How To Play: The Easiest Musical Instruments to Learn

So you want to be a music maker, but you don’t have any particular specialty worked out yet? Here’s a secret few people know: Some of the best musicians diversify into several instruments. The late Prince was famous for being a virtuoso on just about every instrument he picked up. You can learn several instruments, is what we’re getting at here, and then be more versatile and useful as part of a band, orchestra, or just laying down your own tracks on your laptop.

Here’s a list of instruments widely acclaimed to be the easier to pick up:


By far one of the most popular choices. It only has four strings, so even butterfingered players can easily pick up chords, as opposed to the more challenging six-stringed guitar. Of course, you can graduate to a full guitar later.


Pianos seem intimidating, being big and needing both hands at all times, but they have some advantages. The notes are all there in front of you at once, so it’s easier to understand. Pianos also don’t get out of tune as easily as other stringed instruments. And if you choose to go with a more compact keyboard, your options get even better.


Harmonicas are simple to learn, and they’re always in tune. It’s just about impossible to sound bad on a harmonica. Plus they fit in your pocket, so you can whip it out and practice anywhere.


Drums are a make-or-break option. You either have instinctual rhythm or you don’t. But if you have any kind of skills at keeping time, drums will feel as natural to you as walking. Among the percussion instruments, bongos are a fun, popular choice.


A recorder is a familiar instrument from school band class, and for good reason. It doesn’t take a lot of coordination, having just seven holes to put your fingers on. It’s also another super-portable instrument, where you can just keep it in your pocket and practice wherever you have a minute.


You see saxophone mentioned a lot, and yet it seems so intimidating at first glance. Saxophones are indeed big and showy, and have prominence in “serious” music, but they’re also the easiest of the woodwind family because their sound is so predictable. Like a recorder, there’s only so many controls to master and the rest is practice.

Good luck out there, and be sure to send us a signed copy of your first album when you make it big!