Playing a musical instrument has many benefits, like relieving stress and improving memory. However, many people think that learning to play is out of reach. Whilst it does take time and patience, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune – there are many routes to take that avoid expensive tutors. One way is by joining the Army Cadet Force, where you can gain a BTEC in Music, but more on this later.
Firstly, you’ll need to choose what to play, and there are easier instruments to learn than others. Before you attempt something more challenging, like the violin, it helps to get to grips with one that is a little more straightforward first. Below, we’ve put together a list of five of the easiest musical instruments to learn by yourself.
What are the easiest instruments to learn?
Lots of musical newbies want to learn the guitar, and we can see why. What many people don’t know, is that an electric (known by some as a bass guitar) is actually simpler to learn than an acoustic. This is because an acoustic guitar has six strings, whereas an electric guitar only has four, making it easier to grasp if you’re starting from scratch.
Nevertheless, learning the electric guitar takes just as much practice as an acoustic, but thankfully there are plenty of free resources online that can help.
When many of us think of a ukulele, we think of camping holidays sat around a fire and roasting marshmallows, with someone playing their ukulele in the background. Whilst this is not wrong – ukuleles and campfires seem to go hand-in-hand – ukuleles deserve much more recognition. Like the electric guitar, ukuleles have just four strings and because of their small size, they make a great first instrument for younger budding musicians.
Many people go on to learn the acoustic guitar after they’ve got used to the ukulele.
For some of us, the recorder might take us back to primary school days, playing in school productions and nativities with our classmates. There’s a reason that the recorder is taught a lot in primary school, and that’s because they’re one of the easiest musical instruments to learn.
They aren’t expensive to buy either, and once you’ve mastered the standard size you can upgrade to a tenor or soprano. Recorders are easy to grasp and don’t require lots of coordination, making them a great place to start for someone new to music.
Another instrument that might slip your mind is the harmonica. Harmonicas are used in many music genres, like country, folk, rock and blues, and the sound they produce is unique. The best thing about harmonicas is that they’re fun to play, and it is actually difficult to make a harmonica sound bad.
Some say that the harmonica is the easiest instrument to learn, and its size makes it super handy and practical, too.
Keyboards are basically a portable and electric version of the piano. Whilst the sound produced can be different, the premise is the same, and many people find it easier to start with a keyboard before progressing on to a piano.
Learning to play the keyboard has many benefits alongside creating beautiful music. Pianists find that their concentration and memory improve, as well as their movement and coordination skills. Another bonus is that most keyboards allow you to record yourself, so you can listen back to your efforts and work out if anything needs to change.
How to learn a new instrument
Now you’ve found an instrument you want to play; it’s time to learn it. Thankfully, due to the internet, there are many options for people on different budgets.
Online tutorials are extremely popular and can be found on free streaming services like YouTube. The advantages of following a video is that you can pause at any time if you’re struggling, or repeat it as much as you’d like. There are also many helpful apps and resources, such as SimplyPiano and UltimateGuitar.
More effective means (that will require more expense) are having lessons, either in a class or with a tutor. Numerous tutors have moved online due to the pandemic, so, in many cases, you may not even have to leave the house to be taught by a professional.
One way you can gain a music qualification is by joining the ACF as a cadet. Aside from gaining an extra qualification, learning to play an instrument increases confidence and shows commitment, two skills that are sought after by employees. Before the pandemic, the opportunity to travel around the country (and abroad!) to play music presented itself regularly and is something we look forward to continuing when we’re allowed.
Find out more about music in the ACF and take a look at our cadets in action on their Facebook page.