Learning to play an instrument has endless benefits. Not only can it be enjoyable and satisfying, but research has also shown that it can have a significant impact on factors like mood, memory, stress, and overall happiness. And with various musical groups available to join, it can be a great way to expand your social circle too.

Many people have a passion for music, but not all of us were lucky enough to have music lessons as children. And later in life it’s easy to look back and feel as though we’ve missed the opportunity to take up new skills.

But the good news is that it’s never too late to start learning. That being said, some instruments are naturally easier to learn than others. So to give you the best chance of success and satisfaction, we’ve put together a list of seven of the easiest musical talents for adults to learn.

Whether you’ve always wanted to sing in a musical group, play peaceful melodies on the guitar, or rock and roll on the drums, there’s something to suit every style.

1. Piano

The piano is one of the most popular musical instruments to learn. It’s very versatile and can cater to a wide range of musical styles.

Learning to play the piano can often help people with their coordination because some pieces require the use of both hands to play different melodies. If you’re doubting whether you’d be any good at playing the piano, then remember that if you’re able to type on a computer keyboard, you’re already halfway there.

How long it takes to learn to play the piano depends entirely on what you’re hoping to achieve. For example, someone with no experience could learn the melody of a basic song like ‘Hot Cross Buns’ in a few minutes, while world-class pianists require a minimum of 10 to 15 years of concentrated study! To get a clearer idea of how long it takes to reach different piano levels, you can use the practice calculator on the Hoffman Academy website.

Since the piano playing is so popular, you shouldn’t be hard pushed to find a teacher in your local area. There are various organisations such as MusicTutors – which offers online teaching and in-person lessons – and First Tutors where you can browse teaching resources near you.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer, the internet is also full of free video lessons, tutorials, and sheet music which you can use to self-learn. If you don’t want to read sheet music, many YouTube tutorials will teach you songs by showing you which keys to press and in which order.

When it comes to buying a piano, standard upright pianos usually cost a few hundred pounds and are available to buy on Amazon. Or, if you’re looking for something a little cheaper, consider investing in a digital keyboard. These are usually sold for around £40 and are also available to buy on Amazon.

2. Harmonica

The harmonica is less commonly played than more popular instruments like piano and guitar. But despite its slight obscurity, the harmonica is a great option for beginners.

If you’re a particular fan of folk, blues, and country music, then this is the instrument for you as harmonicas are the primary instrument in these genres. And even better, it’s pretty hard to sound bad playing the harmonica, because any note that you play will be in key – producing all of the major chords requires simply blowing on the organ.

Learning to play the harmonica also has many health benefits. For example, it’s a great way to increase lung capacity and breathing control – so much so that some American hospitals have started their own harmonica bands in order to help patients with reduced lung capacity or other respiratory issues. It’s also been used to form part of some recovery treatments for stroke survivors as playing can strengthen facial muscles and improve coordination.

YouTube is full of lessons and tutorials that can teach you harmonica basics, including how to hold it and breathe properly whilst playing. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to have some extra guidance, you can browse harmonica tutors and learning resources available near you on First Tutors.

Harmonicas are fairly cheap to buy and easily portable too, so you can practice or perform anywhere at any time. Amazon has a range of harmonicas available for around £10, which you can browse here.

3. Ukulele

The ukulele is a smaller instrument that’s generally considered one of the easiest to learn. While guitars feature six strings, the ukulele has only four – usually made from soft nylon-like material. The ukulele is also considerably smaller than a guitar, and makes a perfect option for those with smaller hands.

To match the bright and cheerful music that ukuleles produce, many are available in bright colours and patterns. And finding the design that best matches your personality and style can all be part of the fun.

Most people are able to learn the essential ukulele chords within just a few weeks. This then sets you up to try playing more complex songs, or, if you wanted to, to advance onto learning other instruments like the guitar or violin.

Other benefits of the ukulele include that it’s affordable, lightweight, and easy to carry around. The fact that it has fewer strings than a guitar also means there’s less chords to memorise.

Even better, you won’t have to break the bank to get your hands on a good quality ukulele. These will generally cost less than the majority of basic guitars, and more basic versions are available for less than £20 on Amazon.

You can search for Ukulele lessons and tutors near you on MusicTutors and First Tutors, or browse the range of tutorials and courses available on YouTube.

4. Drums

If you’ve got an inner rock star waiting to be set free, then why not have a go at learning to play the drums? Of all the instruments, it’s the drums that allow you to be as loud and expressive as you wish. Because of this, playing them can be a great stress reliever too.

The drums aren’t too tricky to learn, however it’s recommended that you learn with an experienced teacher. It’ll usually take a few months of practice to be able to play solid, steady beats on the drums. You can browse tutors and lessons near you on MusicTutors.

However, if you’d prefer to start off by learning some of the basics yourself or simply get a feel for whether the drums are for you, you can have a browse of the various tutorials available on YouTube.

The major drawback of learning to play the drums is the cost of buying your own kit, and the space that the instrument takes up. Naturally, if you’re thinking of taking up the drums, it’s also worth considering when and how you’ll be able to play without angering the neighbours or anyone else that you live with!

That being said, electronic drum kits can often be slightly more compact and affordable. They also allow you to plug headphones in so that noise isn’t an issue. These can cost around £60 and are available to buy on Amazon.

5. Singing

Whether blessed in the singing department or not, we’ve all experienced the joy of having a good sing-song. The beauty of singing is that you can do it whenever and and in whatever style you wish.

And there’s solid scientific evidence to prove that singing alone or in harmony with others is beneficial for both the body and the mind. It can help to relieve stress, improve lung function, enhance memory, help with grief, and encourage a sense of belonging and connection.

However, while everyone can sing, there are specific areas and exercises that you can work on to help improve your voice. If you’re interested in starting singing lessons, you can browse tutors available near you on MusicTutors and First Tutors.

If you already know how to play an instrument, learning to sing alongside it can make a great addition to your music. This can be a tricky skill to master at first because it requires a degree of multitasking. However, the result is well worth it and you’ll find some useful tips for playing an instrument and singing at the same time on Music Notes.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to sing as part of a group, why not consider joining a Rock Choir near you? As the UK’s leading contemporary choir, Rock Choir brings people together through the joy of singing across 400 locations nationwide. To learn more about what Rock Choir has to offer, have a watch of the video below.

6. Guitar

The guitar is another popular instrument to learn and can be a great instrument to express your personality. There are also different types of guitar, such as acoustic, electric, classic, and base – all of which provide different sounds, moods, and styles.

Most people are able to master the basic chords and scales fairly easily. However, exactly how long it’ll take to be able to play songs at different levels will depend entirely on the number of practice hours you put in. For example, to be able to play songs at a beginner level usually takes between 300 to 1000 hours of practice.

You can browse guitar lessons and tutors near you on MusicTutors and First Tutors. Or, if you’d like to get more of a feel of what to expect first and would prefer to self-teach, head over to YouTube, where there are various tutorials available.

Basic acoustic guitars are available for between £40-£60, but top of the range models cost a lot more – sometimes stretching into the thousands.

If you’re learning the guitar from scratch then it’s probably worth investing in a cheaper model to begin with. If you go on to master the guitar, there’ll be nothing stopping you from treating yourself to a more expensive model later down the line. You can browse guitars to buy on Amazon.

7. Recorder

The recorder is one of the easiest woodwind instruments to learn. Featuring just a simple finger chart, not only is it suitable for beginners, but it’s also fairly easy to teach yourself. Unlike instruments such as the clarinet, violin, oboe, or trumpet which are far more complex, you’ll save significant time and effort by choosing to master the recorder instead.

Some people might be put off at the thought of learning the recorder. After all, it’s not the most sought after instrument and it may remind you of your school days when young pupils attempted to play. However, when played correctly and in tune, the recorder can actually be very beautiful to listen to.

Recorders feature a thumbhole at the back which is covered by the player’s left thumb. And on the front there are six holes which are covered in different variations to produce varying musical notes. The technique required to produce these notes is easy and convenient to learn as the finger movements correspond to high and low notes (lifting for higher notes and covering for lower notes).

For a detailed run-through of how to play the recorder – including where to place your fingers on the recorder to produce different notes – have a read of this article by Spinditty. You can also browse recorder tutors and lessons near you on First Tutors, or get a feel for the instrument through the various tutorials available on YouTube.

Recorders are significantly cheaper to buy than many other instruments, unless you decide to go for a particularly fancy one. They’re available to buy on Amazon and usually range from between £5 and £20.

Final thoughts…

Many of us have a passion for music. Whether it’s singing along to it, dancing to a good beat, or learning a new instrument – music is capable of bringing significant joy into our lives.

Being able to play a musical instrument or sing in harmony as a group is a great skill to have. But for those of us who never had music lessons when we were younger, it’s common to feel as though you’ve missed out, or that the opportunity has passed. But the truth is that it’s never too late to start learning – and who knows, you may even end up uncovering a new passion.

Since some instruments are naturally easier to learn than others, then why not give yourself the best chance of success by taking up one from our list today?

What musical instruments can you play? Have you tried learning something new recently? What do you love most about music? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Join the conversation on the music section of the Rest Less community forum, or leave a comment below.

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