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View Full Version : easier to play, piano or ukulele?



tangimango
06-13-2014, 07:53 PM
My friend said piano was easier to play and learn compared to the ukulele or guitar

Dane
06-13-2014, 09:03 PM
My friend said piano was easier to play and learn compared to the ukulele or guitar

Piano is often used to explain musical theory to people because the way its laid out makes sense and it's easy to see.

I don't believe it's easier though. It's different. But with a guitar you are using both hands to play a note, where on piano you are using each hand for a different part of the music. Left hand is playing one thing while right hand is playing another. It's not so easy to compare the two. Quite different. I believe there are more "techniques" available to stringed instrument players though, slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, percussion, harmonics, false-harmonics, string slaps, etc etc.

Also, some people understand certain instruments easier, and pick it up faster. You might give 3 people each an accordion, a flute, and a guitar... then find out they didn't all find the same one "easiest"

bellgamin
06-13-2014, 09:45 PM
Piano is easier for playing. The notes are all in a line, and you don't need to trim your fingernails.

However, I found it difficult to take my piano to the beach. It kept sinking into the sand. So I got a ukulele.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

But seriously - - - a piano is much easier to play if one wishes to play melodies & accompany them at the same time. A uke is easy if all one wishes to do is bang out chords, but picking out melodies AND accompanying them on a uke is NOT easy. At least for me it isn't. Your mileage may differ.

The Big Kahuna
06-13-2014, 09:53 PM
But with a guitar you are using both hands to play a note

*ahem*


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCaZW0cGw34

;)

ichadwick
06-14-2014, 01:42 AM
I think it's more inclination than either one being "difficult." They are generally (the video above notwithstanding) quite different styles of play. You can play easy guitar - just chords - probably sooner than you can play easy, two-handed songs on the piano. But you can't play stride music or boogie woogie on the guitar very well.

I find the coordination required for keyboard confounds me: I can get the right hand working, but my left hand keeps wanting to turn over and grip something. Maybe too many years playing guitar/uke has done that.

peanuts56
06-14-2014, 02:09 AM
If you want to make music the easy way, play a cd or turn on the radio. Any instrument,whether it's a djembe, ukulele, piano or harmonica take dedication and patience. Dizzy Gillespie once said,"you spend a lifetime trying to master an instrument, in the end it masters you"
When in doubt, practice!!!!!!!!

OldePhart
06-14-2014, 02:10 AM
I think it's probably a wash (my wife plays piano, I play guitar, bass, and uke). I can find my way around a keyboard but not well enough to call it playing. I think I could learn it pretty quickly though, were I so inclined. Piano and stringed instruments are entirely different though, requiring different skills to play beyond the beginner level. The piano keyboard is a great help for learning theory because the intervals that form the basis of western music are so clearly displayed in black and white.

John

UkerDanno
06-14-2014, 03:02 AM
well, I can "play" the ukulele, but not the piano, so ukulele must be easier...:shaka:

stevepetergal
06-14-2014, 04:21 AM
In my experience, it's equally easy to play either badly.

SailQwest
06-14-2014, 05:16 AM
My friend said piano was easier to play and learn compared to the ukulele or guitar

Hahaha, it's not even close. Ukulele is waaaay easier to learn and play than piano. I'm not sure about guitar (I am not now, nor have I ever been, a guitar player) but I imagine it's still much easier than piano.

Just acquiring the skills needed to read piano music well enough to play a very simple piece requires a lot of time and effort.

A beginning uker should be able play through a simple 2 or 3 chord song within an hour. (I would imagine that's it's similar with a guitar beginner.)

coolkayaker1
06-14-2014, 05:33 AM
There's no question in my mind: a hurdy gurdy is harder to play any intelligible music on than either a ukulele or a piano.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLlIbMA6VFA

Played by a novice, a hurdy gurdy sounds like a dentist's drill.

(note: the young lady in the video is a hurdy gurdy veteran master, and thus there is some semblance of a song somewhere in there if one listens really hard as they would to a railroad track for an oncoming train; mandatory to hearing a tune is to clear the mind of everything else, such as the kids screaming in the back seat of the minivan (which can easily be confused for a hurdy gurdy to the untrained ear)).

(No offense whatsoever intended by this post to the lovely, unbathed people on Hurdy Gurdy Underground, btw.)

janeray1940
06-14-2014, 05:38 AM
In my experience, it's equally easy to play either badly.

This exactly :)

I've actually learned far more theory on ukulele as an adult than I ever did on piano as a kid, but I'm going to credit that more to maturity and to having a good instructor than to ukulele being easier to play. I think both are equally difficult to play well.

Dane
06-14-2014, 05:50 AM
Played by a novice, a hurdy gurdy sounds like a dentist's drill.


That can be said for a lot of instruments. Ever heard a novice play a violin? It sounds like someone is lighting cats on fire and throwing them off an overpass into oncoming traffic.

I'd never heard of a Hurdy Gurdy before, thanks for sharing :)

OldePhart
06-14-2014, 06:56 AM
Hahaha, it's not even close. Ukulele is waaaay easier to learn and play than piano. I'm not sure about guitar (I am not now, nor have I ever been, a guitar player) but I imagine it's still much easier than piano.

Just acquiring the skills needed to read piano music well enough to play a very simple piece requires a lot of time and effort.


Ahhh...but that is where you are comparing apples and oranges! If you compare strumming three chord accompaniment on ukulele (or guitar) to playing a piano from sheet music the uke or guitar is going to be hands down easier. But, one can learn to play piano accompaniment with no ability to sight read just as easily as one can learn to strum and "roll" on a uke.

The comparison for the person who is sight reading and playing sheet music on piano would have to be compared to the ukulele soloist doing similar technique. When you get into that realm, the ukulele (or guitar) is probably far harder than piano - you have to convey the impression of a complex piece of music using only four notes at a time and a range of about 3 octaves where a good pianist can pretty easily have six, eight, or more than a dozen if they're letting notes sustain - and spread them across 7 octaves!

John

OldePhart
06-14-2014, 07:00 AM
Played by a novice, a hurdy gurdy sounds like a dentist's drill.


Played by an expert, a hurdy gurdy sounds like a dentist's drill run through an auto-tune...

John

iamesperambient
06-14-2014, 07:38 AM
My friend said piano was easier to play and learn compared to the ukulele or guitar

I took piano lessons while self teaching
myself guitar I found piano difficult to learn
and play guitar is much more friendly
and easier to pick up on your own and ukulele
is even more friendly and easier to learn on your
own than guitar piano is very technical and uncomfortable
to learn so ya uke in my opinion

SailQwest
06-14-2014, 08:49 AM
My friend said piano was easier to play and learn compared to the ukulele or guitar

Does your friend play the piano, or do they just think that playing piano is easier?

I'm sure there are a multitude of people on UU who actually play both uke and piano. I'd enjoy hearing their thoughts on this.

kypfer
06-14-2014, 09:28 AM
A beginning uker should be able play through a simple 2 or 3 chord song within an hour. ... you can do exactly the same on a keyboard. Just figure out which three keys to press to make up the chord(s) you want and go for it ... of course, on a piano the audience expects there to be a semblance of melody and continuo, far fewer people have seen virtuoso performances on a ukulele, so they're quite happy with a couple of strummed chords ... it's all down to perception ;)

As for the hurdy gurdy ... grossly under-rated. A magnificent instrument for leading outdoor dancing, bags of volume for relatively little effort on the part of the player. Check out Sille Ilves http://silleilves.bandcamp.com/album/perwg for a revelation!

PeteyHoudini
06-14-2014, 12:18 PM
I play both piano and ukulele though I rarely play piano these days. I took many years of classical piano lessons and it taught me a lot. I also took 3 years of guitar lessons as a kid as well.

As said already in this thread, one can learn to accompany one's self at the piano without reading music like the ukulele. On the piano, the notes are all there. One has to hunt them down on the uke fretboard and that hurts the beginner's fingers. Simple piano is rather easy. However, the piano requires a major investment of time and practice to play the larger works like Beethoven's sonatas and Bach's preludes and fugues. However, it's a building block process. The uke doesn't have a vast body of pedagogical materials written for it as building block process. The piano has grades 1-10 in Canada (Royal Conservatory method).

Your question should not be which one is easier but it is better to state your goal for each instrument? Becoming a concert pianist on the piano will take eons. Learning basic chords to sing along won't take that long. Learning to do chord solos on the uke in different keys will take lots of time. Just playing C chord, F chord and G chord won't take a life-time.

The piano has a rich repertoire written for it. The uke as we know it only goes go back as far in the popular mind in the early 1900s since the Hawaii Pavilion in San Francisco.

Petey

CeeJay
06-14-2014, 12:27 PM
I took piano lessons while self teaching
myself guitar I found piano difficult to learn
and play guitar is much more friendly
and easier to pick up on your own and ukulele
is even more friendly and easier to learn on your
own than guitar piano is very technical and uncomfortable
to learn so ya uke in my opinion

Please NEVER try to pick up a piano on your own .....a groin strain is never a pretty or painless thing...





I thank yow ....:rolleyes:

CeeJay
06-14-2014, 12:38 PM
Does your friend play the piano, or do they just think that playing piano is easier?

I'm sure there are a multitude of people on UU who actually play both uke and piano. I'd enjoy hearing their thoughts on this.

okay I play both ....not to any sort of virtuoso level ...in fact screw virtuoso ..I wanna play blues ,rock and roll ,boogy ragtime and dirty music like that .....some light classical as well....... ...the piano is harder to play ....and then again the uke helps with and vice versa.............I learned the uke and had the piano lessons at the same time as a nipper...I taught myself to play the uke from a book ...I had piano lessons from a teacher for three years and then binned the lessons for the reasons stated above ...in the 70's they taught piano in only one way ..starchy ,stiff and stuffy...BUT they were invaluable and now I can keep myself amused on the Jo-anner ...so techernickelly the piano is probably more difficult to learn than the Uke ...I think so anyway.

OldePhart
06-14-2014, 12:56 PM
Please NEVER try to pick up a piano on your own .....a groin strain is never a pretty or painless thing...

Dangit! I was eating dinner! Now tell me who is going to clean these potatoes and onions out of my keyboard!


okay I play both ....not to any sort of virtuoso level ...in fact screw virtuoso ..I wanna play blues ,rock and roll ,boogy ragtime and dirty music like that .....some light classical as well......

Over here on this side of the pond there used to be this fella that taught what I can only call "folk piano" - they'd usually feature him on PBS during the begathons. They may still do so I haven't had cable in years (who needs 200 channels of "reality," for crying out loud?)

Anyway, he would have people who had never touched an instrument playing simple piano accompaniment after a single afternoon group session. He taught piano the way one usually sees electric guitar (with emphasis on barre chords) taught - "here's a major shape...here's a minor shape." Anyway, the upshot of all of this is he used to ask the people at the session, "do you want to play dots on paper, or do you want to be able to play and sing or accompany a vocalist?" It was kind of funny because even though I'd played guitar for years, and my wife has played piano since high school, that begathon was the first time I realized that the keyboard was really a very sensible, approachable instrument. If it weren't for the fact that I've got a pretty full plate with bass, guitar, and uke, I'd probably teach myself piano, too.


...and then again the uke helps with and vice versa

Yeah, I've found this to be the case, too. I played acoustic guitar for years and played mostly accompaniment type stuff. I ended up playing electric in a band and was really uncomfortable playing rhythm, ended up playing a sort of "supporting lead" - really the kind of thing that a second keyboard would usually play - because I wasn't really comfortable keeping up with all the fast barre chord changes I wasn't used to for rhythm. (The lead guitarist plays the riffs and gets all the glory...but he can be sloppy as heck and nobody notices. Let the drummer, bassist, or rhythm guitarist goof and it's like somebody dropped the dishes on the floor.)

Anyway, our band ended up with three guitar players and no bass player so, being the most mediocre of the three guitar players, I volunteered to move to bass. I learned a LOT on the bass. Aside from being rusty from not picking up my six strings anymore I wouldn't hesitate to play electric rhythm guitar because of what I learned on the bass.

Then, I picked up the ukulele. What I have learned about right hand technique from the uke applies to the guitar, etc.

John

iamesperambient
06-14-2014, 01:11 PM
Please NEVER try to pick up a piano on your own .....a groin strain is never a pretty or painless thing...





I thank yow ....:rolleyes:

apparently literally and figuratively are voided out in this person's mind.

CeeJay
06-14-2014, 01:17 PM
apparently literally and figuratively are voided out in this person's mind.


Whereas it would seem dear chap that you are completely devoid of any thing approaching a sense of humour /irony...............

but then my humour is probably too obscure ...*sigh* story of my life ....

CeeJay
06-14-2014, 01:28 PM
Dangit! I was eating dinner! Now tell me who is going to clean these potatoes and onions out of my keyboard!



Over here on this side of the pond there used to be this fella that taught what I can only call "folk piano" - they'd usually feature him on PBS during the begathons. They may still do so I haven't had cable in years (who needs 200 channels of "reality," for crying out loud?)

Anyway, he would have people who had never touched an instrument playing simple piano accompaniment after a single afternoon group session. He taught piano the way one usually sees electric guitar (with emphasis on barre chords) taught - "here's a major shape...here's a minor shape." Anyway, the upshot of all of this is he used to ask the people at the session, "do you want to play dots on paper, or do you want to be able to play and sing or accompany a vocalist?" It was kind of funny because even though I'd played guitar for years, and my wife has played piano since high school, that begathon was the first time I realized that the keyboard was really a very sensible, approachable instrument. If it weren't for the fact that I've got a pretty full plate with bass, guitar, and uke, I'd probably teach myself piano, too.





John
I do like that ......"Folk Piano" Though in a North Yorkshire accent it could become something other than "Fowlk"
as in erm "Fowlk That fer a gem o' sowdjers" [hard G] and that is where the trouble would start ....now back to the Old JoAnna......it is amazing and delightful but not nearly so clever as our fretted friends ....because you learn shapes on the fretboard and they do the same job ...but C minor is not the same fingering as say A minor and that really bites ...but hey I love both all three (guit,uke ,piano) ,Four if you count the Ackordeen ...can't play for toffee ...but I do love to annoy the neighbours....

peaceweaver3
06-14-2014, 03:20 PM
Wow, interesting question. I've learned piano and uke and play both with some degree of proficiency, but more uke than piano these days. I'd say that piano is "easy" - a relative term! - because all the keys are laid out right there in front of you. On the uke you have to find and fret notes. And on guitar, the same, with 2 more strings. Never could quite wrap my head around that one!

But really I don't think it's a matter of one instrument being easier than another. It's about what you feel drawn to and practically speaking, will you sit down at a piano and put your time in? Or would you be more likely to pick up a uke more often? No matter the instrument, how well you play, and also how easily you learn, depends on whether you bond with it, and just as much on putting in the time and focus to learn.

Since I still can't strap even a keyboard to my back, and because the uke is just plain fun, I've pretty much given up piano. But I keep a keyboard around for those rare times the urge hits.

CeeJay
06-14-2014, 03:26 PM
Mate . Please never give up on the piano/keyboard ....it gives so much back because it is easier to remember the layout ..just a few monments every day ....and give the uke a lot of love ..it deserves it .....Nurse, I'm out of bed again .........

Ukejenny
06-14-2014, 05:39 PM
Playing piano at a level of enjoying it as opposed to doing the same thing on ukulele? Ukulele is way easier for me. Piano is 88 keys in a row and ukulele is four strings and 12+ frets, not in a row.

iamesperambient
06-15-2014, 04:50 AM
Whereas it would seem dear chap that you are completely devoid of any thing approaching a sense of humour /irony...............

but then my humour is probably too obscure ...*sigh* story of my life ....

I get your sense of humor and im not devoid of humor.
I just find it kind of played out when the humor is used in every response kind of takes away from the novelty of it.
Especially when discussing the one thing im passionate about (music) it makes the discussion less informative and interesting when its pun after pun maybe you should be posting on the forum for clown college instead.

CeeJay
06-15-2014, 05:14 AM
I get your sense of humor and im not devoid of humor.
I just find it kind of played out when the humor is used in every response kind of takes away from the novelty of it.
Especially when discussing the one thing im passionate about (music) it makes the discussion less informative and interesting when its pun after pun maybe you should be posting on the forum for clown college instead.

No ...I got banned from Clown College, particularly the Car Pool...I kept making the wheels fall off instead of the doors fly open.......

So sorry about that, I shall remember to put my self regarding and ohhhh sssso serious slap on for discussions with you then ?

HonkHonk

iamesperambient
06-15-2014, 05:33 AM
No ...I got banned from Clown College, particularly the Car Pool...I kept making the wheels fall off instead of the doors fly open.......

So sorry about that, I shall remember to put my self regarding and ohhhh sssso serious slap on for discussions with you then ?

HonkHonk

feel free to be your self, everyone should but that doesn't mean others won't find it annoying.

bnolsen
06-15-2014, 06:11 AM
I find piano much harder to play than ukulele when I'm in the kitchen or sitting on my deck. I always had motivation problems with piano, I could never consistently play. With ukulele its much much easier to be consistent and a lot better on my lower back.

CeeJay
06-15-2014, 06:32 AM
feel free to be your self, everyone should but that doesn't mean others won't find it annoying.

Yeah well ....that's life...............I'm sure that they will say so as well.

Or hey ,some may have a little chuckle......or not........are you the Humour Police then ?

.......You do not have to read my posts ...so please feel free to not read them .....but please do not try and dictate to me how I should conduct my scribblings and wry musings...I haven't been rude to you.....

fynger
06-15-2014, 07:02 AM
Uke is much easier for me...i dont own a Piano

CeeJay
06-15-2014, 07:31 AM
Uke is much easier for me...i dont own a Piano

very wise.....

cua94
06-15-2014, 07:53 AM
My vote is that the uke is easier.

I played piano as child and never got very far but the theory I learned has helped me in the other instruments I played. Namely, saxophone, bag pipes, flute and ukulele. I think it is easier to have fun sooner with the uke. I was playing songs well enough to sing with within a few weeks. (I am not very dedicated) I am trying finger style now and I am finding it very challenging. I think there is a point that learning an instrument becomes fun but it can take years. Luckily, for us, the uke is fun even before you learn the hard stuff. Incidentally, something I was told about the bagpipes was 7 years to learn and 7 years to master. I never made it that far because learning just wasn't much fun (just hard). So I am hoping I will get over that hump of the hard stuff with more enjoyment with the uke.

Time will tell,:)

Ukejenny
06-15-2014, 08:36 AM
Another reason why uke seems easier for me is that I was never force to play it. In college, I had to pass a piano proficiency in front of a jury and it was quite traumatic. No one's ever forced me to do that with ukulele.