Holiday Musical Gift Guide_ Music Therapist Edition

According to Einstein – one of the smartest people to have lived – life without music is inconceivable. By transcending languages, cultures, and religion, music unites everyone under the shade of love, faith, and hope. For this reason, learning how to play musical instruments is one of the best pursuits for people across all ages. 

Actively playing music has a number of cognitive, emotional, and physical health benefits. Playing an instrument improves memory, stimulates the brain, and serves as an instant stress reliever. Everyone deserves to break away from the daily grind and positively engage their minds into learning  and playing a musical instrument. 

So, If you’re someone who is passionate about music but shies away due to lack of training, then here’s fantastic news for you. Below you will find some of the easiest-to-learn musical instruments that require no musical training whatsoever. All you need is passion and the commitment to step out of your comfort zone a little bit.

With that, let’s delve into a comprehensive holiday musical gift guide! 

The following instruments are recommended based on ease of playing without musical training. This table below provides a general idea of the different ways the instruments will naturally have a positive effect on the player, including:

  • Improving speech: instruments that involve the mouth will engage important muscles involved in speech. This can help with articulation by strengthening the muscles and bringing attention to them.
  • Exercising fine motor skills: instruments that involve the fingers and hands can improve finger dexterity, coordination, strength and endurance.
  • Exercising gross motor skills: instruments that involve moving your arms and legs in big motions can help improve range of motion, endurance, and coordination.
  • Exercising cognitive abilities: most (if not all) musical instruments will require some level of cognitive engagement. Cognition includes attention skills, memory skills, and problem-solving skills.
  • Providing tools for strengthening social bonds: most (if not all) instruments can be used in social situations where people gather to play music and share a creative moment. Some instruments play more of a leadership role (e.g., drums, guitars, and harmonicas), and some are more about being supportive or bringing different colors to the music (e.g., egg shakers, jingles, and castanets).
  • Providing an outlet for self-expression and creativity: all musical instruments provide a perfect platform for creativity and self-expression, whether it is a song you learn to play that resonates with who you are, or a song that you write on your own, music helps your voice be heard!
  • Exercise respiratory function: musical instruments that require blowing or inhaling air provide a natural exercise to the respiratory system and can increase breath capacity and breath support.

SpeechFine MotorGross MotorCognitionSocialCreativityRespiratory Function
Ukulele with chord changer (ages 6 and up)

Melodica(ages 4 and up)

Kazoo(all ages)

Castanets(all ages)

Jingle bands(all ages)

Chromatic or Diatonic desk bell or resonator bell set(all ages)

Drumset(ages 6 and up)

Portable digital drums(all ages)

Accordion (7 key)(ages 4 and up)

Harmonica(ages 4 and up)

Roll up piano(all ages)

Pocket guitar(ages 8 and up)

Egg shaker(all ages)

Kalimba(ages 6 and up)

Hand drum(all ages)

Important note: musical instruments are not toys. Small children should be supervised and provided with guidance on proper use and care for the instruments.

Instead of restricting yourself to “only creating perfect musical masterpieces”, these instruments allow your creativity to flow freely. 

Whether it’s a drumset, a harmonica, a pocket guitar, or a hand drum – don’t be afraid to pick an instrument and let your heart guide you. With enough practice, you’ll be able to hone your motor skills, cognitive abilities, and of course, allow your musical talent to be part of your voice! It’s your time to shine!