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The 12 Easiest Instruments To Learn, Right Now!

Using one of the easiest instruments to learn is a great way to get started in playing music.

So why should you choose to learn an easier instrument, over one that’s harder?

So you don’t quit!

Learning to play music and an instrument is also one of the best hobbies you can choose to have!

Did you know…?

85-90% of people that start learning an instrument end up quitting in the first 2 years?

That’s not a great thing when many instruments take years of practice.

If the instrument you choose to play is too hard, you’re likely to give up on it.

So… it’s a good idea to choose from the easiest-to-learn instruments. It will help you continue playing.

Also..

Learning to play music with an easy instrument is a great way to start playing different musical instruments as well.

Still interested in finding the right instrument?

Okay, let’s get started on your new musical journey!

Picking an Easy Instrument – How to Choose

"take it easy" in scrabble letters

What an easy instrument is to you, could be a difficult instrument for someone else.

So let’s help you decide what YOU think is the easiest instrument.

There are some things that will help you choose what instrument you decide to try playing.

Some of these musical instruments are pretty cheap as well, so you don’t need to limit yourself to one!

Do easy instruments need sheet music?

It depends on the person!

Some people might say yes. Some might say no.

A good way to consider the right instrument is to choose a new instrument to play if it requires you to learn to read music.

Personally…

I view any instrument that doesn’t need sheet music as being easier to learn to play than those that do need it.

Instead, you’re learning to play by personal instruction from a teacher, or even an online video.

This can help you get started right away and get rid of one of the more intimidating aspects of learning to play music.

sheet music, music notes, smiley face

However…

This might not be the case for you, though!

If reading sheet music is easy for you (or interesting), an instrument with sheet music is a good choice!

I don’t want to undermine how important reading music is.

Because reading sheet music is VERY important.

Reading sheet music is a great skill every young musician should learn but can be hard for beginners.

Do You Like the Music the Instrument Plays?

can next to piano

The best way to learn to play music is when you’re playing an instrument that’s in your favorite music.

This will help you stay interested during the learning process without as much effort.

Remember, we don’t want you quitting!

For example…

  • Do you like rock music? The drums, electric guitar, or bass are a good choice.
  • Do you listen to hillbilly, bluegrass-type music? Try the harmonica.
  • Enjoy Pop music? A keyboard or a DJ controller might be something fun to learn.

How Cheap is the Instrument?

The best instrument to learn is an instrument you have access to. For some people, being able to afford the instrument and accessories is the first barrier.

Instruments do cost a lot of money at times, and this will be a factor when deciding what you want to learn.

Luckily, many of the easier instruments can be pretty affordable. So don’t worry about needing to buy that expensive and flashy Grand Piano (at least not yet!).

Is the Instrument Easy to Learn Without a Teacher?

music teacher in front of children playing music

YouTube videos and phone apps have helped thousands of people learn to play music.

This means learning the music without pricey, or hard-to-find teachers.

As I mentioned with reading music, teachers are valuable to learning music.

But, for the sake of this list of easy instruments, needing a music teacher can play a factor.

Alright, are you ready to get started?

Me, too!

Let’s find an easy instrument for you to learn and play!

Percussion Instruments

man playing drums

Are you a “tapper”?

You may be or know someone that seems to always be tapping their desk/table with their hand, or tapping their foot on the ground.

Well, percussion instruments are going to be easy for you.

(Seriously though, what’s more fun (or easier!) than an instrument you hit or shake!)

Percussion instruments are instruments that make a sound when hit, shaken, or scraped.

This makes it an easy type of instrument you can learn to play right away.

All you do is try to keep a simple beat with these easy instruments.

What’s even better – percussion instruments are the backbone of a band or orchestra. Without a rhythmic beat, the rest of the music doesn’t work.

Does this family of the easiest musical instruments sound interesting to you?

Let’s see what easy to learn percussion instrument may interest you.

1. Bass Drum

BOOM!

BOOM!

2 bass drums on stage

Yeah, that’s what a bass drum sounds like, and does.

It’s a fun instrument. And a great choice when first entering the musical world as a young musician.

You’ve seen this instrument sitting at the bottom of a traditional drum kit of your favorite rock band. (also known as a kick bass drum).

But…

You can play these drums on their own as well!

The bass drum is popular (and required!) in marching bands.

Your local school band has a few bass drum players you can go watch, if you’re curious.

Marching bands Have anywhere between 2-7 bass drum players depending on the size of the band.

This makes bass drums a good, easy instrument, to start playing since it requires only keeping a rhythm and tempo.

That said, the bass drum is an EXTREMELY important instrument and has a noticeable sound in any band.

2. Bongo Drums

man playing bongos, microphone

The bongo drum set is a pair of 2 drums, one larger than the other, playing with your hands.

This instrument is simply played between your legs.

It requires you to hit the drums by tapping them with your fingertips, thumbs, or the heel of your hands.

This easy instrument is fun, has a distinct sound, and is popular in many jazz bands.

It’s also a pretty cheap instrument due to its simplicity.

Only needing to tap the drum set is a fun way, and easiest way, to begin learning music.

3. Tambourine

easy instrument tambourine

Most people are familiar with the tambourine due to its popularity in a variety of music genres.

It’s also one of the easiest percussion instruments to learn.

Tambourines are common in pop, rock, gospel, country, and classical music. Among many, many more types of music.

It’s a simple percussion instrument that’s made with a circular wooden frame and small metal jingles on the outside. (called “zills”).

Generally held in your hand, to play you shake, strike, or tap the instrument.

The tambourine is also used as part of a traditional drum kit as well, mounted like a cymbal.

4. Xylophone / Glockenspiel

kid on floor playing Xylophone

The xylophone has wooden bars.

The glockenspiel has bars made of metal.

Both instruments are in a group of percussion instruments that are struck with mallets.

The bars of the instrument (also known as an idiophone) are tuned keys, like the keys of a piano.

The bars are set at different pitches of the musical scale, and easy to learn.

I think many of us got toy versions of the xylophone or glockenspiel as kids.

At least my friends and I did!

5. Castanets

castanets, colorful

Hailing from Spain, these simple percussion instruments are in folk music. (and folklore dances)

Castanets date back thousands of years, but the modern version of the is a pair of shell-shaped flattened wooden clackers.

These are held together with a single loop of string or thin leather.

Using your fingers and thumb, you manipulate the instrument to create “clicks”. This creates a fun, distinct sound to play music.

If you’re looking for a unique, but easy instrument to learn – this instrument is a great way to stand out.

Woodwind Instruments

This is a smaller family of instruments, and generally harder to learn to play.

They are also some of the best musical instruments to play.

This is a family of instruments that need “wind” (your breath), and are made of wood (or at least part of it).

The popular instruments you are familiar with that are woodwind are the saxophone, clarinet, and flute.

But, those aren’t the easiest instruments to learn and need a more advanced skill levels.

At least not right away.

Yet, one woodwind instrument is popular when introducing kids to playing music.

6. Recorder

person in white shirt playing a recorder

I would bet money that many of you got introduced to this simple instrument when you were a kid.

For me, it was 4th or 5th grade when my music teacher had us learn to play the recorder.

It’s an easy instrument to play and a great place to start for a first-time learner.

How does the recorder work?

The recorder makes sound in a way similar to a flute or whistle.

A person blows into the instrument and the air goes across the holes and gaps to produce sound.

To me, it wasn’t the most pleasant sound to listen to in the world. Especially with a couple dozen all blown at once.

Yet, if you’re looking for one of the easier instruments to play – the recorder is a good choice to start playing.

It’s a good place to start as it’s small size, and

Hardest to Learn Woodwind Instrument: Saxophone

String Instruments

easy stringed instruments, violin

Stringed instruments are some of the easiest instruments to learn.

Dating back thousands of years, string instruments have been popular for a long time.

The string instrument family might be harder for young children to learn, but learning simple chords on many instruments is a good way to start.

Easy chord progressions allow you to create your own music, play your favorite song, and can play a lot of different sounds.

7. Ukulele

man easily playing the Ukulele

Popularized in Hawaii, the Ukulele is an easy and fun string instrument to learn.

The ukulele has 4, soft nylon strings that are easier on your fingers than an acoustic guitar.

(If you’re familiar with an acoustic guitar, the strings are much larger and harder to push down when playing.)

Those strings can be painful on your fingers – at least until you start to get used to it.

Also, this great instrument only has 4 strings, which makes it easier to form chords and chord progressions.

It’s a very affordable and portable instrument, due to its smaller size.

Another benefit of this stringed instrument? It translates to the guitar as well!

Much of what you learn with the ukulele, will help you learn to play guitar, if that’s something that interests you.

8. Autoharp

woman playing harp, black and white

Do you want to play the guitar, but by pressing buttons? (instead of pressing strings down)?

The Autoharp may be for you!

Okay so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the idea of this stringed instrument is that simple.

While you still strum the instrument like a ukulele or guitar, you don’t form notes by pressing down strings with your fingers.

Pressing down the strings is a common issue for some people who play the guitar, bass guitar, or similar instruments.

This great instrument does this for you and why the Autoharp is one of the easiest instruments to learn.

Using labeled buttons with the name of the chord, you press the button and strum to play the instrument.

While it’s not as creative as its other string instrument cousins, it’s still a fun and easy instrument to learn.

Super cool, right?!

9. Electric Guitar

black/brown electric guitar

You can already picture the wild, long hair of the 80’s rock bands now.

Or you imagined the bandana-clad face of the late, great, Jimmy Hendrix.

Likely the most popular instrument on this list, the electric guitar is a common instrument played over the last half-century or more.

It’s still a huge part of most modern music, too.

Many popular songs, across all types of music genres, are written and played on the guitar.

The guitar is a great way to challenge your musical skills too.

So, you might be asking why I’m saying electric guitar, and not acoustic as well?

Pain. That’s why.

Much like the ukulele, an electric guitar uses nylon strings with a much lower tension string.

This makes the electric guitar easier to play, and less painful, than an acoustic guitar.

Try building up the calluses on your fingers one day at a time and you’ll find it easy to play the guitar in no time.

man playing acoustic guitar, guitar playing as a hobby, make money with guitar

Different Styles and Musical Genres for Guitar

One reason you might think the guitar is the best instrument to learn is the number of different styles of play, and musical genres it has.

This also makes it one of the easiest instruments to learn, as it will keep you interested!

For example, you can play…

  • Electric Guitar
  • Classical Guitar
  • Acoustic Guitar
  • Bass Guitar
  • Electro-Acoustic
  • 12 String

So if you’re interested in this great instrument – pick out one of your favorite songs and get going!

Brass Instruments

10. Euphonium

euphonium on ground

A what?! What is a Euphonium you might be asking?

Yeah this is a different instrument than what you were expecting, if I had to guess.

To start – the Euphonium is an absolutely beautiful instrument.

It also happens to be one of the easiest band instruments to play.

According to yourclassical.org: “euphonium” is derived from the ancient Greek word euphōnos, which means “sweet sounding.”

Well, that seems like a nice place to start!

This brass horn is easier to play as the “embouchure” is more simple to develop.

The mouthpiece is smaller than other brass instruments, and the fingering of the notes can be easier to learn.

If you’re interested in learning the trombone – the Euphonium is a good instrument to learn first as it’s closely related and the skills learned will transfer fairly easily.

lemur playing horn

11. Harmonica

This instrument is a common gift for kids growing up.

Part of a family of instruments known as a mouth organ – the harmonica does not use a reed like other wind instruments.

This makes the harmonica easier to start playing.

The best part is it’s also used in a variety of music genres, making the harmonica well known around the world.

To me, I associate the harmonica with blues, rock, and country music. Though it’s seen in other music genres as well.

3 harmonicas, black and white photo

Cheap, small, and portable – this is an ideal instrument to start playing music with.

All you learn is where to place your mouth on the instrument and how to blow in it.

Due to it’s simplicity, this make it one of the easiest instruments to learn.

What a fun, little instrument to get you started in the art of making music!

I can already see you sitting around a campfire, playing a song for your friends and family!

12. Voice / Singing

man singing on stage at rock concert

Yes, your voice is an instrument. It’s called your larynx, more commonly known as your voice box.

This tiny part of your body contains your vocal chords, which produce the sounds you make when speaking, as well as singing.

As you already own the instrument in your body, all it costs is possible lessons with a vocal coach.

There are TONS of videos on the internet you can pick through with great instruction on how to get started with learning to sing.

While singing as a kid is common – I think singing is something everyone can do.

It’s probably one of the easiest instruments to learn for adults.

It takes learning to be confident in your own ability, and a lot of practice.

You only need to find your voice!

The Piano & Harp –

cat on piano

Are the Piano and Harp on the list of easiest instruments to learn?

Some say yes.

Others say not.

While digging through articles, I could NOT decide if these instruments are easy to play.

One thing they have in common is they have a LOT of things to touch.

Pianos a crazy number of keys.

Pianos have 88 separate keys (52 white, 36 black). All of these keys from the piano play different notes and intervals.

Harps have 47 strings, which can be very hard for beginner musicians.

As for why do people suggest the from Piano as a good beginner instrument?

It’s a great instrument to learn – you’ll be prepared to learn to play other instruments based on the music theory and hand-eye coordination you’ll learn.

The piano is definitely for the folks that won’t mind reading sheet music, as it’s all but required.

So these two instruments are for you to decide on whether you believe they’re easy to learn.

If you’re interested, set up piano lessons with some of your local music teachers.

What’s the Hardest Instrument to Learn?

You didn’t think I’d leave you with a list of easiest instruments to learn, without giving you one the hardest, right?

Well, good news!

I’ve got a hard instrument for you.

French Horn

brass instrument, french horn

Without a doubt, the most common instrument I saw when researching the hardest instrument, was the French Horn.

Though it’s a beautiful instrument, it’s also one of the hardest to play.

Why is the French Horn So Hard to Play?

  • The instrument is heavy. Weighing between 6-8 lbs on average.
  • It’s easy to play cracked, broken, and wrong notes.
  • The instrument collects a lot of spit and saliva.
  • The notes played are closer together, which are harder to hear and play accurately.

What is the quickest instrument to learn?

If you’re looking for the easiest instrument to learn, you’re also curious what the quickest instrument to learn is.

It’s really up to you what is the quickest to learn instrument and what suits you best.

Many say any percussion instrument is the quickest instrument to learn.

All you have to do is keep a beat and learn the right way to hit the instrument.

Wrapping Up our List of easiest instruments to learn

man raising right hand to sky

Listen up!

Raise your right hand if you’re now looking to introduce music into your life.

Awesome!

In a short time, learning to play an easy instrument will provide you with:

And best of all… it will allow you to make your own music!

Benefits of Playing Music

two people playing guitar in sunset, hobby

There are a ton of reasons why learning to play music is good for you. And these will stick with you for a long time if you let them.

  • Develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
  • Be more social
  • Get a sense of accomplishment
  • May introduce you to a new kind of music

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