You know you want to learn music, but what instrument should you start on? The piano seems like the default, but guitar and drums are so cool! Maybe you could start more than one? Is it ok to start with something other than the piano? Let’s look into this question a little deeper.
Piano as Your First Instrument
The piano is a very versatile instrument, it has its place in classical music, pop, jazz, and just about everything else. No matter what kind of music you like, you can’t go wrong with learning the piano.
Piano is also very important in almost all musical settings. So much in fact that in college in order to graduate with a music degree almost every school will require “piano proficiency”. They require students to take lessons in piano and pass a test to show they can play piano at a basic level. That means even if your main instrument is saxophone, guitar, drums, voice or anything else, colleges will require you to learn piano as well.
Piano is Easy to Start and Hard to Master
Piano is a great instrument to start out on also because even a 2-year-old can make a good piano sound just starting out. All you need to do is press down a key and the sound is made. Compare that to wind instruments, voice, or even string instruments and you’ll find starting out quite a bit more difficult.
Of course when we really get into learning the piano it is likely one of the hardest instruments. Music can be extremely difficult, and you need to learn to do many many things at once. Pianists typically read 3 to 4 lines of music at once, whereas other instruments read 1 to 2.
Playing the Piano can Help with Learning Other Instruments
Because all the notes are laid out right in front of you, it’s much simpler to understand difficult musical concepts from a piano. Reading music and understanding how it is written is much easier than a piano, which can help when learning other instruments.
When You shouldn’t Start With the Piano
If everything is created equally, piano would be a good instrument to start with. But when should it not be your first instrument? Well it’s simple. If you don’t want to learn piano, don’t start with it. After all of that, really? Yes really.
Remember, unless you practice you won’t get better. Period. If you’ve heard that the piano is the best instrument to start with, but you aren’t interested, you’re not going to practice.
But all of that doesn’t really matter when you get right down to it. If you want to learn the violin for example, you’ll learn it much faster by not wasting your time learning the piano. Learn the violin for goodness sake!
If you get serious about music eventually you’ll likely add piano lessons there, but there’s no need to start with them if you aren’t interested.
Learning Your Second Instrument
Music is pretty amazing. A lot of what you learn on one instrument can transfer over pretty steadily to many other instruments. So you want to learn guitar AND piano? I would suggest picking one and running with it. You’ll find that when you get pretty comfortable with one instrument picking up the other won’t be half as difficult as the first.
The Student’s Age Matters
If you have a young child that wants to get into music lessons, you should avoid wind instruments. Young children just don’t have the lung capacity or even the strength to hold up these bigger instruments. Piano and drums are often picked for children under 7. But it’s not unheard of for younger children to learn violin, guitar, or voice.
Are you or your child a little impatient? Think they will quit unless they see some pretty quick progress? Guitar may be an instrument you want to look into. Guitar is great because most music that we listen to on the radio is actually fairly simple to play. That’s not to say that guitar is easier than other instruments, it’s just that the music most people want to learn is easier than a lot of other instruments. It’s actually so easy that quite a few people are self taught guitarists, and they do just fine.
To put it simply, you should always learn the instrument you are most interested in, as long as the student is old enough to start. What instrument did you start first? Let us know in the comments!