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Which is the best instrument for a beginner to start with?

Keyboards and pianos

Pianos, electronic keyboards and electric organs all have black and white keys. Pressing each key produces a slightly different note to the previous one, and each keyboard has at least three or four octaves, or sets of notes running from A to G. 

Woodwind instruments

Wind instruments are quite common. This is because they tend to be economically priced, they are very readily portable and they are fairly easy to learn to play. Usually worked by stopping the flow of air through one or more of the holes in the tube of the instrument, it is powered entirely by the player’s breath. There is a sliding scale of difficulty in wind instruments, with recorders at one end and oboes at the other, perhaps the most difficult of all the wind instruments.

Perhaps, if you are skilled with other instruments and want to challenge yourself, an oboe is the instrument for you? Learning to play wind instruments requires the player to learn the notes by reading the music, and then aligning their fingers in the right configuration to create the desired airflow for those notes. Sometimes the player will have to move their fingers quickly, so this skill is excellent for building up hand-eye coordination and small muscle control.

Stringed instruments

From guitars to violins and everything in between, stringed instruments are complex, carefully engineered instruments. Often made by hand, high-quality stringed instruments are delicate and each has a subtly different tone. This is why some violins, for example, can be valued at millions of pounds. Electric guitars are tougher, and can handle some rough treatment by rockers, but they still require careful tuning to get the best sound from them. Learning to play stringed instruments varies from instrument to instrument, but most use both hands simultaneously for different tasks, which can be a challenge to the coordination! Mastering a stringed instrument is something to be very proud of.


Percussion instruments take a number of forms, from the most primitive – whacking two sticks together or banging on a hollow space to make a sound – to the most sophisticated drum set. You can even get electronic drums which are physically small but make a very big sound indeed.