If you’re an adult who wants to learn to play an instrument for the first time, you may be eager to get started, but have a few questions about what the learning process will be like. Before you pick out your first instrument, read through the following FAQs to gain useful information about becoming a musician later in life.
Q: How should I choose which instrument to play?
A: One way to decide which instrument you would like to play is to consider the music genres you most enjoy listening to, and then choose an instrument that fits within that style. For example, if you enjoy rock and roll, electric guitar might be a good choice, whereas if you have an affinity for classical music, you might consider the violin.
It’s also important to consider factors like the availability of practice space. If you live in an apartment, learning to practice the drums can cause problems with neighbors, whereas a keyboard or flute may not. Ultimately, you should choose an instrument that you truly feel excited about learning to play. The enthusiasm will help keep you motivated to move forward with lessons, even when they become difficult.
Q: What are the easiest instruments to play?
A: While all instruments will require you to dedicate time and effort to become proficient, some instruments may be simpler for an adult learner to master than others. The ukulele is an instrument commonly considered to be both fun and relatively simple to learn in comparison with other stringed instruments.
The harmonica is also thought of as a moderately easy, yet versatile instrument for new musicians. These types of instruments can offer you a musical outlet through which you may be able to play well in a much shorter time period than more complicated instruments.
Q: What are the most difficult instruments to play?
A: Many experienced musicians consider instruments in the strings and brass families to be some of the more challenging instruments to learn how to play for adult beginners. Choices like the violin and cello are fretless, giving musicians no visual guidance for the proper placement of the fingers. Brass instruments like the French horn require a musician to exert a high volume of air while correctly positioning his or her lips to play the right notes.
Others consider piano to be a more complicated choice of instrument, as a proficient player must have the ability to read music while moving each hand independently from the other across the keys. Whatever you choose to play, the most important thing to remember is that all instruments present musicians with difficulty during the learning process. Don’t be afraid to take up an instrument that seems intimidating - if you are determined to play it, you will.
Q: Am I too old to learn to play an instrument?
A: It is a common misconception that people can only become proficient on an instrument if they first took lessons as a child. The real answer is no, you are never too old to take up an instrument for the first time. In fact, learning as an adult may have its own set of advantages.
For example, as an adult, you likely have years of experience listening to music, giving you a basic understanding of its structure. Additionally, you may have a more developed sense of self-discipline, which is necessary to keep to a regular practice schedule.
Lastly, unlike many children who are made to take music lessons by well-meaning parents, your decision to learn how to play an instrument is your own. Those who willfully and enthusiastically take up a new instrument are likely to have greater motivation to practice and master the requisite skills.
Q: Can I learn to play an instrument without the help of a teacher?
A: There are many ways for a beginning adult musician to learn to play an instrument, and taking lessons from a qualified teacher is only one of them. If taking lessons from a teacher doesn’t suit your financial situation or lifestyle preferences, you can find many helpful resources online to get you started.
Video tutorials on YouTube are a great place for beginning musicians to learn basic skills, and there are many well-written blogs on the internet that offer instruction for free. The iTunes and Google Play store also have a collection of music education apps for free or for very low prices that can be extremely helpful in learning to develop your abilities on an instrument.
Q: How long will it take before I can play my instrument proficiently?
A: This is a question that cannot be answered, as the factors that influence your development are contingent upon your individual choices. The first factor is identifying what “proficient” means to you. Do you want to play well enough to perform a few songs on your instrument at social gatherings, or do you want to develop talents that near a professional level?
Another factor to consider is how much time you plan to dedicate to practicing the instrument. Dedicated, well-structured practice is the only way for a musician to learn how to play an instrument, and how fast you progress depends on how much time you put in.