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Learning an Instrument: Choosing What to Play

Learning an Instrument: Choosing What to Play

With so many instruments out there to explore, how do you decide what to play? When we’re younger, it’s easy to join a school class like band or orchestra and pick up whatever sounds interesting. As adults, there’s a lot more to keep in mind before you go instrument shopping. Luckily, you know more about yourself now. You know your music taste and what interests you. That’s why it’s the best time to pick up a new instrument and start playing.

With so many online resources, it’s easier than ever to learn how to play anything from the bagpipes to the fiddle. Don’t just choose what’s the most popular when you might be destined for something else. Are you ready to choose a musical instrument that’s right for you? Let’s get started.

Asking the Right Questions

Sometimes we’re immediately drawn to an instrument. These instruments call to us, and we’re just going along for the ride. Other times, things aren’t so straightforward. Even if you feel you’re being called to a certain instrument, it’s worth taking the time to consider if that’s really right for your situation.

We all have budgets, space, and time restraints that might keep us back from choosing our first choice. The good news is there’s no such thing as a bad instrument! Here are some questions to get your mind moving.

What is your favorite genre of music?

Of course, the first question is what you like to listen to. If you don’t enjoy listening to classical music, you probably don’t want to pick up the mandolin or the violin. Choosing something that feels right to you starts with knowing your favorite genre. You’ll be spending a lot of time listening to yourself play so you might as well enjoy what you’re listening to.

What’s your budget?

Don’t fall into the hype that you have to spend a lot of money on your first instrument. In fact, you should avoid going overboard with your budget at first when you’re still learning. It will take time to know for certain if this is a hobby you’re ready to commit to, so keep the budget down.

However, some instruments are pricier than others. A harmonica might be dirt cheap, but a luxury guitar can run you thousands of dollars. Check Deal News for the best deals on your instrument of choice.

How much time do you have?

If you’re booked solid with commitments, it might not be the best time to start learning a complicated instrument. If you have a lot of time, however, it might be fine to throw yourself into learning something that will take a lot of time. If you want to be an excellent musician, you will need to dedicate as much time as possible. If you’re okay being an adequate player, on the other hand, a few hours a week might be fine.

Do you have any physical limitations?

Some instruments aren’t built for all body types. A good way to figure this out for yourself is to go to an instrument store in person and see what you can actually handle. An upright bass might seem like a good idea in your head, but in practice, it’s really heavy. You don’t want to run into too many size challenges when you’re first getting started.

Can you read music?

Depending on what you choose, you’ll need to learn how to read music. That’s no problem if you know how already, but it can take some time if you aren’t already competent in music reading. If you’re learning classical music or jazz music, you’ll probably need to know how to read music. Luckily, there are free online learning programs you can start to pick up this skill on your own.

Starting Your New Skill

When you ask these questions above, it’ll become clear just what instrument you were meant to play. Like with any skill, expect it to take time to master the basics and beyond. There’s no such thing as an overnight success when trying to play a new instrument.

As long as you’re willing to put in the work, you can get far. You might even discover a new career that’s been waiting for you this whole time. Take advantage of free and online resources until you’re able to play any song you want.



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