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Best Musical Instruments for Beginners and Novices

Learning to play a musical instrument can be extremely rewarding throughout your lifetime. Discovering music teaches discipline, creativity, and even stress management. Sometimes it can even become a career choice. But even if you just play for fun, every musician starts somewhere, and with so many different instruments, sometimes it’s not easy to figure out exactly where that is.

Firstly: You’re never too old to learn something new, especially a new musical instrument! If you’re an adult or even a teenager, you might feel like it’s too late or you’re not talented enough. The truth of the matter is every second you waste wishing you had decided to take up music is a second you could be spending actually learning music! With time and dedication, EVERYONE can play music. So let’s get to it and figure out what instrument is right for you!

  • Guitar

In our opinion, the guitar is one of the best and most accessible musical instruments for majority of which are new to playing music. You can take lessons, but there are also tons of books, computer software, YouTube tutorials and online lessons for learning at all levels. Finding songs to learn is easier than ever, and you can also use tablature if you don’t want to learn to read music.

A starting guitar is extremely affordable and usually offered in a beginner pack to include a strap, picks, instrument cable, case, amp, etc., depending on which style. Acoustic guitar is generally more affordable - and fundamental - to start out on, but electric guitar is little easier to play. The Yamaha FG800 is a great acoustic guitar for beginners for it's high quality and price.

  • Piano

Learning the piano is not as convenient as the guitar. A real piano is expensive and takes up a lot of space plus needs regular maintenance. However, the main benefit to learning piano is that you get such a strong background in music theory that it’s translatable to almost any instrument. A piano’s notes are all in a row, and it’s relatively easy to see the theory behind concepts like scales and chords.

Keyboards are often less expensive, smaller, and more portable. A professional keyboard will require a separate amp, but mid-range keyboards often have their own speakers. You can also try an electric piano with weighted keys which will sound and feel like a real piano. If you can’t afford a real piano, the Yamaha PSRE453 will give you everything you need to learn how to play. Later on you can get a better keyboard, or an electric piano with weighted keys.

  • Bass Guitar

Preferring bass over guitar is a perfectly valid choice. You could write a whole page on how to choose between bass and guitar, so in the interest of space, there are a few things you should consider in this discussion. Bass won’t necessarily be easier than guitar. Both instruments require practice and can be challenging or simple, depending on what you’re playing. Bass parts will on the whole, tend to be more rhythm oriented and will usually be more in tune with the percussion and general driving tempo for the song. If you like the sound of bass, then go for it! Beginner bass guitars are extremely affordable and powerful! The Ibanez GSR200 is a solid choice for beginners.

  • Banjo

Banjos, like guitars, are inexpensive and easy to start out on. It’s easy to find lessons and music, especially since country and bluegrass are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. It can take some long hours of practice to master the thinner neck but it’s all worth it in the end!. The Fender Concert Tone 54 Banjo is a good starting point.

  • Accordion

Accordions are popular instruments worldwide throughout multiple cultures, particularly in the traditional music of Europeans (and by extension, North and South America). They have been making a major comeback as genres like conjunto set international and local trends. Accordions can be easy to pick up, but becoming an expert in takes many hours of practice and a sometimes private lessons with a professional.

  • Drums

Drums are one of the most popular instruments in the world. They’re fun to play and if you’re one of the best drummers in town, you will always have gigs and bands lining up to have you audition. That said, there may be some downsides.

Starting on drums can be a little more expensive than a starter guitar or keyboard. They’re also hard to move around, can take up a lot of space and will be very loud. On the bright side, if you have a decent drum kit, you can add extra accessories like cymbals, extra drums, et cetera, but you probably won’t need to get a completely new kit. One thing you can do is get an electronic drum kit like a Roland TD-1K. You can use headphones for practice, can plug them into an amp if you want them to be extra loud, and will be easier to pack up and take to gigs. If you live in an apartment or have angry neighbors, you may want to consider electronic drums.

  • Violin/Cello

The violin and cello are classic instruments that are often taught in schools as part of orchestral music. However, they may be difficult instruments to start off trying to learn from scratch. You will probably need serious lessons more than any other instrument on this list. Not only that, but a beginner cello will be around a thousand dollars. A violin will be less, but still more expensive than a beginner guitar.

  • Brass

Brass instruments, such as trumpets, french horns, trombones and tubas. are often introductory to students in middle school and high school. It can be difficult to practice outside of a school or home environment later in life as these instruments can be quite loud. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with brass instruments, it can sometimes be difficult to manage balancing brass instrument practice with real life.

  • Woodwinds

Woodwind instruments include saxophones, clarinets, flutes, and oboes and require good hand technique along with breath control. Saxophones, especially, and clarinets are more common to see at rock or jazz sets (although the flute is making a comeback recently). Many of these orchestra instruments require training over a long period of time, and often you will see musicians learn brass, woodwind or violins in school while learning guitar, piano or percussion on their own time.

Guitar and piano are usually the best options for musical beginners, but the most important thing is to choose whatever instrument you like and gets you excited to play it! Learning to play music is a great skill that will last you forever. Children who are taught music at a young age learn to have discipline and practice as they express themselves. But on the same note, it’s never too late to become a musician and learn something new. So whatever you do, whether it’s practice your old faithful standby or learning a new instrument, just remember to have fun!

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