My mother teaches piano and my brother used to teach trumpet to kids, and I grew up learning to play both.
You might be wondering whether the trumpet is harder or easier to learn than the trumpet, so let’s dive right in and look at a few interesting perspectives and facts!
Is The Trumpet Harder To Learn Than Piano?
The trumpet is harder to learn than the piano. It takes several months to develop the lip muscles to be able to play the trumpet with a good stable sound that doesn’t crack. The piano is more intuitive but requires more coordination and piano students also need to learn the bass clef well.
Why Is Trumpet Harder To Learn Than Piano?
Most trumpet students will tell you that the piano is easier to learn than the trumpet.
Here are the two reasons why:
- It takes months before you can play a stable tone on the trumpet
Getting to the point where you can play a decent melody on the trumpet with a good stable tone that doesn’t crack requires a lot of practice.
- It takes months before you can play the trumpet for more than 5 minutes
You need to develop your lip muscles (embouchure) before you can play the trumpet for an extended time. Your lips will quickly get tired from the pressure and the buzzing and you need to build up a good strong “embouchure”.
Why I Still Recommend Trumpet Over Piano
While it is true that you will more quickly learn to play a basic melody on the piano, it takes many years to master the piano well.
Not so much with the trumpet.
Once you get the hold of the buzzing technique on the trumpet, you will quickly start to improve on the instrument. The lip muscles take a few months to develop and this is also the time it takes to learn to play a good clean tone.
However, once you have worked through these months, you will see faster improvement on the trumpet than on the piano.
You just need to push through the first couple of months and make it a priority to practice for 15-20 minutes each day in the beginning.
If you can commit to doing just that, you will be able to play the trumpet well in 6-12 months, depending on your musical intelligence, and how much music theory you knew beforehand.
It Takes a Long Time to Learn to Play the Piano Well
I played the piano on a weekly basis for several years, and it still takes me a long time to learn to play a new piece of music on the piano. On the trumpet, however, I can play anything (without notes!) as soon as I know the melody.
I have a very good ear for music, but it still takes me a long time to learn a new piece of music on the piano because I struggle with hand coordination.
It’s hard for me to keep track of all the fingers and all the notes, at the same time!
How Long Does It Take to Learn Each Instrument?
I’ve been told by several trumpet teachers that you should expect to practice two times per week for 1-2 years, in order to learn to play the trumpet well.
In my opinion, you can do it faster if you’re willing to practice 3-4 times per week for around 15-20 minutes. This is a great way to do it because it will build up your lip muscles faster.
For the piano, however, I think you need more than that two years of practice to really play learn how to play it well.
I’ve seen my mom teach piano to lots of students, and I’d say that even the good ones would spend closer to 3-4 years before they got really good on the piano.
2 Things That Are Easier On Trumpets Than Pianos
As I said, I have played the trumpet AND the piano since I was around five years old, and I still think it’s easier for me to play the trumpet.
I quickly fell in love with the trumpet because it’s much easier to bring it with you can it can be played together with any other instrument.
Let’s look at a few things that are easier on trumpets than pianos.
You Only Read One Note At The Time
On the trumpet you don’t need to worry about the bass clef or what your left hand is doing.
This makes a big difference, and that’s something that makes the trumpet much easier to play once you have learned the basic lip buzzing technique and you have built up a bit of embouchure.
I personally find it hard to read several notes simultaneously, and that also means that it’s harder for me to play the piano than the trumpet.
You Can Watch the Note Sheet and Your Fingers Simultaneously
As you hold the trumpet out in front of your head as you play, it’s relatively easy to keep track of what your fingers are doing while you also look at the note sheet.
This makes it easier for beginners to keep track of the fingering positions while they study the notes.
On the piano, however, you have to constantly shift your focus between the keys and the note sheets. This can easily make you tired and it can also it harder to learn to play new music pieces.
This also makes the trumpet easier to learn than the clarinet and other woodwind instruments, where you cannot watch your finger positions while looking at the note sheet.
Are Trumpets More Widely Applicable Than Pianos?
The trumpet can be used with almost any other instrument, and the same goes for the piano.
However, it’s really hard to bring your own piano unless you settle for a small electric piano.
The trumpet, however, can be taken anywhere as it only weighs around 2.2 lb. (1 kilogram) and it’s always packed into an easy-to-carry backpack or hard case.
The Piano Is More Fun to Play By Yourself
All that being said, it can get boring at times to practice the trumpet all by yourself. The piano is more fun to play by yourself as you can play a melody with one hand while you add some chords with the other.
On the trumpet, however, you will need another instrument to play the chords. I think the trumpet sounds a little boring all by itself.
It’s with good reason you almost always listen to trumpets played alongside a piano, organ, guitar, or in an orchestra of some sort.
This is a really strong argument for choosing the piano over the trumpet if you prefer to play music alone, and if you are an introvert by nature.
Are You An Introvert Or Extrovert?
I’d recommend choosing the piano if you are an introvert.
If you like to play by yourself, it’s worth mentioning that you might get tired of playing the trumpet by yourself as you only have one melody line on the trumpet.
I really like to play together with other people and I rarely play the trumpet by myself. That makes it hard for me to practice as I want to play with other people.
I was fortunate enough to play trumpet in a brass band for more than a decade and that gave me a good rhythm where I would practice one night per week.
Which Is More Popular, the Trumpet or the Piano?
I think it’s safe to say that we find way more piano students than trumpet students. That’s not necessarily because the piano is a better instrument or because it’s easier to play, but because the piano is a great instrument to start out on.
The piano will teach you a lot of music theory such as notes, chords, intervals, etc. It’s very easy to understand and learn chords on the piano as you have a really good overview when you look at the keys.
It’s much easier to understand music theory on a piano than on a guitar (or a trumpet for that matter).
The piano offers a really good overview of the keys and the tones so you more easily understand what goes into a C minor chord, or how the minor intervals differ from the major intervals.