What are the easiest instruments to learn?

Whether you are a child or an adult, learning to play a musical instrument requires an investment of energy, time, discipline and money. Once you decide to go forward, which instrument should you choose?

Making a decision

No matter what they say, learning an instrument is not that easy. Several aspects must be taken into account before deciding and choosing an instrument. To start on the right foot, it is best to ask yourself a few questions and define your tastes, objectives, aptitudes and possibilities. The pondering will not be based on the same criteria for an adult and a child either. Does this desire to learn come from a recent passion that might not last or is it the dream of a lifetime that has always been repressed because of your obligations?

When we talk about children, it is essential to make sure that they truly enjoy making music. The process can be hard and irritating if your child is uninterested, and if you must constantly remind him to practice. Keep in mind that your musical preferences will also guide your choice. Whether you want to play classical, traditional or pop music, you might not choose the same instrument. If you prefer the sensuality of string instruments or the resonance of a piano and appreciate less the loudness of percussions, you will immediately reject instruments that are of no interest to you.

To make the right choice, you must also be realistic and honest with yourself. Your aptitudes and possibilities will guide you to the instrument you should choose. Some require more dexterity than others, the violin, for example. Some flexibility, strength, rhythm and accuracy are necessary to play instruments. If space is an issue, forget about bass and drums. If you are worried about the neighbours, you should take it into consideration.

Different instruments

There are three categories of instruments, established on the way sound is produced: strings, wind and percussion. Within these families, there are sub-groups, shown in the following table:

String instruments

Bowed strings (violin, alto, etc.)
Plucked strings (guitar, banjo, etc.)
Hit strings (piano)

Wind instruments

Wood (flute, clarinet, etc.)
Brass (trumpet, horn, etc.)


Membranophone percussions (tambourine, timbales, etc.)
Idiophones (maracas, triangle, etc.)


So many possibilities

Music is a language. It is possible to speak without knowing how to read or write, but learning to read and write makes your speech easier, more natural and improves its quality. Similarly, we can play an instrument by ear, without learning the theory and theoretical concepts but we will soon meet difficulties and be limited in our possibilities. When playing an instrument, it is important to choose if we want to learn the academic parts or not.

What are the difficulties?

As mentioned earlier, the difficulty of learning certain instruments lies in the skills they require. Violin, guitar, piano and flute, for example, require a lot of skills because they involve the use of our fingers. Deciphering the theory and having a sense of rhythm is important for all instruments. On the other hand, percussions require understanding and feeling the rhythm, since their main function is precisely to maintain a rhythm or beat.

Several instruments, like the drums and piano, require independent body parts since the hands and feet play different things at the same time. Accuracy is also fundamental for a rehearsal not to turn into cacophony. Violin and guitar are two instruments that require an excellent ear because consistent sound production depends on where fingers are located on the fret. These instruments have no keys or buttons like the clarinet or the piano, for example.

That being said, whether you choose an instrument or another, you will face specific difficulties. Depending on the level that you want to achieve, it will take some effort and time. But you must always enjoy rehearsing!

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