How to Choose the Right Instrument for You
As you have learned in our previous blog posts – playing an instrument has too many benefits to not get you or your child invested in learning an instrument. But you may have come to the next road block. Which instrument to choose? There are so many instruments out there to choose from. What instrument were you or your child born to rock out on? Megan Romer from About.com helps us out with choosing an instrument that's right for you.
- What kind of music do you like? This seems like an obvious point, but think it through: if you really prefer listening to acoustic folk music, drums -- fun as they seem -- might not be the right choice. But really dig deep with this question. A musical instrument is a big investment of time, so make sure the style of music that you'd be playing fits the bill. Some instruments are more versatile than others -- once you get basic fiddle fingering and bowing down pat, you can specialize in a genre or continue to dabble in many.
- In what sort of situations do you see yourself playing? Does playing in an acoustic stringed instrument jam session sound good? Perhaps the mandolin would be a good choice. If you're less social, the piano always sounds good solo, and makes a gorgeous piece of furniture even when it's not being played.
- What are the limitations of your budget? Most instruments can be purchased in various price ranges, but some are more drastically cheap or expensive than others.
- What sort of practice space do you have? Live in a thin-walled apartment? Perhaps the Highland Bagpipes aren't really your best option. Live on a farm in the middle of nowhere? Squeeze freely, my friend.
- What kind of time do you want to put into the instrument? All instruments will require an enormous time investment if you want to become a really excellent player, but for less time, you can become a pretty good or adequate player, depending on what you're looking for.
- What are your physical limitations? If you can't hoist something heavy, don't try to play upright bass. If you don't have great lung capacity, think twice about the saxophone. Trick elbow? trombone may not be so easy. Certainly, if you've got the will to play something that will be physically difficult for you, you can surpass just about anything, but be ready for a bit of adversity.
- Do you want to play and sing at the same time? If you really want to accompany yourself singing, especially if you want to do it solo, you might consider going with one of the two classics: piano or guitar. Sure, plenty of great musicians have accompanied themselves on other instruments, but piano and guitar can both provide a fullness and range of sound that, solo, accompany a human voice well. It's no accident that they're the most popular accompanying instruments for singers.
- Do you want to be the leader of the band? If you're looking to play small-ensemble music, be it classic rock or reggae or any number of other genres, where do you envision yourself fitting in? If you want to be out front, pick the instrument that takes the most solos and plays the melody within your chosen genre. If you'd rather be an unsung hero, go for something in the rhythm section.
- Are there folks around to play with? Certain types of music (and the instruments that they're played on) really are best-suited to social players, and you'll have a hard time keeping it up if you never have a chance to pick a tune with others. Irish music and old-time music, for example, are really best enjoyed session-style, so unless you want to be doomed to a life of solo banjo pickin' or bodhran beatin', consider whether or not you've got some people around to practice with, or if you're willing to seek them out during travels.
- Choose your instrument carefully. If you don't really love it, you'll never stick with it. Don't compromise if you don't have to.
- It'll be awhile before you're any good. Have reasonable expectations for yourself, and remember that the learning curve for different instruments is shaped differently. Reaching the point at which you can strum a simple set of chords on a ukulele will take less time than playing a simple melody on the violin. Don't let it discourage you if it takes awhile, no matter what instrument you're on.
Just for fun; take these quiz’s to help you find the right instrument for you, and then come in and talk to us about getting started. We are open from 3:00 pm - 9:30 pm today!