Are violinists harder than piano players? And what does that mean for a music professor? What kind of musician is able to play at a high enough level with good technique and good technique alone?
The answer to the first question is almost certainly no better than that of piano students. As a musician I do my best. I like to play songs that sound good, to express myself with words and melodies, to practice music the right way. I find myself playing the way the instrument makes me feel best. That does not mean that I play in an efficient way or that I have all the correct musical techniques but does it mean that I’m not learning in a “just enough” way and practicing hard enough to play well?
The answer to the second question – and it is more obvious for players than for other musicians – is actually yes. It’s more likely that some musician will be better at playing guitar, violin, piano, etc., than some other person. That is, the individual’s talent is better than it is at most other instrument skills such as speech or painting. For the individual to be better at anything they should be good at it from the start.
The point here is that musicians are not as good at playing music as they are at some other areas of the art. There are certainly musicians who excel playing other instruments but that is not their expertise. They tend to be gifted in their own fields. Even when they are good, it doesn’t tell us anything about their musical abilities. All we know is that they know music well.
The point of this exercise is not to say that a piano student would not improve their playing skills over time. But, it’s not as easy as it is for any other musician. Many of the techniques used to play better chords and to produce louder, clearer music than other musicians are actually quite difficult.
Playing guitar is easier than it looks. You don’t have to learn a dozen new techniques. A guitar can be taught from within by practicing the notes that the guitar makes you feel best playing. Practice your notes as hard as you can when you’re not playing. Playing the notes that make you feel good is really all you need to get better.
Playing piano is not a “one-size fits all”. Most people have the ability to play some kind of music well. Some people like to play the music of others (which is also called “dance” and is more