10 Hardest Instruments to Play & Learn (2022)

Among the numerous awesome skills that you can learn today is music, and more so how to play an instrument.

The expressive nature of music as a tool makes it relevant across all genres. To spice up the vocals, the right instrument must be used and in the right manner.

Throughout the time I’ve been involved in music, I’ve observed, researched, and tried various musical instruments, and I can confidently tell you that although you can learn some in a matter of weeks, others demand a great deal of patience and practice.

I’ve prepared a list of the top 10 hardest instruments to play and learn based on my personal experience and that of some of my friends in the music world.

One thing to note is don’t let this list put you off learning any of these musical instruments.

Although they will require a bit more hard work and dedication, the rewards are often even greater than learning an easier instrument!

Table of Contents

  • 1. French Horn
  • 2. Violin
  • 3. Bassoon
  • 4. Organ
  • 5. Oboe
  • 6. Bagpipes
  • 7. Harp
  • 8. Accordion
  • 9. Piano
  • 10. Nyckelharpa
  • Final Thoughts On The Hardest Instruments To Play

1. French Horn

10 Hardest Instruments to Play & Learn (1)

Hardest Brass Instrument To Play

Just as the name suggests, the French horn is thought to have its origin in France which were a prominent manufacturer of hunting horns. It is, however, made of brass metal with flared bells, not actual horns.

But don’t let the beauty of this instrument deceive you into thinking it might be a simple one to play.

First, the French horn plays up in the highest partial of all the instruments. The high partial requirement makes it easy to miss a note if you either hit the wrong part or if you don’t place your lips with precision.

This is the sole reason I believe that it is the hardest instrument to play and learn overall.

Another reason that makes this instrument difficult to play is its size and weight. The design adopts a long tube that forms a wide circle. You have to hold the instrument by encircling your hands around it.

This hand position (plus the weight of the instrument) makes it torturous to play for a long period of time. Your fingers must also be able to touch the buttons freely, requiring great flexibility.

The long pipe also requires you to master your breathing technique in order to actually produce a satisfying sound.

These factors constitute the overall complexity of playing the French horn. It’s not uncommon for orchestras to have a backup lead horn player to relieve the first player when necessary.

10 Hardest Instruments to Play & Learn (2)

Ashthorpe Single F French Horn with Gold Lacquer Finish

  • Excellent for student musicians
  • Superior quality
  • Produces brilliant sound
(Video) Top 10 Hardest Instruments to Learn

2. Violin

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Hardest String Instrument To Play

Among string instruments, I can guarantee you that the violin is the most intricate. It requires a lot of concentration and precision to play and master.

First, the violin is the smallest high-pitched string instrument. Therefore it is a challenge to hold the ideal position while playing it.

The violin also lacks frets that normally guide the player’s fingers like on other string instruments. The absence of frets makes it necessary to place the fingers in a precise and perfect manner.

But, the violin’s true complexity lies in balancing the sound throughout.

Learning to play the violin may not demand much of a player’s mental and physical resources, but producing a well-rounded sound that has the right volume, pitch, and tone, without losing the beauty and uniqueness of the tone is not for the faint-hearted.

Even something simple like maintaining the bow length while playing takes a lot of practice.

The other daunting task when playing the violin is holding it in the correct position. You need to hold the instrument in such a way that your left hand can move freely up and down the fingerboard, while carefully balancing it under your chin.

This is not to mention that going higher up the violin’s neck requires numerous finger positions. Professional players aim at developing this skill to develop and maintain a magnificent vibrato.

If you’re interested in learning to play the violin, check out our list of the best online violin lessons!

3. Bassoon

10 Hardest Instruments to Play & Learn (5)

Hardest Woodwind Instrument To Play

The bassoon is not the most popular woodwind instrument but is certainly one of the hardest instruments to play.

The fact that the musical instrument is double reeded and resembles a saxophone made out of wood is often intimidating enough to ward off some would-be players.

Attached to 8 feet of a wooden tube that bends upwards at the bottom, the resultant shape has been a subject of mockery, some even calling it a bedpost.

The double reeds of a bassoon are different, and the same reed needs to change over time. Mastering to keep pace with the change is not an easy ordeal, at least not for amateurs. Double reeds also produce hard attacks. Playing softly (to make soft attacks) is a difficult task.

Fingering is another challenge, with the bassoon requiring the player’s all 10 fingers.

Also, to make a good bassoonist, there’s work to do at the ground level. You’ll ideally need to learn how to make reeds, how to intricately balance them as well as allow them enough time to rest.

Patience, commitment, and self-discipline are inseparable if one is to truly master the bassoon, but what a great-sounding instrument it is.

4. Organ

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Hardest Instrument To Learn

By the look of it, one might think an organ is an electric piano. Far from that, the organ comes in multiple divisions, each with a dedicated keyboard.

The organ has a very wide range of sounds, producing both the softest and lightest to extremely powerful sounds. However, it doesn’t have a sustain pedal, making it one of the hardest instruments to play.

To play the organ, the player must hold the key for as long as he/she wants the note to play. Mastering this skill with the hands is no easy feat.

Learning and playing a new musical piece requires one to be able to play all the keyboards whilst sight-reading at the same time. This level of coordination and music reading takes time to develop and master.

5. Oboe

10 Hardest Instruments to Play & Learn (7)

Hardest Instrument To Play In A Marching Band

This is another complex woodwind instrument that has more to it than its simple look might tell. It’s known to produce extremely clear and sharp voices in the soprano range.

The main controllers are the lips, the mouth, the tongue, and your breathing, requiring skillful lipping or embouchure. To play it, you need to keep on switching the fingering to vary the notes and avoid monotony.

Manipulating the fingering is the most complex part of playing the oboe as well as being able to control your breathing at the same time.

In essence, the oboe is not very different from the flute, however, its double-reeded nature makes it a much harder instrument to learn.

6. Bagpipes

10 Hardest Instruments to Play & Learn (8)

Bagpipes are either loved or hated. However, one thing that people can both agree on is that it’s certainly not an easy instrument to learn!

From the absurd structure to the arduous playing techniques, bagpipes are no easy thing to master.

(Video) The CRINGIEST Top 10 Hardest Instruments Ranking

To play a sound with the bagpipes, you need to continuously blow air and squeeze it into the reservoir. To make any good sound or rhythm, your coordination needs to be on point.

In short, perfect breath control and good lung capacity are the preliminaries to playing the instrument. It is difficult, especially for the novice, but even for the professionals who find it tiring to play the instrument for long periods of time.

7. Harp

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From the biblical times of King David, the harp is a popular musical instrument to learn and play. It produces some of the sweetest fairytale-like tunes and sounds.

To the listener, the harp seems like a magical instrument, but ask the player and they’ll tell you how hard it is to truly master this instrument.

First, the number of strings on a harp is higher than any other stringed instrument you might fancy. Some harps have up to 47 strings.

Positioning your hands correctly is also a tough task. You need the precise hands of a skillful artist and the eyes of an eagle to make the music flow smoothly.

At some point, playing the harp will require you to use pedals, which necessitates a whole new level of coordination. Some modern harps have up to 7 pedals to manipulate the pitch! Different tones require the player to switch the string pedal in a synchronized manner.

To play the harp, you must develop good muscle memory and coordination, which takes a lot of time to perfect. This makes the harp one of the hardest instruments to play and something you shouldn’t pick if you want to learn an instrument quickly!

8. Accordion

This is an instrument that once mastered you can really enjoy, but one that can easily frustrate a beginner.

The accordion has two sides; one for bass and the other for treble. The treble side has either a button or keyboard configuration, while the bass side has a pure button configuration. Mastering the treble side is the most challenging.

Producing sound is also the hardest part of learning how to play the accordion. You need to constantly supply air by moving the bellows back and forth whilst simultaneously pressing the keys or buttons.

10 Hardest Instruments to Play & Learn (11)

Hohner Panther Diatonic Accordion

  • Plays in keys of G/C/F
  • 31 treble keys, 12 bass/chord keys, and 2 sets of treble reeds
  • Compact, lightweight diatonic button accordion
  • 12" high x 7-1/2" deep and weighs 9 pounds
  • Best value for Hohner accordions, ideal for starters

9. Piano

10 Hardest Instruments to Play & Learn (12)

The piano requires you to play with both your feet and hands, making it quite difficult if you’re not the most coordinated person. To learn to do these simultaneously and to form a rhythm is a daunting task.

(Video) Top 10 Hardest Instruments To Play

Once you have mastered the coordination, then comes the challenge of reading as you play. Unlike other instruments, you need to read two bar lines at the same time!

To master this, your senses must be precise, and your mind free from any distractions.

Pianos, especially the acoustic ones, are quite expensive. Investing in an instrument before learning to play it may not be a very good idea here.

I’ve had the pleasure to play both acoustic and digital pianos, and while the experiences are different (sound generally better on an acoustic piano), I’d recommend starting with a digital one, then advancing to the more expensive acoustic type if you enjoy it!

If you’re interested in learning to play the piano, check out our list of thebest online piano lessons!

10 Hardest Instruments to Play & Learn (13)

YAMAHA P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano

  • Amazon exclusive model includes power adapter and sustain pedal
  • 88 fully weighted piano style keys simulate the feel of an acoustic piano and provide a quality playing experience
  • Contains 10 different voices, including digitally sampled tones from real Yamaha acoustic grand pianos

10. Nyckelharpa

10 Hardest Instruments to Play & Learn (14)

This is a rather unpopular instrument, but certainly, one that is no joke to learn and master playing. First, just like a guitar, you hang the instrument around your neck using a strap.

The difficulty lies within the keys. The left hand has to control seven strings, and the fact that there is more than one string to play a tone, the player may be required to move the fingers from string to string.

Positioning the left hand, which plays the keys, is also a tough task for most beginners. When playing, maintaining the position is also hard.

You need to get the left hand comfortable over the keys so that your fingers are slightly curved to touch the keys by the tips. The thumb should bend under and slide along the neck freely.

Although learning the nyckelharpa is no easy task, if you do decide to take the plunge, the ethereal sounds it produces will turn heads wherever you play!

Final Thoughts On The Hardest Instruments To Play

The difficulty or ease with which an instrument can be played is rather a subjective matter.

For example, when I was 8 years old I began learning to play the drums, as a result, I find it tough to classify it as a hard instrument to learn.

However, for some, they may find it extremely hard-going. You also need to remember that everyone is different, and some people may be more suited to certain types of instruments than others.

For me, I tend to find more rhythm inclined instruments easier to learn.

(Video) Do You Know? || Top 10 Hardest Instruments to Play ||

Last but not least, don’t let my hardest instruments to play list put you off from learning any of them, just be aware that they will take a bit more time and dedication to grasp even the most basic aspects.

Fancy learning to play a slightly easier instrument? Check out our Top 10 Easiest Instruments To Learn article!

I have met many people who believe that learning to play the violin is as easy as learning to play the guitar.. It goes without saying that learning to play the accordion requires learning how to play the specific type of variable component that this musical instrument has.. Your right hand will be playing the musical instrument that is in the right box of the accordion.. So, you might want to think again about learning to play this musical instrument.. You will most likely start learning how to play the drums by playing a basic 4/4 rhythm or beat.. I once encountered someone who said that playing the drums is a lot easier than playing other musical instruments.. When you think about it, playing the drums is not as difficult as learning how to play the violin or the accordion.. The only way you can play a single note twice in succession is by playing a short grace note.. The only way – and the best possible way – you can learn how to play this instrument is by hiring a harp music teacher or instructor.. People think that playing the organ should not be that different from playing the piano.. Like playing a violin, playing the cello requires absolute control of the bow.. While these 10 musical instruments are the most difficult to play, it is still possible to learn and master them.

In this article, we are looking to rank 10 of the most popular instruments people like to learn how to play, and we’re ranking them from the hardest to the easiest instruments to learn.. People who are worried about whether they will be able to pick up an instrument and start playing it quickly can go for the easiest end of the spectrum.. The hardest instruments to master can mean that learning other instruments in the future becomes easier, or at least feels a lot easier.. Below is our ranking of 10 instruments you can learn how to play, starting with the most difficult (violin) and going all the way down to the easiest (harmonica).. If you’re looking for the easiest band instruments to play you should probably look beyond this challenging brass instrument.. If you want to learn how to play it, you won’t be too surprised to learn that it can be one of the more challenging instruments out there.. On top of this, there is quite a lack of information about playing the harp when compared to other instruments like the piano or guitar.. Sure, if you are looking to play an instrument that sounds angelic and heavenly then it is definitely one of the best instruments to learn, but be prepared for a long journey with a lot of frustration along the way.

There are many musical instruments that one can play.. What are the most popular instruments?. The most popular musical instruments are the following:. Read on to learn more about the most popular musical instruments to play and why they are so popular.. More often than not, you will hear the guitar and the piano.. Whether they are acoustic or electric, concert or rock, guitars are the most popular musical instruments in modern times.. Its popularity is also due to its small size, which makes it very portable.. It is also one of the most played instruments .. There are also some musical instruments that most people want to learn to play.. But you don’t need to study music to learn how to sing.. What are these instruments?. The recorder is also a great starting step to learning more advanced wind instruments like the flute, the sax, and the clarinet.. Guitar Piano Violin Drums Saxophone Flute Trumpet Cello Clarinet Harp. Again, here are the most popular instruments to learn:

That is why I consider this one of the easiest musical instruments to play.. As you can see, it is quite easy to play the trumpet if you get the blowing and fingering techniques right.. One of the best things about playing the lyre is that you can strum the strings like you would a guitar.. And if it sounds like the G note, then you are good.. So, how do you play the guitar?. You can always learn that after you have mastered the positioning of the fingers for each note.. The following musical instruments are not as easy to play as the first 9 instruments I shared with you.. Playing a musical instrument is not for everyone.

If you need free software for your MIDI keyboard, these are the best options to consider downloading right now.. You have the option to use a computer keyboard if you don’t have a MIDI instrument.. You have over 100 different sounds from which to choose if you download this free MIDI keyboard software.. This free MIDI keyboard software was one of the first DAW solutions for recording artists.. This free app automatically detects your connected MIDI keyboard.

Here are the D chord guitar shapes you should know.. Chords are called open when they involve at least one open, not fretted string and are usually fingered using only the first 3 frets of the guitar.. The ones detailed below all use the D, F#, and A note and adds 2 other notes, the G and E. This is called an extended chord because it uses other notes besides the 3 main ones.. The first shape of the D major barre chord uses the following fingering:. The second common D major barre chord is built around the root note on the 10th fret of the E string and chord shape of the common ones to use all 6 strings.. This D Barre Chord is played as follows:. So for example the D Major can be played in C shape if you take the open C chord and move 2 frets up the fretboard – the distance between the C note and the D note.. The fingering for the D7 chord is the following:. Play the G7 chord, then the C7 chord then the D7 chord.

Not all these men are truly baseball greats.. Feller was not just a baseball hero.. The man had as much skill and power as other greats such as Nolan Ryan.. There has never been a more intimidating pitcher than Nolan Ryan.. In a 1992 game, Johnson started against Ryan and the Texas Rangers and he got 18 strikeouts, winning the game.. Though Johnson did at times throw 100 miles per hour, he didn't do so as often as other pitching greats.. His fastball wasn't even his best pitch.. At the top is Aroldis Chapman, the tall, thin, left-handed Cuban defector, who threw a pitch recorded at 105.1 miles per hour as a reliever for the Cincinnati Reds.. Question: How could you not include Sandy Koufax in the list of the hardest throwing pitchers?. Answer: While it is possible Koufax could hit 100 mph in his younger years, the fastest pitch he ever threw which was recorded was in the low 90s.. I saw Verlander hitting 99 mph last season.. There was a game once where Nolan Ryan threw nearly three hundred pitches...but probably that isn't the most in a game - I doubt they always kept track of how many pitches a pitcher threw.. I know the game baseball and how it is played.

When it comes to the drum solo, skill is the backbone of the greatest ones – I remember my teacher telling me to not even try my own solos until I had gained some expertise, and I completely understand now – drum solos are a showcase for advanced drumming skills and are a great way to add some personality to a performance.. For me, I may love the closing solos of certain songs because of their unique musical structure, and a good example of this would be how much I love the piano closer of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” In any situation, solos and unique hooks can be amazing, and in the hands of the right drummer, drum solos can make a great song even better.. The Bass Drum – Also known as the kick drum, the bass drum is the large central drum that you see in drum kits.. The drum line can be heard throughout the song, but he breaks out his skills during the guitar and drum solo that can be heard at about 2:35 minutes into the song.. Drummer, John Bonham, varies his drum solo each time the song is performed, so in the single, the solo was about two full minutes, while the album had a solo that was nearly four minutes long.. The drums can be heard throughout the entire song; in fact, the intensity of the drum solo goes throughout the song, and the last thing that you hear in the song is the cymbals.. Originally, this song was made without the background drums that you hear in the song, but they were added to make the drum solo stand out more at the end of the song.. The drums at the beginning of the song sound layered; this is not an easy sound to create with one or two bass drums, so the drummer, Alex Van Halen, decided to string together four bass drums to create the double drumming during the solo.. While many consider John Bonham’s solo in Moby Dick to the be the go-to drum solo that highlights Led Zeppelin’s skilled performers, for me, it’s the drum solo in Rock and Roll that stands out the most.. It can be hard to catch the drum solo in this, especially since there are tenor sax, overdriven guitar, and piano solos throughout the song, but once the drummer, Steve Gadd, gets a chance to shine in his solo sections, the song takes off.. This initial drum solo also comes in a part of the song that’s designed to highlight the instruments as well as the musicians, and critics of the era considered it one of the best solo drum sections of the decade.. Still, it’s hard to find a group that’s more influential in this genre than The Ventures, and for my money, the song that has the best drum solo is their song “Wipe Out.” The drum solo is absolutely crucial to this song, and you can find solos played several times throughout the song’s runtime.. This section of the song provides a great example of how adept Roger Taylor can be with a set of drums, and this particular solo really sets the tone for the song in general.. I know what you’re thinking, “But isn’t this just a solo from a movie?” Well, it definitely is, but John C. Riley has been playing the drums since his childhood, and it comes out in this unlikely drum solo that’s set to an operatic pop piece.. A good drum solo makes fairly standard songs into truly memorable ones, and all of the drum solos that I have featured here add a high degree of enhancement to their respective songs.

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