How To Decide Which Instrument Is Right for You?


Learning an instrument is fun and rewarding. However, the idea of deciding which instrument to pick can be a little intimidating.

Well, let me make that decision-making process a whole lot easier by breaking it down for you into a helpful guide.

1. Musical Inclinations

What kind of music inspires you to play an instrument? Or rather, what type of music do you enjoy listening to?

This may seem like an obvious point, but don’t dismiss it too fast. Take time to really think about it, digging deep within your musical preferences.

Do you like the rhythmic beat of hip-hop? The bluesy sound of jazz? The angelic harmony of an orchestra? The raspy sound of rock songs? The acoustic folky type of music?

Once you’ve identified your musical leanings, then go ahead and research what instruments are used in that particular genre.

A musical instrument is a considerable investment in terms of time and money. This is why it is crucial to ensure that the style of music that you are playing fits the bill.

If you are undecided on your musical leanings, then you might want to go for a versatile instrument such as the guitar, for instance.

With a versatile instrument, you may opt to specialize in a genre or use your playing techniques to dabble in many musical stylings.

2. Playing Ambitions

Where do you see yourself playing your instrument? In what kind of situations do you see yourself seated with your instrument making some melodies?

While one person might be looking for an instrument they can carry to the park for a jam session, another might simply be looking for an instrument they can quietly play to themselves.

For instance, a mandolin would be a great idea for someone who wishes to participate in an acoustic stringed instrument jam session. By the way, here is a guide on how to start playing mandolin

On the other hand, a less social person might be better off with a piano.

While figuring out your playing aspirations, you might also want to think about how much space your instrument takes up and its portability.

You can move about with a flute without any hassles, but the same cannot necessarily be said about a saxophone, especially if you are trying to haul it through a crowded subway during rush hour.

Do you see yourself playing in a band and taking the spotlight? In this instance, you would be better off with an instrument that takes more solos, including singing.

The guitar tends to be the most prominent instrument in a band, compared to the rhythm section, so this is the kind of instrument that will put you at the forefront.

3. Availability of Time

How much time are you willing to dedicate to your new instrument?

Some people play whenever inspiration strikes; others have a set schedule, whereby they may dedicate themselves to playing for two hours a day, every day.

Some are willing to dedicate as much time as it takes to their new instrument until they have mastered all techniques.

All musical instruments require enormous time investment for you to become an excellent player.

That being said, however, instruments vary in terms of their learning curves. While some, such as the flute, have an easy learning curve, others, such as the violin, have a pretty steep learning curve.

Before picking any instrument, be clear about how dedicated you are to learning it, even if it ends up taking longer than you had initially anticipated.

Keep in mind that the time it takes to master an instrument might not simply be about how to hold and play the instrument. Sometimes, there are other aspects such as learning how to read sheet music, for instance.

Even when you can identify and read the music notes, there’s the other challenge of whether you can quickly locate these notes on your instrument.

4. Physical Limitations

If you cannot carry something heavy for extended periods of time, you might want to steer clear of the bass.

Likewise, don’t go for the tuba if you get out of breath too quickly and lack sufficient lung capacity to blow into a demanding wind instrument.

At the end of the day, anyone can accomplish even the most challenging task as long as they are willing to pursue it head-on and not give up at the slightest inconvenience.

So that is not to mean that you should stay away from an instrument you genuinely want to play, simply because your physique might offer some limitations.

As long as you have the will, you can push past the initial physical difficulties and train your body to adjust accordingly.

All that matters is you be mentally prepared for the adversity that will come with your ambitious venture.

5. Budget

As with any other hobby, playing a musical instrument can be as expensive as you want it to be.

Most instruments are available in various price ranges, depending on whether you want a beginner instrument or a professional one.

The best suggestion is to always start cheap with a low-priced beginner instrument. After that, you can leap for something more advanced if you feel like you are looking for a more refined sound.

Nevertheless, some instruments are drastically cheaper or more expensive than others, and that’s something to consider right from the get-go.

For instance, electric guitars are generally more expensive than acoustic guitars, not to mention that the former requires additional investments such as an amplifier.


When deciding which instrument would be right for you, the general rule of thumb is to pick what you love and love what you pick.

As long as you love what you pick, you will always have the zeal to practice and sharpen your playing skills and techniques.

Have fun with it!

Start the discussion at