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What Is the Easiest Instrument to Learn?

What Is the Easiest Instrument to Learn?

Playing music is not only impressive, but it’s a wonderful creative outlet to have. With over 1,000 instruments in the world, it can be challenging to narrow down what you want to learn to play. 

Learning any instrument takes dedication, practice, and passion. If you’re looking to learn an instrument quickly, some instruments are easier to learn than others.

easiest instrument to learn

What is easy for you to learn may be more challenging for someone else. Researching and understanding the components of the instruments you’re interested in can help you decide what will be the easiest for you. 

Since there are thousands of instruments out there, we’ve narrowed down a list of the easiest musical instrument to learn to get you started. 

Top 10 Easiest Instruments to Learn 

Let’s get started with our top 10 easiest instruments to learn.

banjo

Banjo 

Pete Seeger famously taught himself to play the five-string banjo and went on to make a career of it. This makes the banjo sound daunting to the armature musician. It shouldn’t.

There’s a reason the banjo was the instrument of choice for amateur musicians back in the 1920s.

The banjo was light, easy to travel with, and absolutely anyone could play it.  

Times have changed, but the banjo is still one of the easiest instruments to learn. This is because the five-string banjo centers on an open G. All the beginner player has to do is casually strum the strings, no frets needed, and you can play a G-chord. 

But if you’re still unsure, Seeger wrote an accessible book on banjo-playing. Between that and the readily parsed banjo chords, you’ll soon be making a career of this instrument yourself. 

Overall

  • It’s one of the most natural string instruments to learn
  • It’s the easiest instrument to teach yourself

ukulele

Ukulele 

Another one of the easiest instruments to learn is the ukulele. It’s basically a four-string guitar. 

Like the banjo, it’s portable, and the fewer strings make learning to play easy for beginners. It follows similar chord progressions to the guitar, making it the ideal jumping-off point for learning a strummed instrument. 

On top of that, its portability makes it one of the easiest instruments to learn in your 20s, when space in university residences and apartments is at a premium. 

Overall

  • Easiest to learn as a young adult
  • Small and easy to transport

harmonica

Harmonica 

One of the best musical instruments to learn first is the harmonica. That’s because this mouth organ only has one key, making it extremely difficult to go wrong. 

However, unlike string instruments, beginner harmonica players have to get the hang of breath control and pitches. Once you’ve mastered the breathing techniques, you’ll notice better tone and quality in your playing. 

With the harmonica, you can play various genres, including:

  • Country
  • Rock 
  • Folk 

Overall

  • Helps improve breath control to learn more wind instruments
  • Easiest instrument to learn later in life

recorder musical instrument

Recorder 

There’s a reason recorders are the beloved introductory instrument for music teachers all over the world.

Before you get into more advanced woodwind instruments, the recorder helps you practice fingering and breathing techniques.

The simple design of the recorder means you can’t play chords as you would on a stringed instrument like a guitar. But you’ll get a good ear for pitches, and with practice, can play in harmony with others. 

Overall

  • Best musical instrument to learn first
  • Helps learn pitch, which allows you to learn more instruments easily

trombone

Trombone 

While opinion varies about what the easiest instrument to learn in band is, our pick is the trombone. 

Various band instruments, while lightweight and easy to play, can be troublesome. Typically, this is either because of the mouth shape required or the breath control involved. 

The trombone is one of the easiest low-volume instruments to produce a tone on, whatever your lip shape. And since it doubles as a jazz and orchestral instrument, students get plenty of opportunity to practice. 

However, unlike other instruments, there are no valves or keys so it’s harder to control fast-paced notes. You can solve this by going slowly until you get the hang of the instrument. 

Overall

  • Best for learning in band 
  • You’ll surely impress anyone willing to listen to you play
  • If your posture is correct, it can improve any back pain you’re feeling

drums

Drums 

The drums are another easy instrument to learn in band. Unlike other band instruments, they require no breath control. Instead, they help hone counting and timing skills. 

The only down side is that drums can be an awkward instrument to learn from home since they take up significant space. You can’t just choose a smaller set because it’ll be uncomfortable to play if it’s too small for the drummer.

Overall

  • Best for those who won’t want to learn an instrument requiring breath control
  • They’re great for improving your rhythm and learning to stay on beat
  • They may take up a significant amount of space, but you can play almost any type of music on drums

piano

Piano

The piano may be one of the hardest instruments to learn on this list. A professional musician doesn’t just play with their hands but their whole bodies. They also have to juggle timing, peddles, and musical expression, all while coordinating both hands. 

That said, you don’t have to jump into the advanced stuff right away. You can play well simply by learning the basics, like Middle C and scales, and move up from there.

You don’t have to stick to nursery rhymes and Christmas carols in the early days either. One of the easiest ways to learn piano is to pick a favorite song and have your tutor transpose it into the key of C. 

Everything’s easier in C because you don’t have to worry about those daunting black keys. They’ll be there waiting when you’ve built up more confidence. 

Overall

  • Best for learning to read music
  • It’s considered the best instrument to learn
  • Once you’ve learned the basics of piano, learning other instruments tends to be easier

guitar

Guitar

The guitar is another instrument that requires effort, but it’s one of the easiest instruments to learn late in life.  

While guitar can be hard on your fingers, the technique is easy to pick up.

Not only that, but it’s one of the easiest instruments to learn online. You can find countless tutorials in everything from guitar chords to fingering. You can choose to learn from YouTube videos or professional courses through the Berklee College of Music.

Overall

  • Best for learning later in life
  • It’s a great instrument to bring with you to entertain friends
  • You only need to know three chords to begin playing music

clarinet

Clarinet 

Sometimes called a licorice stick, the clarinet is another easy instrument to learn. The blowing technique challenges some players at first, but the B-flat clarinet is a favorite for beginners. 

For an added bonus, the B-flat clarinet is also the most flexible of the clarinet family. You can experiment with different styles and genres as you go.

Overall

  • Best woodwind instrument for beginners to learn in band
  • Clarinet helps improve your hand-eye coordination

flute

Flute 

Unlike other woodwinds, you don’t blow directly into a flute. Instead, you blow over the top of the instrument’s opening to create the high, ethereal sound. 

The flute is also an easier instrument to learn than a stringed instrument because you can learn more notes more quickly. 

Again, the most challenging aspect of flute playing is breath control. However, many beginners find that practicing by spitting rice helps you hone the skill. 

Overall

  • Best for learning musical notes quickly
  • Learning to play flute improves your body coordination and core strength

Final Thoughts

Learning to play an instrument is one of the best things you can do. Regardless of the instrument you choose to learn, it provides you with a creative outlet, encourages discipline, improves your memory, and improves coordination throughout your body. 

What’s easy for you and difficult for someone else may vary, but if you ask musicians, they’ll typically have an idea of what instruments are easiest to learn. 

Whether you’re looking to choose an easy-to-learn instrument for your school band, impress everyone with your piano skills, or work on your breath work with a harmonica, there’s an instrument for everyone to learn.