What is the Best Instrument to Learn?

Last updated on July 13th, 2022 at 11:56 pm

Looking to make a career out of music? You won’t regret it!

Working as an artist brings incomparable joy and fulfillment to your life. There’s just one problem—you don’t play an instrument yet.

The good news is, learning to play an instrument is easy if you have the passion and drive to become a musician.

There are, however, certain instruments that you should learn as they are more likely to make you more money in the long run.

Because as much fun as being a bassoonist is, there just isn’t a huge market out there for bassoon players.

So what instrument should you learn to play if you want a career in music? Keep reading to find out.  



You knew this one would be on the list. There is no instrument more versatile or in demand as a keyboard or piano player. Not only could you get picked up by an Elton John cover band, but if times are really tough you can find work as an accompanist for a choir or as a music teacher for voice lessons.

Not to mention that there are jobs as a keyboardist in orchestras worldwide if you’re good enough! Learning to play the piano isn’t the easiest, and it will be a journey to be successful. This is because there is a lot of dexterity required to play the piano and you will need to spend hours practicing.

You’ll also need to learn to read sheet music to play this popular instrument and likely take a few piano lessons along the way. But once you’ve got a good foundation, the piano is one of the easiest instruments to teach yourself with lots of practice.


Of course, this monumental instrument makes the list as well, after all, where would your average band be without a guitarist? Although electronic music is becoming more and more popular in clubs, there is still plenty of work for an acoustic guitarist, from solo gigs in jazz bars to backing up a traveling band.

Additionally, learning the guitar as a first instrument gives you the skills to switch to a whole host of similar instruments as well as play almost any style of music. You can easily pick up the ukulele, electric guitar, banjo, and even the bass guitar—you may just have to take a few music lessons to find your footing.

Like the piano, the guitar is another instrument that is easy to self-teach using Youtube or other tutorials after learning basic music theory. And if you can master the guitar, you will rarely find yourself an out-of-work musician as guitarists seem to be constantly in demand!

Drum Set

After guitar and piano, drums are the third most in-demand instruments when it comes to professional jobs. It’s not uncommon for an up-and-coming band to have a singer and guitarist but be looking for a drummer.

One of the reasons drummers are so in demand is because the startup costs to becoming a drum learner can be expensive. Drum kits aren’t cheap, and learning the drums doesn’t just take reading some sheet music, but it also takes creativity, motor skills, and a fair amount of skill when it comes to keeping the beat.

Think you have an affinity for the drums? Then you should go learn to play them because they are not only great for a career in music, but some of the most recognizable musicians of all time only got to where they are today because of their drummers.

Plus, if the stage career doesn’t pan out, recording studios are always searching for percussion players, so you’ll never go hungry. Percussion players can also be very versatile, transferring to instruments like the bongos for a song, before transitioning back to their drum kit. So if you want to learn a wide range of instruments, the drums are a great instrument to start with.


Now you’re probably wondering how this instrument made this list, as the harp is not a popular instrument to play. But this is what makes it a perfect instrument. There is a high demand for harp players for events such as balls, galas, and weddings, and the pool of harpists to choose from is quite small.

Established harpists can charge high fees for their services because of their rarity, meaning you could earn thousands of dollars for an event that only lasts an afternoon. Before you start booking music lessons for the harp, know that although it is a great instrument to learn and is one of the easiest instruments to play for beginners, you will need a large vehicle, and a few thousand dollars in order to purchase and cart around your harp.

Besides the monetary benefits, the harp offers several benefits that can’t be found when you play the trumpet, flute, clarinet, or saxophone, and this is because the harp sounds amazing on its own. You can easily record your own music without the hassle of trying to find a band if you can sing and provide your own vocals. When times are tough, however, there will always be a spot for you in an orchestra somewhere in the world.

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What to Do Before Learning an Instrument

This article is probably getting you hyped to start your career in music! But hold your horses just one moment because there are a few things you should do before dropping a few thousand dollars on an instrument.

  1. Decide What Type of Music You Want to Play

First of all, a career in music is going to be horrible if you learn to play the guitar but detest rock music. You need to learn an instrument that you enjoy listening to the music of.

This means if you like classical music, you should pick the violin, cello, or another string instrument. And if you like jazz music, the trumpet, saxophone, or another woodwind instrument may be the way to go for you—even if these instruments aren’t as easy to learn (or as in-demand) as those on this list.

2. Learn Music Theory

No matter what instrument you end up playing, you will need to know basic music theory. This means you need to learn to read sheet music, and you should ideally do this before you pick up any musical instrument. This will save you time in the long run and will make learning music much easier for you.

3. Sometimes Unique it the Way to Go

Although this list has the four most versatile and in-demand musical instruments in the current market, this doesn’t mean they aren’t the only instruments in demand. If you want to learn to play the French horn, trombone, soprano saxophone, or harmonica, go for it, as passion is the most important part of learning an instrument. Plus, you never know when you might find that band looking for an amazing French horn player.

Overall, if you want a career in music, there is no time like the present to start! So do a little research, and see if there is a music store where you can go try out one of these great instruments. Then once you’ve decided which one you are going to go with, book a few music lessons.

Once you start playing and have a band together, check out some music industry podcasts to learn more about booking your own shows and getting your music out there.

Written by Hope Davis

Long-time music lover Hope became a full-time writer in 2020 after being laid off from her regular job due to COVID-19. She now spends her time traveling the world to see her favorite bands while writing about them!


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