An Investment of Time
To say that any instrument is easier to learn than another would be at least a little foolish. It would also be insulting to those who have become experts in those instruments.
Mastering any musical instrument requires a lot of time, a lot of patience, and plenty of technical skill.
Instead, for our article on the easiest instruments to learn on your own, we’ve chosen to focus on instruments that tend to be relatively affordable, versatile, and fun to learn.
No matter what instrument you’d like to learn, you’ll need to accept the fact that it will take time to progress.
But the instruments we’ve chosen here can allow for playing basic songs early on in the learning process, making them that much more fun to interact with.
And when you look forward to playing an instrument, you’re more likely to practice it more often.
Even better, each of these instruments can help you make music that strays from the beaten path.
Even to this day, the theremin still seems like an instrument from the future. If you’re unfamiliar, you don’t need to touch the instrument at all to play it.
In fact, touching a theremin would most likely cause some unpleasant sounds if it was switched on at the time.
Instead, you move your hands near the instrument’s antennae, disrupting the electrical signals emitted from the antennae.
You’ve heard the theremin sound on countless albums and movie soundtracks, especially within the realm of horror and science fiction.
Even professional players have to put up with a certain amount of unruliness from the instruments, meaning that you should never feel bad about your own abilities with the theremin.
Instead, place your emphasis on experimentation and learning how to play the instrument your way.
The ukulele is, in many ways, a sort of trainer instrument for those who want to play other stringed instruments such as the violin or the guitar.
For one, the string tension on the instrument is much lower than that of other stringed instruments.
This just means that a ukulele is easier to play for a beginner than a violin, guitar, or a bass.
The ukulele can be used to play a wide variety of musical genres, from island and Calypso music to rock to classical.
Best of all, there are many decent soprano ukuleles that are inexpensive and also sound great. So if you’re courting a curiosity for the instrument, you won’t break the budget buying your own to practice with.
There are also many resources online that can help you learn specific songs on the ukulele, all free of charge.
As you progress with the instrument, you may decide to purchase higher quality instruments made from better materials.
You may also find that you enjoy speaking with other ukulele players on the internet or in local meetup groups.
Percussion instruments can be incredibly fun to play, and many of them can be played as standalone instruments or combined with others for unique sounds.
When we think of percussion, we tend to think of drum players in jazz or rock groups.
But to get started with the world of percussion instruments, you certainly don’t need to buy a traditional drum kit.
Instead, consider one of the standalone percussion instruments we’ve listed here as an entrypoint to the style.
A set of bongos can cost anywhere from $30 to thousands of dollars (for vintage or high-quality sets that aren’t manufactured anymore).
Even inexpensive bongo sets can sound great when played well, so don’t let the sticker price alone make your decision for you.
Bongos are most commonly played as part of a traditional music ensemble or as part of a jazz or bossa nova group.
But don’t let these trends limit your aspirations or your playing style. If you’d like to try to make bongos work with rock music or even industrial music, it’s certainly worth the effort.
Bongos are also one of the most portable instruments on our list. They’re light, easy to carry or bring along when traveling, and they won’t take up very much space in your home.
If you’d like to try them out before making a purchase, then feel free to visit a local music store and ask whether they have any floor models you can play.
A cajon is a traditional percussion instrument that can be found in most music stores around the country.
In most cases, the player will sit on the drum, which is shaped like a large rectangular prism, and tap the front surface with open hands.
But as we’ve mentioned with many of the other instruments listed here, you don’t necessarily have to play the instrument the way everyone else does.
If you find it more satisfying and fun to play a cajon a different way, then you should do just that.
But when it comes to finding resources on how to play a cajon properly, you’ll most likely be limited to traditional methods.
In terms of price, cajons can range from costing roughly $100 to several hundred dollars for quality models.
A zither, also referred to as a lap harp, is a simple stringed instrument that can be played with your fingers or using a pick similar to those used by guitarists.
It’s a small, lightweight instrument that can indeed just sit on your lap while you play.
As with traditional full-scale harps, the basic idea is that each string stays tuned to a specific pitch, and you play each string only as needed.
This is in sharp contrast to the guitar or violin, as different notes and pitches are achieved by shortening each string with your fingers.
Another great advantage of the zither is many beginner kits for the instrument include music sheets that you can place behind the strings of the instrument.
Instead of having to memorize traditional musical notation, you can just play the string in front of each note.
Before you know it, you’ll be playing entire songs!
From there, you can look into finding notation for more complex songs that will take more time to master.