So you’ve decided you want to learn a new instrument, maybe your first. You may have had a little experience of a few percussion instruments at school. Ever wondered why they are the first you are handed to learn. It’s because they are both easy and important. So which instrument should you learn first?
If you are looking to learn your first instrument go for percussion and start with the tongue drum. Each available note on a tongue drum goes great with the next. Tuned to various scales you have a choice of the mood or feel of the instrument, and you’ll be making your own music in minutes and be an accomplished player within days.
The way the notes are chosen on a scale and arranged on handpans and tongue drums make it the easiest instrument to learn to play. You literally can not play a ‘bum note’. Many people will not have heard of these instruments, and they look kinda funny too, so when you start playing beautiful music on them, you’ll look pretty damn cool too!
Come with me as I introduce the best options, based on your budget and my top recommendations
Rav Vast Tongue Pan.
- No lessons
- No instructions
- No Music to follow
- Play it out of the box
- Doesn’t need tuning
- Sounds Amazing
[Click here to learn more and get 5% discount] – THE BEST
Amaze everyone when you pull out the Rav vast and start playing incredible sounding music, with a single lesson, one hour on a course, or sheet music to follow. YOU can play this out of the box and make it sounds great.
That’s why this is the best overall choice for a new instrument to learn
This is not the cheapest item on the list but with Rav Vast you are getting the best Tongue drum [in fact it is more of a tongue pan] for the money
This instrument is not going to go out of tune, it will last forever, needs very little looking after except for a wipe with a microfiber cloth before and after playing each time, and is available in 18 different scales
The best thing about the Rav vast instrument is that as soon as you get it out of the box [just like just about any tongue drum], you can instantly play a tune – Your tune – without instruction.
Rav Drums are available in 18 different scales, and each contains a either 9 or 10 notes which go beautifully together. You can see a video of each scale on-site when you choose.
Rav Vast makes the ordering process very easy and often has a sale on the go for one or more scales that are in stock. Ther shipped from Either Russia [where they are made] or from Estonia which is a distribution center.
As mentioned, these are not inexpensive, however, for a new instrument to learn, they are the coolest, they will last forever and you can play it out of the box. Amazing value
The OcarinaWing tongue drum is a smaller instrument but based on the same scale tuning that allows you to pick a new instrument and be able to instantly play.
Something you simply can not do with the guitar, piano, violin, and the like.
OcarinaWind 5.5 inches
[Check price on Amazon] – For KIDS & You
This budget tongue drum is great for adults and kids alike and comes with a bag and mallets [drum sticks] to play with.
It is a good introduction to the possibility of Tongue drums and can give you some insight as to whether it is an instrument you would like to explore further.
being smaller the pitch of this instrument is higher than the bigger and more expensive model but works on the same principle of tuning that will allow you to play it straight out of the box.
The Rakuni is a highly rated instrument from purchases over at Amazon. A larger option that the OcarinaWind you’ll find more notes on this scale with 13 to play.
Great for learning to play a new instrument especially if you also have an interest in sound therapy, yoga, meditation, and so on.
Rakuni 12 Inch Tongue Drum
[See Price on Amazon] – Ratings
You also have a choice of colors of this drum to choose from, and being bigger than the budget option, you will have the option of playing this one with your hands as an alternative to the supplied mallets.. It also comes with a carry case so you can take it wherever you go and play.
It produces plenty of volume, and has a wonderful sustain, so there is no need for any amplification if playing to a small audience like friends or family. And the chances are they will never have seen an instrument like this one before, so you will look super cool too.
Best Under $250
Moving up the price scale here we have a tongue drum that is fully tunable so that you can change the scale should you wish.
I’m not going to say that changing the tuning on this instrument is the easiest task but with a little patience and practice, you can unleash the full potential of a tunable tongue drum.
Idiopan Lunabell 8-Inch
[See Price on Amazon] – Tunable
Imagine how long you would have to learn something like guitar before you would be able to retune the 6 string and continue playing something that sounds any good at all.
With the tongue drum, you can start playing straight out of the box with no previous experience or musical knowledge and then retune it and makes even more great melodies to impress.
There really are no better options for a new instrument to learn and the tunable tongue drum provides yet more options still.
Best to be Cool
The handpan is an instrument that like the tongue drum is something that you can pick up and play without any training or musical experience. However, handpans are very expensive. You are looking at having to pay around $2000 to get a good instrument.
Panyard W1088 Jumbie Jam Steel Drum Pan
Ready to Play Kit See price on Amazon
Budget handpans are not a good idea, and I implore you not to consider looking or finding a cheaper option under $1000 and parting with your hard-earned money. You ill be disappointed.
Anyway, the handpan was born by someone taking the traditional steel drums from the Caribbean and turning them inside out, so what cooler instrument to play than you’re very own Steel Pan and be ready for the carnival.
Once again, in terms of a new instrument to play, they are ideal. They may take a little more learning that the tongue drums to play, but in a few hours of watching some free instructional videos on YouTube you ill be ready to play, Calypso, reggae, Classical, Pop, and Jazz Music!!
Frequently Asked Tongue Drum Questions
Here are a few questions often asked about tongue drums as people discover them for the first time. Feel free to hit a link for a deeper answer and more information on each of the questions below.
You’ll find out why the tongue drum is the nest new instrument to learn.
How long does it take to learn Tongue Drum?
You can literally play a tongue drum the first time you ever touch one. thanks to the way they are tuned, each of the notes included on the instrument works perfectly with the other notes, so that it is impossible to play a bad note.
You can of course improve your technique and learn some more tips and tricks to playing even better on the tongue drum, so here are 5 easy steps to become the best tongue drum you can be.
Are Tongue Drums Tunable?
If you damage your tongue drum it may require retuning. To be honest the more money you spend on your instrument the better it will be and the more sturdy it will be against needing to be retuned.
The Rav Vast, is likely never to need retuning, even if you allow your children to play it.
However, they are some tunable tongue drums available on the market that have been designed to allow the user to retune them to a new scale for a different sound and feel. One of these is listed above in the recommended new instrument to learn to play.
Are Tongue drums good for kids?
Tongue drums are perfect for kids and are becoming more and more popular as an alternative to drums, tambourines, xylophones and glockenspiels as beginner instruments.
One of the reasons is that tongue drums are very hardy so can withstand the rigors of child play. But, more importantly, children tend to first play a new instrument from the percussion family, and it will be either unpitched [drums], or pitched [xylophone etc]
The advantage of a tongue drum for kids is that it is pitched, so there are different sounding notes to be played, and there will be no frustration in how it sounds because each note goes with the next.
Tongue drums are great for kids.
What’s the difference between a handpan and a tongue drum?
There are a ton of differences between a tongue drum and a handpan, not least the cost.
This article contains tongue drums as a great new instrument to learn and also the Rav vast, which wits somewhere between the handpan and the tongue drum, so there are a couple of comparison articles, I have written to distinguish each from the other
I really hope this article has helped in choosing which new instrument to learn. Pitched percussion is such a cool place to be when playing an instrument and don’t forget that percussion is the backbone of any band or orchestra.
not only will you be learning a new instrument, but you will become an essential part of any group of musicians should you choose to join