High school is said to be the perfect time to learn a musical instrument.
Many schools offer free or cheap band classes and instrument rentals. My school also has some orchestra and percussion classes at different levels so students of the same musical ability can play together and learn on the same level as each other. A few classes even put on concerts several times a year, which gets the whole school involved.
If your school does not have a music program, don't worry — it’s never too late to start. Group music classes with a music program or school are a great way to make friends as well. Playing an instrument can improve bonds with others and improve memory and executive functioning skills such as focus and organization.
However, picking up an instrument in high school can be difficult because demanding classes and more extracurriculars make it harder to find time to master an instrument.
If you have a busy schedule and want an instrument that you can pick up quickly, look no further than this list of the fastest instruments to learn, according to people who play instruments at my school.
1. Ukulele — A ukulele is a small guitar-shaped instrument. The small size makes it easy to stretch your hands and make chords. Unlike guitars, which have six strings, basic ukuleles only have four strings, so playing them is less complicated. Ukuleles are also cheap, so you can try them without a huge financial commitment.
This instrument is a great option to learn online as well. You can visit a website like ukuleletricks.com (click on free lessons), which shows you videos and gives you instructions on how to play the ukulele. Ukuleles sound great on their own or with singing. People can learn how to play a simple song on the ukulele to accompany their own singing because it is so simple.
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2. Recorder — I learned how to play the recorder in elementary school. If a class full of 10-year-olds can learn the recorder in a few months, you can learn it as well.
A recorder is a simple wind instrument like a flute, with holes that you cover with your fingers to change the sound. Like a ukulele, recorders are good to learn about online. You can go to learnrecorder.com for hundreds of free lessons. The recorder is also inexpensive; plastic ones are available for less than $10.
3. Piano — Piano is the most popular instrument to play in the United States for a good reason. While it can take a long time to master piano, it is easy to pick up because of the simplicity of the setup.
Pianos have specific keys that make designated sounds when pressed. Physically, it is easy to learn how to play a piano. If someone with no experience tried to make a note on a trumpet, for instance, they would have no idea what to do. If they tried to play a note on a piano, it would be pretty easy to figure out.
4. Drums — Drums show up in almost all modern music. There are many types of drums that you can try, but bongo drums are the easiest ones to learn. A bongo drum is a double drum that is played in the lap. One side is bigger than the other and the drums are easy to make simple rhythms on.
Bongos usually cost around $40 and you can find numerous online tutorials on YouTube.
Other than bongos, the bass drum is one of the drums taught in schools and is the largest and deepest on a traditional drum set. It is played by hitting the drum with a stick. It should be noted that playing percussion instruments such as drums is not as easy as some perceive it to be because keeping rhythm is difficult.
5. Triangle — The triangle is a notoriously easy instrument to play. This simple metal instrument is hit in different places with a metal stick to produce a chiming sound. If a triangle is used in a musical piece, it will be used sparingly because the sound is so sharp it would hurt people's ears if played too much. This means that you will have a lot of breaks while playing!
You do not need to have a passion for music to learn an instrument. Playing an instrument can be fun and beneficial for your brain health; it can also be a good way to bond with your peers and to accompany singing as well.