What Instrument Should You Play?

It’s a question that every musician has asked at least once: what instrument should I play? There are a few factors that you need to consider before you choose an instrument. Your size, interests, and finances all play a role.

Killer Harmony | What Instrument Should You Play? | Choosing what instrument to play can be hard. In this post, I cover what you should consider when choosing an instrument to play.

I am not here to tell you what instrument to play (though I am partial to the flute). The purpose of this post is simply to give you something to think about when you go pick out that new instrument.

So, without further ado, here are a few things you should think about before starting a musical instrument.

Your Interest in the Instrument

It may sound obvious, but interest plays a huge part in your success on an instrument. You will have a much easier time learning and practicing if you choose an instrument you enjoy. When choosing an instrument, this is probably the biggest thing to consider, because you should like what you are doing.

If you don’t care much for the piano, for example, you will never want to practice, and you won’t make any progress. Yes, you might have to learn piano before you learn something like the harpsichord, but overall you should enjoy playing and listening to your instrument.

If you are passionate about the music, it won’t matter how prestigious or popular the instrument is. It won’t matter what others think of your choice. When it comes to interest, you are the only one who matters.

Your Capabilities

Some instruments are harder to start than others. In most cases, you cannot start directly on oboe or French horn. You might have to learn the basics on another instrument like clarinet or trumpet.

It also takes some work to get a sound on the flute, so you should try playing it to see if you can do it. As much as I believe you can play any instrument you want, there are some physical and mental factors that can limit your options.

Another example is the double bass. It is such a large instrument, and it requires larger hands to reach the notes in addition to finger accuracy due to the lack of frets. Don’t let your body limit you, but you should know what you are comfortable with.

Your Budget

In a recent post, I mentioned instruments for every budget. I listed some instruments at different price points, so check that out if your budget is small.

While your budget is worth taking into account, it is not the be all end all of choosing an instrument. In that budget post, I grouped instruments by overall beginner model prices. However, you can usually find an instrument for rent through a music store or second hand through a store or online.

Renting is great for beginners, because many programs are rent-to-own, and there is no obligation to buy. Many of these agreements are month to month, and you can return the instrument and end the contract at any time.

So if buying is out of the question, look at your options, because you may find an instrument for way less than you think.

Your Goals

What do you want from pursuing music? Is it to play in a symphony, start a jazz group, maybe play in a musical theatre pit? Not every instrument has a place in every setting or genre. If you are set on joining an orchestra, saxophone is not your best option. You’d be better off choosing clarinet or bassoon.

If you want to play jazz music, then saxophone, trumpet, and trombone are the big choices. Other instruments can play jazz, but those three plus a rhythm section are standard.

Piano and guitar, as well as singing, are the most versatile, style wise. There is so much classical repertoire for the piano, but you can also play a lot of pop covers and rock songs. Guitar is reverse. It has a ton of popular pieces, and a small selection of classical repertoire.


What all did you consider when choosing your instrument? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!


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