What Instrument Is Best for You?

If you have an interest in pursuing music lessons, choosing the correct instrument can be something of a tricky process; indeed, each instrument has its own unique characteristics and its own unique challenges. Here are just a few things to consider about various instruments to play and why some “starter” instruments are easier to pick up than others.

1. Piano

Learning how to play piano has many benefits; because of its intuitive layout, in fact, some people recommend learning piano before moving on to other instruments.

While pianos sound great backed by orchestras or rock bands, they’re also great instruments for playing alone; the classical music world is full of pieces written for solo piano, and composers such as Frederic Chopin dedicated much of their lives solely to writing for the instrument.

2. Guitar

Whether you’re a fan of the classical stylings of Andres Segovia or simply love the hard rock edge of Eddie Van Halen’s music, picking up the guitar might be something of a no-brainer.

There are numerous styles to play on guitar: From flamenco to pop, you’ll never be short of music written for the guitar. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a while to build up callouses on your fingers; playing the guitar can be a bit painful at first. But once you get the hang of it, playing will become easier and much more enjoyable. The guitar is certainly one of the most fun instruments to learn about music on!

3. Bass

While the frequency range of the bass is arguably more limited than that of the guitar, basses are great instruments in their own right. As players like Jaco Pastorius, Flea, and Cliff Burton have shown over the last fifty years, bass players can really take center stage in musical performances. These instruments definitely should not be overlooked.

4. Drums

Perhaps the most fun instrument to learn music on, the process of learning to play the drums really seems to tap into a primal part of the brain. Beginners should know that drums can get seriously loud; however, beginners can often use different pads and other tools to soften the sound of their instruments as they practice.

5. Violin

Justly regarded as one of the most beautiful instruments ever devised, the violin is also a very popular instrument for beginners to play. The learning curve on a violin is pretty steep; however, a bit of practice can have you producing very sweet music in no time. Whether you’re passionate about baroque music or bluegrass, it’s hard to go wrong with the violin.

6. Saxophone

There can be little doubt that saxophones are great instruments to learn for people who love jazz, rock, or classical styles of music. These instruments also really pack a wallop: Very few instruments sound quite as powerful as a saxophone in full swing. They’re also really fun instruments to play: Once you get the hang of different breathing techniques, playing the saxophone is a breeze.

7. Trumpet

Trumpets are great instruments for people who love jazz or classical music. These instruments sound equally at home in a J.S. Bach piece and in a Miles Davis tune. Trumpets don’t have quite the polyphonic range of instruments like the piano or guitar, but people who are passionate about the trumpet swear by these humble instruments.

8. Cello

Pound for pound, it’s hard to think of a more sonorous instrument than the cello. Something about the right player combined with the right piece really sets the cello apart from its peers. Like the violin, the cello takes some getting used to at first. But the rewards of playing this instrument can be many. Just ask Yo-Yo Ma!



Alex is the co-author of 100 Greatest Plays, 100 Greatest Cricketers, 100 Greatest Films and 100 Greatest Moments. He has written for a wide variety of publications including The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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