When do you become an adult? I can think of a few young people who might insist they are already adults at quite a young age. The point I am trying to make is to learn an instrument is not dependant upon your age.
As you get older, you may have more time on your hands, especially when you retire. Even people who work a lot can find time if they organize themselves properly, and they want to play music.
If you are a starter, you will want to get some sort of recognizable sound quite early. That is why it is important to consider the Easiest Musical Instruments for Adults…
What instruments I have included
When most people want to learn to play an instrument as an adult, it is so they can play something familiar. That involves a melody. Therefore most of what I have included here will enable you to play a melody or a tune that you will recognize.
Everything I have included is not age or gender-based. Anyone can learn anything. So if you are retired or younger, male or female, and have time on your hands, they all apply.
I have excluded instruments like a triangle, castanets, maracas, or a tambourine. They are musical instruments from the percussion family and are important. But they do not fill my criteria for creating a tune.
I have also not included drums, much as they are great fun. In many cases, they will just be impractical. And as I have said, I believe that is what most people want to do when they learn an instrument. Please note I said ‘most.’
So how complicated do you want it to become?
With all of the instruments we are going to look at, you can make them complex or simple. It is your choice. As an example, if you decide you want to learn to play the flute or the violin. For those and other orchestral instruments, you will also need to learn to read music.
Some will see that as a challenge, and it would be. Others will say not for me; I just want to make some tunes. Either way is great.
Will you need a teacher?
That will depend to a certain extent on what instrument you choose. Ten years ago, I would probably have said that you probably will. Today there are many varying sorts of media to help you that it may be possible to go it alone. At least to start with.
However, with nearly all instruments, there are important technical issues that need to be mastered. You may need at least a couple of lessons with a professional teacher to learn those. Whether you do that at the very start or once you have learned a few things is up to you.
All I would say on that issue is that bad habits are hard to eradicate. Good technique will help you improve. The saying “practice makes perfect” is not true. It should read, “GOOD practice makes perfect.” Whatever you decide are the easiest musical instruments for adults, practice is essential.
One last thing before we look at some instruments is your environment. Where do you live? Do you have neighbors? If you live in a one-bedroom flat, a six drum kit with cymbals and everything else might not be a good idea.
Whatever you choose, have you got the room? And is it going to be loud? You will need to consider neighbors if you live close to people. Okay, so let’s take a look at some of the instruments you could get into.
Let’s start with what is one of the most popular instruments. This applies especially to people who may be retiring. What makes this an attractive proposition is that there are usually so many extras built-in. They usually have their own rhythm sections and drum tracks, and some have one-fingered chord possibilities.
What makes them even more attractive is that they have a range of instrument sounds. You can thus play a violin or brass solo if you choose. They are often fitted with layering options allowing you to have two instruments playing the melody at the same time.
Range of Sizes
Another huge plus with the keyboard is that there is a huge range of sizes. You can have small variations right up to a full 88-key size. For adults who want to learn the keyboard, I would recommend at least the 61-key size. Some will have stands; some will just sit on tables. Some you can carry around with you. Others are fixed at home.
There are big reasons for their popularity. One is that it takes no time at all to get a tune going with its rhythm. Whatever genre you prefer, it will allow you to copy your favorite tune. It is also an instrument that will allow you to grow with it as you improve.
The cheapest ones are below $100, and they can go up to well over $1000, though not for a beginner. The Yamaha EZ220MM EZ Series 61-Key Portable Keyboard is a great example from a quality manufacturer. Or take a look at our in-depth reviews of the Best Digital Pianos For Beginners.
Rather than go for a keyboard, you may prefer a piano. This will usually depend on your accommodation, of course. High-rise apartment blocks or condominiums do not lend themselves to taking a full-size piano up a few floors.
But it doesn’t have to be full-size or a grand concert piano. There are smaller versions, even digital pianos, that are lighter to carry and take up much less room space.
Piano’s might be considered rather limiting when compared to a keyboard. But it is still one of the most popular beginner instruments. This does, of course, include a lot of young people. But older adults can still join the party. And just like the keyboard, if you go for a digital piano, they often come with some interesting built-in features.
Some have external connections to phones and other media devices to allow you to play music. They also have built-in speakers and connections for headphones that mute the sound externally. This allows you to practice without disturbing anyone.
This again will vary. But you can get a small digital piano on a stand for less than $100. A decent instrument between $300-400. That amount can go up quite a bit depending on the quality of the instrument and the brand, of course.
The Donner DDP-90 Digital Piano is a good example of a digital piano at a decent price point.
As an extra ‘keyboard’ option, you could try a xylophone. What was the first musical instrument you played when you were small? For a lot of people, it was a child’s version of the xylophone or glockenspiel.
This is essentially what would be described as a percussion instrument. But a percussion instrument that you can create a tune with.
Compact and easy to play
This is a serious instrument, and you will see them in orchestras all around the world. But it is also a fun instrument. Easy to play with no setting-up, they are well-made, have wood frames, and usually aluminum keys.
They also take up very little room and require no amplification. They do come in a range of sizes, but for a learner, the 30-note version is more than adequate.
They are not an expensive instrument for someone to learn on. The Ammoon 30 Note Glockenspiel Xylophone is a decent example at an attractive price.
Quite naturally, we would include a guitar on our list. Still, a very popular instrument for adults to learn on. But there are guitars in various shapes and sizes. Many assume the guitar is one of the easiest musical instruments for adults to learn. But that depends on your knowledge of guitars and which one is best for you.
What kind of guitar?
The first question would be electric or acoustic. If you buy an electric, then you are also going to need an amplifier. Electric guitars come in a range of shapes but are all about the same size unless you buy a scaled-down kids version. They all have similar controls and features though there can be a difference in the way they sound.
Acoustic guitars can be subdivided into those with nylon strings and those with steel strings. The steel-string versions can be subdivided again into whether they are Acoustic/Electric, that is, with a pickup or just acoustic. An Acoustic/Electric can be played with or without an amplifier.
Both Acoustic and Acoustic/Electric come in three main body sizes. There are the smaller ‘Parlor’ guitars, suitable for young people and beginners. Then there is the medium body or ‘Grand Concert.’ Finally, the larger sized ‘Dreadnought’ and ‘Jumbo’ sizes.
The Dreadnought is probably the most popular. However, due to its size, it is not recommended for newer players who are on the small side.
What would we recommend?
If you’re a complete beginner, then I would highly recommend a ‘Parlor’ Acoustic instrument. They will be slightly smaller than the Dreadnought but still full-size. They will be approximately 38 inches in full length. They will be quite lightweight and well-balanced, and easy to hold.
The neck will be comfortable and not too thin, as it would be on an electric guitar. That allows you to construct your chords properly.
How long is a piece of string? From quite cheap to time to sell the car to buy one. However, there are some excellent guitars at reasonable prices. This Gretsch Flat Top Acoustic Guitar is excellent value for money from a well-known name in guitar manufacturing.
If you’re looking for more quality options, then check out our comprehensive review of the Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners.
So you like the idea of a stringed instrument you strum along to your favorite songs. But you aren’t sure about a guitar. How about a ukulele?
Considerably smaller than a guitar, they come in three sizes. There is a Soprano at 20 inches long and a Concert at about 22-23 inches. Finally, a Tenor ukulele at 26 inches. They are usually well-made of good woods, and most have excellent fittings.
Easy to Play
Because they are small and lightweight, they will just sit on your lap and are so easy to play. Having only four strings, learning chords is quite easy. And being acoustic, they need no amplification.
Ukuleles are very cost-effective and aren’t going to break the bank. Some manufacturers offer a ‘bundle.’ This includes a bag and a tuner, a strap, some picks, and a starter book or video. The Donner Concert Ukulele Mahogany 23 Inch has everything you need and is a great little starter package.
Possibly another instrument that you were introduced to at school. The recorder as an instrument is still popular, and as a woodwind instrument is very underrated.
It can produce a variety of tones, some of which are very atmospheric. It isn’t hard to close your eyes and imagine it being played as the folk and village instrument it once was.
It was popular in Europe until the Classical and Romantic periods of music when the big orchestras took over. And since then, it never really caught up. But it still has its place.
Some people move on
Many have taken their first steps with the Recorder and then gone on to the Flute or Clarinet and even the Saxophone. As one of the best woodwind beginner instruments, it is unbeatable. It will also allow you to take your first music reading steps.
Cost-effective, easy to maintain, takes up no room in the house, and has a great sound. What is there not to like? You can have an excellent recorder for a very good price, such as the Soprano Descant Recorder – 8 Hole With Cleaning Rod Case, Instruction booklet. It comes in the Key of C and has a fingering chart to help you start.
Need Some Great Beginner Instruments?
We have some excellent recommendations on a good selection to get you started. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Electric Guitar For Beginners, and the Best Beginner Bass Guitars you can buy in 2023.
You may also enjoy our features on the Best Guitar Games to Help You Learn Guitar, 10 Easy Songs to Learn on the Electric Guitar for Beginners, and 10 Easy Songs to Learn on Bass.
Easiest Musical Instruments for Adults – Final Thoughts
It is very difficult to say, “learn this.” We are all different. Some will prefer Keyboards, others Guitars or the Ukulele. Some will want other instruments like the Recorder or Glockenspiel.
The most important thing is that you pick something that can play music. And more than that, the music you like. Whatever genre is your choice, there is an instrument that will cover it.
Get learning; it is never too late.