If you’ve decided you want to learn to play either the cello or the violin, but can’t decide which then I’m happy to say I can help.
Although they belong to the same musical family, the violin and the cello are two very different instruments.
So, asking yourself a few simple questions will help you make your decision!
That’s where I come in.
I’ve played both, so I know exactly what questions to ask when it comes to the Cello vs Violin.
Plus, I’ll help you answer them!
You’ll be learning either the violin or the cello in no time.
Cello vs Violin: The Guide to Deciding Which to Learn
1. Which is Easier to Learn, the Violin, or the Cello?
Figuring our whether the violin or the cello will be easier for you to learn is one of the simplest ways to make your decision. However, there are a few different reasons why you might find one easier to learn than the other!
So, let’s figure it out…
Coming from someone who has learned to play both, I have to say, I found the cello much easier to learn.
First of all, cellists play sitting down (and I’m lazy). I know this sounds like a silly point to make but the correct posture for playing the cello is much easier to get used to.
Holding the violin feels quite unnatural because you’ve got to hold your arms in strange positions whiles holding up your instrument.
On the other hand, holding and playing the cello feels much more natural to most people!
Your Musical Experience
Whether you find the cello or the violin easier to learn could change depending on your musical experience.
Firstly, cellists and violinists read from different clefs. Violinists read from the treble clef whereas cellists read from either the bass or tenor clef. If you can already read the treble clef, you’d probably pick the violin up quicker.
On the other hand, if you can already read the bass clef, you might find learning the cello easier! Secondly, if you can play another instrument, like the mandolin, you’ll find the violin easier to learn.
The violin and the mandolin are played with the same fingering, so all you’d have to do is learn to use a bow!
2. Which Would Suit You, the Violin, or the Cello?
If you’re still not sure whether you’d like to play the violin or the cello, it might help to decide which one would suit your lifestyle. Taking this into consideration might rule one of them out!
How Will You Get to Your Lessons?
It might sound like a frivolous question to ask but getting to and from your lessons will be very different depending on whether you learn to play the violin or the cello. A full-sized Cello is around 72cm, and that’s just the length of its back.
Including the neck, plus the case, you’re looking at carrying an instrument on your back that’s well over a meter and a half!
If you’ve got to go to and from school on the bus or plan on walking (god help you), the cello could prove to be an issue.
On the other hand, a violin is only around 58cm in total. So, if you travel a lot or don’t fancy squeezing onto your school bus with a cello, you’ve probably got your answer.
Do You Prefer Classical or Folk Music?
The reason I learned the violin first was because I loved folk music. I wasn’t too keen on classical music until I got much older. So, it’s worth thinking about the sort of music you might like to play.
Of course, you can play any style of music when you’re more advanced but if you hate classical, you might not enjoy the lessons. If you learn to play the violin, you’ve got the choice to learn from either a folk teacher or a classical teacher.
However, if you learn to play the cello, you may be limited to learning from a classical teacher.
Would You Like to Join an Orchestra?
If you like classical music then you’d probably be likely to join an orchestra. Generally, it’s quite easy to join the lower ranks of an orchestra no matter what instrument you play. However, there’s a much higher demand for cellists than there is for violinists as you get higher up the ranks.
There are a lot more violinists out there than there are cellists, so generally, you’ll have more professional competition if you choose to play the violin. I mean, I’m not saying it’s easier to become a professional cellist than a violinist.
Both would require a huge amount of dedication, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’d love to progress in an orchestra.
Which is More Expensive, the Violin, or the Cello?
In short, the cello is a lot more expensive than the violin. As with any instrument, you get what you pay for. Keep in mind that, as you progress, you’ll have to upgrade to better models. It’s worth looking at the difference in price as you advance as a student.
This will probably make your mind up!
Cello vs Violin: Price of Beginner Models
Given that cellos are bigger than violins, they’re generally more expensive. A good beginner cello will cost anywhere between $1000 and $3000, whereas a great beginner violin can cost as little as $400. Plus, it’s worth mentioning that accessories like cases are also more expensive for cellists purely because their instrument is bigger!
Cello vs Violin: Price of Intermediate Models
An intermediate violin will cost you anywhere between $400 and $2000 whereas an intermediate cello costs between $3000 and $20000. Depending on who your teacher is, you may be able to borrow a beginner model until you decide whether you’ll stick at it or not. There’s nothing worse than splashing your life savings on something you never use!
Cello vs Violin: Price of Advanced Models
I could put a number in here but, to be honest, there’s no limit as to how much you could spend on a professional instrument. At the very least, a professional cello would cost around $6000. On the other hand, a great professional violin would start at about $2000. Stringed instruments certainly aren’t cheap!
Learning to Play The Violin: Pros and Cons
If you’re still not sure whether the cello or the violin is for you, maybe a good old’ pros and cons list will make your mind up! First, here are the pros and cons of learning to play the violin.
- The violin is smaller and easier to carry around
- The violin is less expensive than the cello
- Violinists read the treble clef which you may already be able to read
- You can choose between classical or folk training
- The violin is very popular, so you may have more competition if you decide to study at a higher level in college or want to move up the ranks in an orchestra
- People tend to find the violin harder to learn than the cello
Learning to Play The Cello: Pros and Cons
Okay, here’s what I think the pros and cons are to playing the cello. Just FYI, this is just my personal opinion, so don’t take it as gospel!
- People generally find the cello easier to learn than the violin
- There’s a higher demand for cellists both in orchestras and for professional work because fewer people learn the cello than the violin
- The cello is more expensive than the violin
- It’s not very practical for carrying two and from school or lessons
Violin vs Cello: What’s Your Decision?
Well, I hope this article has helped you narrow down your decision between the cello and the violin.
Whether you’re a musician looking for a new challenge, or a complete beginner to the world of music, I hope you’re excited to get started!
I know choosing between two instruments can be a very difficult decision. Just remember, you can always learn the other one later!
Most string teachers let their students borrow an instrument to begin with. So, if you’re really stuck, my advice would be to go for a lesson on both instruments, then just decide which you prefer playing!
Whatever decision you make will be the right one for you so don’t worry too much. Both the cello and the violin are fantastic instruments to learn.
You’ll have so much fun either way!
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Fiona is a musician and writer. When she’s not working, she’s either playing the ukulele or finding another instrument to add to her collection.