Looking for an easy instrument to learn but don’t know where to start?Whether you want to learn an instrument as an adult, or you’re searching for an instrument for a child or an elder, there’s something out there for everyone.
In this article, we’ll go through 13 easy musical instruments to learn for adults and children. Start learning how to play your favorite song today on one of these incredible instruments!
Table of Contents
Originating in Peru in the 19th century, the Cajon is a unique percussion instrument shaped like a box first invented by African slaves in Latin America.
The Cajon was primarily used to play Afro-Peruvian folk music back in the day.
Today, though, people play this instrument in a wide variety of settings, and it’s trendy among buskers and jam bands.
Playing the Cajon is simple. The player sits on top of the box, using their hands to bang against the sides of the Cajon.
You switch the side that you’re playing on to change tone, add accents, and inject complexity into your music.
While more advanced rhythms will take time to learn, you can learn the basics of the Cajon in a matter of minutes.
Possibly the most recognizable of all of the easiest instruments to learn, thousands of musicians first picked up the Recorder in their public school music class as a child, and for a good reason.
Aside from being an inexpensive instrument, the recorder’s finger holes make it really great for novice learners of any age.
Simply place your lips on the mouthpiece and blow air into the instrument, covering the various holes with your fingers to create notes and melodies.
The recorder’s simple construction, low weight, portability, and simple playing mechanism make it the easiest flute instrument for beginners to learn, young or old.
The Bongos are another incredibly easy instrument to learn the basics of playing, an iconic pair of small drums originating in Cuba in the late 19th century.
The bongos are two small hand drums that can come in various sizes.
Each drum has an open bottom, allowing sound from the batter head to project down and out through the instrument.
To play the bongos, simply strike the tops of the drums with your hands.
Players most commonly utilize an eight-stroke pattern, but this can change depending on what type of music you want to play.
An excellent percussion instrument for beginners, the Tambourine is a circular hand instrument used in various music types.
If you’re looking for an easy instrument to learn, the tambourine is one of the easiest out there.
The tambourine consists of a plastic or metal circular frame interspersed with pairs of tiny metal cymbals known as “zills.”
Traditional tambourines have a drum head over one side of the frame, but other instrument varieties might not.
As you strike either the frame or the drum head with your hands, the zills rattle against one another, creating a rhythmic crashing sound that you can work into jazz, folk, and more.
The Harmonica, a free reed wind instrument, is considered one of the best travel instruments around.
It was developed in the 19th century by European artisans inspired by Chinese free reed instruments like the sheng.
Playing the harmonica’s basics is easy. You simply put your lips to the holes along the length of the instrument and blow.
The air comes out the other side in different tones depending on which holes the air goes through.
However, while the basics of the harmonica are reasonably straightforward, the instrument becomes much more complex as you grow more advanced.
It’s a great instrument if you want something easy to learn at the start that becomes more challenging as time goes on.
First created by Portuguese immigrants in Hawaii during the late 19th century, the Ukelele has become one of the most popular easy-to-learn instruments available today.
You’ll often see backpackers, college students, and teens playing it with friends in their free time.
The ukulele resembles a miniature guitar, and it plays the exact same way. However, the ukulele only has four strings, making it easier to play than a standard six-string guitar.
There are four main types of ukuleles that are great for beginners: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone ukuleles. Each one is unique, so choose the one that’s right for you!
Part of the clapper family, Castanets are ancient percussion instruments that you play by clapping the two pieces of wood together in rhythmic succession.
Also known as Clackers or Palillos, castanets originated nearly 3000 years ago with the Phoenicians in what is modern-day Lebanon.
Typically, a castanets player is also a fairly confident dancer. They rhythmically clack their pairs of castanets, timed perfectly with their body movements.
Castanets have become a staple instrument of flamenco, the popular Spanish dance form. However, you don’t have to be a dancer to play the castanets.
They’re super easy to learn in that they don’t have any strings, tuning keys, or finger holes, and all you have to do is clack!
8. Mouth Harp
One of the more unique instruments on this list, the Mouth Harp, is a small bowed instrument that you hold in your mouth.
You may also hear it called by its other names: the Jew’s Harp, Munnharpe, Jaw Harp, Vargan, and more.
The exact origins of the mouth harp are unknown, but the first recorded use is in China in the 3rd century B.C.
Most mouth harps consist of a flexible “tongue” made from either metal or bamboo attached to a frame. Alternatively, the instrument can have a wooden reed instead of a tongue.
The player strikes the tongue, creating vibrations in the instrument’s body. These vibrations turn into sound waves projected outward by the user’s mouth.
While it might take a little practice to get right, the lack of complex parts makes it really easy to experiment with the mouth harp.
The flute is another excellent choice for beginners who want to learn a woodwind instrument.
Unlike other woodwinds, the flute doesn’t have a reed, meaning its sound comes solely from airflow over its openings.
By putting your lips to the lip plate and moving your fingers over the holes, you can create different tones on the flute.
Since it doesn’t have a reed, it requires a lot less effort to play the flute than other woodwinds.
While it will definitely take some practice to play more difficult patterns on a flute, it’s really easy to get started.
All you have to do is practice holding notes consistently, and you’ll be able to play some iconic flute songs faster than you’d think!
10. Snare Drum
The Snare Drum is one of the most essential percussion instruments in a marching band or concert orchestra.
It’s also a staple of a drum kit, but you can learn how to play this drum all on its own, and it’s pretty easy too.
Compared to tenor drum heads, a snare drum head provides a bit more bounce when you hit it with your drum sticks. As a result, it requires less effort to make louder sounds, making it easier to play than other concert drums.
You can progress fairly quickly into the advanced territory by learning basic scales and rhythms on your snare drum. You only need a drum and some sticks to get started!
11. Lyre Harp
The Lyre Harp is one of the more unique instruments on this list and isn’t too well known in popular culture.
It’s essentially a small version of a concert harp, with seven to ten strings instead of 47.
The Lyre date all the way back to Ancient Greece and are often depicted as being played by Gods and significant heroes in Greek mythology.
Learning to play the lyre will require a bit of patience, but it’s well worth it. You can take and play a lyre almost anywhere, resting it on your knee and using both hands to pluck the strings.
While many other instruments are quite expensive to start learning, the lyre harp is very affordable, another reason why it’s easy to learn.
An iconic and often intimidating instrument to learn, the guitar is actually a really good instrument for musical novices.
There is a wide range of different guitars you can choose from, including inexpensive beginners guitars made from lightweight wood and nylon strings.
Playing basic chords on a standard six-string guitar is surprisingly simple.
Once you learn where your fingers are supposed to rest, all you have to do is strum the strings.
You’ll be the next Bob Dylan in no time!
Learning to play the keyboard is a fantastic way to break into the piano world without breaking the bank.
While the keyboard can be a challenging instrument to play at more advanced levels, it’s also one of the most accessible instruments to learn as a beginner.
You don’t need any skill or musical knowledge to play the keyboard without training.
You can learn basic scales on the piano and build your knowledge from there, moving as slowly or quickly as you’d like.
Keyboards also come in a range of sizes, meaning you don’t have to commit to a full-size instrument if you don’t want to.
Wrapping Up the Easiest Instruments to Learn
Did one of the instruments on our list of the easiest instrument to learn stand out to you? Give it a try!
None of the instruments on our list require any prior musical knowledge to learn, so you can start your learning journey as soon as you pick one up.
Whether you want to play the Cajon, the ukelele, or the harmonica, learning how to play has never been easier!
While we tried to include all the easiest instruments to learn, we might have missed a couple.
What is the easiest musical instrument to learn? ›
- HARMONICA. One of the easiest instruments you can take up, which is also very popular in a variety of styles, is the harmonica. ...
- GUITAR. ...
- UKULELE. ...
- KEYBOARD. ...
- Bongo Drum.
Recorder. Playing the recorder requires breathing techniques and coordination. The recorder is easier than other wind instruments and is the ideal introductory instrument.What is the easiest and cheapest instrument to learn? ›
- Acoustic guitar. Not only are acoustic guitars much easier to master than electric guitars, but they're also the cheaper option to buy as far as guitars go. ...
- Ukulele. ...
- Keyboard. ...
- Recorder. ...
- Harmonica. ...
- Electronic drums. ...
- Auxiliary percussion. ...
- Your voice.
The instruments that we typically notice the quickest progress on are drums and piano (since you eliminate the factor of having to support/hold them) followed by guitar, bass and ukulele. For band and orchestra instruments, it can take significant time to learn basics.What instrument should I teach myself? ›
The easiest instruments to learn are ukulele, harmonica, bongos, piano, and glockenspiel. Learning these instruments as an adult will be straightforward and accessible, and we've included step-by-step tips for each below.What is the easiest instrument to learn for a senior? ›
- The Piano. One of the simplest musical instruments that seniors can easily learn is the classical piano. ...
- Harmonica. This is an instrument that is lightweight and can be easily carried anywhere. ...
- Ukulele. ...
- The Guitar. ...
- Tambourine. ...
- Bongos. ...
- The Recorder. ...
- The Flute.
Of course, if you are older than 9, you can still learn to play an instrument. Teenagers and adults who attend music lessons experience many of the same benefits as younger children. It's never too late to learn.What instrument should I learn at 40? ›
The fiddle remains one of the easiest instruments to learn late in life by senior citizens and children.What is a quiet instrument to learn? ›
Musicians consider the Clarinet as one of the quietest musical instruments in a wind band.
What is the most fun instrument to play? ›
The guitar is often considered to be the "coolest" musical instrument to learn. There are plenty of options available too: from electric to acoustic, classical to bass, all provide different sounds and styles.What is the deepest instrument? ›
Have you ever heard of classical music's lowest (and rarest) string instrument? It's called the octobass (a.k.a. octobasse) and was built in 1850 by French instrument maker Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume. It is tuned two octaves below a cello and stands a 12-feet tall.What is the easiest instrument to play in orchestra? ›
Perhaps one of the easiest orchestral instruments to learn is the timpani. The timpani usually comes in a set of 2, 3 or 4 drums.What is the most badass instrument? ›
- 5 The Great Stalacpipe Organ. 'Lithophone' is the fancy music term for 'thing that hits rocks with sticks. ...
- 4 The Nano Guitar. ...
- 3 Lego Harpsichord. ...
- 2 The Laser Harp. ...
- 1 The Zeusaphone.
If you're looking to calm your nerves, harp music might do the trick. A University of Arizona study explored the healing powers of music and showed that patients are most eased by the harp.What is the best age to learn instrument? ›
In most cases, we recommend that a child start taking instrument lessons at about age 5 or 6. If kids are in a musical family, or simple show high levels of interest and ability at a very young age, you could start instrument lessons at age 4. This also depends on the instrument they would be learning.What is the happiest instrument? ›
With its four string tuning and small size, the ukulele is an enjoyable instrument for beginners to learn. We'll explore instrument care and musical terminology, and learn playing techniques including melody lines, chords and fingerpicking.Which instrument is the smartest? ›
It is considered to be the smartest and the coolest of all musical instruments. As compared to various other band members, guitar players get the most attention during a performance.
- Hurdy Gurdy. This six-stringed instrument was at the height of its popularity in Europe during the Renaissance times. ...
- Kartal. This instrument is literally two wooden block that are struck to make noise. ...
- Kinnera. ...
- Lyre. ...
Ask yourself what you or your child like to listen to and then consider which instrument suit these genres or styles. If you like rock music, you will be drawn to electric guitar, electric bass or drums, for example. If you love rap, RnB or pop the keyboard or synthesizer may be close to the right choice.
Is 60 too old to learn a musical instrument? ›
Older adults still have the ability to learn, so don't feel you need to give up on this. Older adults actually benefit from taking on more hobbies and extracurriculars to keep the brain active and stimulated, so picking up a new instrument is a perfect way to do just that.Is 40 too late to learn an instrument? ›
No, forty is not even close to being too old to learn how to play an instrument. In fact, many adults start playing instruments much later, at retirement age for instance.What is the most versatile instrument to learn? ›
Furthermore, the keyboard has no musical limits. You can use it to play current pop, rock, hip-hop or reggae songs as well as jazz , folk or children's songs, and all this with an almost unlimited variety of sounds.Can a 70 year old learn to play the piano? ›
Learning to play the piano as an adult can be intimidating. Many people limit themselves because they think they are too old or that it's too late to start something new. The good news is, it's never too late to start.Is 65 too old to learn guitar? ›
You are never too old to learn guitar. You can start learning guitar at any age. While younger people tend to learn faster, you are still capable of learning guitar as a beginner whether you are 30, 40, 60, or even 70.Is it harder to learn an instrument at an older age? ›
Totally false. While it is possible (and easier) for your cognitive functions to forge new paths during childhood, that doesn't mean that you can't learn to play music as an adult. In fact, because of your life experiences, you're able to bring all of that information to the process.Which is harder violin or flute? ›
Although flute is a better and easier option than a violin to learn, you must follow your passion. You can choose any instrument to play but your interest is something that will make the journey easier.What is the easiest woodwind instrument to play? ›
Three easy and popular woodwind instruments for beginners are flute, clarinet, and alto saxophone because of their size, weight, and complexity. Learning any of these requires a degree of concentration best suited to students at least 10 years old, when they can learn to read music without difficulty.What is the least hardest instrument to play? ›
One reason the recorder is regarded as one of the easiest instruments to learn is because of its simplicity. Unlike many other instruments, the recorder requires less practice time.What instrument requires the most skill? ›
- Being a concert pianist I would have to definitely say, without a doubt, the instrument which has the highest skill ceiling is the instrument that most children everywhere around the world has already played at least once.
- It is the common Recorder.
What instrument is in the highest demand? ›
- Electric Bass. Many people assume that playing bass is easy if you already know how to play guitar, but playing bass well is easier said than done. ...
- Drums. ...
- Keyboards. ...
- Oboe. ...
- Bassoon. ...
- Violin. ...
- Viola. ...
- Double Bass.
Recorder. The recorder is one of the least appreciated instruments you can learn. In fact, this is one of the simplest ways to learn some of the fundamentals of playing music, making it an ideal choice for first-time music learners. It's also easy to use, so you can see progress really quickly.What instrument can you hear but not touch? ›
A theremin-like instrument sometimes called the electro-theremin is used for one of the signature parts of "Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys. And it's a musical staple of science fiction movies. The theremin is unique because of how it's played: you make music without touching it.What is the shortest instrument? ›
The smallest instrument ever created had to be made in a science lab it's so miniscule. It's called the nano harp.What is the best solo instrument? ›
The piano reigns supreme as the ultimate solo instrument. It has 88 keys as well as the ability to play complete orchestrations. It's pretty obvious that the piano is the king of solo repertoire – it's not even close!What is the rarest musical instrument? ›
The hydraulophone is one of the rarest musical instruments in the world. This instrument is a sensory device that is primarily designed for low vision musicians. This tonal acoustic instrument is played by direct contact with water or other fluids. In this instrument, sound is generated and affected hydraulically.What instrument is the least popular? ›
The most popular instruments they sell are the saxophone, flute and clarinet, with the least popular being the tuba, French horn and the bassoon. We caught up with them to find out more about these endangered instruments.Which instrument is most like voice? ›
Nonvocal musical instruments like the oboe, cello, and violin, have been described as resembling the human voice.What is the loudest instrument? ›
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the loudest (and largest) instrument in the world is the Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ. This pipe organ was built by the Midmer-Losh Organ Company, and is housed in the Main Auditorium of the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.Is it easier to learn piano or guitar? ›
For a beginner, it is easier to learn and memorize the notes on a piano because they repeat in the same pattern across all the keys. To make things even easier, most piano teachers will start off with teaching only the white keys for adults (a total of 7), or all black keys for kids (a total of 5).
What is the hardest instrument to play in order? ›
- Violin. No list of difficult instruments to play is complete without the violin. ...
- French Horn. The classic-looking French horn is one of the most recognizable brass instruments. ...
- Bagpipes. ...
- Piano. ...
- Oboe. ...
- Accordion. ...
- Harp. ...
Piano or Keyboard
The piano is arguably the easiest musical instrument for kids to learn and there's a ton of easy songs to learn. It's a great way to introduce children to music, mostly thanks to the simple, logical layout of the keys.
- Ðàn Tre. ...
- Tenor cornett. ...
- Mayuri. ...
- Chime bells. ...
- Copper serpent. ...
- Russian Bassoon. ...
- Zurna. ...
If you want to be a professional classical performer, you're looking at a minimum of 10 to 15 years of concentrated study with a master teacher, and hours of practice every day. Most people who want to learn piano to play for their own enjoyment can get great results within three to five years of study and practice.Can I learn to play piano at 40? ›
Learning to play the piano as an adult can be intimidating. Many people limit themselves because they think they are too old or that it's too late to start something new. The good news is, it's never too late to start.What is the easiest orchestra instrument to play? ›
Perhaps one of the easiest orchestral instruments to learn is the timpani. The timpani usually comes in a set of 2, 3 or 4 drums. What is this? Each of those drums is tuned through the use of a foot pedal.