Choosing an Instrument to Play

Many adults, certainly those who appreciate acoustic and instrumental music, would like the ability to play a musical instrument. The only thing that’s stopping them is that they are intimidated by the idea of it. If you’ve decided to throw caution to the wind, before you can pick up an instrument and begin learning it, you’ll need to decide on which to play.

As an adult, it can be easier to choose an instrument than when you were younger. You know your tastes better, for instance, and you’ll have a wider range of options from which to choose, such as teachers and instruments. It’s a very different proposition from being at school where all you have to pick from is a trombone and a clarinet. Here is a list of questions that may help you to ask yourself before you decide on the instrument you wish to play.

Do you have any financial limitations?

The majority of instruments can be bought within a variety of price ranges. Some, however, are far cheaper or far costly than others. For example, you can buy a tin whistle for next to nothing. However, if you’re looking for an oud, you can expect to pay a few hundred pounds for a quality one. There aren’t many imported ouds around and they’re very difficult to make.

What kind of space do you have to practice in?

If you live in a thin-walled home in the heart of London, it may not be wise to choose the Highland Bagpipes. If you live in a remote home in the country, however, you should feel free to squeeze away on the pipes.

In which scenario do you see yourself playing in?

If you like the sound of playing an acoustic-stringed instrument in a jam session, the mandolin would be an ideal choice. If you aren’t the most social creature in the world, however, you might opt for the piano. It sounds great when played solo and makes for a spectacular furniture piece when left alone.

What’s your kind of music?

This may seem obvious, but you’ll still want to give it some thought. If acoustic folk music is your thing, there may be little point in learning the drums. You’ll want to think hard about this one. It’s no small investment when it comes to a musical instrument, not only in terms of money but also time. You’ll need to ensure that the type of music you choose will be something you’ll want to play, not just during lessons but also for pleasure.

Some instruments are highly versatile, while others are less so. Once you’ve learned basic fiddle fingering and bowing, you can then either choose to specialise in a certain genre or play around in numerous genres. Some instruments, like the sitar, are more limiting.

Can you find a teacher with ease?

It shouldn’t be difficult to locate a cello teacher, no matter the size of the city you live in. You will have more limited options, however, if you chose the Cajun-style diatonic accordion. Of course, it would still be possible to choose a rare instrument, you would just need to spend more time and money when searching for and investing in the right teacher.