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Music Lessons In Toronto: How To Choose The Right Instrument For Me

So you’re ready to dive into the world of playing music but not sure where to start or what instrument to pick up? That’s totally normal! Many people start out knowing that they want to learn how to play music for the many benefits, but aren’t necessarily initially attracted to one specific instrument. If this sounds like you, we’re here to help you make that decision.

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How to determine the right instrument

1. What kind of music do you like?

Before anything else, you need to consider what type of music you like. At the end of the day, if you’re not playing the music you’re most interested in, you’re not going to enjoy the learning process. Being able to play music that you like will keep you motivated and excited to learn new pieces. If you like jazz, consider a brass instrument. Rock, blues, alternative, and metal all lend themselves to the guitar or electric bass. The violin or piano would be a great option for any classical lovers. If you’re still having trouble narrowing it down, pick your top 5 favourite songs and figure out what the lead instrument in those songs are.

2. Do you have the space?

To master an instrument, you’re going to need daily practice at home. This means that you’ll actually need the space in your home to set up your instrument and practice. If you’re low on space, you probably will want to avoid larger instruments such as the drums or piano. Instead, opt for smaller, more portable instruments such as the violin, flute, guitar, or saxophone.

Additionally, you’ll need to consider your living arrangements. If you live with other people or in an apartment building, you should talk with your roommates/neighbours before you decide to pick up a loud instrument like the drums. This could influence your decision to go with a quieter option like the flute or even guitar.

3. What is your budget?

Different instruments require a different budget which means you’ll have to think about the cost when picking out your instruments of choice. Acoustic guitars can be purchased relatively cheap when compared to electric guitars (and require less accessories such as an amp.) You can find a nice acoustic drum kit for a decent price as well. If you’re interested in playing the piano, try opting for a keyboard or digital piano instead if you’re on a tighter budget. Woodwind and brass instruments can sometimes get up there in price; however, you can find flutes for ~$150. The most expensive group of instruments is the classical strings – so think violins, cellos, and violas. The top of the line violins can even go for tens of thousands of dollars! If you’re considering playing strings, you could always rent your instrument or research a beginner violin that can be purchased for a few hundred dollars.

4. What are your goals?

People play instruments for different reasons. Sometimes it’s to play concerts in front of hundreds of people. Other times it’s to pick up a new hobby. And for many, it’s simply to meet new people and have fun on a new adventure. Your end goals will help you decide what instrument you play.

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5. What are your physical abilities?

Believe it or not, some musical instruments require certain physical capabilities that may become a factor in your decision making process. For example, any woodwind or brass instruments require perfected breathwork, drums need stamina, the upright bass requires you to stand while playing it, the guitar needs hand dexterity, etc. So if you have any physical disabilities or limitations, you’ll need to take those into account when picking out your instrument.

Characteristics of instruments

If you’re still unsure what instrument is best for you, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the main attributes of each instrument that can help you choose the right one for you:

  • Guitar: The guitar sounds great in many different types of music because of the ability to play either acoustic or electric guitar. It’s relatively easy to carry, doesn’t take up too much space, and can be played solo or in a band.

  • Violin: While the violin is on the pricier side of beginner instruments, it’s pretty small which means it’s portable and doesn’t take up a lot of space at home. Like the guitar, it can be played alone or in orchestras/bands. While you may initially think the violin can only play classical music, it’s also a crucial part of blues and country music.

  • Piano: The piano takes up a lot of space and is one of the more expensive instruments to invest in. However, it’s also one of the most versatile instruments as it can be played alone or with a band. It also is key in so many different genres of music from slower-paced to fast-paced. If you’re interested in learning how to write music, the piano is one of the easiest to do so because of its wide range of low and high notes.

  • Drums: Like the piano, drums will take up a lot of space in your home and are loud to practice on (unless you opt for electric drums.) On the drums, you’re in charge of keeping the rhythm and tempo of the music going. They require a lot of endurance and arm strength.

  • Flute: Similar to a violin, a flute is really easy to carry around and takes up almost no space at all. It has a high-pitched tone and requires some breath control to achieve the right sound. While the flute can be played solo, it sounds best as part of a band or orchestra.

  • Saxophone: The saxophone has a lower tone than the flute but requires a great deal of breathwork to be able to play. A sax is found in many different types of music and even sounds great when played alone.

  • Electric bass: Think of the electric bass as the older brother of the guitar. It looks similar but it produces a lower, richer tone when compared to a guitar. The electric bass is usually played in a band and can be used for many different


genres such as rock, latin, and jazz.

  • Ukulele: If you’re toying around with the idea of learning the guitar, the ukulele is a great starting point. It’s smaller, less expensive, and has less strings than a guitar. This makes it great for children or any beginner wanting to learn the basics.

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Whether you’ve decided what instrument to play or still need help picking the right one for you, give us a call today at Greater Toronto Music School for music lessons in Toronto!

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