Easiest Musical Instrument to Learn

Question: What is the easiest musical instrument to learn?

There are opinions all over the place and lots of myths about how difficult or easy it is to learn to play a particular musical instrument. When I was a child I was told by someone that the flute was the hardest to learn. Someone else clearly stated that the violin was by far the most difficult to learn.

As a musician and as a private music education specialist I can offer some solid thoughts that will be helpful.

It helps to be inwardly motivated to play a particular instrument. For example, if you are really excited when you watch and/or listen to someone playing the drums, you should consider learning to play the drums. Don’t worry about being uncoordinated – everyone is uncoordinated until they smooth things out. This only comes through a great deal of repetition (practice).

harmonica
Harmonica

Look at it this way. Anything you learn that is new to you is easy as long as you have someone to teach you, a course to follow, and you engage in the activity on a very regular basis. When someone wants to become good at an athletic activity, they know that they need to engage in their chosen activity every day or they will never be any good at it.

By the same token, anything that is new to you is hard if you just try a little here and there. Then you are likely to say something like, “I’m no good at this. I don’t know why I bothered to even try.”

Plastic Recorder
Plastic Recorder

Now a little about the differences in musical instruments: Some instruments are just plain easy in my opinion. The harmonica, the recorder (plastic or wood flute) are very easy in that they don’t require a lot of information or how-to’s in order to start playing. This is why one of the first instruments to be introduced to elementary school children is often the recorder. And the harmonica is generally self-taught using a good instruction book. You can also find lots of good video instructions on YouTube.

The five string banjo seems to be gaining popularity once again. The conventional tuning is a G chord. When the strings are played/strummed without pressing anything down on the neck it is called an “Open” chord. This means you can “Bar” your left-hand index finger across any position on the fret board and you will be able to strum a major chord. With just a couple of lessons you can easily learn to play basic chords as well as some basic banjo techniques such as the “Roll.” This makes the banjo an easy instrument to learn!




The guitar can be very difficult for children under seven years of age because at this age most children lack the physical dexterity and finger strength to successfully play the guitar. Children who are at least seven years old can do very well on the guitar – electric OR acoustic.

Five String Banjo
Five String Banjo

Experience has taught us that that the following is a reasonable guide to starting ages for various types of one-on-one music lessons:

  • Piano/Electronic Keyboard – age 5 and up
  • Guitar, acoustic or electric – age 7 and up
  • Banjo – age 10 and up
  • Drums, Percussion, Steel Drum – age 7 and up
  • Brass & Woodwind – age 10 and up
  • Stringed Instruments (violin, cello, etc.) – age 5 and up
  • Accordion – age 10 and up
  • Vocal, Singing Lessons – age 10 and up

What’s the easiest instrument to learn? It’s usually going to be the one that motivates you the most. Almost anyone can learn to play a musical instrument. Find a good teacher and take it one step at a time. You’ll do great! If you don’t have access to a good private music instructor in your area, make use of the tons of resources you can find easily online. Even some free Apps for your phone can be a great help. Enjoy!

For private music lessons in the Fort Myers FL Area: www.MrMusicStore.com

You may be interested in, “Best Kind of Guitar for Lessons.”

You may also be interested in, “Cost of Music Lessons.” 

Click here to check out my post, “Music Lessons for Children.”

Bob Lucas on Google Plus

13 thoughts on “Easiest Musical Instrument to Learn”

  1. I would like to learn either guitar or piano to help out with the church worship. I like them both.
    Which would be easier to learn as an adult?

    1. Rosa, Whenever someone wants to learn an instrument and they are unsure of which one, I usually recommend piano. This is because learning piano gives you a very well rounded understanding of music theory. With piano you learn to read the grand staff (treble clef & bass clef) and everything you learn can certainly be applied to any other instrument later on.

      The guitar has advantages in that it is portable and it is a very versatile instrument, used to play many styles of music. For helping out with church worship, you can learn a few basic chords and rhythm patterns and you’re off and running! Also the guitar is a much less expensive choice if you don’t already own or have access to a piano. Try a little of both if you can and soon you’ll know which one is right for you.

      1. I forgot to mention that I am left handed (for most things). Will this affect my ability to play?

        1. I’m left-handed as well but learned to play the guitar right-handed. If you don’t already play left-handed, you’re probably better off starting out holding the guitar in the conventional right-handed fashion. Being left-handed will not have any effect on how you learn to play the piano.

  2. I make bowed psalteries, I have taught five year olds to play Amazing Grace in less then five minutes.
    These instruments a very basic and what is learned on them can be used to play the same songs on piano.

    1. Rob, I’m not familiar with bowed psalteries. Do you have any photos online that you could share? Thanks so much for your comment! -Bob

  3. I have sung professionally for almost thirty years, and I never recommend beginning singing lessons earlier than fifteen or sixteen for “classical” or opera, and maybe twelve or thirteen for other styles. Any earlier, and there is a real risk of damage to the vocal cords, and the number of young singers who develop nodes because they are pushing for a bigger sound is alarming….for example, Celine Dion, the girl who created Annie on Broadway ( sorry, can’t recall her name), just to mention a couple. The voice is a very complex instrument, and needs to develop and mature on its own before it is developed professionally. Ever wonder why people like Charlotte Church seem to disappear after a while? There are a lot of fine young voices out there which would be fantastic if their owners had waited a couple of years, and a lot of promising careers cut short due to bad habits learned by singers too young to know the difference. If someone insists on vocal lessons for a very young child,at least hire a teacher who knows enough not to try to hurry the voice’s natural development along-if they use the word “belt”, head for the hills!. Honestly, most reputable teachers will not take on a young child. Please wait for real voice lessons until the voice has matured/changed, and the body supporting it has attained close to its adult size….if the body is not strong enough to support the voice, it will compensate by placing the tone in the wrong place, and may end up damaging the voice beyond repair. And the voice is the one instrument that can’t be sent to the shop to be fixed!

    1. j, I think your comments about vocal lessons are valid. This is why we don’t like to start young children with voice. We find that the age of 10 is the earliest for proper training and development. We take a long term approach to voice training and focus heavily on training in music theory, pitch recognition (ear training) rhythm and timing.

      I agree with you completely that much damage can be done by pushing a young voice to do more than it’s ready for. Thank you so much for your comments!

  4. Which musical instruments is easy to learn is basically depends upon the one’s interest and also through which the one is motivated…Great article given by you..Especially the listing of the ages given by you…Thanks for the article..!!!!!

Comments are closed.