15 Of The Easiest Instruments To Learn For Seniors

Learning an instrument as a senior is a great thing to do. You might ask yourself, what is the easiest instrument to learn for a senior? 

I researched this fun hobby of learning an instrument and asked several musicians and older adults about their learning experiences. It resulted in this list of musical instruments you can learn as a senior. The list is in order of most easy to more challenging. Let’s find out which instrument is the easiest to learn for a senior! 

Before we dig into the list of most accessible and fun instruments for seniors, head on to MasterClass. It’s the best platform to learn more about different instruments and music. You can get your Annual Membership for MasterClass here.

1) Hang Drum

Easy Instruments For Seniors

A hang drum or hand pan is an easy instrument to learn. It’s a relatively new instrument. Created in 2000 by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer in Swizterland. The original Handpan is based on the Caribbean steelpan instrument.

Learning to play the hang drum is straightforward. You need to have a basic feeling of rhythm. Most of the time, you play the hang drum as a percussion instrument with your hand or the palm of your hands. There are also variants available which allow you to play the instrument with a small drumstick. These instruments are called tongue drums. 

The rhythms you create with the hang drum have a meditative effect. The instrument produces a dreamy-like sound, which helps to concentrate. According to Ramon Roelofs, a meditation teacher in The Netherlands and an internationally renowned DJ known as Charly Lownoise (famous from the duo Charly Lownoise & Mental Theo), the hang drum is one of the most straightforward instruments to play. He says, “Learning the Hang Drum is easy. You can easily create different rhythms while playing. The most important thing is that you have a feeling of rhythm, and then you can just start to play.”

So, the hang drum is one of the easiest instruments you can learn as a senior. You can get all creative and make your own rhythms while playing on the hang drum, or follow some free classes which you can easily find on YouTube. 

What are you waiting for? Get your hang drum today (available on Amazon) and start playing! 

2) Djembe

When you love to play an instrument with your hands and have a basic feeling for rhythm, the Djembe is an easy instrument to learn as a senior. You can create all kinds of rhythms while playing the Djembe. 

The Djembe is originated in Western Africa and was originally used to get the attention of all the people and make them gather in the same place. For example, to warn them of danger that was coming. So, the original purpose of this instrument was similar to that of church bells. 

Today, the Djembe is a famous percussion instrument used in all kinds of music genres. You don’t need any musical experience to play the Djembe, making it an easy instrument for seniors to learn. 

3) Bongo

Some people think that a djembe and bongo are the same instruments, but they are different. Both instruments are percussion instruments, meaning that you can easily play them with your hands. However, a bongo consists of a minimum of two hand drums of different sizes, where a Djembe often is one hand drum. 

Of course, some people put together different sizes of Djembes to play at once, creating a bongo-like drum kit of Djembes. Still, the sound of both instruments is different. Bongo’s have a more deep, bass-like sound compared to a Djembe. 

4) Tambourine

A tambourine is also a rhythm and sound instrument which is straightforward to learn as a senior. Like with all instruments, you need to have a basic feeling of rhythm to easily play. 

However, a tambourine is an instrument that is often combined with other percussion instruments such as the bongo. Mastering a tambourine takes a little practice, but it’s very easy and fun to play when you get the hang of it. 

5) Harmonica

Harmonica easy instrument for seniors

The harmonica, also known as a mouth organ, is a traditional instrument to learn. It’s a worldwide known instrument used in all kinds of genres, making it a very popular instrument. 

Learning to play the harmonica isn’t the most easiest instrument to learn. However, if you’ll practice enough, give it some time, you’ll quickly get the hang of it. Once you master the technique of playing the harmonica, you’ll have great fun playing some music! 

6) Ukulele

A ukulele is one of my favorite instruments! It has a friendly sound and is relatively easy to learn. In fact, for a string instrument, it’s one of the easiest to play. A Ukulele only has four strings, which makes it easier to manage compared with a guitar. 

If you play the Ukulele, you’ll find yourself in some tropical vibes. As if you were always on the beach in Hawaii. My husband plays the Ukulele. Because of its lightweight and size, it’s easy to bring it with you. So we always have a Ukulele with us to play some music, great fun! Currently, he plays on a Soprano Ukulele, but he wants to switch to a larger model, so it’s easier to play different chords. 

I recommend doing some research when buying a Ukulele. There are different sizes available. All these models have four strings, but the neck can vary in length. The larger ukuleles are perfect for the fingerpicking technique and if you have larger hands. All the ukuleles are perfect for strumming and playing for fun! 

Most people who start learning to play Ukulele start with a soprano Ukulele, the smallest model available. However, you might want to start with a Concert model or Tenor model Ukulele if you have large hands. This way, it will be easier to learn to play the chords and start learning the fingerpicking technique as well.

7) Bass Guitar

A bass guitar will be a great alternative if you love playing string instruments but find it harder to play chords! Standard bass guitars have 4 strings, and most rhythms only consist out of playing the actual notes. 

You can get all funky by playing bass rhythms on the bass guitar. However, because of the bass sound, it’s not as happy as playing the Ukulele. 

When you’re keen on playing in a band with other musicians, you still need to figure out which instrument you want to play. Pick the bass guitar! There is always a shortage of bass players everywhere, so it’s probably easy to find other musicians to form a group.

8) Flute

A flute is a somewhat classical instrument to play and is very popular among seniors. A flute is not only fun to play but also has many health benefits. Because of the breathing techniques, you’ll do when playing the flute, playing it becomes almost a form of meditation. 

Many music teachers say that you’re never too old to learn to play the flute. And because the instrument is used in music that most seniors listen to, they can also easier relate to it. Which makes it easier to learn the instrument. 

Of course, there are different flutes available. Depending on your level of experience and the music genre you want to play, you need to pick a flute. It’s recommended to visit a music store and try out different flutes before you buy one. 

9) Guitar

Many people love to play the guitar. It is a beautiful instrument to play, but it isn’t the most easiest instrument to learn. Yes, you can learn to play some chords in just a day. But if you’re learning to play complete songs or creating your own songs, you definitely need to practice a lot. 

For seniors, learning to play the guitar can be great fun. Most seniors have a lot of time on their hands. For retirees looking for a new hobby, learning the guitar is perfect! 

There are many free courses available on YouTube where you can start learning to play the guitar. I think this is a great place to start. When you master the basics and learn the different chords, you probably can switch to a music class. 

You can also start with music lessons in a group. Learning to play the guitar in a group, or any other instrument, in fact, is great fun and perfect to increase your social contacts. 

Comparing a guitar with a Ukulele is a bit difficult because these instruments are both different. There are similarities, but it actually stops with similar chords, and they both are string instruments. 

With a guitar, you’ll have more options to play different genres. With a Ukulele, you’ll always find yourself in a tropical vibe. 

10) Piano

Easy Instrument For Seniors Piano

The piano is very popular among seniors. Many seniors played the piano when they were younger. Maybe you always wanted to learn to play the piano. Let’s say you’re a retired senior; this might be the right time to learn how to play the piano! 

In general, the piano isn’t the most easiest instrument to learn. However, most seniors grew up with the piano as a popular instrument. The basic knowledge of the instruments helps to understand many seniors learning to play the piano quickly. 

The piano is also an instrument that is related to many health benefits. According to Harvard Health Publishing, playing piano for seniors is related to strengthen their memory. It’s also used for people who suffer from dementia to decrease their symptoms! 

11) Saxophone

I really love the saxophone. It’s such a great and funky instrument. However, not the most easiest to play. But once you master it, you can play so much different music styles! 

You need to plan to practice the saxophone because the instrument can be very loud while you play it. So, you need to make sure that you can practice playing without disturbing your neighbors or something. 

A great way to learn to play is by following lessons in a music school that’s close to your home. 

12) Trumpet

We are definitely getting in the more difficult instruments now. In general, learning the trumpet for seniors can be challenging. This is because of the technique it takes to play the trumpet. 

The technique of using your mouth and lips while playing the trumpet is the most difficult part. It can take a long time to learn that, next to the breathing as well. However, with the right mindset and enough time, everyone can still learn to play the trumpet. 

13) Violin

Violin an easier instrument for Seniors to learn

The Violin is one of those instruments people say you need to start learning it as a child. Otherwise, it’s impossible to learn. I don’t think anything is impossible, so seniors can be learning to play the Violin just like anyone else. You probably will not become a concert violist, but with the right determination, you will probably learn to play a decent violin. 

So, the Violin isn’t the most easiest instrument to learn for seniors. Many seniors like the Violin as an instrument because it’s used classical music and other genres they listen to. Earlier, I told you about MasterClass as a platform to learn more about different instruments and music in general. 

Learning the Violin by Itzhak Perlman is a MasterClass available on the platform. He’s a worldwide known artist and famous for his performance at the inauguration of former President Obama.

14) Drums

The easiest instruments to play for seniors are percussion instruments. Learning to play the drums is a whole different story. However, once you master the drums, it will be greatly rewarding! 

Just like with a saxophone, drums can be very loud. So many seniors who learn to play the drums choose to play on an electrical drumkit with headphones plugged in. This way, you can still learn to play the drums but don’t make as much noise. 

Once you learn the basics, it might become relatively easy to learn playing the drums as a senior. Learning the drums might be difficult at the beginning, but in the end, you’ll have great fun! 

15) Producing Electronic Music

Electronic Music For Seniors

Learning to produce electronic music might be the most difficult for seniors. The software updates are hard to keep up with. Because you’re working on a computer most of the time, it’s something completely different than playing a traditional instrument. 

According to renowned DJ Charly Lownoise, it’s hard to keep up with the developments in electronic music. Especially when you stop actively producing for a while. 

It’s not impossible, though, but when you start producing electronic music as a senior, you need to make sure you have an instrument in both electronic music and computers. 

Best Online Course For Learning Instruments

The MasterClass platform is the best course to learn online about playing different instruments and producing music. 

Worldwide renowned artists and producers like Itzhak Perlman, Alicia Keys, Sheila E., and many more have a MasterClass available on the platform. 

Each class contains different video lessons to learn more about a music style, playing an instrument, and other valuable knowledge. 

Best of all, with the annual membership for the MasterClass platform, you’ll get all access. Meaning you can follow each MasterClass available on the platform! Get your Annual Membership here. 

Kirsten Veldman

Since 2017, my husband and I have been location-independent retirees. With hundreds of articles written, I'm passionate about helping other retirees!

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