Interested in music, but nervous about getting started? Learn about some of the easiest instruments to learn in this guest by Christopher Sutton…
It’s a common misconception that learning to play a musical instrument as an adult is too difficult, if not impossible. The myth that you need to pursue music lessons seriously early in life in order to master the craft has kept many people from exploring their musical skills.
While it’s true that learning new things does get tougher with age, often the struggle is more about the fear of making mistakes. But it’s never too late to learn! In fact, there are many advantages to learning music as an adult.
For one, adults are much more independent and self-motivated than a child being forced to take music lessons. With the right help, guidance, and motivation, any adult can excel at playing a musical instrument.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are five of the easiest instruments for adults to learn.
Inexpensive to buy and super fun to play, the ukulele is one of the easiest instruments to learn. With just four nylon strings (instead of the guitar’s six), you can quickly pick up simple chords and play some of your favorite songs in just a few weeks. You’ll also be able to gain many fundamental skills that make it easier if you ever want to graduate from the ukulele to the guitar.
Be it blues, jazz, rock, folk, or country music, the harmonica (also known as the “Blues Harp”) is a great choice for adult beginners. You don’t need to know a lot in order to start playing and it has a big advantage that any note will be “in key” — it’s hard to sound bad on harmonica!
Plus, harmonicas are very portable — you can carry and practice it anywhere and any time.
If you’re a fan of salsa, the bongos might be your calling. Bongos originated in Cuba and consist of two conjoined drums. It’s a simpler option than a full drum kit but can provide the same satisfying percussive experience. From there, you can move on to other types of drums and percussion instruments easily!
The piano may seem complicated — after all, you need to learn to coordinate both hands at once — but it’s actually one of the easiest instruments to learn for adults.
Because the notes are all laid out in front of you, it’s easier to understand than many other instruments. And although you can play wrong notes, you can’t ever play out of tune the way you can with other instruments. Moreover, due to its popularity, you’ll have no shortage of useful learning materials when you choose piano as your instrument!
You might recognize the glockenspiel (pronounced “glock-ench-peel”) from your elementary school music classes or if you were ever enrolled in a Kindermusik class. It looks a lot like a smaller version of a xylophone, but instead of having wooden bars, its bars are made of metal, producing a bright and cheery sound. The glockenspiel is a great way for you to get in touch with your inner child and your inner musician.
What Instrument Will You Choose?
Learning to play a musical instrument as an adult isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. There’s a plethora of instruments out there that are simple and easy to get started with.
And while the options listed above may be some of the easiest instruments to learn, there’s no need to limit yourself! Whichever instrument you choose, learning and excelling at music will eventually feel easy and natural, just as long as you’re genuinely engaged and nurturing your inner musicality along the way.
Christopher Sutton is the founder of Easy Ear Training and Musical U, where musicians can discover and develop their natural musicality. Born and raised in London, England, he lives with his wife, daughter, and far too many instruments.