Learning to play a musical instrument is one of the best things you can do for your mental well-being, and it can help to improve your social circle and memory capacity too. You will find your confidence improving and you will be learning a new skill.
However, it can be difficult to decide on what instrument you would like to play. Go into any music instrument shop and you will see a plethora of unique instruments just waiting for you to pick one of them. Below are some top tips on how to choose a musical instrument to play.
Think about what type of music you like
One effective way to choose a musical instrument to play is to think about what type of music you enjoy listening to. If you prefer jazz, then you could look into learning to play the piano or even the saxophone.
If you enjoy listening to rock music, then a guitar or drums might be your best choice. Some instruments lend themselves to more than one genre of music, such as guitars, drums and even wind instruments like recorders and flutes. Some instruments even have their own sub-genres, such as punk, synth and jazz for pianos and acoustic, rock and metal for guitars. Write down a shortlist of your favourite bands and you will soon discover what music you prefer to listen to.
Experiment before committing
If you are not sure what instrument, exactly, you would enjoy playing then you should try out different types of music instruments before making a final decision. Look for a music instrument shop that will let you try out all of their instruments, starting with woodwinds (saxophones and tubas) and moving into the string family.
It won’t be music just yet, as you are still learning, but you will be able to get a feel for which instrument you prefer playing. Try out as many instruments as you can, but pay attention to which ones make you happy and excited to try them out. You might like the feel of a guitar in your hands or you might prefer the lighter weight of a silver flute. Trying out a variety of instruments will allow you to find the perfect fit for you.
Be practical about your situation
If you still live at home with your parents or if you are in a complex, then it might not be a good idea to choose a drum set as your musical instrument of choice. However, if you live in your own home then you can choose to play whatever you like, within reason.
Similarly, an electric guitar is not the best choice to make if you only have a small garage to practise in, as this could end up annoying your neighbours and family members. You could look into digital software and headphones in order to practise at home or join some classes so that you are able to practise with a group of like-minded people who won’t mind the racket. Think about your living situation before you decide on a noisy or bulky instrument.
Are you a solo or group artist?
Knowing whether or not you want to play in a group or on your own will help you to decide on the type of instrument you should choose. In South Africa, music is often a sociable hobby, but this might not be something that you enjoy, so you should choose an instrument that is more suited to a solo artist.
You might feel more excited by the prospect of playing a dazzling jazz solo with your trumpet or bass, in which case you should look into a more solo career. If the idea of playing rhythm guitar alongside a talented singer makes you smile, then being part of a band is probably a good option to look into. Guitars and drums lend themselves better to group artists or bands, whereas violins, cellos and pianos are better suited to solo musicians.
Find out about any available teachers
Once you have decided on which instrument you prefer, you will need to research whether or not there is anyone in your area who can teach you how to play the instrument. You might have trouble finding someone who is willing and able to teach you how to play the cello, whereas guitar teachers are far more common in both big cities and small towns.
If you want to learn to play a rare instrument, you might have to look harder to find a teacher, but this should not dissuade you from wanting to learn it. You can also turn to the Internet and use platforms such as YouTube to search for ‘How to play XYZ’ videos. You will soon find a diverse range of teaching videos with simple instructions that cater to any skill level.