The 10 Easiest Instruments to Learn for Beginners of All Ages

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The 10 Easiest Instruments to Learn for Beginners of All Ages

Learning an instrument can be one of life’s most enriching experiences. Even picking up one of the easiest instruments to learn is useful for developing your skills as a musician.

By choosing to learn a new instrument you’re giving yourself the opportunity to meet new people who also play music, perform your instrument for your friends and family and maybe even write a song one day.

But what are the easiest instruments to learn for anyone who’s just getting started?

The truth is, learning any instrument will take practice and dedication, to build your muscle memory you’ll have to play your instrument often.

You’ll also have to learn some very simple music theory concepts around chords, scales and melody.

Luckily, the easy instruments I’ll cover in this article make it easier than you might think to start learning, playing and creating music.

Without further ado, here’s the 10 easiest instruments to learn.

1. Ukulele

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The ukulele is widely considered to be the easiest and most worthwhile instrument to learn for beginners, especially for anyone with smaller hands.

A lot of young children get their start learning ukulele before graduating to guitar lessons.

But the ukulele isn’t an easy instrument to learn simply for its size, it also is tuned using an open tuning, meaning that it’s easier than a guitar to start playing basic chords right away.

You’ll be surprised how good you sound on the ukulele when you first pick it up because you don’t have to fret the neck with your fretting hand to play a chord, you can simply strum it and a pleasing A minor 7th chord will come out.

Of course, learning to fret the neck and play different strumming patterns and songs are something you’ll immediately want to start learning on the Ukulele, especially if you want to graduate to the ukulele’s bigger, more popular cousin…

2. Guitar

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Guitar is probably the most important instrument in modern pop, it pioneered genres, drove rock ‘n’ roll and changed the face of music in the 20th century.

A big reason why the guitar became popular is because it’s a relatively easy instrument to start playing and immediately be rewarded.

🧠 Hot tip

Looking for instructor led guitar tutorials? Check out LANDR's collection of guitar lessons.

Pick up a guitar and learn a few basic open chords and you’ll see what I mean—if you learn the most basic open chords on a guitar you’ll be able to play along to most songs you hear on the radio.

That’s why many guitar students are usually able to walk away from their first guitar lesson with the basics needed to learn their favorite pop tune.

There’s so many resources for learning guitar on the internet right now, and you can very cheaply acquire a decent guitar from any used marketplace.

So if you’re thinking about learning guitar, it’s a solid idea that’ll pay off quicker than you might think.

Of course, getting really good at guitar is another story… that’ll take practice. But, the basics are notoriously easy to figure out!

3. The Digital Audio Workstation

We think these DAWs are easiest for beginners to learn.

If music creation is what you’re interested in, here’s a different way to approach learning music, especially for anyone who’s computer savvy.

You can completely bypass the need to learn an instrument or music theory by creating music in a Digital Audio Workstation (or DAW), or using music production software apps.

If you’re reading this on an Apple device you actually already have access to a great free DAW called GarageBand!

🧠 Hot tip

LANDR Studio subscriptions comes with premium education courses to help you learn how to use your DAW. The subscription also includes access to Ableton Live Lite, tons of plugins and royalty-free samples!

GarageBand (and other DAWs like Ableton, Logic and FL Studio) make it super easy to start making music on your computer.

Most DAWs come packed with virtual instruments that can be controlled by clicking in notes directly to a grid, or through a keyboard.

Beyond the ease of using modern DAW instruments, you can also simply drop samples into the DAW’s timeline and start building your own loops.

A lot of producers start making the tracks by jamming on a virtual instrument to a drum loop sample in their DAW.

So if you’re curious about learning how to play and create music on your computer, check out some of the articles we’ve written about music production in the digital realm.

4. Kalimba

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Jon Wizard's "Lushoto" is a great example of what you can do with kalimba.

Jon Wizard's "Lushoto" is a great example of what you can do with kalimba.

The kalimba is a very fun and very simple instrument that anyone can pick up and immediately start making cool sounds with right away.

This African percussion instrument places several pitched metal tines over a resonator box that’s similar to a guitar.

When the metal tine is plucked it vibrates creating a cool, percussive and metallic tone. Usually, these tines are tuned to a specific key and form an extended major chord.

Find a tune in a key that relatively matches the key of your kalimba and you’ll be able to play along for the whole song!

Even for more advanced percussionists, grabbing a kalimba and creating cool rhythms on its tines can produce some pretty cool melodies and sounds!

5. Bass guitar

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Here's a great entry level bass tutorial with Isabelle Banos!

The bass guitar is the big cousin of the guitar and while bassists sometimes bear the brunt of jokes about their instrument being easier than guitar this characterization isn’t totally fair.

Bass instruments in general are there to establish the root of a chord and provide low end, meaning that they often play one note at a time with occasional flourishes outside of the root.

That’s why bass parts are often fairly simple tonally. However, bass drives rhythm much more than guitar, so learning to play bass well usually requires developing a good rhythmic sensibility.

Bass guitar also uses larger strings and typically have a larger body than the guitar, so they’re more suited to larger hands and aren’t instruments that are picked up by young children as often as guitar or ukulele.

But if you’re looking for a simple instrument that’ll work in a band context, learning the bass guitar is a great way to both develop your sense of rhythm and your understanding of chords and harmony.

6. Keyboard

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For some the keyboard is incredibly simple, for others it’s incredibly intimidating.

The basic premise of keyboard is very easy for beginners to understand, unlike guitar where you have to coordinate your strumming hand with a fretting hand, all a keyboardist has to do to produce a sound is push a button.

That’s why a lot of young musicians get their start playing piano—learning simple melodies, scales and chords while building towards playing more complex pieces and learning to improvise.

Since every note on the musical staff is laid out before you, it’s easier to visually put together chords and scales than on other instruments.

Of course, piano is not the easiest instrument to master—it takes tons of practice to learn the coordination and musical memory needed to play chord progressions and complex melodies.

But, as a starting point getting a simple electronic keyboard and learning how to play will certainly be rewarding with a bit of learning and practice.

7. Hand drums

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Hand drums like the tambourine, conga, bongo, djembe or other basic percussion instruments are certainly among the easiest instruments to learn for beginners.

The idea simple—just hit it! Most people should be able to hit a drum to a beat, or play along to a song on a hand drum.

Of course, the drawback is that these instruments don’t really have much of a melodic element to them.

You can’t really write a song with a pair of bongos, but they’ll sound great accompanying a guitar or piano part!

If you pick up a hand drum instrument areas to work on that’ll develop you as a musician are adding more complex rhythms in your playing and playing with the tone your hands create when playing the instrument.

Hand drums like these are also a great starting point for graduating the significantly more complex drum kit that demands the use of all your limbs.

8. Harmonica

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Stevie Wonder's incredible harmonica solo on "Isn't She Lovely" takes the harmonica to new heights.

Stevie Wonder's incredible harmonica solo on "Isn't She Lovely" takes the harmonica to new heights.

Here’s another great instrument to pick up and start playing immediately.

The mechanics are simple, put the harmonica to your mouth and blow in and out.

Since harmonicas are set to a specific key signature, all you have to do is match your harmonica to the key of the song you’re playing or writing.

It’s also why you’ll often see multiple harmonicas sold together, each matching a number keys.

Harmonica is so simple that sometimes you’ll see it played in tandem with a guitar using the help of a harmonica holder.

Advanced skills on harmonica to work toward include bending the notes and learning to play individual notes and melody lines like Stevie Wonder famously did on Isn’t She Lovely.

9. KORG Kaossilator

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Switching gears, Korg’s Kaossilator is a super easy and fun synth instrument to pick up and start playing with easily.

Featuring a simple tactile interface, the Kaossilator isn’t your typical synth instrument—rather it’s closer to a fun noisemaking tool that incorporates modern synth oscillator circuits and interesting effects.

The Kaossilator is controlled by tactile input on a square surface—in synth terminology this is referred to as an X/Y interface, since the interface is manipulated on an X/Y axis.

Put simply, moving your finger around the pad manipulates the parameters that influence the output of its oscillators.

This creates a super fun instrument that responds directly to tactile input and gives instant feedback.

For the aspiring electronic musician, this is a really easy synth to pick up and start playing fast!

10. KORG Minilogue

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Last but not least is a slightly more advanced instrument for the aspiring synthesist, the KORG Minilogue.

If you’re interested in learning the ins and outs of sound design, this is a great option since it gives tons of room to manipulate synth parameters with tactile knobs alongside its handy digital readout.

There are sections on the synth that control traditional analog synth parameters like ADSR, effects, filter cutoff and more.

The synth also comes with a sizeable bank of presets to get you started with interesting sounds.

So if you’re looking to start making electronic music, the KORG Minilogue is one of the easiest synth instruments to learn.

Learning is for life

Learning to play an instrument is one of the most valuable things you can do to enrich your life, especially because you’ll keep those hard earned skills forever!

So pick an instrument and start learning it! If you work hard, one day you’ll be able to perform the music you love and even write a song of your own.

Good luck on your music-making journey!

Get lessons, virtual instruments, plugins, royalty-free samples and more with LANDR Studio

Alex Lavoie

Alex Lavoie is a drummer, music producer, songwriter and marketing professional living in Montreal, Quebec. He works as a staff writer at LANDR by day and writes indie post-punk tunes in his band UTILS while moonlighting as drummer for folk-rock outfit The Painters. Connect with Alex Lavoie on LANDR Network!

@Alex Lavoie

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