Part 2: Decide What Instrument You Want to Learn

What instrument do you want to learn? 

Our last post in this series focused on finding a teacher who is skilled in the musical styles you want to learn. But perhaps you are not entirely sure what to choose among all the different instruments available. Here are some details about the most common options. Try to narrow down your preferences as much as possible for the most enjoyable music lesson experience.


The piano is a versatile instrument that is great for beginners. It provides the most comprehensive introduction to music theory, and develops finger agility and simultaneous hand coordination. Piano students learn to read music in both treble and bass clef, which often makes learning another instrument easier later on. The piano is one of the best instruments for solo playing and performance. It’s also great for accompanying voice or other instruments. Pianists play all styles of music ranging from Classical to Jazz to covers of pop songs and movie themes. Students who take piano  will need to have a piano or keyboard in their home, so keep this in mind if you want to take lessons. If you already have a piano, consider starting with this popular instrument! Because piano teachers are in high demand and often the easiest to find, you will likely have a much broader range of options when choosing a teacher, teaching style, learning level and lesson time that is convenient for you. 


The guitar is another popular instrument that is great for beginner musicians. It introduces students to chord structures and chord progressions, which makes it good for those who enjoy playing song covers or aspiring composers who want to write their own songs. The guitar also offers a wide range of playing style choices, and like the piano, is a good accompanying instrument, perfect for pairing with vocal lessons. It’s also a staple instrument in bands, so if you enjoy making music with other people, consider learning guitar! If you have a young child who needs an easier or smaller sized instrument to begin with, Ukulele is a good alternative choice. Students will need to have a guitar or ukulele of their own to practice on, but there are many high-quality affordable student options available. An advantage of these instruments is their portability. If you travel a lot or are often away from home, a portable instrument like guitar or ukulele makes it easy to practice, perform or even take lessons from anywhere!


The family of Strings includes 4 instruments: Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass; the most popular of these are Violin and Cello. Strings are an important element of any orchestra, so if you have ever attended a symphony orchestra concert, you’ve seen all these in action. Strings players are often Classical music lovers, but they can play covers of pop songs and movie themes too. String instruments require a finely tuned ear for sound, so they can be difficult to learn and demand a lot of practice, but they are also some of the most beautiful instruments to play. In spite of their difficulty, young children can learn them, and they come in smaller sizes for tiny beginners. You will need to purchase or rent an instrument, and if you have a child who is starting off with a smaller size, you may need to replace it with a larger one as they grow. But if you have a naturally good musical ear and are dedicated to practicing regularly, a string instrument may suit you well. If you have several children who are taking lessons, you can form a mini string ensemble too!


Brass and Woodwind instruments are another important part of most orchestras and bands, so if you or your child plans to join a band or school orchestra, a wind instrument is a good choice. Most are easy to learn with consistent practice, and they develop a student’s lung power and breath control. Brass instruments include Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone and Tuba. Woodwinds include the Recorder, Flute, Clarinet, Oboe and Saxophone, among others. Brass instruments may appeal to students with louder, more expressive personalities, while quieter students may prefer woodwinds. Wind instruments are not too expensive and many are also highly portable, so if you are looking for an instrument you can take with you anywhere, consider one of these!


If you are a fan of Pop, Rock or other modern styles of music, you may enjoy drums. Drums are easy to learn and develop a great sense of rhythm and time, as well as simultaneous hand coordination. Since they are a staple of most bands and orchestras, drums are also a great instrument for a student who enjoys performance and playing music in group settings. Drums involve a lot of physical movement, so they may be perfect for a student who enjoys dancing and physical modes of expression. You will need to purchase a drum set for practice, and you may want to consider the noise level involved, but if you enjoy making (or hearing) those beats, the drums may be a great instrument to try!


Voice is another popular choice for beginners, and it is ideal for those who want to start music lessons but are not ready to invest in an instrument. Vocal training develops lung power and breath control, and trains a student’s ear for sound. Many vocalists perform as soloists with piano, guitar or band accompaniment; some join choirs or sing in churches; others are involved in musical theater groups. Singers also have a wide variety of musical styles to choose from. If you are a student who is interested in voice lessons, think about what style of music you want to sing. Choral singing is not like solo performance, and Classical vocal styles are very different from Pop, so be sure to consider what your vocal goals and style preferences are when choosing a teacher. If you are willing to invest in an instrument too, or already have one, consider pairing vocal training with piano or guitar lessons, since these are great accompaniment instruments for singing!

Now that you are aware of your musical instrument options, you may have a better idea which of these will best suit your interests and preferences. Get started on your musical journey by checking out the musical options we offer at Courtnay & Rowe In-Home Music Academy / The Music Studio Atlanta. We may have just the teacher and the instrument options you are looking for!

About the author : Anne Beck

Anne Beck is an on-staff creative writer at The Music Studio Atlanta and Courtnay & Rowe Music Academy. She is also a music teacher at Courtnay & Rowe, which gives her direct experience with students and parents and an inside look at the way music lessons run.

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