Hardest instruments to play

One can never get too old to learn new skills and most often than not, learning an instrument or two would be on the top list of newly acquired talents.

But while it is true that we could learn anything if we put our effort and heart into it, some are really more challenging than others like these ten hardest instruments to play that you might be thinking of giving a shot to. 

10 hardest instruments to play

Before we give a rundown of the ten hardest instruments to play (and learn), you must know that there is a wide consensus of these ten as browser searches and results all lead to these ten.

We have heard of all of the instruments in this list, have seen and touched some of them once or many times, and we might have tried to learn how to play them once in our formative years. 

#1. Accordion

Accordion - 10 hardest instruments to play

It might be associated with the polka dancing (which is upbeat and fun), but it requires a lot of skills to be played.

Playing the accordion involves multitasking. First you have to master the small keyboard which dictates the notes of the instrument. The next thing to do is to master the bellows and how to push air into it so that it would play. 

#2. Oboe

Oboe - 10 hardest instruments to play

Of all the woodwind instruments, the oboe plays in a soprano range and is considered as having one of the clearest sounds. Needless to say, the large oboe is the hardest to play because it requires a lot of breath control while your fingers switch from note to note.  

#3. Classical Guitar

Classical Guitar - 10 hardest instruments to play

Playing the classical guitar is different from playing acoustic and electric guitars because this one involves massive single note picking.

Aside from really having itchy fingers after, it has a smaller built with more compact nylon strings. It requires mastery of left hand strumming and fingering, right hand technique and a lot of discipline and patience. 

Related: Types of guitars

#4. Piano

Piano - 10 hardest instruments to play

What makes the piano one of the hardest instruments to learn and play is because it involves a lot of multitasking.

Each hand has two separate works to do and each is dependent on perfect timing. Aside from this, you also have a foot pedal to synchronize with while entirely keeping your eyes at the music sheet and the 81 keys of the piano can be taxing for complex pieces. 

Related: Types of pianos

#5. Harp

Harp - 10 hardest instruments to play

The harp is very ancient and even at the time of kings, queens and pharaohs, it has always been associated with skill because it takes a lot of time and practice to practice the tones of all its 47 strings.

Developing a good sense of time as your hands softly move and get to the right string makes the harp one of the hardest instruments to play. Alongside this, there is also a foot pedal that you have to incorporate every now and then for the sharps and flats in the music sheet. 

#6. Double bass

Double bass - 10 hardest instruments to play

Getting used to it being a fretless instrument is one thing and dealing with its size is another. Both are the reasons why it is one of the hardest instruments to play.

Fretless instruments are all basically hard to play because you will have to master your pitch by yourself alongside practicing specific bow techniques to arrive at the right note.

Other than this, it is large and heavy with thick strings so the right posture, angle and upper body strength is also required. 

#7. Violin

Violin - 10 hardest instruments to play

While it is considered as the smallest stringed instrument, it holds the reputation of being one of the instruments that are hard to play. For one, you have to master the right angling and posture to hold it and have access to all of the strings conveniently. You also need to practice finger switching on the strings and a lot of practice and concentration. 

Related: Types of violins

#8. Bagpipes

Bagpipes - 10 hardest instruments to play

This Scottish cultural symbol is no picnic when played. It is one of the hardest instruments to play because it needs lung strength. Blowing on reed pipes requires high lung and air capacity as you switch from one pipe to another. Breath control is also a skill required by playing bagpipes and of course finger switching on the holes to change notes. 

#9. Drums

Drums - 10 hardest instruments to play

Aside from involving more than one percussion instrument, playing the drums is hard because it requires specific techniques and mastery. For starters, each drum in the set requires a specific hitting style, tapping technique and accents to be in sync with the whole piece. Aside from this, full body coordination is also needed as you will heavily rely on your hands for the tapping plus tapping on the foot pedal. 

#10. French horn

French horn - 10 hardest instruments to play

You have seen the French horn immortalized by the TV series How I Met Your Mother and seeing it on the list makes us finally understand why it was easier to be stolen for someone than to play it at all.

As a matter of fact, it is considered as the hardest brass instrument to play. First, it is heavy and carrying it for regular four-minute songs could already be exhausting. Most importantly, it is hard because you have to master lip placement; one awkward placement and you’ll mess up the whole orchestra. 


We all have our own reasons why we want to learn to play new instruments. Although we have posed these ten instruments as the hardest instruments to play, rudimentary skills when honed with mastery through practice will lead to better experiences with these instruments. Cliché, but while some instruments may be regarded as more challenging, we can still learn how to play them if we put our heart into them, regardless of the time and age.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here