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Easy Instruments for the Beginner

Updated on September 23, 2011

A Good Hobby

Playing an instrument has been shown to elevate mood, provide a catalyst for catharsis, and stimulate healthy brain activity.

Anyone can play an instrument. Playing well varies with the individual, but anyone and everyone can play something. Listed below are a few ideas for easy beginner instruments.

Irish Tin Whistle
Irish Tin Whistle

Irish Tin Whistle

The fingering is somewhat like a recorder, but with the lowest hole left off. It has a very gentle sound, cheerful, mellow, with a hint of playfulness. It is a traditional instrument, used in a lot of Celtic music. Anyone can pick up this instrument easily and begin to play a simple melody.


Similar to the Irish tin whistle but more versatile, the recorder has a surprising range facilitated by the hole on the underside being only half covered to make available a higher octave of notes. It has a very sweet sound. Two or more recorders players using both melody and harmony can combine to make a very beautiful concert.

It can easily be learned by any beginner, as you only have to memorize one note at a time, reading only the treble clef. Some are adept at playing it by ear as well.

The hole on the underside of a recorder allows the player a whole octave of higher notes simply by uncovering only half of it with your finger.
The hole on the underside of a recorder allows the player a whole octave of higher notes simply by uncovering only half of it with your finger.
A wooden recorder.  Wooden recorders require more care than plastic ones do, but they provide a softer, more mellow sound.
A wooden recorder. Wooden recorders require more care than plastic ones do, but they provide a softer, more mellow sound.

Electric Keyboard

Obviously a keyboard has the capacity for complexity, which scares some folks away. But many keyboards today have helps included which make them much easier to learn. If you have trouble reading two sets of notes at once (from both the bass clef and the treble clef), you can still play with a little knowledge of chords and arpeggios. When you have not yet learned these, some keyboards do it for you. All you have to do is choose the G on the keyboard, and it will launch into one of many preset variations of the G chord or its siblings, G7 or G minor. If this sounds complicated, it really isn't. Just remember that G is a happy sounding chord, the minor version is G with a sad twist, and the seventh version is G with a little bit of a questioning sound to its voice.

Enough of this! I said it was easy and it is. Until you feel like playing with chords, most keyboards have preset songs and lessons built in to help you have more fun with your music. If nothing else, you can play a simple melody with one hand using only one note at a time. Begin gently. Don't press yourself to learn it any faster than you feel like doing it. Pretty soon you will start remembering sounds, remembering where you found those tones, and remembering more than one song without thinking about it.


All your chords will turn out right when you play the harmonica! All you have to do is blow on it to hear a pleasant harmony of reedy voices. The main thing to learn with harmonica is when to blow on it and when to draw breaths through it. It is not difficult to learn, and you will soon be making simple scales and songs the same day you pick it up!


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    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      Hi Sp, i had guitar lessons a few years ago and learnt about twenty mainly Beatles songs. I developed tendonitis from strangling the fret. It took five months to heal, so i took up song writing instead. I don't regret it though, as I now have a better understanding of how not to play it and how much dexterity it requires to play it well. Maybe i should have tried the keyboard first? Cheers

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

      I did play the guitar for awhile and picked out a couple tunes by sound but it was the fingernails you can't have that made me give it up. It was fun to have done what I did though. I wanted to play the clarinet in school but the band leader put me on a flute so I quit that too, lol. Even symbols would be fun. My husband can play anything by ear and writes beautiful songs. So you never know what playing an instrument can lead to. It is great for kids to chose something though, I agree.

    • Silver Poet profile image

      Silver Poet 6 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      Kosmo, Wayne, and prasetio: I agree the guitar is easy. I play it also. I don't think I would recommend it to a beginner simply because the strings do hurt a bit till you develop the callouses, and to some that might be discouraging.

      Anaya: I am amazed to find another person that likes the tin whistle! Thanks for stopping by.

      SusieQ: It seems that musical ability runs in your family! Thanks for taking the time to share.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I love to play music instrument. It gave me many inspiration. Keyboard and guitar are my favorite. Thanks for writing and share with us. Vote up! ~prasetio

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      I play the guitar poorly but still can get by to do a tune. You list instruments that I want to the keyboard and the harmonica. This piece gives me hope that it is possible for me. Thanks. WB

    • Anaya M. Baker profile image

      Anaya M. Baker 6 years ago from North Carolina

      I am very much NOT musically inclined, but as a kid I did teach myself the tin whistle. Definitely easy to play, and I was able to play a few decent sounding songs with just a little practice! Good suggestions!

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 6 years ago

      I play the key board and also find it quite easy to learn to play. I recently gave some beginning lessons to my grandson and my neighbors girls. When I was young my parents had an organ, and then a piano, and we loved playing them, although we didn't really know how. When I became an adult I took lessons. My daughter played 3 instruments while in school- the trumpet, french horn, and mellaphone. (sp)?? Anyway, my grandchildren also play the flute and violin, and one of my grandsons loves the guitar! Yes, we love music! Thanks for the great hub.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 6 years ago from California

      The guitar is fairly easy to play as well, at least the simplest of chords anyway, though some people don't have the manual dexterity to manage even those. An instrument that will play a chord simply with the touch of a button must be among the easiest to play. Later!