Learn to Love Playing Music for Less: Cheap Instruments to Get You Inspired

There are loads of benefits to playing a musical instrument, and while studies have proven these gains, it only takes a few minutes of watching/listening to someone play their heart out to understand the power of making music. If you’re looking to test the music-making waters without breaking the bank though, there are plenty of options for you to try. Check out these low-end, cheap instruments that you can buy for less than $100, and see how learning to play can change your life!


The recorder is one of the least appreciated instruments you can learn. In fact, this is one of the simplest ways to learn some of the fundamentals of playing music, making it an ideal choice for first-time music learners. It’s also easy to use, so you can see progress really quickly. For just $15, you will learn about tempo, breathing, and ensemble playing within a few weeks.


The xylophone is another great instrument for beginners because it doesn’t demand the same complexity as other instruments do. Players use wooden sticks to beat out sounds on metal slats tuned to the various scales for a simple and lovely melody. Xylophones can be purchased for $10-$25. What’s really nice about the xylophone is that if you enjoy this basic level instrument, you can quickly advance to learning to play the piano because the same basic principles apply.


If you’re a Bob Dylan fan, then you know the power of a good tambourine. For just $25, you can have your own “jingle jangle mornin’” and enjoy the playful cadence of a riveting tambourine jam. Beat out a light tune to just have fun, or get more involved with a faster, heavier rhythm that really gets the blood rushing.


While this is the most expensive instrument on our list, the keyboard is a fabulous option because it gives you a taste of so many different types of instruments (and it’s still cheaper than a baby grand). You can change up the tempo, style, and sound, practice on different keys, and most importantly, see what it’s like to play the piano without spending the money on this higher ticket item. (Remember, you can always invest in the real thing later on once you’ve seen how magnificent playing the piano can be.) Low-priced keyboards will run from about $50-$150. 

Once you start playing music, you’ll see how much fun it is. And when you’ve mastered these simpler instruments, you can move on to more advanced instruments, like learning to play piano, guitar, or a full drum set.

Jump into the beauty and pleasure of learning music, and see the world with new eyes, one note at a time.