If you’ve been thinking of picking up an instrument to learn but you’re hesitating because you’re worried it will be too challenging, there’s good news. Learning a new instrument doesn’t have to be difficult!
Even if you’re brand new to music and you’ve never even bashed a tambourine or had a good shake on some maracas, there are plenty of easy to learn instruments that you can pick up relatively quickly.
The following is a list of in my opinion the top 10 easiest instruments to learn!
Whether you’re a complete beginner or someone who’s looking to switch instruments, you’re bound to find one on the list below that is perfect for you.
Top 10 Easiest Instruments To Learn
Table of Contents
- Top 10 Easiest Instruments To Learn
- 1. Ukulele – Overall Easiest Instrument To Learn For Everyone
- 2. Harmonica – Best Instrument to Learn at 50
- 3. Cajon – Easiest Instrument to Learn on Your Own
- 4. Keyboard/Piano – Easiest Instrument to Learn for a Child
- 5. Acoustic Guitar – Easiest Instrument To Learn For Adults
- 6. Bass Guitar – Best Instrument To Learn For Joining A Band
- 7. Saxophone – Easiest Jazz Instrument To Learn
- 8. Drums – Best Instrument To Learn To Annoy Your Neighbors
- 9. Tin Whistle – Easiest Woodwind Instrument to Learn
- 10. Flute – The Hardest “Easy” Instrument To Learn
- Final Thoughts On The Easiest Instrument To Learn
1. Ukulele – Overall Easiest Instrument To Learn For Everyone
One of the easiest instruments to learn is the ukelele. This instrument looks like a tiny version of the guitar and has 4 strings to the guitar’s 6 strings, making it much less complicated to learn to play.
The ukelele is an ideal instrument if you’re looking to learn the basics of guitar, but want an easier transition into the music world. A lot of the skills and techniques you learn on the ukelele can easily be transferred later to the guitar.
Because there are only four strings, the scales and chord shapes you play on the ukelele are quick to pick up, making it relatively easy to learn songs quickly.
If you have small hands, the ukelele will be perfect for you because you don’t have to stretch your fingers to reach all of the strings and it’s short neck means all the notes are closer together, one of the reasons it’s the easiest instrument to learn for a child.
The initial learning process is also slightly less painful than the guitar as the strings on the ukelele are softer and don’t cause calluses or pain in your fingertips like guitar strings do.
Want to find out more about the differences between a guitar and ukulele? Check out my Ukulele vs Guitar article!
One of the other great things about learning to play the ukulele is that it can be a fairly inexpensive option, with plenty of choices under the $100 mark.
Finally, the size and portability of the ukulele means you can take it anywhere to practice, so you don’t have to annoy your roommates, although who doesn’t like the happy notes of a uke?
If you decide the ukulele is for you, read about what I think is the best way to learn ukulele and the tools I used throughout my learning process!
2. Harmonica – Best Instrument to Learn at 50
The best instrument to learn for all skill levels is probably the harmonica, especially for someone who’s just getting into music at a younger or older age. Because the notes are built-in to the instrument, it’s quite difficult to hit a bad note and produce a bad sound!
Just like many of the instruments on this list, the harmonica is small, portable, and easy to take with you anywhere. There’s nothing worse than having to drag a bulky instrument case along with you.
I generally find that the easier an instrument is to practice, the more often you’ll do so and therefore the better you’ll become.
The basics of the harmonica involve breathing in and breathing out to create different sounds. The placement of the harmonica in your mouth and position of your hands will influence the notes you make.
This is probably the easiest instrument to learn on my list and is just a lot of fun to play around with. Before you know it, you’ll have already mastered a handful of simple songs!
3. Cajon – Easiest Instrument to Learn on Your Own
The Cajon originated in Peru and is a very simple instrument. With a basic box shape that’s hollow on the inside, it acts in a similar way to a drum where you strike the surface in different locations to produce either high or low notes.
Cajon’s can be made from either solid wood or plywood such as birch. Modern versions of the Cajon have either strings or snares attached to the inside that produce different notes when you strike the playing surface.
This is a great instrument for beginners and very easy to pick up. Since this instrument is small, you can carry it around with you anywhere and it’s box shape makes it easily storable, unlike a standard drum kit.
Using different parts of your hands, palms, and fingertips you strike the surface to create your notes. If you strike the Cajon at the top with just your fingertips you’ll produce a high note, while if you strike with your palm lower down you’ll produce a bass note.
You can either create your own grooves and rhythms or you can master the notes and learn to play your favorite popular songs, the opportunities are endless!
If you’re interested in purchasing a Cajon, make sure to read my Best Cajon Buying Guide before you do, it will save you a lot of time and ensure you don’t make a bad investment!
4. Keyboard/Piano – Easiest Instrument to Learn for a Child
The electric keyboard and the piano are slightly different in terms of their range and number of keys. A standard piano has 88 keys whereas a keyboard may have as little as 49.
However, the arrangement of the keys on a keyboard is identical to the arrangement of the keys on a piano and the same with your hand and finger movements.
Therefore, you can easily transition from the keyboard to the piano or vice versa. The keyboard is usually a better option as they take up less room than an upright piano and are much less expensive.
To learn the piano or keyboard, you’ll need to first master the basics of music theory. The piano or keyboard makes it easy to learn the association between the notes that you read and the keys in front of you.
Plus, there are thousands of easy songs to learn, many of which you will already know from popular music culture, making the learning process even more fun. Whatever you decide, with both options you can teach yourself.
Although it is a great beginner instrument, there’s a lot of potential for growth and endless learning, like most musical instruments, they take a long time to master!
If you’re looking to learn a new instrument that is universally adored and endlessly rewarding, the keyboard or piano is a great option.
I taught myself the keyboard after being inspired by Ray Manzarek of the band The Doors, although I’m no master, it was a really rewarding process and something I’d recommend to anyone.
If you’re interesting in learning to play the piano, check out my list of the best online piano lessons!
5. Acoustic Guitar – Easiest Instrument To Learn For Adults
Apart from the Cajon, acoustic guitar is the easiest instrument to learn for adults. The reason I say, adults, is because children will find the size difficult to handle and would be much more suited to the smaller ukulele.
If you’re someone who picks up patterns easily, then the guitar will be an intuitive playing experience for you.
You have the choice of learning scales and technical exercises or jumping straight into chord progressions and your favorite songs that you want to learn to play.
Scales and music theory may seem boring at first but they help you master the basics of the guitar quicker than if you’re just memorizing chord progressions.
Guitars are generally better suited to people with longer fingers and wider hands, but don’t let that put you off, not all guitars are the same size and some will be easier to play than others if you have smaller hands.
The acoustic guitar is probably the easiest instrument to learn on your own, this is simply down to the number of resources available out there, the number of online courses and videos are endless!
6. Bass Guitar – Best Instrument To Learn For Joining A Band
If you’ve already learned to play the acoustic guitar, the bass guitar is a great addition to add to your quiver, the main difference being the bass guitar is tuned an octave lower than the acoustic.
They’re larger and heavier than an acoustic guitar and their strings are harder, making them more difficult to play if you’re a smaller person or a child.
If you’re smaller or a child but still want to learn some form of bass, maybe try the bass ukulele!
Like the ukelele, the bass guitar only has four strings which make it easier to learn the chords and notes for your favorite songs.
If you’re looking for an easy route into a band, the bass guitar is probably the best instrument to learn. Not only is it quite simple to learn simple rhythms and beats, but there’s also always bands looking for a bass player!
7. Saxophone – Easiest Jazz Instrument To Learn
The saxophone is probably the easiest jazz instrument to learn. Although it can be quite difficult to master and play well, with a bit of practice it is a great beginner musical instrument.
One thing that makes it easier than other jazz instruments, say the trumpet, is that you don’t have to ‘hear the note’ to play it.
For the most part, on a saxophone, you essentially just finger the correct keys to play a note. Also, the embouchure or lipping of a trumpet is much more difficult than that of a saxophone.
You should aim to practice for a half-hour every day when you begin with this instrument. This isn’t a ton of time and most of us can easily set aside a half-hour for practice.
When you do master the saxophone, you’ll be rewarded with a wide range of songs and solos that you can play to an appreciative audience, who doesn’t love the sound of a good saxophone?
8. Drums – Best Instrument To Learn To Annoy Your Neighbors
Drums are one of the most commonly known and popular of the percussion instruments. This is because they’re a fun instrument to learn, especially for your neighbors!
Depending on your natural music ability, it’s not unheard of to be playing along to simple popular songs within a few hours. The drums reward you with quick results.
Not everyone is suited for percussion instruments, however, but you probably know already if you are. If you ever find yourself drumming on your legs to a rhythm in your head or on the steering wheel alongside the radio as you drive, then chances are, you’re rhythmically inclined and you’ll pick up the drums in no time.
That being said, they’re one of the harder instruments to truly master. This means that you need to put in the practice if you want to become an expert at them.
There’s a lot of room for growth with the drums and if you fall in love with this instrument, the sky’s the limit for how much you can learn and how far you can take this instrument.
If you’re interesting in learning to play the drums, check out my list of the best online drum lessons!
9. Tin Whistle – Easiest Woodwind Instrument to Learn
Despite its name, the tin whistle is a member of the woodwind family of instruments. You may have heard their haunting melodies in Celtic and Irish folk music.
They’re a long, slim instrument with 6 holes that you cover up to change notes. At a glance, you might confuse them with a recorder!
Learning the proper tonguing and learning how hard to blow on the whistle can take a bit of practice, but the fingering technique can be picked up fairly quickly.
There’s a wide variety of changes that you can make to your playing technique after you’ve mastered the basics to enjoy this instrument’s versatility.
Little tricks such as covering the bottom of the whistle slightly or blowing a little harder can change the notes and octave that you can reach.
10. Flute – The Hardest “Easy” Instrument To Learn
The flute is a member of the woodwind family, like the tin whistle. It may seem like a difficult instrument to learn, but the basics of the flute are not all that challenging.
The average beginner that has no history with music can learn the basic notes fairly quickly, although to progress past the beginner level, it can take around 3 years to get a good understanding of it.
Like a lot of the other instruments on the list, after you’ve mastered the basics, the flute gives you plenty of room to grow into a true master of the instrument. And certainly not an instrument you’ll outgrow quickly.
Initially, the most difficult part of learning the flute is learning to breathe correctly. The note placement is not overly hard and can be picked up quickly; however, you might find yourself out of breath when you first start playing.
The more you practice, the better your breathing will become and the more clear your notes will sound.
Final Thoughts On The Easiest Instrument To Learn
Learning to play music doesn’t have to be overly challenging or a painful experience. If you’re a beginner that’s looking to start playing, you can’t go wrong with any of the above from my easiest instrument to learn list!
It doesn’t matter if you’re a child or an adult, anyone can learn the basics of the above instruments in a relatively short period of time. Just remember to truly master any instrument, it takes a lot of dedication, but everyone has to start somewhere!
Also, this should be a fun and pleasurable process, if you’re struggling to decide on the best instrument to learn for yourself, ask yourself what kind of music you like and the instruments you enjoy listening to and go from there!
Happy playing! – Will