How to Choose and Learn to Play a New Instrument

Playing an instrument is one of the most difficult yet satisfying things a person can do.  There is no limit to how much skill you can develop.  Even musicians who have been playing for fifty years still are learning new ways to express themselves through their instruments. 


Music hits our very core: our biological response to sound lies in our brain stem, right next to the section that controls our emotions.  You literally ‘feel’ music – it supports us when we are down, or can instill in us a lasting energy when we are training for a marathon.  If you want to inspire people as much as you have been by music, you should learn how to play an instrument.

Which Instrument to Choose?


With thousands of instruments out there, how does someone go about choosing one that fits them?  To start your search, you need to figure out what your goals are in learning to play.  Do you want to play something you can enjoy yourself, or to entertain your close friends and family?  Do you want to be a rock star on stage in front of thousands of fans?  Are you interested in playing with others and collaborating on songs to develop your creativity?  Do you prefer classical and refined music, or the raw and driving sound of heavy metal?


The best advice is to figure out what your favorite type of music is and look for instruments within that genre.  If you are into rock, you can narrow down your search to the guitar, bass, keyboard, and drums.  If you are interested in orchestral pieces, you can go for string instruments like violins and cellos.  Saxophones are perfect for jazz enthusiasts.


Once you have focused your search, try to choose the instrument that appeals to you the most.  If there are two that strike you, then choose the one that compliments your overall goals.

The Advantages of Learning 2 Instruments


When I first got into music, I narrowed my choices down to either the drums or the guitar.  I asked one of my friends to choose for me and ended up deciding on the drums which I played through high school. 


Although they were fun, expressive, and dynamic I ultimately ended up switching to guitar while in college.  My main goal was to be able to play a number of songs on my own without having to rely on other members of a band.  With drums you can’t play a melody and lugging them around everywhere quickly became a huge hassle.  The guitar gave me the versatility to play pretty much everywhere I wanted to, from out on the sports field to up on a rooftop!  I could practice without annoying the neighbors and take my instrument with me on a whim without renting a truck.


However, the time spent learning the drums were not in vain. I know how to keep a beat well and how to maintain rhythm.  Plus whenever someone has a set, I enjoy banging out a few beats.  All instruments are connected through the universal language of music.  Learning one will help you learn any other.  It’s better to choose any instrument than none at all.


The best way to start learning is to hire a music instructor or join a music class.  Getting taught by someone from the get-go will help you develop the right techniques.  Bad habits are heard to break, so make sure you have someone guide you through proper training from the start.


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