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17 Easy Musical Instruments to Learn for Adults and Children

By Jeremy LaBrooy

Are you considering learning a new musical instrument, but not sure where to start?

Playing an instrument can be a life-changing experience, building confidence, improving cognitive skills, and fostering creativity.

With so many instruments to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for you.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the key factors to consider when selecting an instrument, introduce you to 17 easy musical instruments to learn, and provide helpful tips for mastering your chosen instrument.

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Table of Contents

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Whether you’re a beginner or looking to try something new, this article will help you find the perfect instrument to unlock your musical potential.

1. The Ukulele

The ukulele is one of the most popular instruments for people to start with, and for good reason.

It’s an excellent choice for both adults and children, offering a fun and rewarding learning experience.

Easy to Learn

For those new to music, the ukulele is a great instrument to begin with. Its small size and fewer strings make it much easier to learn compared to the guitar. The frets are also closer together, making it a better fit for little hands. Additionally, the most common basic chords are relatively simple to learn, giving you access to thousands of songs.

Portable and Fun

The ukulele is an incredibly compact instrument, making it easy to take with you wherever you go. This portability, combined with its ease of play, makes it a great instrument for impromptu jam sessions or casual play.

To get the most out of your ukulele, try experimenting with different strumming patterns and techniques. You can also find thousands of ukulele tutorials and songs online, making it easy to learn and stay motivated. With its affordable price tag and small size, the ukulele is an excellent choice for anyone looking to start their musical journey.

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2. Recorder

If you’re looking for an instrument that’s easy to learn and can provide a great introduction to music, the recorder is an excellent choice.

Music Basics Made Easy

Musically, the recorder is a great instrument for learning the basics of music theory, including reading sheet music, understanding pitch, and developing breath control.

Transition to Other Woodwinds

The recorder’s finger placement is similar to other woodwind instruments, making it an excellent starting point for those interested in playing the saxophone, clarinet, or flute.

This transition is made easier because the finger placement and breath control techniques learned on the recorder can be applied to these other instruments, allowing you to build on your existing skills and accelerate your learning process. Additionally, the similarities in finger placement will make it easier to adapt to the new instrument, and you’ll be able to focus on developing your tone and technique rather than starting from scratch.

3. Harmonica

One of the most versatile and portable instruments on this list is the harmonica.

Versatile and Portable

Clearly, the harmonica is an instrument that can be taken anywhere, making it perfect for impromptu performances or practice sessions on-the-go. Its compact size and lightweight design make it easy to carry around, and its versatility allows it to be played in various musical genres, from blues to rock to folk.

Easy to Learn Basics

Basic harmonica playing involves blowing and drawing air through the instrument to produce different notes. Fundamentals like learning to hold the harmonica correctly, understanding breath control, and mastering basic blowing and drawing techniques can be learned quickly, usually within a few hours of practice.

A major advantage of learning the harmonica is that it’s relatively easy to start playing simple melodies and songs within a short period. This can be a great motivator for beginners, as they can see progress and enjoy playing recognizable tunes quickly. Additionally, the harmonica is an excellent instrument for developing breath control, embouchure (the position and shape of the lips, facial muscles, and teeth), and hand-eye coordination. With consistent practice, you can become proficient in playing the harmonica in no time!

4. Keyboard

After exploring various instruments, you may find that the keyboard is an excellent choice for you or your child. It’s an incredible instrument for anyone to learn, and it will teach you the basics of music theory.

Music Theory Made Simple

With the keyboard, you’ll understand how to read sheet music, turn notes into chords, develop an understanding of harmonies, and learn how to play something by ear. The keyboard is an excellent instrument for building a strong foundation in music theory, making it easier to learn other instruments in the future.

Digital Applications Galore

On top of its traditional benefits, the keyboard has become an necessary tool in the digital music world. Learning to play the keyboard will save you a lot of time when creating your own music using digital software, as most programs are based on a keyboard structure.

Theory behind digital applications is that they offer a wide range of possibilities for creativity and experimentation. You can create your own beats, melodies, and harmonies, and even record and produce your own music. This can be a great motivator for learners, as they can see the immediate results of their practice and creativity.

5. Guitar

For many students, the guitar is a popular choice due to its versatility and the quick rewards it offers.

Learning to play the guitar can be a bit more challenging than some of the other instruments on this list, but it’s an excellent instrument for any student to learn because it gives much quicker rewards. It’s relatively easy to get the hang of chords and strumming, and once you have learned a couple, you can play a song pretty quickly.

Immediate Rewards Await

With just a few weeks of practice, you’ll be able to play simple songs and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with it. The guitar is a great instrument to learn because it also teaches students a different form of musical notation. Learning how to read guitar tablature involves exercising a lot of the reasoning processes in the brain and transposing written instructions into real-life movements.

Brain Development Boost

Clearly, learning to play the guitar has a significant impact on brain development. It improves hand-eye coordination, enhances fine motor skills, and boosts cognitive abilities. Playing the guitar also requires concentration and focus, which can help improve attention span and reduce stress.

Await the benefits of improved memory and spatial-temporal skills as you learn to play the guitar. As you practice, your brain will develop new connections, and you’ll experience an increase in neuroplasticity, allowing you to adapt to new information and challenges more easily. The guitar is an excellent instrument for students of all ages, offering a fun and engaging way to develop necessary skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

6. Cajón

To explore the world of percussion, the cajón is an excellent choice for both adults and children.

This instrument is easy to learn and provides a wide range of sounds, making it an engaging and versatile option for beginners.

Accessible and Versatile

Adaptable to various musical styles, the cajón is an instrument that can be played in different settings, from traditional Peruvian music to modern pop and rock. Its simplicity and portability make it an accessible instrument for all ages and skill levels.

Easy to Learn Rhythms

On the cajón, you can quickly learn basic rhythms and techniques, such as slapping the front or rear faces with your hands or fingers. The instrument’s design allows for a range of sounds, from deep bass tones to high slaps, making it easy to experiment and find your own style.

Cajón playing involves developing coordination and rhythmic awareness, which can be achieved through practice and patience. As you progress, you’ll be able to create complex rhythms and patterns, adding depth and energy to your music. With the cajón, you’ll be able to improve your sense of rhythm and timing, imperative skills for any musician.

7. Bass Guitar

Once again, we have an instrument that’s perfect for those who want to explore the lower end of the musical spectrum. The bass guitar typically has four strings, which are thicker and produce lower pitches than a regular guitar.

Rhythm and Groove Made Easy

Some might think that playing the bass guitar is all about complexity and technicality, but the truth is, it’s all about rhythm and groove. With a focus on these vital elements, learning to play the bass guitar can be straightforward and fun.

Physical Layout Tips

Getting familiar with the physical layout of the bass guitar is crucial for comfortable playing. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Finger placement: Make sure to place your fingers close to the fretboard and directly behind the strings.
  • Hand positioning: Hold your hands in a relaxed position, with your wrists straight and fingers curled over the fretboard.
  • Posture: Maintain good posture while playing, with your back straight and feet planted firmly on the ground.

Groove into the rhythm and let your body move to the beat! Knowing these physical layout tips will help you play comfortably and efficiently.

The bass guitar is an excellent instrument for those who want to develop their sense of rhythm and timing. With its thicker strings and lower pitches, it provides a unique sound that’s vital in many musical genres. By focusing on rhythm and groove, you’ll be able to play along with your favorite songs in no time.

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8. Bongos

All you need is a pair of bongos and your hands to create infectious rhythms.

Bongos are a type of hand drum originating from Cuba, and they’re an excellent choice for adults and children alike.

Cultural History and Fun

Culturally rich and fun to play, bongos have been a staple in Latin American music for centuries. They’re often played in pairs, with one drum producing a higher pitch and the other a lower pitch. You can play bongos in various styles, from traditional Cuban rhythms to modern pop and rock music.

Portable and Volume Control

While bongos are loud enough to be heard in a band setting, they’re also relatively quiet compared to other drums. This makes them an excellent choice for practice sessions or playing at home without disturbing others.

Control the volume to your liking by adjusting your playing technique. You can play with your fingers, palms, or even use brushes to create different sounds and dynamics. The portability of bongos is another significant advantage, as they’re lightweight and easy to transport.

Important note: As with any drumming instrument, it’s crucial to practice proper playing technique to avoid fatigue or injury to your hands and wrists. Start with short practice sessions and gradually increase your playing time as you build endurance.

9. Kalimba

Your introduction to the world of music can begin with the Kalimba, a unique and fascinating instrument that’s easy to learn and fun to play.

Melodic Sound and Portability

Even with its small size, the Kalimba produces a rich, melodic sound that’s perfect for creating simple tunes and rhythms. Its portability makes it an excellent choice for beginners who want to practice anywhere, anytime.

Introduction to Music Concepts

Even if you have no prior musical experience, the Kalimba can help you develop vital music concepts, such as pitch, rhythm, and timing. Its simple layout and intuitive playing style make it an ideal instrument for learning the basics of music theory.

A great advantage of learning the Kalimba is that it helps you develop your sense of pitch and tone. As you play, you’ll become more aware of the relationships between notes and how they sound together. This newfound understanding will translate to other instruments and enhance your overall musical appreciation. With the Kalimba, you’ll be able to explore the world of music without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated.

10. Piano

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After considering the various instruments available, the piano stands out as an excellent choice for both adults and children. This versatile instrument offers a wide range of benefits, making it an ideal option for those looking to learn music.

Versatility and Foundational

Little do people know that the piano is an excellent instrument for building a strong musical foundation. It provides a visual representation of music theory, making it easier to understand concepts like harmony, melody, and rhythm. Additionally, the piano’s versatility allows players to explore various genres, from classical to jazz and pop.

Cognitive and Coordination Benefits

You may be surprised to learn that playing the piano offers numerous cognitive and coordination benefits. Research has shown that piano playing can improve memory, concentration, and spatial-temporal skills. It also enhances hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and dexterity.

Benefits of piano playing extend beyond the cognitive realm. It can also have a profound impact on emotional development, fostering creativity, self-expression, and confidence. Studies have shown that piano playing can even reduce stress and anxiety levels, making it an excellent hobby for individuals of all ages. With its numerous benefits and versatility, the piano is an excellent instrument to learn for anyone looking to explore the world of music.

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11. Xylophone

Unlike other instruments that require extensive technical skill, the xylophone is relatively easy to learn, making it an excellent choice for both adults and children.

Visual and Auditory Appeal

Appealing to the senses, the xylophone’s vibrant sound and colorful keys create a captivating experience for learners of all ages. Its visual appeal lies in the arrangement of keys, which resemble a miniature piano, making it an attractive instrument to play.

Learning Scales and Rhythm Made Easy

While other instruments may require complex fingerings and hand positions, the xylophone’s simple layout makes it easy to learn scales and rhythms. The instrument’s diatonic tuning means that learners can focus on developing their sense of rhythm and timing without worrying about complicated fingerwork.

This simplicity allows you to focus on developing your musicality, exploring different rhythms, and experimenting with various techniques, such as malleting and glissando. As you progress, you’ll find that the xylophone’s gentle learning curve makes it an excellent instrument for building confidence and fostering a lifelong love of music.

12. Djembe

Not only is the djembe a popular instrument in West African culture, but it’s also an excellent choice for adults and children looking to explore the world of percussion.

Popular Among Children

Now, more than ever, kids are drawn to the djembe’s infectious rhythms and energetic beats. Its accessibility and ease of use make it an ideal instrument for children to learn and enjoy. With a djembe, kids can develop their sense of rhythm, coordination, and creativity while having fun playing along with their favorite songs.

Physical and Mental Engagement

Now, let’s talk about the benefits of playing the djembe. This instrument requires physical engagement, which helps improve hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and overall dexterity. At the same time, playing the djembe stimulates mental focus, concentration, and creativity, promoting cognitive development and emotional expression. This physical and mental engagement can have a profound impact on your overall well-being. Playing the djembe can help reduce stress and anxiety while boosting confidence and self-esteem. As you learn to play the djembe, you’ll develop a sense of accomplishment and pride in your abilities, which can translate to other areas of your life.

13. Tambourine

Now, let’s move on to another fun and easy-to-learn instrument, the tambourine!

Versatile and Easy to Learn

One of the reasons the tambourine is an excellent choice for beginners is its versatility. You can play it in various styles, from gentle shakes to energetic slaps, making it an excellent instrument for exploring different genres of music.

Basic Percussion Elements

If you’re new to playing percussion instruments, the tambourine is an excellent starting point. It helps you develop crucial skills, such as timing, rhythm, and coordination, which are crucial for playing more complex percussion instruments.

A great way to start learning the tambourine is by practicing basic strokes, such as shaking, tapping, and slapping. As you become more comfortable, you can experiment with different techniques, such as fingertip rolls and wrist circles. Remember to practice regularly to develop your skills and build confidence.

14. Glockenspiel

Now, let’s explore the Glockenspiel, a beautiful and easy-to-learn instrument that’s perfect for both adults and children.

The Glockenspiel is a percussion instrument that consists of a set of metal bars of varying pitches that are struck with a mallet to produce a bright, ringing sound. Its simplicity and visual appeal make it an excellent choice for beginners.

Bright and Appealing Sound

With its shimmering, metallic tones, the Glockenspiel adds a touch of magic to any musical composition. Its bright and appealing sound is perfect for creating a sense of wonder and enchantment, making it an ideal instrument for children’s music and festive occasions.

Introduction to Scales and Rhythm

Bright and cheerful, the Glockenspiel is an excellent instrument for introducing beginners to the basics of music theory, including scales and rhythm. Its simple layout and intuitive playing technique make it easy to learn and understand musical concepts.

The Glockenspiel is a great instrument for learning scales and rhythm because of its visual and auditory feedback. As you strike the metal bars, you can see and hear the relationships between the notes, making it easier to understand musical patterns and structures. This hands-on approach to learning music theory can help build confidence and lay the foundation for more complex musical skills.

15. Tin Whistle

Despite its simplicity, the tin whistle is a delightful instrument that can bring joy to both adults and children.

Despite its simplicity, the tin whistle is a delightful instrument that can bring joy to both adults and children.

Easy to Learn and Portable

Whistling a happy tune has never been easier! The tin whistle is an extremely accessible instrument, requiring minimal effort to produce a pleasant sound. Its portability makes it an excellent choice for those who want to practice on-the-go.

Breath Control and Coordination Benefits

Any musician will tell you that breath control is vital for producing a beautiful sound. The tin whistle helps develop this skill, as well as hand-eye coordination, as you learn to cover and uncover the holes to change notes.

Portable and lightweight, the tin whistle is perfect for practicing anywhere, anytime. As you master the instrument, you’ll notice improvements in your breath control and coordination, which can also benefit other areas of your life, such as sports or public speaking. Remember to practice regularly to see significant progress!

16. Handpan

Many people are drawn to the handpan’s unique, mesmerizing sound and its ability to evoke emotions.

Handpans are a type of musical instrument that originated in the year 2000 in Switzerland. They are played by tapping the fingers on the instrument’s surface, producing a rich, resonant sound. Handpans are often used in meditation, yoga, and therapeutic settings due to their calming and soothing effects.

Soothing Tones and Intuitive Layout

On the surface, handpans appear to be a complex instrument, but their intuitive layout makes them easy to learn. The notes are arranged in a logical pattern, allowing you to explore different sounds and rhythms without needing extensive musical knowledge. The soothing tones produced by the handpan can help you relax and focus, making it an excellent instrument for beginners.

Relaxing and Therapeutic Benefits

Tones produced by the handpan have been known to have a profound impact on both the player and the listener. The instrument’s calming effects can help reduce stress and anxiety, promoting a sense of relaxation and calmness.

Plus, the handpan’s therapeutic benefits extend beyond its sound. The physical act of playing the instrument can help improve hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and dexterity. The handpan’s meditative qualities can also help you develop greater self-awareness, concentration, and emotional balance. By incorporating the handpan into your daily routine, you can experience a range of benefits that extend far beyond music.

17. Drums

Apart from being an excellent way to relieve stress and regulate moods, learning to play the drums has been shown to increase academic performance and boost confidence.

Learning Process and Benefits

Learning to play a standard drum kit isn’t actually that complex; it’s more about practicing consistently. This instrument helps in developing hand-eye coordination and rhythmic skills, making it an excellent starting point for any aspiring musician. The structured practice routines can also teach discipline and focus, benefiting the reader in various aspects of life.

Stress Relief and Mood Regulation

Apart from being an excellent way to relieve stress and regulate moods, playing the drums has been shown to increase academic performance and boost confidence. The physical activity involved in drumming releases endorphins, which can help improve overall well-being and mental health. This can be particularly beneficial for readers looking for a productive outlet for stress and anxiety.

Options for Electronic Kits to Reduce Noise

The main drawback of traditional drum kits is the need for space and the potential noise, which might not sit well with neighbors. However, modern electronic drum kits offer a fantastic solution, allowing drummers to play as loudly as they want while only hearing the sound through headphones. This means that readers can enjoy the benefits of drumming without worrying about disturbing others, making it a practical option for those living in apartments or shared spaces.

Summing up

So, now that you’ve explored the 17 easy musical instruments to learn for adults and children, you’re equipped to make an informed decision about which instrument is right for you. Remember to consider your goals, abilities, cost, and passion when choosing an instrument, and don’t be afraid to try out a few options before committing. With practice and dedication, learning an instrument can bring numerous benefits, including building confidence, improving cognitive skills, and fostering creativity. Whatever instrument you choose, the most important thing is that you enjoy the process of learning and making music.

FAQ

Q: What are the key factors to consider when selecting an instrument to learn?

A: When deciding which instrument to learn, consider your goals, abilities, cost, and passion. Think about the type of music you want to play, try out different instruments to see what feels natural, and consider the cost of the instrument. Most importantly, choose an instrument that you’re passionate about, as it will keep you motivated to practice and improve.

Q: What are some easy instruments to learn for adults and children?

A: There are many easy instruments to learn, including the ukulele, recorder, harmonica, keyboard, guitar, and cajón. These instruments are great for beginners because they’re relatively inexpensive, easy to learn, and can be played in a variety of musical genres.

Q: Why is it important to choose an instrument that you’re interested in?

A: Choosing an instrument that you’re interested in is crucial because it will keep you motivated to practice and improve. When you’re passionate about an instrument, you’ll be more likely to stick with it and make progress, which can lead to a lifelong hobby or even a career in music.

Q: Can I learn an instrument even if I have no prior musical experience?

A: Absolutely! Anyone can learn an instrument, regardless of prior musical experience. Start with the basics, practice regularly, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You can also consider taking lessons from a qualified instructor to help you get started.

Q: What are the benefits of learning a musical instrument?

A: Learning a musical instrument can have many benefits, including building confidence, improving cognitive skills, and developing hand-eye coordination. It can also be a fun and rewarding hobby that allows you to express yourself creatively and connect with others who share your passion for music.

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