The 5 Easiest Instruments Perfect for Adult Learners

easiest instrument for adults to learn

Interested in music, but nervous about getting started? Find out some of the easiest instruments for adults to learn in this guest post by Christopher Sutton.

It’s a common misconception that learning to play a musical instrument as an adult is too difficult, if not impossible. Yet the myth that you need to pursue music lessons early in life in order to master the craft has kept many people from exploring their musical skills.

It’s never too late to learn! In fact, there are many advantages to learning music as an adult.

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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.

The Easiest Instruments for Adults

1. Ukulele

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.

2. Harmonica

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.

3. Bongos

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!

4. Piano

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!

5. Glockenspiel

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.

Which Instrument Will You Choose?

Learning how to play a musical instrument as an adult isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. There are dozens 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!

Whatever instrument you choose, excelling at music will eventually feel easy and natural, just as long as you’re genuinely engaged in your lessons and have a dedicated teacher who will nurture your inner musicality along the way. Need help finding a teacher near you, or online? Check out the music teachers at TakeLessons and start becoming the musician you’ve always dreamed of being!

Guest Author: 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.

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13 replies
  1. Winston
    Winston says:

    I think guitar is the best all around instrument. Learning anything is a good starting point though, as I started on guitar when i was 30, before i tried to drums. If you know little about rhythm already helped you progress faster on the guitar.

  2. Tomas Killington
    Tomas Killington says:

    A music instrument rental location just opened by my house. This has made want to start learning how to play. I didn’t realize a ukulele is easy to learn because it has four nylon strings instead of six. I’ll be sure to remember this info moving forward.

  3. Daniel
    Daniel says:

    Well I don’t know what their talking about because the piano is actually one of the hardest instruments you can learn. I’ve been playing it for over 10 years and I don’t understand how people thing they can learn properly with out a teacher. And without a teacher you wouldn’t do scales or exams and not to motivated

    • Robert
      Robert says:

      If a person is not motivated with out a teacher they will not be motivated with a teacher. There has to be a desire within a person to learn. No teacher can can make that desire happen. A teacher can encourage and point a student in the right way to learn.

  4. Megan
    Megan says:

    I don’t know if the piano is the easiest instrument to learn, in fact it is one of the hardest. For a while it’s ridiculously easy, but after seven years it makes you want to rip your hair out. Even after a full year it can get pretty aggravating.

    • jennifer wood
      jennifer wood says:

      You need a good teacher that can communicate to you and needs to be enjoyable to the point of having really a lot of fun with it

  5. Julian
    Julian says:

    There is no easiest instrument, only instruments that are easier to start out on. To become good at any instrument, whether it be a basson to maracas, you will need to spend hundreds of hours of practice to become a good player in whatever instrument you play. It is difficult to learn an instrument but it’s always worth it in the end.

    • Robert
      Robert says:

      The person who does the above has that desire and self-discipline (which most are almost void of these days) to continue on. Ones I have been familiar with had to be told to step away from the instrument for a while. They became totally engulfed with their (instruments). But in the end they were delighted!!

  6. Ruth
    Ruth says:

    Well I started out on the piano when I was 5 ( I am a teen now) and I am still playing. Last summer I taught myself to play the harmonica. I am also learning the french horn. The harmonica was defiantly the easiest because I learned it in a day and I did not need to be taught but the piano gave me a really good theory of music and I am now top of my class for my french horn. I can see everything that our teacher is talking about like c to d is a hole step d to e is a hole step and d to f is a half step etc… If I had started out with the horn I would have no idea why it went hole hole half so that gave me a good understanding. I want to learn the cello next and so my past musical experiences will make it much easier to learn.

    • Vincent
      Vincent says:

      You learned harmonica in a day? You probably mean simple, note by note melody. Harmonica is a pain to learn advance technique like overblow, overdraw, half tone bend and so one. Even tongue blocking ask loooot of practice to do it decently. Go listen Jean Jacques Milteau to listen a harmonica maestro. I play harmonica since 4 years, andmy god, still so much stuff to get right.


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