Advice For The Beginning Musician: Never Buy An Instrument Without Playing It First

by Randy Murray on June 5, 2014

If you want to play a musical instrument just order one off of the internet.

No. Do not. Please don’t do that. You should really touch and play an instrument first before purchasing it.

This is not obvious or self-evident. But it is one of the first steps in becoming a musician.

You might get lucky. My first ukulele, a gift, came from an internet purchase. It’s great and a lot of fun to play. But my second one was something that I picked out after playing LOTS of others.

Over they years I’ve bought 2 new pianos (and 1 used one). For each purchase I went to the store, sat in front of each, and played every instrument until I found the right one for me. Each instrument was different. The more that you know about playing a particular type of instrument, the more you’ll discover that each instrument is different. And some in not so subtle ways.

It’s important. For my family, outside of our home and vehicles, the most expensive thing that we own is a musical instrument. A piano. I’m rather pleased with that statement.

Yes, many instruments are made in factories, but when you begin stretching strings and wires, vibrating reeds, pushing air around tubes, or even electronically producing sound, little things make big differences. An instrument has a “feel.” No two are truly the same. It doesn’t take very long before you understand that making music is a physical act, and the things that you use to make music make a difference to the music you make.

Here’s a bonus: a music shop is one of the few places left where knowledgable people still work. They care about music and instruments and musicians. They can help you and even modify your new instrument to do just what you want it to do.

And, above all, it’s fun to go and try out these instruments. If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t be shy. Say so. Ask for help. And then listen, feel, and trust what your ears and fingers tell you.

A musical instrument is a tool that you use to express yourself. Go find one that suits you.

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