Choosing an instrument to learn – instrument families

Choosing your instrument is an important decision and will have far reaching consequences as you progress through your music learning journey so it’s important to get right. Today we’re discussing instrument families which are a way of categorizing similar styles of instruments that are related in the way they produce sound and the way they are played. The great thing to know about instrument families is that it is much easier to learn instruments from the same family as your main instrument than switching to a different family. By selecting within a family you can almost choose a few instruments at once, or use an instrument to pathway to another. 

Here are the main instrument families:

Keyboards: piano, organ, electric piano, synthesizer
Strings: violin, viola, cello, double bass
Fretted strings: guitar (electric, acoustic, classical), bass, ukulele, banjo
Woodwinds: clarinet, saxophone, flute, oboe, bassoon
Brass: trumpet, trombone, french horn, tuba
Percussion: drum kit, conga drums, other hand drums, tambourine, shakers, cowbell

You can see instrument families laid out in different ensembles like orchestras or rock bands and it’s within these different families that we find the essential parts of how we make music.