If your way of “soothing the savage beast” is through instrumental and acoustic music, there’s a good chance you want to learn how to play a musical instrument. It could be an intimidating prospect initially, but you should open yourself up to the idea more when you’re confident about what instrument you want to play.
So, how do you know which instrument is ideal for you? Check out these tips to get closer to your goal of mastering an instrument in the future.
Questions To Ask Before Choosing Your Instrument
Choosing which instrument to learn relies mainly on specific circumstances surrounding you, specifically your relationship with music.
1. What type of music are you into?
This is the most obvious, but also the best, question to start with. Investing in a musical instrument is no mean feat. You’ll likely have to put in good money and considerable time to progress how you want to. Thus, make sure to pick an instrument whose sounds you actually love listening to. Do you like latin percussion? Do you want to know how to play congas? You should choose the instrument according to your choice of music.
Sure, you can always go for a choice that’s a hit with the audience even though you don’t really love playing it. However, that won’t really serve you well long term. What equates to musical longevity is when you do something you are passionate about, regardless of spectator impact.
2. What limitations do you have when it comes to budget?
As mentioned, a musical instrument can be a considerable investment. Take a piano, for instance. Opting for a good-quality, entry-level keyboard would set you back at least $3,000. That’s not loose change by any means.
Generally, instruments are available at various price points, but some are more extreme on either side of the price spectrum than others. For example, a tin whistle could run for about 20 bucks for a decent quality model and should cost no more than $300 for its very best version.
You won’t get that with most of the other instruments, especially pianos, saxophones, cellos, and violins. Not to mention, lessons for the more sophisticated instruments are more expensive to come by.
3. In what situations do you picture yourself playing?
Do you prefer playing solo or as part of an ensemble? Are you more the type to enjoy a garage jam session than playing in a jazz club? Some instruments are made to fit specific styles of playing and playing scenarios, while others are more versatile.
Should you realize your initial choice is more limited in this aspect, consider if you’d be fine choosing a different one. That’s up to you, but note that even you would get tired of not having as many opportunities to showcase an instrument that you love.
4. Would it be easy to get lessons?
Finding a good instructor shouldn’t be all that hard if you’ve chosen the violin, cello, or piano. It would be a different case, however, should you choose the diatonic button accordion. There won’t likely be a good teacher for this instrument within a thousand-mile radius.
Would you be willing to travel that far or even farther to get your lessons? And even so, you might not be able to do that as frequently as you want.
That isn’t to say you should give up on learning a rare instrument. Just be ready to put in the effort you normally wouldn’t need to to learn a more common instrument. When you find a teacher, try requesting virtual classes so that you wouldn’t have to travel or spend as much on the learning process.
5. How much time can you put into learning the instrument?
It’s no secret that all instruments require time to learn and master. However, it’s also true that some are drastically more time-consuming than others. Your goals are also factored into the equation.
For instance, if you’re looking to become a piano virtuoso or guitar master, you’d need to dedicate even more time to learning your respective instrument. Any less than that, and you could maybe only become a good player at most. If that’s enough, then there should be no problem.
6. Are there any physical limitations that would keep you from learning an instrument?
If you get stressed lifting heavy things, an upright bass wouldn’t be ideal for you. Is lung strength not your strong suit? If so, picking the saxophone would be ill-advised. Basically, it would be best to choose an instrument that you love that also respects your physical limitations.
Certainly, if there’s a will, then there’s a way. However, you’d want to be ready to take on adversity at every turn should you end up choosing a physically incompatible instrument.
Regardless of What You Decide On, Have a Plan
If you haven’t already, learn as much about a prospective instrument as you can. Research the different models and accessories required to play the instrument. Decide whether you would want to work with a teacher or learn on your own. Lastly, bring confidence into your journey, as that’ll ultimately be what allows you to progress faster and farther.