10 Easiest Instruments to Learn Late in Life

As we get older, our motoric functions, reflexes, and muscle memory start to decline slowly, and we cannot learn things as fast as we can at a young age. Music is food for the soul, and there is no reason not to start playing at an older age. When it comes to playing instruments, the phrase “you can’t teach an old dog a new trick” is not true, and today we will talk about the easiest instrument to learn late in life.

Older adults can still learn and even master certain instruments late in life. Hobbies like this can benefit the elderly greatly and keep their brains stimulated. Some of the benefits include memory retention, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills. It is a lovely hobby, so let us dig deeper and find out which instruments are easy to play for the elderly.

You can learn to play multiple instruments late in life, but there is a degree of difficulty in this, easy and more difficult. The learning curve also depends on your personal preferences, level of talent, and amount of practice, but you will surely find your favorite among our picks.

1. The Ukulele

ukulele easiest instruments to learn late in life 2

The ukulele is likely the easiest instrument to learn if you are a beginner at playing string instruments. Moreover, it comes with some added benefits, such as an incredibly low price. This instrument has only four strings, and you do not require a pick to play it, which will allow you to learn simple chords very fast.

Another great thing about the ukulele is that it is lightweight, very small, and portable, making it easy to play whenever, wherever. In addition, beginners typically learn to pick up chords within a few weeks, and if you get really good at it, you can advance to some more difficult string instruments.

2. Flute

flute easiest instruments to learn late in life

A flute is a high-pitched tubular wind instrument that is typically made of wood. You can also find silver and even platinum flutes that usually provide higher pitches than regular wooden ones. Anyone can learn to play this instrument, regardless of their age.

The elderly can do it with ease once they set their minds to it, even master it if they devote enough time and attention to playing. Playing flute requires mental concentration and finger coordination, although an ear for music would not be bad as well.

3. Harp

harp easiest instruments to learn late in life

The Harp is a triangular-shaped stringed instrument that can be placed on the lap or on the floor, producing soothing sounds when plucked with fingers. Modern harps are pretty lightweight, practical, and easy to use, making them very accessible and easy to learn for older adults.

This instrument is particularly easy to learn by adults who already have experience with playing stringed instruments. Seniors can easily learn it at home or with the help of a tutor or more experienced player.

4. Harmonica

harmonica easiest instruments to learn late in life

The harmonica is another simple instrument to pick up at old age due to its portability and lightweight. The most important requirement for playing harmonica is good breathing and good breath support. You will need a decent lung capacity to master this instrument.

This instrument is particularly suitable for people that enjoy folk, blues, or country music, as it is an integral part of some of the bands in these genres. Some studies claim that playing the harmonica helps with facial paralysis and can protect the elderly from the dangers of a stroke.

5. Piano


Although this classical instrument may seem difficult to learn, it may be fairly easy to start with, especially for beginners. The basic principles of the piano are generally simple to grasp when starting, although mastering this instrument is a very difficult endeavor.

The basics are fairly simple, and all of the keys are laid in front of you; once you learn a bit about music theory playing piano will be as basic to play as playing chords. You will require to practice your hand-eye coordination a bit since you are required to play with both hands, but there are numerous instructions and lessons you can take online that will ease your transition.

6. Recorder/Tim Whistle

recorder tin whistle

The recorder is an excellent and affordable entry-level instrument that is a great choice for older adults. It is also a great pick for everyone who admires the soothing sound of a clarinet or flute. The recorder is one of the oldest instruments out there, and you can play it regardless of which hand is your dominant one.

You can play the recorder on your own, but it is also a nice little addition to the ensemble if you want to play with friends. Another great advantage of this instrument is that it is lightweight and easily portable, so you will be able to play it pretty much anywhere.

7. Bongos


The bongos are both fun and easy percussion instruments to learn. Although they are not as easy as other instruments we have listed, there are some fairly simple ways in which you can figure them out. Bongos are conjoined and much more portable than drums, so if you get into percussion instruments late in life, this is the instrument to go for.

The bongos allow you to express yourself in beats and to learn timing and rhythm at a high level. However, this instrument may be a bit difficult to learn on your own, so it is best to consult an experienced teacher or tutor.

8. Tambourine


The tambourine is, alongside the ukulele, one of the easiest instruments to learn late in life due to its portability and lightweight. You play this instrument by shaking or banging it, which adds even more simplicity and ease of use.

This instrument is easy to play for senior citizens since it really does not require you to learn anything special. Anyone can play it by shaking and banging it to follow any song. It gives a rich edge to songs and music, and due to its portability, you can play it pretty much anywhere.

Benefits of Learning Musical Instruments Late in Life

Brain Function

Picking up an instrument late in life can benefit you greatly, and it will improve not only your memory and fine motor skills but your reflexes and multitasking abilities as well. These are all functions that bear huge health significance late in life and require a lot of nurturing.

Stress Release

Just listening to music can have a significant relaxing effect, and you will get similar results by playing instruments. Reducing stress levels has multiple health benefits, such as reducing high blood pressure and heart rate. It is a great thing for both mind and body.

Sense of Accomplishment

Although late-life bears countless rewards, there is no reason not to get even more out of it. Playing instruments requires a lot of discipline, but the rewards that come with it are truly worth the effort. With a mixture of hard work and patience, you will get a significant boost in confidence and a great sense of accomplishment.

Final Words

There are countless powerful benefits of playing instruments throughout the whole life, but it this is something that bears an even greater sense of accomplishment and significance when you do it late in life. It will help you utilize your brainpower as the elderly and make you feel more fulfilled and find great joy in life.