Guitar lessons vs. piano lessons.

This question usually comes up at some point in a child’s musical experience.

The piano is the root of all western music and music theory. It is a good idea for every musician to have some piano in their background.

In my experience, kids can take instruction on both instruments simultaneously and have success. Now, understand, if your child’s schedule has room for only one instrument and they love the piano, then go with piano lessons.

If, on the other hand, you have a student that fights you on every aspect of playing the piano and says they’d like to try the guitar, then go with guitar lessons.

The beauty of the guitar and piano is that they are both rhythm instruments. Meaning that the person playing a guitar or piano can sing along with the instrument. Try that with an oboe! Ok, I love the oboe, too, but you can’t sing and play with a wind instrument…

The guitar also emulates the piano in music theory – the student will learn chord progressions and harmony in a similar fashion. The piano and fretted instruments have this advantage, so taking guitar lessons will allow for a good understanding of the theory of music. Some might argue that instruments such as the hammered dulcimer do the same, but I suggest that any instrument that cannot play a triad is still a solo instrument.

Here’s the bottom line. The piano has a special place in the hierarchy of music. It is the most important instrument for a child that will/may eventually find themselves in college as a music major. The guitar is a specialty instrument, meaning that it has similar traits to the piano, but cannot necessarily replace the piano in importance.

However, if your child has the will and drive to play the guitar, by all means, go with the guitar!