Is Cello Harder Than Piano? (Explained)

is cello harder than piano
Written by Corey Morgan

Is playing the cello more difficult than playing the piano?

What differentiates the piano and cello from each other aside their tone and instrumental category is definitely something you’re curious about. Which one do you think you’ll find the most enjoyable to learn?

The cello has a smaller musical repertoire and is more difficult to master than the piano. Learning the cello’s fingering is difficult for beginners, but the instrument allows you to join orchestras and clubs and connect with other classical musicians more quickly.

Cello or piano: which is more difficult to master?

When determining the relative difficulty of learning a new instrument, the following criteria must be taken into consideration:

Which is easier for a beginner: the cello or the piano?

Cellos are more difficult for beginners to play than pianos. The required sound is produced by pushing a key. Due to the cello’s lack of frets, however, learning to play the instrument accurately requires memorizing the proper finger placements.

Even the tiniest wrong movement of your hand will make a sound that is out of tune. As a result, even within the first week of cello lessons, learning a tune is significantly more difficult.

In addition to this, studying a string instrument necessitates mastering a variety of bowing techniques. If you’ve already mastered the violin or another stringed instrument, playing the piano should be a lot easier for you.

Even while playing the piano is quicker, easier, and more satisfying, this isn’t true for everyone. There are some persons who will never get used to playing many hands on the piano, which requires reading in both treble and bass clef simultaneously. You only have to read one clef at a time when playing cello, therefore it might be simpler for them to pick up the instrument.

First, let’s compare and contrast learning the piano and cello.

The cello is more difficult to master than the piano because of its qualities. The fretless cello is a member of the string family. No keys or markings exist to help you determine exactly where your finger should be put on the string to produce a certain note.

Developing the ability to intuitively place your fingers in the appropriate areas takes time and practice. Even so, determining the correct pitch is entirely dependent on your ear skills.

While the piano is a stringed instrument with a keyboard that is tuned to a specific pitch. As a result, all a pianist has to do to play in tune is press the appropriate keys at the piano. The piano is a lot easier to learn to play.

Cello vs piano posture challenges: a beginner’s perspective

Cello posture is very challenging to master. The cello player’s posture is extremely crucial. Beginning cellists should practice sitting securely on a chair of the suitable height, to hold their instrument correctly.

If you’re learning to play the cello, it’s imperative that you keep an eye on your posture, the position of the instrument, the angle of your right arm, and your left hand.

As with the cello, posture is vital on the piano, although it’s not nearly as complex as it is on the cello. Young musicians just need to adjust the piano stool’s height so that their hands reach the keys with their arms bent at 90 degrees when they sit upright.

Although you bend forward and sideways while playing the piano, the basic sitting position remains the same.

Preparation Before Playing: Cello vs. Piano

Before performing, a piano requires very little to no preparation. As soon as you’ve set up your stool and comfortable, you may begin playing. In order to play the cello, you must first remove it from its case, tune it to the correct pitch, and ensure that the spike is properly positioned to support the player’s playing position.

Additionally, pianos only need to be tuned every two years, so you can spend more time playing and less time preparing your instrument. The only drawback to this is the difficulty in transporting.

You won’t have to deal with these issues with the cello because you have to bring it everywhere you go.

If you’ve got a portable digital piano, you’ll be able to take your instrument with you everywhere you go, which will make it easier to perform on stage.

Basic technique differences between cello and piano

Basic cello techniques are more difficult to master than those required for piano playing.


The ears must also be taught how to tell if a note is in tune.

Different bow techniques are also difficult to learn. Using the bow with your right hand while simultaneously identifying harmonics on the strings needs a high level of coordination.

It takes some time to get used to moving two hands in two separate directions at the same time.

Learning to play the cello is a challenging endeavor, and it requires a lot of practice before you can achieve a good tone. To get to the point where you can play your first short song, you need a lot of patience.


Placement of hands on keyboard and independence of fingers and thumbs are essential elements of basic piano technique.

In addition, both hands must play at the same time. Nonetheless, the finger actions of the two hands are very similar, and the hands don’t perform completely different tasks as they do with the cello.

You must practice playing single notes and chords on the piano in order to become proficient at the instrument. Once the fingers are “playing-fit,” it takes time to play notes quickly and in combination.

You can make a good and on-pitch sound right away with a keyboard instrument, even if your skill is still developing.

Is one-on-one tutoring important for cello or piano?

For the most part, if you’re serious about studying a musical instrument, you’ll require the assistance of a tutor.

Learn to play cello is not a do-it-yourself project; you will need an instructor to help you improve your technique and posture.

Basic melodies and chords can be learned by anyone. To become an accomplished pianist, you’ll need to take classes to learn proper hand positioning and posture, as well as how to interpret music, as well as advanced finger techniques.

Reading music

The cellist has an easier time than the piano in this regard. Starting with one clef and one horizontal line, the cellist has one horizontal line of notes, while the pianist must read several notes vertically.

There are three clefs that the cellist will have to learn to read as his or her talents progress: treble, tenor, and bass clefs.

The pianist, on the other hand, must learn to read the treble and bass clefs from the outset. The treble clef is used to write notes above middle C on a piano score, whereas the bass clef is used to write notes below middle C.

For this reason, the ability to simultaneously read up to ten notes vertically on the two clefs is essential for the pianist.

Orchestral Accompaniment for Cello and Piano

While it is possible to play in an orchestra after learning the piano, this is unusual. Pianos are rarely employed in orchestral accompaniment, other from the occasional piano concerto, like Rhapsody in Blue, or the usage of the harpsichord as part of the basso continuo for a baroque orchestra.

This results in a lot of missed chances to connect with other music lovers, especially in the classical music community. And you won’t be able to learn as much theoretically and practically as you could if you don’t join an orchestra. You could join a band, but if composing and improvisation aren’t your strong suits, this isn’t the best option for you.

Cellists, on the other hand, are a necessary component of every symphony. They can be seen playing in orchestras as part of the string section. The cello, which can play both low and high notes, has the widest dynamic range among the stringed instruments.

The Musical Spectrum: Cello vs. Piano

Classical music has a long history with the piano, but it is also employed in jazz, blues, and pop music. As a result, you’ll be able to choose from a large range of piano pieces. For bass, you could perform a Rachmaninoff concerto or a broken-chord cover of a Taylor Swift song

The cello, on the other hand, has a long and distinguished history in classical music. I have a hard time finding cello versions of pop songs. The vast majority of cello covers you’ll find online are accompanied by piano or performed as a group.

The piano, though, is by far the most musically varied instrument you’ll come across, even with all of this in mind.

Is it easier to study cello if you can play piano?

The cello can benefit greatly from the knowledge of music theory and sight reading that piano players normally possess. It’s helpful to have a firm grasp on the fundamentals of music theory, such as time signatures, key signatures, note values, counting, scales, triads, and harmony.

Having knowledge of scales and keys can help with cello intonation, especially when performing chromatic runs. The cello can be easier to learn if you have piano hand and finger dexterity.

Having a background in piano offers you a better understanding of arpeggio-playing, harmonics, and music reading. In many cases, beginning cellists can picture the cello fretboard as a piano keyboard, making it easier to learn the notes.

Is there a minimum or maximum age for learning a musical instrument?

Learning an instrument at an early age is generally considered to be beneficial. If you want to be a professional musician, you’ll need to start young and follow a disciplined path.

It’s true that as an adult, you can learn to play whatever instrument you choose. One of the reasons for this is that adults have stronger body control and can make essential adjustments to their technique and posture more quickly than children can,

They can also take a critical look at their own performance and make the necessary adjustments. The problem is that this could lead to overthinking and discouragement because you’re not seeing the development you’d like.

If you’re doing your best and consciously practicing a few times per week, you’ll be making progress, regardless of how long it takes. You’ll be able to play the songs and pieces you’ve always wanted to one day!

Cost of Cello Training: How Much Is It?

In the $60-$90 range for a 60-minute cello session for beginners, the amount of experience your teacher has will determine how much you pay. If you’re just getting started, 30-minute lessons are definitely a better value.

Cello lessons are more expensive than piano lessons, which can be had for $35 to $50 an hour, or even less if you take remote lessons over the internet.

You should rent a cello before making a costly purchase. In addition, it will offer you some time to find the cello that best suits your instructor. In the beginning, you won’t know much about the various sounds. It’s possible to allow your instructor advise and play various cellos for you to select the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

You should be on the lookout for additional expenses after purchasing a cello. You’ll need a cello, a bow, and the resin for your bow to get started playing the cello.

Your cello will require more frequent and more expensive maintenance than a piano. A broken string, a bent bridge, or the need to repair your bow might easily cost you a few hundred dollars in the long run.

Re-tuning your piano, on the other hand, will often only cost you approximately $100 every few years.


Even though learning to play the cello is more difficult and more expensive than learning to play the piano, it’s worth it if you’ve fallen in love with the instrument’s warm tones. If you’re on a tight budget, you can find reasonably priced student cellos.

If, on the other hand, you’re a piano lover, you may start lessons on a great beginner piano for a few hundred dollars, whether new or secondhand. Then you can move on to a more prestigious digital or acoustic version if you so desire.