The accordion and piano are two very different instruments. If you are considering whether you should learn the accordion or piano, I would recommend you learn both! But in reality, it is best to learn one first before the other. Which is the better instrument to learn first? Is piano harder than accordion, or is accordion harder than piano?
Most musicians and beginners I know find accordion harder to learn than piano. Both instruments require similar hand coordination, but the accordion requires you to move and control the bellows at the same time. Accordions also have a combination of keys and buttons for you to memorize.
Read on to learn more about whether accordion or piano is harder and how long it takes to learn both.
Also, for an excellent key piano keyboard, take a look at our top pick, the RIF6 Electric 61 Key Piano Keyboard:
Is Accordion Harder than Piano?
For anyone with past piano experience, then learning a piano accordion will be easier as the keys are similar. By this time, you have trained your hands to coordinate with each other. And now, you would just have to learn the buttons on the accordion, as well as how to control the bellows. Controlling the bellows, which is considered the soul of an accordion, is usually the most difficult part for beginners to learn.
Some musicians start their musical journey as accordion players and find the piano harder to play than accordions up to the proficient level. A major reason for this is that their left hand has been so used to just pushing buttons that they find it difficult to transition into playing chords with their left hand on the piano.
Adjusting to the piano can also be tricky, being horizontal instead of vertical. The piano does have the optional use of foot pedals for dampening or prolonging the tone, but learning the foot pedals can come later after getting comfortable with the piano. Whether you find accordion or piano harder to learn up to the proficient level depends as well if you have a musical background or aptitude for music.
Which instrument would you like to play – accordion or piano?
How Long Does It Take to Learn Piano?
In general, if you are a beginner – in order for you to learn a single piece on a piano – it will take you a few weeks. If you want to learn how to read basic piano music, then it can take a year or two years. For you to have intermediate, more fluent reading skills, it will take you several years. And to play advanced, classical piano music from memory can take at least 5 or 6 years.
Factors That Will Affect How long It Will Take You to Learn Piano
Self-taught vs. Taking Lessons
Of course, if you are taking lessons with a qualified piano teacher, then it will take you less time to learn how to play the piano than if you are teaching yourself. Piano teachers, more often than not, have an organized curriculum for their students, depending on their musical background and piano skills.
A great teacher should also be able to push you in reaching your dreams so choose wisely. However, if you are confident about your talent, there are many online video tutorials that teach proper fingering and simple, beginner songs.
If you are just looking to play simple songs on your piano, then it will not take you long to do this. But if you are really serious and want to make a career out of your playing, then it will probably take you a decade or more to be able to play advanced classical music such as Rachmaninoff or Liszt.
Short but Regular Practices
As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” In this case, however, practice improves your hand coordination and other skills. However, the quality of the practice matters as well. Short but regular practices are more productive than long but irregular ones. If you take long practice sessions, it is easier for frustration to set in and get exhausted.
If you already know how to read music notes like how you are familiar with the letters of the alphabet, then you are off to a good start, and you’ll probably be able to play lots of songs after a few months. Aside from musical notes, you should also familiarize yourself with the piano keys so that you can learn to play the piano faster. A standard full-size piano has 88 keys, but there are also smaller ones that have at most 64 keys.
You can learn any instrument at any age. Being young is only an advantage because there is more time to master the instrument. But you can learn at any age! How easy it is to learn an instrument also depends on how passionate you are, or your child is, to learn the instrument. The most important factors are dedication and passion. If you’re passionate and dedicated, then it will be easier for you to learn than someone who finds it a chore.
Recommended Beginner Pianos
If you decide piano is the better choice to learn first, then here are my two recommended entry-level piano/keyboard choices that will make learning easier and more enjoyable.
1. RIF6 Electric 61 Key Piano Keyboard
The RIF6 Electric 61 Key Piano Keyboard is designed for learners of all levels and ages. In fact, this keyboard has two teaching modes that allow you to learn songs while practicing chords.
This piano is also the best fit for traveling musicians as well because it runs on batteries if there are no outlets around. If you want to power it by battery, simply insert eight alkaline or rechargeable D-size batteries instead of plugging it in.
The keyboard has 61 keys with the R1F6 backing band. The backing band provides over 300 tones, 300 rhythms, and 50 demo songs. All of these tones and rhythms allow you to let your creativity be the only limit through your learning journey.
I also love that this keyboard comes with optional percussion and drum sound kit to make you feel as if you are really performing with a live band. This feature also ensures that you are in tune when playing a certain song.
The RIF6 Electric 61 Key Piano Keyboard also comes with comfortable over-ear headphones with a built-in recording feature that helps you concentrate during practices by eliminating noise around you. The built-in recording feature will come in handy, especially if you think your playing requires improvement. This way, you can pinpoint your weaknesses and improve your performance further.
This affordable yet feature-rich piano comes with a comfortable, padded piano stool and 9V DC Adapter. The reviews on Amazon speak for themselves.
2. Alesis Recital Pro Digital Piano
The Alesis Recital Pro Digital Piano guarantees that you’ll be able to learn how to play the piano in less time, with the help of its features. This digital keyboard contains 88 keys and has an automatic touch response depending on your playing style. The keyboard also comes with 12 excellently crafted voices, headphones, and stereo output. The voices include:
- Acoustic Piano
- Acoustic Piano Bright
- Electric Piano
- Church Organ
- Acoustic Bass
- Fingered Bass
The stereo output will come in handy if you want to connect your piano to a recorder, mixer, amplifier, etc., while the headphone output will give you a quiet environment whenever you are practicing in a not-so-quiet room. Another feature that I love about this keyboard is that it can be connected to your PC or Mac using USB-MDI connectivity.
Alesis prides itself on the educational features that their piano can offer to beginners, specifically the lesson, record, and recital pro modes, as well as a three-month subscription to Skoove’s online interactive piano lessons. This is an excellent choice for anyone learning piano.
How Long Does It Take to Learn the Accordion?
Similar to learning the piano, learning to play the accordion also depends on the level of proficiency you desire. If you just want to play a simple song, it will take you about eight weeks, and that is if you practice regularly. However, becoming a virtuoso at playing the accordion can take several years.
Several factors such as past musical experience, age, type of accordion, quality of practice, taking lessons or self-taught, etc., can affect how long it will take you to learn the accordion.
As mentioned earlier, the accordion is generally more difficult to learn than piano, only because you need to control the bellows at the same time as pressing the keys and buttons. But this action can be learned fairly quickly with consistent, daily practice. In my experience, I was able to learn simple songs on the accordion in about 6 weeks (see my post on how hard it is to learn accordion).
I had many years of piano experience before I learned accordion, plus I learned on a piano accordion, so it was a bit easier as I knew the keyboard part. But I still had to learn the buttons and how to control the bellows.
If you decide to learn how to play the button accordion, it may be a bit harder as you’ll have to memorize the buttons on both sides (as there are no keys like on the piano accordion). However, those who learn the button accordion say it is faster and easier to play after learning because the buttons are smaller and closer together than piano keys. The smaller and close-together buttons allow you to jump to notes and different intervals much faster and easier.
Check out this video, which compares the notes on a button accordion with the keys on a piano:
Recommended Beginner Accordions
To make learning the accordion easier and more enjoyable, you need a good accordion that is best for you. Below are my two recommended entry-level accordions.
1. Hohner Panther G/C/F 3-Row Diatonic Accordion
The Hohner Panther G/C/F 3-Row Diatonic Accordion is a diatonic button accordion that you can play in the GCF keys. There are two major types of accordion, namely, piano and button accordion.
Button accordions are harder to play at first because you have to familiarize yourself with how the buttons are arranged on both sides of your accordion. But when you already have a mental picture of the buttons, then learning this type of accordion will go smoothly from there.
This button accordion is made by Hohner, one of the top entry-level accordion brands out of Germany. What makes this accordion stand out, aside from its matte black finish, is that it is compact and lightweight. The latter features make this particular accordion an excellent choice for beginners and professional musicians as well.
The accordion has 31 buttons and 12 bass buttons. It comes with double-strap brackets that can help you support its weight, especially when you are playing while standing. The Hohner HA-3100 Panther GCF Diatonic Accordion weighs approximately 14 lbs and is about 19 inches in height) by 18 inches in diameter.
Aside from these features, you’ll also get a free Hohner diatonic method book and cleaning cloth that’ll help you jumpstart your journey towards learning to play the accordion.
2. Rossetti 72-Bass, 34-Key Piano Accordion
The Rossetti 72-Bass, 34-Key Piano Accordion is, as the name suggests, a piano accordion that those who took piano lessons will find easier to learn than button accordions. Some people find this type of accordion difficult to learn because of the wide space between keys and the involvement of more finger movements as compared to the button accordions.
This accordion has 72 bass buttons and 34 keys. This accordion also has five switches, which allow you to change the sounds produced by the keys and buttons, depending on the style of music you are playing. And to add to its features, this accordion has 18 fold bellows, meaning this accordion will be able to produce rich and big sounds. If you are a fan of Italian-style decoration, then you’ll love this accordion even more.
The Rossetti piano accordion also comes with a deluxe case with locks, logos, and adjustable straps on each side.
Conclusion – Is Accordion Harder than Piano?
Is accordion harder than piano? The accordion is typically harder to learn than the piano. The reason for this is that you need to press keys, buttons, and control the bellows. A piano accordion might be easier for many than the button accordion because learning the piano keys is generally easier than the buttons. But the piano accordion still has buttons on the left side to learn, plus you’ll need to learn how to control the bellows.
However, there are also people who find piano harder to play than accordions, especially those who have been an accordion player first. In this case, adjustments like getting the left hand to tap keys instead of push/pull buttons while sustaining the pedals are the most challenging part they usually experience.
I recommend learning the piano first as it is a bit easier. It is also great to learn theory and technique on the piano before going to other instruments. However, if you are very keen, you can learn both, as they do compliment each other nicely. Just remember to take short practice sessions regularly to avoid getting overwhelmed.