The New Year has arrived, and many of us feel a tremendous amount of renewed energy. You might be looking for new goals and challenges. Well, I’m here to help you out if you’re interested in learning a new musical instrument. It doesn’t matter if you have some musical knowledge or not; the most important thing to realize is that diligent and constant practice will make you progress. Sooner or later, you’ll surprise yourself playing music from your favourite artists and possibly shopping for more gear. Read on for some suggestions on which instrument to begin and where to start learning, such as lessons and various types of platforms.
It’s hard to argue against starting your musical journey on the piano. It is such a complete instrument that will help you understand all the inner workings of the art form: melody, harmony, and rhythm. By developing independence between your fingers and hands, you will be able to cover the chords, bass, and melodic lines that make up the songs we know and love. Pianists will most likely evolve to be complete musicians thanks to these characteristics. Additionally, you’ll have access to some of the most beautiful music ever written, in all genres.
Depending on your preferences and situation, you’ll need to choose the appropriate keyboard for your needs. While this is a large subject, the most concise and general way to describe it is in terms of portable and console models. Portable units offer a compact and light instrument that is usually filled with sounds and modes—perfect to keep children interested as long as possible! Great choices include the time-tested PSR line by Yamaha. Also, Casio’s CT-S300 packs entertaining music creation modes into an already complete package. You can read my review here.
Console-style pianos are digital keyboards that simulate the acoustic experience. They usually have awesome sounds amplified by great sounding speakers. They also often present weighted keys, which is necessary to fully develop technique that you can carry over to an acoustic instrument. One of my favourite models is the Roland FP-10. It’s a great investment that represents excellent value for your money. You can read my full review here.
For a deeper dive into how to choose your first keyboard, check out Best Buy’s Digital Piano Buying Guide.
The guitar is one of the world’s most popular instruments. It’s very versatile and very easy to carry with you to entertain friends, family, and even strangers! Knowing how to play also ensures that you will never spend a dull moment where a guitar is available.
The acoustic guitar is an excellent place to start. You won’t need many accessories, thanks to the fact that it amplifies itself. It’s also an amazing party trick to pull out. The repertoire has an astounding amount of material to choose from; just add acoustic to any song title you like on YouTube and be prepared to fall into a deep rabbit hole of creativity and awesomeness.
Yamaha has some excellent models to choose from, including the FG series. Also, Epiphone has very interesting and affordable guitars. First of all, there is the FT-100, a standard dreadnought shaped guitar. You can read about it here. There is also the FT-100CE, which adds electronics and a cutaway for access to higher frets. This is a good way to future-proof your investment. Here’s my full review.
If you’re anything like me, most of the time you just want to rock out. This is where the electric guitar excels (and why I’ve been playing it for most of my life). I’ve never looked back on my decision to pick it up, and this might also be the right move for you. No need to start on the acoustic if this is where your interest lies.
Stratocaster-like guitars are very versatile and heavily featured in styles such as pop, blues, and funk. Their three pickup designs offer a wide selection of tones, and you can even select a model that has a humbucker in the bridge position. This will help you keep up with all the shades of rock. Fender’s Squier brand has a big selection of these types of instruments.
For fans of the Les Paul-style guitar, Epiphone has awesome, affordable models that represent excellent value for your money. For example, the Les Paul Special II Plus Top will serve you well for many years. It even looks great, thanks to that maple top. You can read about it here.
If you are looking for an inexpensive and simple way to get started with music, the ukulele is hard to beat. Its simple construction and layout make the learning process as streamlined as possible. It’s a great option for younger children that might be sensitive to the harsh metal strings of a guitar or intimidated by the possibilities of the piano.
There are many sizes of ukuleles, but one of the most popular ones to start with is the concert model. For example, the OU2PAK is a great choice thanks to the mahogany used in its construction. This tone wood is often featured in quality stringed instruments. You can read my full review here.
Learning with a teacher in private is most likely the best way to learn an instrument. The personalized attention you receive is simply invaluable. You will be corrected on things you might not even notice, and if you ever get stuck on something, you’ll have someone to help you overcome the hurdles you’re likely to encounter.
Nowadays, an alternative method is to use online-based platforms. YouTube for example is full of high quality instruction for any sort of instrument. It’s a great way to get started or to supplement your private lessons for free.
Other platforms might charge a small monthly or yearly fee, but these often have great organization and possibly gamified progression models that really help in gauging your growth. If you are looking to get started with the guitar, bass, or ukulele, make sure you check out Fender Play. It’s extremely well-made for beginners and will bring you up to a surprising proficiency level, all the while teaching you your favourite songs. You can read more about it in my full review.
There are many other instruments to explore, such as drums/percussion, woodwinds, brass, and other stringed instruments. No matter which one you pick, the same basic concept applies to learning them. You’ll need a source of instruction, and with some patience and practice, you’ll be playing away to your heart’s content. What a great skill to work on for this New Year!
Check out all the musical instruments available on Best Buy’s website.
I picked up my first ukulele last year just before the COVID shutdown hit. It was great to start learning something new. I plan to stick with it, and have recently begun looking at getting a slightly larger ukulele.
If you are looking for a lesson platform and aren’t turned off because it has a fee I would recommend Fender Play. I was able to get a 3 month free trial, and through the trial I was able to get 50% off a yearly subscription so it only cost me $60 for a year after my trial ended. They have lessons for acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitars and ukuleles. You can also move between instruments if you want to improve your skills for multiple instruments.
I’d like to pick up a better keyboard sometime so I can do more piano stuff again as my current keyboard has smaller keys and kind of messes me up when I play it.
Thanks Nikolai, this is a great article!
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