What is the easiest musical instrument to learn to play?

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Image Credit: Denise Jans

Want to learn a musical instrument? Relax with the one that is easy to play.

Maybe you are new to music creation. Maybe you’ve only made beats digitally with loops and samples and feel like recording a physical musical instrument. If you have absolutely no prior knowledge, the playing field is level, right? However, some instruments are considered more difficult to master than others.

Everyone learns differently. It’s easy to be put off when trying to master a more delicate instrument. We are talking about melodic instruments here rather than percussion instruments like drums.

Let’s narrow it down to the basics – which instrument is easiest to learn to play a basic melody?

The recorder

There is a reason why, in the UK at least, the recorder is the first instrument taught in school. It is unfortunate that a class of children taking their first recorder lesson sounds like the gates of hell opening. Recorders are simply designed so that the hands naturally fit over the keyholes.

At a very basic level, the more fingers you press at the same time, the lower the sound. Just make sure the thumb of your left hand covers the only hole in the back. You can hear the descending ladder when you put your fingers over the holes in the front. There is little technique involved in making a noise initially, unlike with a saxophone or a flute where you have to first master the embouchure (mouth position) before anything else – you just blow into it. It could even be seen as a gateway to other wind instruments once the basics are acquired.

The piano

On the other side of the ring we have the piano. Easier than the recorder? Well, for one, you don’t need to put it together, or master any breathing or embouchure techniques to produce a pleasing sound. You don’t have to worry about sounding out of tune, unlike an instrument like the violin where hand positioning is important. The keys are arranged in front of you: from bottom to top, left to right.

All you have to do is press and you can hear the tone go up or down as you move your hands. Start with one hand – your right. Learn where the “middle C” is – place the thumb of your right hand on it and the other four fingers naturally rest on the four white keys on the right. Press each in turn while raising the piano and you play the first notes of the C major scale, CDEFG. Once you understand that by riding the piano the keyboard is actually the same set of 12 repeated notes, the number of keys becomes much less intimidating.

Feeling inspired makes a big difference …

If you are not enthusiastic about the instrument, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to master it. Very few people are inspired by the recorder. Sometimes you feel a kinship with the instrument and the learning comes naturally. Don’t give up learning music if the instrument you’re starting out with doesn’t click – there are hundreds of other options. If the guitar is frustrating, try the ukulele instead. If you just can’t master the two-handed piano, play the harmonica for a while. There are so many resources online to help you learn, or you can invest in online lessons with a music teacher. Once you’ve learned the basics of one instrument, it’s easier to transfer that knowledge to learn another.

There is no easy answer to knowing which instrument is the easiest to learn to play at a proficient level. It depends entirely on the player and his personal preferences. All instruments require some coordination and an understanding of rhythm.

Which musical instrument did you find the easiest to learn? Let us know in the comments.


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