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What Musical Instrument Should You Play?

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by Karen the Wordier (subscribe)
I am a world traveller who likes to learn new places and faces, wander with my man wherever the wind blows, and bring my three young adventurers along for the ride. I also love a good coffee.
Published January 22nd 2013
Play something other than the radio
Everyone loves a musician. We're a broke but happy breed. There are many possibilities if you want to make a joyful noise. How do you narrow it down? Do you play something or learn to sing?
If you've never sung in your jammies, you haven't lived.
Here are some quick tips on how to decide. Further down, there are some pros and cons of the most popular choices:
1. Choose an instrument you already love to hear. If you hate the way it sounds in a polished performance, just wait til you've played that one impossible measure a 100 times.

2. Pick an instrument you can bring home, rent or buy. Daily practice is critical.
Practice makes perfect...really.
15-30 minutes a day does it for a hobbyist.
That's a pretty huge challenge without comfortable access to your instrument.

3. Pay for private lessons if you possibly can. Group lessons are okay for some people. Generally they don't take people very far. It might be a decent beginning if money's an object. Online lessons fall into this category. If price dictates, anything is superior to going it alone.

4. Learn to read music as a part of your lessons. It's an important skill.

5. Interview several teachers and pick one whose skill and teaching style are the best fit for you. Be straightforward. You are only comparing styles and looking for a good fit. Do not get guilted into staying with the first one. You are paying to learn, so you deserve to learn a lot. Be bold. Be diligent. Be diligently bold. Ok.

Here are the 5 most common instruments. The plus side of choosing one of these is the availability of lessons and affordable instrument options.

courtesy of wikipedia

Definitely the most popular choice in America, this instrument is easy for most people to learn. It has the strong advantage of being portable. You can't take your piano to the beach, for example. People love to hear easy guitar pieces. Simple classical guitar songs are among my favorite. If you have the talent and desire, you can take this instrument from sweet to amazing in just about any genre of music. The only real downside is that so many other people can play it and many are really great at it. That's ok. Play for those who appreciate you, whether that's a packed stadium or your mom.

courtesy of wikipedia
Long favored by the higher classes, the piano may daunt those concerned about the expense. With the advent of the keyboard, opportunities have opened for the less affluent. Choose a full 88 keys, though. With a partial keyboard, learning is a big pain. It's not worth whatever amount saved.

courtesy of wikipedia
This is the trickiest of the instruments. Like all the other instruments, it really does take practice to be truly good at it. The difference is that a lot of people practice good and bad habits without knowing it. Get a teacher. It's worth the money to be sure you're doing it right. Unlike the other instruments, if you damage your voice, you can't go buy another one.

Here's a fun consideration: Most of the voices that "make it" in acting and singing are unusual. That's why they're on the radio, because they stand out. If you stand out, maybe it's because you're awesome. There's a huge variety of great sounds. Don't give up, and don't restrict your style until you find where your voice fits. And it will absolutely fit somewhere. If there's not a style that works for you, think about creating one.

courtesy of wikipedia
The first few years are painful, but the rewards can be great with a well practised violin. Long regarded as a passionate instrument, many of the world's love songs include violin. Think love scenes in old movies. Warning: this instrument requires a keen ear. There are few sounds more odious than an out of tune violin. If this is not your strong suit, try drums.

courtesy of wikipedia
This is a beloved choice by many. This is a great hobbyist instrument. The downside shows up for those hoping to make a career. There are a mere 2 seats required for flutes in an orchestra, making the competition stiff, even for the very talented. Still, follow your dreams. Maybe one of the two will be you. If not, please do the world a favor and play bassoon.
courtesy of wikipedia

This is an inside tip. No one plays this instrument. If you do and you're any good at all, you are pretty much set for a career.
There are lots of other possibilities, but I hope this helped start your musical journey. May it bring you and others some sweet sounds.

We are the music makers. And we are the dreamers of dreams. -Roald Dahl
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Why? It actually develops gray cells in your brain, making you smarter.
When: Anytime
Where: Everywhere
Cost: Varies with instrument and teacher
Your Comment
Great article!!
by miche (score: 0|8) 2094 days ago
I teach piano in Southern Sydney - feel free to contact me!
by kolol (score: 1|75) 2093 days ago
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