school and I just started playing 6 months ago and every time we get a new piece there is always some other instrument we have to master. Most of the instruments are not difficult to learn just hard to master and when you start to do well in a piece, its time to learn a new one.

Everyone underestimates how hard percussion can be. It isn't just hitting a drum or a cymbal once in a while. You need to be able to learn difficult rhythms, and also you need to be a lot more independent. You need to keep your own place most of the time and cannot rely on other people. (go percussionists :P)

Percussion is sooo underestimated. We often have the most difficult parts of the entire band, hardest rhythms, and extremely difficult mallet pieces. On top of this, percussion often has to read off multiple sheets of music because we have to play several instruments. Percussion is by far the hardest. Other instruments just have to blow and move their fingers. Percussionists must have great technique, find the key on the keyboard, and do difficult rhythms.

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20 Classical Guitar

Although I believe the violin is the hardest instrument to learn, as I've witnessed that firsthand the difficulty to master the violin, I voted for classical guitar. I have got experience in abundance with different musical instruments. I have played the clarinet and recorder, but I did not find that all too difficult. I study classical guitar and piano, and I can assert, that by far, that the piano is much easier to play than classical guitar. Playing Bach pieces on the classical guitar is much more difficult than when I endeavour Bach on the piano. It takes much more effort to play, for instance, Variations on a Theme of Handel (op.107, Giuliani) on the guitar, as opposed to the ease of studying the Harmonious Blacksmith on the piano. CLASSICAL guitar is difficult, I'm not talking about popular music, insipid chord-stroke-music stuff. The mistake people making when they assume that the "classical guitar is such an easy instrument to master", is that they think of the guitar used for ...more

The guitar is a miniature orchestra in the right hands. Consequently the bottom musical line along with the top (melodic) line and inside notes (defining the harmonic content of the music) are all played with the fingertips of the left and right hands simultaneously. The tone and volume of each musical element has to be performed in a balanced beautiful manner. Otherwise the music is lost. The slightest imperfection (which there are many when performing on any instrument) can be caused by any mishap (the slightest movement of a single fingertip). Yet the music must be continued in a manner most convincingly. This is what makes mastering the classical guitar so difficult. Most do not know this because they simply play classical music on the guitar. They don't necessarily do just to JS Bach's music.

I don't believe that the classical guitar is the hardest instrument, but it deserves a special mention. Come on guys, why vote electric guitar over the classical guitar? The Classical guitar is the root of all guitars and mastering this guitar will mean mastering every other guitar in a couple of months. In no way is the electric guitar any harder than the classical guitar, if anything it's easier. With the electric guitar, you are restricted to a plectrum, with a classical you hold 4, or 5 depending on your style, being your fingernails, which constantly have to be taken care of.

You have to study for years to play something that sounds like beginners piano. Besides, most friends and family member will discourage you from doing your excercises and tell you that should just chord the thing while they sing.

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21 Bass Guitar

I've been a professional bassist for 50 years. I began to play bass as a choice and passion, not by default. What I mean is that many bands select the bass player because he/she is the weakest guitarist. If they are weak guitarists, then they will never master the bass. Recently, I was called into a recording session in Nashville to replace a bass track that was first laid down by the band's lead guitarist. The recording producer said something to me that I had known for many years but was never able to put into words. He said, "When a guitar player plays the bass, you hear a bass playing guitarist." "But when a bassist plays, he plays the song and becomes an extension of the music's percussion." Properly played bass notes are not the same notes that a good guitarist would play. The bass has it's on set of progressions, rhythms, and scales, and until they are mastered, the player is just a guitarist playing bass.

To start I'm a bass player by profession and I've played for over 15 years. Bass has to be the hardest instrument to play because they are so big and the frets are stretched so far apart. You must either have large hands or very fast hands to play bass, sometimes a combination of both. So in a way some people don't even have the physical prerequisites to play bass, that's not something you can practice to make better. Don't try to say guitar is harder than bass because it has more strings. I own and seldom play an 11 string bass. But yea hockeyguy2100 was right when he says "It's easy to be ok at bass, but it's impossible to master bass". Good thing flea has been my favorite bass player since I was 13 laugh out loud.

I learn guitar before bass and all I can say is the basics in bass is easy but the advance and expert is way harder than the guitar. Scales and slapping are difficult even for an average size man like me. You got to have the physical ability too, not including the riffs and licks skills that you need to learn to advance from basics. It's obviously underrated but very essential instrument in most genre.

I am a decent player of classical guitar, and when I first picked up a bass in my music lessons I could perform everything I had to do very easily. No chords, nothing too complicated for anyone.

You may be thinking of the easy type of bass. Perhaps scales or little snip bits of songs. But keeping the band secure is ridiculously hard and important. Sure, anyone can do the simple stuff on bass, but people can do the simple stuff on any instrument. - Inart

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22 Euphonium

This instrument should have been #5 or #4. The euphonium is definitely a brutally difficult instrument to play, but not as hard as French horn. My mother told me that I am not as great on euphonium than I am on piano but like the piano, it starts out pretty easy, just buzz the instrument, push the fingers at the right time, and you play a song, in beginning band, you are typically one of the most easiest parts most of the time, which is the bassline with tubas. For trumpets, it may be easier for them to switch to euphonium because it has the same fingerings in concert pitch as the trumpet but an octave lower, and because a bigger mouthpiece makes it easier, right? Well, shouldn't I mention that once you get higher in level, you have to have the ability to double tongue, triple tongue, play glissandos, memorize the different fingerings for each octave because of articulation and trills, often times transposition, cover fast or crazy licks from different instruments, have a greater ...more

Well the sound is one of the most beautiful in the whole orchestra. The softness of the instrument is very delightful. As said it is easy to begin on an euphonium, but mastering it is another case. The way of perfecting this is not only done by practice. One also has to master the fundamental way one plays on a normal instrument, and then be better than the best. Playing the euphonium is not just playing an instrument, it is a lifestyle.

I play the euphonium and it's quite hard to play the really high notes or low notes and sometime we don't play often so we have to switch between instruments in the middle of the song and depends which instrument you have to play as well you may have to be able to read treble clef on the euphonium.

So hard

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23 Marimba

Should be in the top 2! Mallet percussion instruments take so much talent to play, take piano music, and make it more difficult. Two mallets is hard enough on any of these mallet percussion instruments, (except the tubular bell/chimes) other times you have to play with four mallets, and occasionally with six! I don't see any reason for any other instrument to complain that it's hard, these mallet percussion instruments take the cake. I've played for four years, I can play with four mallets, and it's still very hard. Now if you ask me to play 8th notes at a tempo of 200, I'll be pretty good at it, if you make me play with four mallets, I'll struggle, and six mallets are just plain insane! I've seen few songs with the need for three mallets in either hand, but I'll tell you, they look almost impossible to play..

I play marimba and it's like playing the piano only a little bigger and you have usually two mallets to hit the notes with its like a xylophone. It's not too hard I started in 4th grade and I'm in 9th grade now I can play with four mallets so it's not that easy.

I also play with Stevens grip (between middle finger and ring finger), and you're right, you do get calluses from it. - Turkeyasylum

Marimbas are a form of mallet percussion, which is harder than you think. You have to concentrate on 2 things: the notes AND the dynamics. Not to mention keeping your eye on the conductor or drum majors! And 4 mallets is just perplexing! It is fun to play, but it is NOT a piece of cake. - Turkeyasylum

Yes

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24 Acoustic Guitar Acoustic Guitar An acoustic guitar is a guitar that produces sound acoustically - by transmitting the vibration of the strings to the air - as opposed to relying on electronic amplification.

Most instruments are roughly equally difficult. See if you agree with my argument.
(I play violin and guitar. I do not play piano. )

Violin making a note in tune and making it sound good is very hard

Piano playing a note is as easy as banging a tambourine... Or is it?

Guitar playing a note is moderately easy and probably somewhere between a violin and a piano.

But now we play 8 notes on a piano 4 on a guitar and usually one on a violin and things start to even out.

The easier it is to play a note on an instrument then, it seems, the more is "expected" from it.

The guitar is probably hardest to "finger", the violin hardest for tone, the piano hardest to read and play multiple parts simultaneously. The guitar requires strength and is a nightmare of gymnastics. The violin is the least forgiving by way of intonation and a musical ear, and the piano has so little variation in tone that it takes great skill to bring this out as is expected of a ...more

Okay, everyone here is saying that "mastering" a guitar means learning some chords and then learning a few riffs. No! Gosh, to learn flamenco or classical or really good bluegrass guitar... That's DIFFICULT. Most people couldn't self-teach that.

I remember when I was twelve or so and I got my first acoustic guitar. I would play for hours and my fingers would bleed sometimes. Building the strength to avoid buzzing/muted/ringing strings was tricky at first, too.

I think that every instrument is equally difficult to learn, depending on how far you're willing to go with it. Acoustic guitar isn't easy, though. So this instrument gets my vote.

I do believe every instrument has its own challenges, but I have played guitar, piano, violin, viola, and drums. Guitar is very challenging noticing it has different frets, fingerpicking, capos, and it is played in some of the worlds hardest songs. Drums is not hard AT ALL. All you do is hit it and keep the beat. Piano has its challenges, but all you do is make sure you hit the right keys. Violin and viola, cello and base, YOU HAVE A BOW! You don't strum so much until your fingers are bright red and bleeding! I have played guitar for 6 years, wrote my own songs, oh, and try singing, strumming, correct chords, and staying on beat!

It is easy to learn but hard to master

V 44 Comments
25 English Horn

This instrument is as hard as an oboe, but bigger and heavier. It should be way higher up. This system is really inaccurate because all unknown instruments are cast off, even if they are impossible to play.

I really want to play a cor anglais, but it seems hard! I have to prepare the cane reed, my mouth is not shaped right!

26 Vibraphone

Definitely mallets percussion are not easy, your hands do not touch directly the instrument, there is a lot of horizontal movement involved, the parts are standing far away from you and your eyes are looking simultaneously to the keyboard, the part and the conductor. It requires advanced drumming skills plus the ability of improvise, understand harmony, playing notes. While you get a saxophone, you don't need to look at your fingers, you can just look at the part, and you make one note at the time. You can feel the instrument with the fingers. However, saxophone holds different obstacles, like any other instruments it is hard on his own way. There are no easy instruments out there. Just play and play and spend hours enjoying it. Don't worry about the outcomes they will come. That's the secret. Play and play and enjoy it. And if for one year you can take a sabbatical, take your instrument and play it all day for 4-6 12 hours a day. Even fooling around with it, you will learn. The more ...more

Doesn't percussion include vibraphone? - PianoQueen

I payed the vibe for an entire marching season... needles to say my face got burnt at band camp. hard to play

Imagine a piano. With a pedal. Add in all of your percussion skills. Now imagine reading piano music, but only being able to plsy in your periphiral vision. THIS IS HARD.

27 Twelve String Guitar

Double the strings ten times the difficulty. Comparing apples to apples, playing Bach on a 12 string guitR is nigh near impossible, but if accomplished, sounds like a harpsichord. Yes strumming a 12 string is a minor accomplishment, but playing one to the guitar repertoire's full potential has to be incredibly difficult.

Ask Jimmy Page how he played this. - Metalhead1997

28 Zither

This is the only instrument I have not been able to play with some sense of accomplishment. I am a guitarist (classical and jazz trained) and have been a lifetime musician and educator. The zither requires an independence of fingers that stands alone in the musical world. It not only requires one to have a fretboard knowlledge but also a technique similar to a harpists. Most people are not aware of what this instrument is and how difficult it is to play.

29 Quad Drums

I plan on playing quad drums for my highschool band. From what I see, it doesn't look like it's all fun and games. I was expecting quads to be higher up there.

Quads are extremely hard you have to play crazy rudiments along with them on diffrent drums. The are very hard to match there heaven in very unstable

30 Xylophone

It is difficult because it is so nice to play it

This should be top 5 idiots and hard should be top 5 and the reccorder isn't here morons who made this list

I agree thia should be at top

Pretty pard

31 Double Subcontrabass Trombone
32 Baritone Sax

Where do I start? I used to ride the bus but now I can't. The case is too big and heavy to be taken in and out of the bus. It takes a while to do this. Opening doors is another struggle as well. Playing low notes after F Natural quickly is hard. Trying not to hit anyone or anything is difficult to do. Unpacking and packing this istrument is a struggle while others are trying to do the same thing. This is a massive pain of complains while packing. Dragging the case around as well is hard. But for me, the most difficult struggle I face with is playing while standing up. It is very difficult since I'm just a 14 year old girl whose 5'3 and not very strong at all. Though with all of these struggles, I have to cope with, my love is so strong for Band, music and the sound of my instrument that I try my best to ignore these challenges.

I have played Clarinet for 7 years and have successfully mastered it. However I soon grew tired of the same thing over and over. At the beginning of the year, our one Tuba player left out little 12 member band, so we needed some bass. My music teacher chose me to play bari because I was the best woodwind in our band. Having already played clarinet made this a lot easier, but I have to admit, it has had it's challenges. I am a 16 year old girl who is 5'7" and weighs about 120lbs, I couldn't play this instrument with just the neck harness. To play this monster I have to wear a FULL BODY HARNESS.
Low notes were a big problem for the first week; I had to go in after school, every week day to get these notes down and I had to take it home to work with it over the weekend. (I hadn't been able to play the sax for the first month because I got into a car accident and broke my arm.) I have only been playing the bari for a total of about 6 weeks and I can already keep up with the tenor and ...more

It is hard to learn and the case is big

I Play alto Sax but my friend plays bari Sax. He sometimes gets headaches from blowing so much air in the instrument, and gets pain from neck from how heavy the instrument is

V 3 Comments
33 Hyperbass Flute
34 Glockenspiel

I'm a mallet percussionist in my high school band as well and I always get crap from pretty much every other instrument group in there. The flutes and clarinets say that,"No your parts so easy I would know because we all have your part." that also go's for flutes and since it's just me and my friend in there on mallets all the other percussionists say that our parts are nothing compared to ours. lets see you come over here and play straight 16th notes with two hands and if you make a wrong note everyone can here it it's out of place. Yet if you play a snare drum the only thing that you have to worry about is staying on beat. We get the most crap and the most unappreciation. it kind of sucks in a way and this instrument is definitely the worst of them all to play.

The thing with the glockenspiel is that it is pretty easy to learn. It only took me about a moth or two to know where all of the notes are (and I didn't know how to read sheet music). The hard part is mastering it. Unlike some other instruments where you can "feel" the next note, on the glockenspiel you have to solely use your eyes to know where the note is. There's also a whole lot of pressure because EVERYONE can hear if you screw up. The thing that sucks in my experience is that my school groups all the percussionist together so I have to learn this and a whole lot of different instruments at the same time.

As a mallet percussionist, while there may be pretty tough instruments, I'd say the glockenspiel is one of the easiest to learn, but hardest to master, by far. I've been playing for a couple of years now, and the amount of techniques you have to be able to do is rather overlooked. It can take months of constant practice to perfect just a single-stroke roll. Then you have double-stroke rolls, and everything else.

Listen honey, this may look easy, but I've been playing this thing for 5 years. There are a lot of different techniques that take pretty flexible wrists to master. My friends can't play this thing without any experience. Even harder, once you've scored the advanced level to play this thing, In my orchestra you start the vibraphone. Don't get me started on that contraption.

35 Sitar

I play sitar. It's a painful instrument to play, and after 30 minutes of practice the fingers are raw and sore. It feels like playing a cheese cutter. The instrument requires constant tuning, and the 11-13 sympathetic strings must be tuned differently according to the raga you are playing. The mizrab, or finger pick, is painful to wear for extended periods of time. All of the frets are movable. The technique of pulling the strings to bend notes (meend) is also painful.

The neck of a sitar is very long, so the notes are fairly far apart. This makes playing quickly physically exhausting. The instrument is also quite large, and must be played sitting balanced on the bottom of the left foot.

Indian musical notation is also different than Western notation, and contains quarter/eighth tones.

Maintaining the sitar is very difficult. The bridge gradually wears down from playing and performing string bends, and, as a result, must be replaced. If not, the sitar sounds dull ...more

Extremely complicated... It takes mire than 50 years of practice to be a really really good player...much tougher than other string instruments... Tuning is just too complicated and you have to learn a whole new Indian musical theory and music reading to learn it effectively...

That thing has like a thousand strings, that's all I need to say

I would imagine it's similar to playing a guitar but heavier. - Metalhead1997

V 4 Comments
36 Bass Trombone

The bass trombone is extremely challenging because just like a normal trombone, it is hard to play in tune because of the slide, but on top of it, you must play in an extremely low register, at times playing in the same range as the tuba and even lower and low notes on trombone is not the easiest thing.

Similar to a tuba but in trombone form requires a lot of air to play, trying to play low (really low) and working the slide mechanism can be very difficult to do

I am really struggling with the trombone

37 Subcontrabass Tuba

I've played The Contrabass Tuba for 7 years during I practice with it in our marching band after 15 minutes of playing I can't find my notes any more,because my lips couldn't tight anymore and in a Drum and Bugle Corp here in the Philippines,we need to play our tubas Loud to join/equal the sounds with other instruments...
It hurts my lips during playing,you will be lost from your notes if your playing 10-15 minutes music and it makes you very sweaty during a parade or a competition...

38 Contrabass Clarinet

When your instrument looks like a giant paperclip, plays so low that it shakes the person playing it, that instrument is at least really cool. Also the hardest things about it are that it takes a lot air, when it needs repaired it not only takes forever to become repaired but it takes a long time to find someone to repair it because it's so uncommon, on some you have to stand to play, on the paperclip model it's a challenge to even read sheet music with that giant instrument right in front of you, also high notes are really hard to play, because of how much air it takes its very hard to develop good dynamics.

39 Snare Drums

It should be at least 25th hardest because of the speed you go and stuff

Try learning 40 rudiments... yeah its not as easy as it sounds

It took me two years to get my rudiments perfect

Snare drums in marching are way harder than enything else in the band
Tips
-don't mess up your buzz rolls
-don't do marching if you can't get paradiddles
-buy only Vic firth
-don't play center if your really bad
*ALWAYS HAVE A STRAIGHT FACE *

V 3 Comments
40 Bass Clarinet

Okay, I just have to say, the bass clarinet is incredibly difficult, I understand why the oboe and the bassoon and the bag pipes and the violin are all up there. Those are respectfully difficult instruments to master, but the trumpet? The trombone? The flute? Are you kidding? I have personally played all of those instruments in my life time and none of them compare to the bass clarinet. First off, the bass clarinet is huge. If you happen to be small (like me) and also happen to have a little smaller than average hands and lungs (like me) this thing is near impossible to pull a sound out of. It takes all the air you can think of, you're embouchure has to be extremely loose, not even to mention how clunky and hard to maintain it is. I don't know if the fingerings are difficult to learn because I worked my way up (or down, pitch wise) to the bass and started with the regular Bflat clarinet (which, if you weren't already aware, has the same fingerings as the bass). But, I do know, that ...more

I've been playing the clarinet for 7 years now and I transitioned from soprano clarinet to bass clarinet 3 years ago and I must say that the bass is more difficult. While the soprano clarinet requires to to play nice and loud and fast the bass requires you to have practice more as mentioned before you need to have a good embouchure and you can play in bass clef and treble clef. It also requires more air and for marching band is much more difficult due to its weight, length and air requirement not to mention when it is cooler it tends to fall out of adjustment so you need to be able to tune it fast and effectively.

If people think the clarinet is hard, wait until they SEE a bass version. A meter long,2X big mouthpiece, And even more notes. Plus, takes much more air to power.

nope

V 13 Comments
41 Banjo

While I agree that other instruments may be harder to play, the 5-string banjo is definitely in the top 10. Because you have to memorize rolls, different ways to play the same chords, it is one of the hardest instruments to play. I have played bagpipes, harmonica, acoustic and electric guitar, and the bugle, and I am convinced that the banjo is the hardest of these. If you mess up a note, there is no way to hide it, because it is so noticeable; therefore, you have to perfect hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, and basically play perfectly, all while making sure you are wearing your finger picks the right way.

Banjo is the top number one hardest instrument to play. You have to learn how to play a chord different ways for each key. You have to learn many rolls, really get down your timing (which takes forever, but the person how has timing down the most in the world might be Earl Scruggs), and you have to learn a song different for each key. The most important is... Your fingers can't all be doing the same thing at once. Two have to be on the body while three are on the strings. The technique is impossble and you sometimes have to go the opposite of what people clap (the beat). All in all, the banjo is the hardest instrument in the world to play!

Banjo is absolutely the hardest instrument in the world to play. Managing multiple rolls per song while managing multiple chord combinations in the same song, by itself makes it much more difficult than any other string instrument. Not to mention the off beat timing that is required for many songs. Absolutely the hardest.

Steve says it's the hardest instrument to play. He has won several Grammy awards playing it.

V 10 Comments
42 Harmonica

First of all I agree partially with many people that think The harmonica is the easiest instrument because you can easily produce a good (well, not bad) note on it. It's fun to play the harmonica, trust me you will enjoy it because whereever, whenever you want to play music, you can get it from your pocket and play it instantly. The tricks are you should be able to breath sufficiently to play, you should know when to blow and when to draw in the right holes. If you play the chromatic you should also master the button.

There are so many techniques in chroms. They are: bending, slide jab, vibrato, chord playing, toungue blocking, octave blocking, etc. Playing a long draw note and playing many draw notes are very hard on harmonica. I think playing a good music with dynamics and all aspects of music is very hard (but can be done of course) on harmonica. You can try the harmonica especially the chromatic one and learn to play the classical pieces (watch on youtube: classical ...more

When I found this site, cowbell beats harmonica? Bull.

Harmonica is incredibly difficult. Newbies whine about even getting single notes to sound clearly -- and this can go on for months. After that comes bending notes -- that can take months to even get it to happen (it will sound terrible, but it happens). Then there's the effort of getting that bent note to sound proper. Holes can bend one, two, or three half steps. This all happens on the lower end of the harmonica because the upper end requires another technique called blow bending. This will also take a long time to even get it to happen -- let alone make it sound good. Slide back down to the lower end, and you can do something called overblowing. Slide back up to the upper end and you can do overdrawing. Then there's vibrato, warbles, double stops, chords, octave stops, and a whole slew of other techniques.

A cowbell is not harder than this.

To play this instrument is one thing. To play it well is something else entirely. A single hole in a 10 hole Diatonic can play up to 5 different notes that can be achieved by bending. Bending a note requires lots and lots of practice to change the flow of air in your mouth as is passes through the harmonica. Other techniques such as vibrato require absolute control over one's breathing and even posture (much like a vocalist). Even playing a single note can often sound shabby without necessary practice. There may be harder instruments to play, but this is one of the hardest to master in my opinion.

You can't see the hole you blow and it's kinda difficult. Breath control is difficult too,

V 7 Comments
43 Theremin

Come on people. Definitely the worlds most difficult instrument hands down. Its not on here probably because most of you have never seen one let alone never touched one. Requirement of perfect pitch to play, absolutely no visual parameters. Hell you don't even touch it. Flabbergasted its not on here.

Incredibly hard, as correct notes are 100% contingent on memorizing where you place your hands in the air. The instrument is played by guiding your hands around a metal rod, which affects pitch and frequency. Even one centimeter off will ruin a note.

Are you kidding? This is the only instrument in the world that you play in the air. If someone saw you from a distance playing this thing without seeing it they would think you are losing it. I wonder how many people in the world have mastered this one. The funny thing is for it to produce a better sound your other hand has to act like you are having seizure. This one is definitely Numero Uno. Without doubt. - StephB

Without a doubt the number one hardest instrument. you don't even touch the thing for gods sake. if you can play this you're not human

V 8 Comments
44 Ocarina

Although the 6 hole ocarina is very easy to learn, It's the 12 hole that's hard. I tried to play on my brother's 12 hole Ocarina of Time replica, but it turns it was really hard to figure out the fingering.

I really like the Ocarina! I got one a few years ago for my birthday. I also played it in my first school. I loved it then!

Zelda called. They want this back. - Metalhead1997

It's hard but cool, like hanzo

V 3 Comments
45 Vuvuzela

Just try making different notes with a vuvuzela. Go ahead. I dare you.

I'm not even sure how to justify my vote...

Why is this even on here?

This should be higher in the list, I've played the vuvuzuela for over 20 years. It takes dedication and hours of hard work to master this instrument.

46 Electric Violin

Never played, but I do play violin. Electric violin shouldn't be in the top ten, that would mean an instrument that is even more different from violin would not be listed there.

Well actually the electric violin is as difficult as an acoustic violin so it needs to be up in the top ten.
There are endless finger patterns and when you get higher up in shifting it's really hard I get in tune as your half steps and whole steps virtually disappear.

I like the electric violin, although I have never played.

You mean like the one in Starship Troopers? No, seriously, Ace Levy has a neon green violin he plays after Raczak's Roughnecks (HOO! ) capture Tango Urilla. Is that it? - Metalhead1997

47 Marching Baritone

You have to keep your embochure set while marching, it weighs 8 pounds, have to carry it with JUST your arms which is pretty heavy during a long rehearsal, takes lots of fast air, but definitely the most gratifying instrument to play. Has an exceptional rich tone.

This thing is HEAVY - shawnmccaul22

48 Flugelhorn

What is a flugelhorn?

It is very hard.

SO HARD the FLUGELHORN IS IMPOSSIBLE.

Easy peasy

V 1 Comment
49 Thai Oboe

What? - Metalhead1997

50 The Electric Euphonium

I can only play it in my dreams and it electrocuted me

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