Playing musical instruments
What is it?     What you need     Getting started     Find out more


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What is it?

  • There are many different musical instruments that you can learn to play, ranging from the traditional favourites like piano and guitar, and the classical orchestral instruments, to the more modern electronic keyboards and percussion kits, and various kinds of ethnic instruments.  

  • Some instruments, like the piano, keyboards and the guitar are designed to be played on their own as well as in a group with other instruments or to accompany singing.    

  • You do not have to be "musical" to start to learn.  Musical skills are something that develop as you progress.  You can choose the type of music you play, whether pop or classical, jazz or folk.

  • Some people play just for pleasure;  others join together to put on performances, or work towards exams.

Find out more


British Assoc of Symphonic Bands & Wind Ensembles
British Federation of Youth Marching Band Organisations
British Youth Band Association
National Federation of Music Societies
UK Piano Page


Keyboard Player 
The Horn Magazine 

Getting started

  • Find a local group or club for the instrument and type of music that interest you (see organisations above).

  • Take a class or course at your local adult education centre or with a local teacher.

  • Consult books or magazines on different types of music and instruments.

  • Check in your local library/paper, music shop or education centre for more information.

What you need

Skills and people
  • Musical instruments can be played by people of all ages and both sexes.  All musical instruments require some skill and knowledge on the part of the player, but many are fairly easy to pick up.  Electronic keyboards are particularly easy to get started on.   

  • Many people learn instruments to play alone at home.  If you want to do this, it is important to choose an instrument that sounds good on its own (see above).  

  • You may want to have a teacher of some kind, and most players like, at least occasionally,  to join a group of friends, a class or a larger group to make music together.  

Equipment or clothing
  • You must have access to the instrument that you want to play.  Beginners may be able to rent instruments from the class, group or teacher with whom they are learning.  

  • Most serious players own their own instruments, except with the larger static instruments like organs and major percussion or electronic equipment.

A place or facilities
  • Musical instruments can be played at home, or in any room or hall large enough to hold the group and its instruments.  

  • The nature of the acoustic in the room or hall is important for serious playing.

Have a go - get started now

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