best starter instruments

There are some musical instruments that are easier to learn than others and are suitable for beginners. Here are the best starter instruments for beginners in no particular order. They are also some of the easiest instrument to learn on your own and can serve as the best musical instrument for brain too. Let’s get started!

Best Starter Instruments

Violin

Playing music with mom.

Violins are fairly easy to start learning and are most suitable for children 6 years and older. They come in a variety of sizes, from full size to 1/16, depending on the age of the learner. Violins are very popular and in demand so if you become a professional player it wouldn’t be hard to join an orchestra or any musical group. Remember to opt for non-electric violins as they are more appropriate for beginning students.

Cello

Little girl playing cello.

Another instrument that is fairly easy to start and suitable for kids 6 years and older. It is essentially a large violin but its’ body is thicker. It is played the same way as the violin, by rubbing the bow across the string. But where you can play the violin standing up, the cello is played sitting down while holding it between your legs. It also comes in different sizes from full size to 1/4.

Double Bass

Young Musician Playing Double Bass

This instrument is like a huge cello and is played the same way, by rubbing the bow across the strings. Another way of playing it is by plucking or striking the strings. Double bass can be played while standing up or sitting down and is suitable for kids 11 years and older. It also comes in various sizes from full size, 3/4, 1/2 and smaller. The double bass isn’t as popular as other string instruments but is essential in most kinds of ensembles, especially jazz bands.

Flute

Girl playing the flute.

Flutes are very popular and suitable for children to learn at age 10 upwards. Since it is very popular, there will be a lot of competition out there if you do decide to continue professionally. But don’t let this fact dishearten you. The flute is one of the easiest instruments to learn, easy to transport, not hard on the budget and fun to play.

Clarinet

Father and son playing instruments

Another instrument of the woodwind family that is easy to start for kids 10 years and older. Like the flute, the clarinet is very popular and you will find opportunities to play it professionally if you desire. There are students who start off with the clarinet and take another instrument like a saxophone and have no problems with the transition.

Saxophone

Veterans Day Parade, Memphis, Tennessee

Saxophones come in a variety of sizes and types: like the soprano saxophone, the alto sax, tenor sax and the baritone sax. It is suitable for kids age 12 years and older. The alto saxophone is advisable for beginners. You will have a lot of opportunities to play the saxophone as it is needed in most school orchestras.

Trumpet

Grandson and grandfather playing trumpet together

The trumpet belongs to the brass family of instruments and is quite easy to start for students age 10 and older. Trumpets are orchestral instruments mostly used in jazz bands. It is easy to learn, easy to transport, fun to play and not very expensive. Remember to avoid buying a trumpet with a painted finish as the paint will chip.

Guitar

Young girl playing guitar

The guitar is one of the most popular instruments and is suitable for students age 6 years upwards. Folk-style is easier to start with for beginners. Remember to opt for non-electric guitars if you’re just starting out. Guitars come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit any student’s need. Guitars are a mainstay in most music ensembles and you can also play it solo and still sound appealing.

Piano

Little girl playing on grandmother piano

Suitable for kids 6 years and older. The piano takes a lot of time and patience to master, but once you do, it is worth it. The piano is one of the most versatile instruments out there and one of the most beautiful sounding. Traditional pianos are more suitable for beginners but there are a lot of electronic pianos out in the market right now that sound and feel like a real piano and cost almost the same.

Harp

Young girl playing the harp

The harp is surprisingly easy to start. There are piano students who learn to play the harp with little difficulty because both instruments require reading music pieces in double-stave. Harps come in small sizes for kids age 8 years upwards and bigger harps for students 12 years and older. There are not a lot of people who play the harp and finding a teacher may be difficult. Nevertheless, it is one of the most ancient and beautiful sounding instrument and it’s worth learning if you desire.

Types of Musical Instruments

Musical instruments can be categorized depending on the way they generate sound. All musical instruments fall under one of the following – string, wind, percussion and keyboard, though there may be further divisions and sub-divisions.

Here are a few examples:

  • String instruments include guitars, violins, ukuleles and cellos.
  • Wind instruments include pipes, sax, clarinet, flute and such other types.
  • Drums, bongos, cymbals and bells are percussion instruments.
  • Keyboard instruments include pianos, harpsichords, organs and accordions.

While these are the more commonly played musical instruments, over thousand musical instruments are available across the world, including folk instruments.

Read: Which Music Instruments are easier to learn?

General Things to Consider Before Buying a Instrument

Here are some of the things that you should take into consideration before choosing a suitable instrument:

  • The age of the student: The child needs to have developed motor skills to be able to play
  • The character/personality of the student
  • Your interests, the kind of music you want to play
  • The cost, the amount of money you’re willing to spend
  • The practicalities involved (such as size, portability, maintenance of the instrument)

Research Prices & Competing Stores

Do spend some time looking for instruments and their prices online; you can find some great deals online. Also, do check competing online stores. For instance, Amazon and Walmart are great for finding beginner instruments and toys for kids. Merchants like Amazon, zZounds, Musiciansfriends have wide range of instruments for pros. You will find great deals on guitars on sites like Guitar Center.

If you’re looking for an expensive instrument, do check it out at your local store as well. While you may not be able to get lower prices, you will be sure about the model that you have selected.

When buying online, see what accessories are included, and also factor in shipping costs.

Beginner Instruments for Students

The good thing about buying a new musical instrument is that you now have access to several products that are available for cheap. These are designed for beginners and offer great features, are functional, but don’t cost much.

Although a student or beginner instrument is a cheaper version of what professionals play, these ‘cheaper’ instruments are not sub-standard products.

In fact, a good student instrument comes with several features that assist students to progress faster and also to enjoy music making.

These are easier to play, offer less resistance (string instruments), is easier to blow (wind instruments), for the inexperienced player. For example, a lower action on a guitar makes playing easier for the young or inexperienced hands.

Most of these musical instruments are also available as a packages – comes bundled with useful accessories and Music books/DVDs so that you get everything to get started.

Get Creative With Home Made Musical Instruments

Musical instruments can also be made at home using items of daily use (mostly percussion); this works great for kids.

You can make almost anything, from shakers and jingle bracelets to drums and tambourines. Its easier to make percussion instruments at home.

It turns out cheaper and you won’t feel bad if the kids break the toy instrument.

Homemade musical instruments help your child to be creative and can keep them busy. Kids will also have a great time, playing in their own band at home.

Are You Already a Player?

If you are already a player then you should avoid picking up the cheapest musical instrument.

Its best to go out and play all the instruments you can, and pick the one that appeals to your ears, suits your requirements and your budget (you should be open to increasing your budget a bit, in case you get hold of some really good musical instrument).

You should also go through the used gear/blemished gear section on top online merchants. You can find some really good instruments with minor bruises (but in perfectly working conditions) for good discounts.

Also Read: Buy used/blemished gear for cheap.

You can Buy, Rent or Borrow?

While everybody would love to buy a new musical instrument, in some cases its just not the practical thing to do.

You can always choose to buy a second-hand instrument.

Some music services (organizations contracted by the Local Authority to provide music tuition in state schools and at music centers) and schools offer instruments on loan to beginner students.

Then there are some (including some retailers) who operate rental systems. For a modest fee, they provide you a musical instrument for a trial period so that you get sufficient time to make up your mind.

The great thing about these options is that it allows you to get a feel of what is involved in learning, and how to take care of and maintain the instrument, before actually buying one.

In case you’re considering purchasing a second-hand instrument, make sure you check it for suitability, before it is used.

You Don’t Have to Buy the Most Expensive Instrument

Musical instruments can be expensive, especially if you are seeking the best option available on the market. In general, these can cost anything from $100 to over $10000. For example, a good Yamaha or Roland keyboard can cost almost $2000.

That is why used musical instruments are often a good choice, especially if you are learning to play a new instrument.

You definitely don’t have to buy the most expensive instrument out there. Choose something that fits your purpose. Feel free to consult a music teacher or a music shop.

Its important that the instrument is appropriate for your child, no matter how you intend to obtain it.

Most young string players, for example, begin learning on smaller sized instruments as they feel uncomfortable playing full-sized instruments (too large for them).

For beginners it is advisable to invest in musical instruments in the lower price range. However, you also should keep in mind that learning on a sub-standard instrument can be demotivating and usually prevents progress.

Don’t Go Too Cheap

If you’re buying an instrument for a child, you can pick a cheap one but for a serious beginner you want something better. A $50 cheap guitar is unlikely to last long and may not sound inspiring. And if it breaks down, you will have to buy another one (basically you will end up spending more money than you would spend buying a quality, new guitar).

A quality instrument costs more but it saves money in the long run and it will make you practice more.

Use the Power of Social Media

Have a huge social media presence? Do you (or your friend) manage social media accounts for some school, college or charitable institution? If yes, you can post that you’re looking for a music instrument and ask for help.

You never know; one of your followers might want to sell an instrument. In some cases, they might even give it for free (you will have to collect it though).

Having a huge online presence can help you find help in the online community.

Leave a Comment