With so many wonderful musical instruments to choose from, how do you decide which one you should start with? Thankfully you don’t have to choose just one instrument. But you have to start somewhere, so where? We think it’s most important that you start with an instrument that you can be successful with, and you’ll likely be most successful with an instrument that you truly love. Are there any that already make you smile? Put those at the top of your list. Then, read on for a few things to consider.
What size are you?
Your size matters, too, because each instrument requires different physical anatomy. If you want to play the trombone, for example, you need long arms. That’s something you just can’t get around! Age and strength also matter. A child under age nine, for example, will have trouble pressing press down the strings of a guitar, but a ukulele might be just the right fit.
Many kids like starting with piano to learn the basics of music as long as they’re taught in a fast, rewarding way. Just be sure you never force your child to play piano (or any instrument, for that matter) – that’s no fun for students or teachers!
Another consideration is how difficult the instrument is to learn. The violin takes time to achieve a beautiful tone, so it can be considered difficult to learn. But determined students should not be deterred from this gorgeous instrument.
Our music teachers are a great resource for choosing the right instrument. Consider having a consultation lesson with a teacher before you invest in an instrument. You’ll be able to get the feel of the instrument in your hands, ask questions, and get the teacher’s opinion. You could also take a lesson in several different instruments!
Watch and listen to music, music, music
To achieve the “Ah-ha!” moment of “I want to do THAT,” students can attend concerts, watch YouTube videos, and see live music in action. This exposure will offer possibilities that will allow you to recognize what you’re drawn to.
Watching music performances important because seeing musicians in action .. a pianist or drummer on stage, for example, allows us to visualize ourselves doing the same thing. Watching well-done videos can be a fun way to get inspired.
How do you learn?
Are you a visual learner? Visual learners often like to see things so they’ll understand and remember them more easily. Just like pictures and graphs can help them understand concepts, they often do well starting with the piano since the keys are laid out in order.
Other people are more mathematical and strategic. Their strong “thinking brains” easily grasp the guitar or ukulele, whose strings are laid out in a very different pattern from the piano and have different tuning possibilities.
Kinetic learners like to learn by doing. The drumset is perfect for these students because playing drums gives the immediate, resonant feedback they like. The saxophone and other reed instruments are other options.
Why are you learning?
It also helps you know which instrument you should start with if you identify why you want to learn to play an instrument in the first place! Many students love music and play different instruments, but they will never become “professional” musicians. Of course, that’s okay! Playing music is a wonderful hobby and should be an activity that brings fun and enjoyment, no matter the student’s level or reason for playing.
If you love music, just start … somewhere!
Sometimes we have moments when we glimpse ideas as to what we should do. If we take notice of these moments, we can put those clues together and see clearly what we should run to. So don’t worry if things are still foggy. If you love music, just start somewhere. Anywhere. You can always change your mind later, but getting started is the most important decision you’ll ever make!
Contact us to learn more about lessons at The Music Studio Atlanta. For in-home music lessons, visit Courtnayandrowe.com.
Author Cecilia Rowe is the founder and director of the Music Studio Atlanta and director of Courtnay and Rowe. She has over 25 years in music education as an instructor and local business owner.