Whether you’ve been playing an instrument your whole life or are just getting started, you know how valuable honing a skill like this can be. Playing an instrument opens up a variety of doors musically and socially. And, if you’re a parent, chances are you want your child to keep on playing the instrument they choose as kids, possibly unlike yourself – maybe you’re kicking yourself for not keeping up with the violin! Whether you or your children want to learn how to play an instrument, this list of the most popular instruments to play in the United States might help you select the perfect instrument.
This ranking of popular instruments is based on several factors, like: ease of playing, cost, versatility of the instrument, and career opportunities. Which instrument do you want to play?
#1 – Piano
It might surprise you to know that 21 million Americans play the piano! No wonder it is number 1 on our list. The piano is possibly the most versatile of all instruments because it is played in almost every genre and can be accompanied or played solo. It will take patience and determination to play well, but once you master it, you may have a good chance at pursuing a career! If you choose to play piano, most experts will advise starting with a more traditional piano over an electric one. If your child is interested in piano, starting at age 6 is the best.
#2 – Guitar
The guitar comes in at a close second because of its own versatility, cost, and the fact that it can be accompanied or played solo. While the piano has been popular for generations, the rise of rock and pop music have attributed to the popularity of the guitar. You can play acoustic, electric, or bass guitar. And like the piano, experts advise age 6 as the best starting age for learning to play.
#3 – Violin
The violin comes in at third on our list. While it is played a lot in classical music, it is an important part of several genres. It is fairly easy to learn and you can purchase different sizes, which makes this a great instrument for kids to start out with. Six is the recommended starting age and experts also recommend a starting with a non-electric violin.
#4 – Drums
Although living with a beginner drummer might be difficult, drums are number 4 on our list of popular instruments to play. There is a wide variety of drums available and you can also opt for an electric drum set that will allow for a quieter sound while playing.
#5 – Saxophone
Saxophones, mostly associated with jazz music, come in a variety of shapes and sizes and would be a great first instrument. The best age to start playing is around 12. Choosing the saxophone would give your child ample opportunities to play in school as they are needed in school orchestras.
#6 – Flute
The flute makes our list and has many advantages as a first instrument. It is inexpensive, easy to learn, easy to transport, and fun to play!
#7 – Cello
The cello is another great first instrument. Closely related to the violin, the cello is slightly bigger in size and is played while sitting down. It is mostly accompanied but can also be played solo. It is great for beginners and experts recommend age 6 as a great starting point.
#8 – Clarinet
Part of the woodwind family like the flute, the clarinet is found in several different music settings. It is generally accompanied, but there is a good chance you could pursue a professional career with the clarinet. If your child is interested, age 10 is a good time to start.
#9 – Trumpet
As the only brass instrument on this list, the trumpet is also one of the oldest musical instruments. It can be played in brass and jazz bands, in orchestras, and can be accompanied or played solo. It is also inexpensive and easy to transport. Again, 10 years of age is a great time to start learning!
#10 – Harp
Although for some the harp may be intimidating, it is pretty easy to begin playing. It also comes in different shapes and sizes, some small enough for even 8-year-olds to begin playing.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about the most popular instruments to play! In case you were wondering, there is a lot of overlap on most popular to play and easiest to play.
Check out this link for the best instruments for beginners: Best Instruments for Beginners. Here is a quick list:
- Double Bass
As you choose the right instrument, you may wonder what the most popular instruments are around the world. Check out the infographic below for the answer!
How did you choose the instrument you currently play? What may be holding you back from playing an instrument? Share your experience in the comment section below.