*If you click a link on this page and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Best Instrument to Learn at 50: The Ultimate Guide

If you’re going through this article, then it could be because you’re an adult of around 50 years and would love to learn to play a musical instrument.

Better yet, you could be sourcing out some information for your loved one.

Whichever the case, you’re at the right place, and we are going to help you gain a better understanding of the subject.

Yes, most individuals indeed learn music while young.

But does that mean you can’t try it out at 50? Let’s find out below:

Are You Ever Too Old to Learn A Musical Instrument?

I have heard this question several times. And most of the time, I see uncertainty in the eyes of the questioner.

And my answer has always been precise and straightforward: No!

You see, the thing is, we are most of the time living within societal norms. And as far as music is concerned, we always know it has to be learned when one is young and sharpened as they grow.

So, when you find yourself desiring to join the music scenes as an adult, be it for fun or as a profession, you start doubting your capability or even sanity.

You feel you’re too old for that. And sometimes, those close to you do nothing to motivate you.

If anything, they pull you down even further. And you are left feeling confused and uncertain.

Does this sound like you today?

If your answer is yes, then I want you to know that as much as it’s true that children learn various skills (including music) pretty fast, while adults find it harder to master even the seemingly simple concepts, you still can do it.

Yes, it might not take a few days to rock those amazing tunes, but if you’re patient enough, you can master them too in a few weeks.

You see, contrary to what you might be thinking, you still have the capability to ooze with potential even at 50!

In fact, if you as expert music tutors, you have various advantages for learning music as an adult than you would when you were a child.

For instance, you now are sure about what you, and so the path you want to take is no longer blur.

Plus, the fact that you will be spending your money means that you are ready to give your best shot. You by now understand the value for money and won’t be throwing tantrums at yourself, right?

What I am trying to say is that the list of benefits is enormous.

Besides, you can’t measure mastery by age alone. Experts will tell you that it actually boils down to how much you’re willing to offer, your resilience and diligence.

If you have the desire to learn, and can adequately understand the various musical concepts, you can undoubtedly learn to play.

And not a single instrument, but any device you want no matter your current age.

But remember, your attitude should also be in-line with your desire. A positive attitude will help you stay put in difficulties. So, there is really no reason to remain skeptical.

So what if you’re older? It’s never too late to embark on your musical journey.

You still can’t believe it? Well here is a list of 5 easiest instruments you can learn.

5 Easiest Instruments to Learn When You Are 50

          1. Electric Bass

Also referred to as the bass guitar or bass, the electric bass is a member of the guitar family, only that it’s the lowest-pitched.

Generally, guitars are considered the coolest musical instruments to learn, among both the old and young. So, you can never go wrong with this choice.

The reason as to why I am focusing on the bass is the fact that it contains only four strings.

And that’s not all. It also contains clearly marked frets, so you won’t be confused about where to place your fingers.

Plus, you will only require a standard amount of force to hold down the electric bass’s strings.

You will also need to pluck at a slower pace than you would when using a regular guitar. Well, not unless you want to try out blues, rhythm and other music in that line.

At 50, most individuals want a comfortable life. Nothing complicated, even when it comes to music. So, it should be easy to pick.

Another good thing about the bass is that you won’t be required to possess extraordinary note reading skills. In fact, you don’t even have to learn about it.

You simply have to follow the directions on the chord chart and get learning on various stylized patterns. The secret is to loosen up and let yourself have fun.

This instrument allows you to improvise. So you can go as far as you want.

          2. Saxophone

If your passion lies with wind instruments, then a saxophone makes a great choice. It’s actually one of the easiest instruments to play in the wind family.

And it would be better if you start with the alto Saxophone, as it’s the most famous and affordable.

It’s also isn’t difficult to play as the fingering is easy. The best thing is to start with a C major, then gradually figure everything out as you progress.

And the good news is that the internet is filled with a lot of resources, such as videos and eBooks you can use. You can start by investing in learner-friendly books, complete with demonstration CDs.

Play, record yourself and critique your work against pro sax players.  If you’re consistent, then you can produce good sounds within no time.

But let no one lie to you that it will be a few days’ affair, you will have to keep improving if you want to be really good.

          3. Ukelele

If you love string instruments but can’t bring yourself to learn the electric bass, then you might want to try out the Ukelele.

The Ukelele is smaller than the bass and is equally considered to be one of the most comfortable string instrument to learn, especially for older students.


Like the bass, it also contains 4 strings. The strings are usually made-up of a soft nylon material.

The neck of this instrument is thinner than the standard guitar, so if you have small hands, you will find it very comfortable.

Another fantastic thing about the Ukelele is that they are readily available in various colors and patterns. Therefore, getting one that perfectly suits your personality won’t be difficult.

Plus, it produces a bright, cheerful sound, which will make your days merrier.

Besides, most older learners can comfortably master the crucial Ukelele chords in a matter of 2-3 weeks, so it shouldn’t freak you out.

Also, it’s a perfect breeding ground before you proceed to play more complex tunes or even try out other complex instruments.

It’s pretty affordable, making it ideal for on-budget learners. And the fact that it’s lightweight means that you can carry it for practice when away from home.

          4. Drums

If rock is the kind of music that unleashes the younger you, then you might want to consider playing the drums.

Yes, as crazy as it might sound, it’s the drums which are not only easy to learn but also allow you to be loud and as expressive as possible.

And although you can learn how to play by yourself, it’s advisable to enroll in some classes or at least hire an experienced teacher. That’s if you want to be really good at it.

Also, you will have to be patient as you might take a few months to come up with a solid, steady beat. But when you do, it will be worth it.

They, however, don’t come cheap, so be ready to spend to get quality. Drums also tend to take-up space, ensure you also have that figured out.

But if you’re limited on space and don’t want to be a nuisance to your neighbors, then consider investing in electronic drums. That way, you can plug in headphones and enjoy your entertainment system.

          5. The Piano

Most people would confess to having wanted to play the Piano at one point in their life.

This is the reason as to why the Piano still ranks as one of the most common musical instruments among young and older learners.

The reason behind this could be because it’s versatile, therefore allows users to play tunes in various styles. And it’s also pretty easy to learn, especially if you can comfortably type on any computer keyboard.

You can book a one-on-one session with a teacher within your location or self-teach yourself using various resources from the internet. YouTube is the best of them all.

They are also quite affordable, depending on what you want.

Benefits of Learning Instruments for Adults Above 50

          a) Excellent Way to Make Friends

When you turn 50, life can be a bit challenging, especially when it comes to building your social circle. Remember, around this time, kids are busy with their lives, and you find yourself lacking the socializing ties you had when a bit younger.

You might have also gone through a divorce or lost your spouse, meaning you have no one apart from yourself. So, the best way to get into the outside world, again, could be by learning to play a musical instrument.

This way, you get to meet new people, with similar interests, and that could color your world in a great way.

That’s why it’s advisable to enroll yourself in a musical class.

You can mingle with your tutor at first and then meet other learners along the way. If things go well for you, this could be the beginning of solid friendships, which could lead to the formation of a band.

And even if it doesn’t get there, a little chat here and there will open your mind into focusing on more significant things.

          b) Helps to Build Your Self-Esteem

People go through a lot in life. And even if you were confident at a younger age, you might realize that at 50, you aren’t as optimistic as before due to several factors.

Since it’s never too late to build yourself, it’s advisable to work on your self-esteem, which is an essential component of self-worthiness.

And one of the best ways to do so is learning an instrument.


The mere fact that you can push yourself to accomplish something such as mastering a new chord will be proof enough that you can achieve anything you want.

Society is filled with a lot of myths concerning old age. For instance, some believe that the older you get, the difficult it is for you to master a new skill. You can break that barrier and keep pushing to set your standards.

It’s never too late to fulfill that childhood dream

          c) Helps to Express and Control Your Emotions

Musical instruments such as drums provide musical therapy to players.

When you play, you learn to express your emotions.  And while at it, you get to control your feelings. You decide what you want others to see and how.

It’s also a great way to connect with others within the group. It will feel like you’re all communicating in unison.

Plus, as you count out beats, you are also working on your math skills, fractions to be specific.

          d) Improves Your Brain Function

Your brain needs renewal from time to time. If you sit there doing nothing, then it will become redundant.

One of the many benefits of learning instruments is the ability to boost your brainpower. Your brain will learn to memorize new tunes, notes, etc. and your motor skills will be on another level.

There’s also the possibility of enhancing your multitasking ability, which could be a challenge if left unattended.

The benefits also spread to improved cognition and hearing function. Remember, you’re the first listener to your music.

          e) Better Breathing

This is especially true when it comes to playing a wind instrument such as the Saxophone.

You see, instead of the shallow breaths people take every day, you will be required to take deeper breaths as you play the instrument.

And as you do this during your practice sessions, you’re also strengthening your respiratory system, which tends to slow down with age.

          f) Boosts the Flow of Blood

Some times when life becomes boring, you find energy levels lagging. And because of this, most individuals rush for a cup of coffee or for their favorite brand of energy drink, which isn’t good for the body.

So, according to recent studies, when you decide to play your instrument instead of pumping caffeine into your system, you quicken your body’s blood flow towards the left hemisphere of your brain.

And you will feel energetic within no time.

How to Determine Which Instrument to Play At 50

         The Type of Music You Like

When you plan to purchase a musical instrument, you’re also making an investment of some sort. Therefore, you have to ensure you’re buying the right one, according to need.

The first thing you should ask yourself is: “what type of music do I like?” Yes, this might seem obvious, but an honest answer here will determine your next move.

For example, if you love listening to folk music, but love the kind of fun drums bring in the entertainment arena, you will have no choice but to reconsider, as drums won’t suit your needs.

So, since you’re spending money and of course time, you want to ensure it’s something you will enjoy. Remember, some instruments can be limiting, while others are very versatile.

Therefore, if you have multiple interests, learn flexible tools and then consider specializing once you have learned the robes.

          Which Places Do You Picture Yourself Playing?

You simply don’t wake up one morning and decide to play any instrument without examining the future, especially if you’re planning on pursuing music as a profession.

You have to think things through and weigh all your options.

For instance, if you will feel honored performing in an acoustic jam session environment, then you might want to invest in a Mandolin, guitar or even bass. But if you’re a bit shy and would prefer solo sessions, then a piano sounds like an ideal choice.

          Which Budget Do You Have in Mind?

Yes, you might want to invest in a specific instrument, but does your budget allow? Remember, the current market is filled with various cheap, middle-range priced and costly musical instruments.

If for instance, you want to play the Piano, first ask yourself about the cheapest and the most expensive model in the market.

Are you able to afford it even as a beginner? And will you be willing to spend more when the need for an upgrade arises?

Some instrument models are only suitable for beginners, which means you will have to upgrade once you reach the advanced level.

If money isn’t a problem, you can decide to buy an expensive instrument, which is favorable for both beginners and advanced players.

Is there such an option? Consider all these factors to ensure a smooth transition from one stage to the next.

          How Much Space Do You Have?

Some instruments, such as drums require a lot of set-up space as compared to a piano or Saxophone. So, where you currently live, is there sufficient space for the instrument that you have in mind?

If for instance, you live in a tiny retirement home, you would want to go for minimal. But if you live out of town in a farmhouse, then you can go as large as you wish.

          How Much Free Time Do You Have?

Yes, I know at 50 you might have a lot of time in your hands, but that isn’t always the case.

You might be retired, but you still have other things to do, such as attending gym sessions, running around with grand kids, traveling, among others.

So, how much time are you willing to allocate into learning your musical instrument? Remember, as much as all instruments require time investment, some of them are more demanding than others.

For example, if you will only be playing for fun, and only when you get time, then there’s no reason to invest in complex instruments such as Oboe. You can instead settle for a saxophone, which is simpler to master.

Remember, if you want to be really good, you have to set time aside for practicing. Therefore, only invest when you’re sure about your schedule.

There’s no need for purchasing an expensive instrument only to leave it lying in a store somewhere.

          Can You Find A Tutor?

As I said earlier, you can always self-teach yourself how to play some instruments via YouTube and with the help of books and CD demonstrations.

But, let no one fool you, there is some equipment which you can’t master alone without the help of a teacher.

So, if you choose to invest in a complex instrument, research first and ensure you can easily find a teacher within your location.

You can settle for two or three classes a week. But if you have to travel a long distance for a one-on-one session, then you might have to reconsider. You will get tired pretty first and end-up giving up on your goal.

          Do You Have Any Physical Limitations?

If for some reason you can’t stand holding something heavy for long, then you can as well give up investing in some heavy-weight instruments such as the upright bass.

Also, if your lungs aren’t in perfect condition, then you should reconsider your choice for any wind instrument.

But if you feel like you’re up to the challenge and are willing to invest in an instrument that might challenge you physically, be ready for it.  And that includes the possibility of giving it up if your health gets on the line.

FAQs About Best Instrument to Learn at 50

Can I Learn Violin At 50?

Age should be a limitation when you want to learn an instrument.

That said, it will be a bit challenging to master a violin at 50 than you would as a kid. But if you put your mind to it, are patient and persistent, it’s possible.

But it won’t be an overnight achievement.

Can I Learn Guitar At 50?

Yes. Being at 50 doesn’t mean you can’t learn guitar. The main focus should be whether your fingers are flexible to fret strings.

If the answer is yes, then you can definitely learn the guitar. But with a lot of patience, of course.


Being 50 isn’t a disability. And therefore no one should tell you that you can’t play an instrument.

Yes, it might be a bit tough in the beginning than it would have been if you learned when younger, but you sure can learn and be an expert while at it.

So, if you have been doubting your capabilities, it’s time to let go of the fear and start exploring.

Start with one of the instruments mentioned in this article and let us know how it goes. Remember, you have the power to succeed in your mind.

Best of luck!

Lee Cardwell
Owner and Chief Editor of Music Tech Hub. I play banjo, mandolin and I am currently learning how to play the harmonica.

Leave a Comment