You’re probably tired of hearing this, but living in crazy times as we do, finding meaningful ways to de-stress, relax, meditate, enervate and refresh ourselves is becoming more and more important.
The first blush of Work-From-Home is likely fading by now, and we all need to develop new focus areas that can really provide a solid recharge, a sure shot of inspiration and mind expansion…
Enter music! There’s no need to belabor the benefits of studying music – from toddlers to senior citizens, there are enough scientific studies to show how music education improves cognition, mood, imagination, teamwork, creativity and more.
Many of us, however, still think that learning to play an instrument, or sing, is “only for those with talent” or just “takes too long to get somewhere!” Not so – developments in music teaching approaches, availability of low-cost instruments and the convenience of learning online have now made music education much easier than before.
And best of all – with these recommended instruments, you ‘get somewhere’ pretty quick!
You’ve definitely heard or seen a ukulele by now? A small, guitar-like instrument that traces its origins to beautiful Hawaii, its name actually means ‘jumping flea’!
With just four nylon strings, ukuleles (or ‘ukes’) are super-easy to play – even a complete novice could be playing popular songs with just a few lessons.
Unlike a guitar (which has six steel strings), ukes are way easier on the fingers, and playing chords on the four strings become accessible even for very young learners – plenty of 4-year-olds are now strumming away happily.
Ukes are also super-cheap, available online, and require very little maintenance.
Yes, the voice is an instrument! Singing comes very naturally to almost all of us, and it is a proven fact that pretty much everyone has an ‘ear for music’ – i.e., the ability to sing notes in pitch.
Studying to sing can dramatically improve this ‘ear for music’, give you a lifelong skill that you, by default, carry with you – and make you a serious hit at parties.
Learning to sing is also great for breathing, by the way, which as we all know is integral to developing focus, meditation and centering.
What?? Piano?? No way, you say. That’s only for the ‘gifted’ among us… On the contrary, the piano (or the more accessible electronic keyboard) is one of the easiest instruments to get started on.
Without the specific muscular co-ordination required for even instruments like the uke, the piano/keyboard can have you making musical sounds instantly (even a toddler can do it!).
Obviously, once you get to using both hands it can get tricky, but there is now a huge variety of songs that have been simplified for performance on the keyboard and with a good instructor, you can get going really fast.
The piano is truly a king among instruments – well worth the little extra effort.
Still one of the world’s most popular instruments, the acoustic guitar takes a little longer than the uke but after the initial month or so of moderate difficulty, it becomes easy – and a lot of fun!
Again, online availability and inexpensive options are a boon, and there is perhaps no other instrument with as many learning resources available online.
5. Cajon (percussion)
Pronounced “ka-hone”, and tracing its origins to Peru, this veritable box of an instrument is really popular among percussion instruments now.
It’s availability, portability and flexibility make it suitable for a variety of musical styles – and it’s really easy and fast to learn. If you’ve ever been pulled up in school for drumming too much on your desk, the Cajon is definitely for you.
It’s quite cool how many different sounds you can get out of the thing!
As with all music, any of these instruments can take a lifetime to master, but they are distinguished by how easy and quick it can be to have some soul-uplifting fun by learning to play them.
If you’re keen on certifications/qualifications, these are also available through ‘Trinity’ or ‘RockSchool’ (UK).
What are you going for, then?
Picked one? Great! Now, where do you go to learn?
You may find app-based options somewhat disappointing – they look colourful and fun, but there’s no replacement for a live 1-on-1 session with a good musician / instructor.
From our research, we find that www.taaqademy.com, a music school set up by award-winning Bangalore band Thermal And A Quarter (TAAQ), offers great live, 1-on-1 online music lessons with performing musicians.
Their easy courses (with free trials too) are suitable for all ages and abilities, and provide structure, focus, performance opportunities – and just a great way to make space for music in your life. Go for it!
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