Any instrument can be rewarding to learn, but unless you're destined to be a virtuoso, you don't want something so challenging you lose heart. Fortunately, there are instruments that you can fairly easily play to a standard good enough for most purposes. Whether you're starting as a child as an adult, here are five of the easiest musical instruments to learn.
There's a very good reason why the recorder is often the instrument used to start children off in primary school. While it has a lovely sound and can be used for as complex music as any other instrument, it's very straightforward to learn the basics. The recorder is fairly intuitive to play, since it doesn't need special blowing techniques like reed or brass instruments, and the fingering patterns are much simpler than a clarinet or saxophone, for example.
On the other hand, the recorder is challenging enough that a beginner has to learn about both breathing techniques and musical theory. Once mastered, the recorder can be used both for a variety of modern music or for Early Music.
As a simpler equivalent of the guitar, the ukulele has exploded in popularity in recent years, with ensembles like the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain showcasing the instrument's potential. With only four strings and a shorter neck, ukulele chords are much simpler than those on the guitar, making it an ideal instrument for a beginner. The characteristic strum of the ukulele is very effective to accompany songs, while the more ambitious can learn finger-picking styles. The ukulele can be learnt as an instrument in its own right, but it can also serve as a gateway to the more complex guitar.
The harmonica isn't only straightforward to learn — it's also one of the few musical instruments that can be carried around in your pocket. Played by a combination of blowing and sucking, the harmonica's notes are fairly simple to pick up, so you'll be able to get simple tunes out of it from an early stage. Like the recorder, the harmonica helps you develop breathing techniques that will allow you to play more complex pieces. The basic harmonica is widely used in blues, rock and folk, but if you want to move up a level, the chromatic harmonica is capable of considerably more complexity. If you should move to this version, classical pieces have been written for it.
Althoug harder to learn than the ukulele, you'll be able to use the guitar at an early stage of learning to accompany simple songs. All you'll need are a few chords, together with simple strumming or picking techniques. Whether acoustic or electric, the guitar is used in a wide range of musical genres — classical, jazz, rock, blues and folk, for example, along with many others. The basics can easily be learnt on an inexpensive acoustic guitar, however you're intending to use it. If your heart is set on being the next rock god, though, there's no reason not to start with an electric guitar. Because the guitar has such wide applications, it's vital to make sure that the tutor you hire, whether for yourself or for your child, can teach the styles and techniques needed.
Let's face it, we all like banging a drum, whether we're two or ninety. At a basic level, drums are very easy to learn — as long as you can keep up a basic rhythm, you can use that to build up more sophisticated techniques. A very young child can start with a toy drum, but an older child or an adult has a wide choice. There are the various drums used in orchestras or brass bands, a broad range of African, Asian or Caribbean drums — or, of course, a full drum-kit. You can even learn to play electronic drums.
A good beat is essential in many kinds of music, and a drummer who can keep that beat will be in demand, whether for jam sessions or for permanent bands. These are five instruments that are fairly straightforward to learn to a reasonable level. Even so, you still need a good tutor to get you there and beyond to a level beyond adequate. Register with TutorExtra to find the best tutors for your chosen instrument.