Apartment-friendly instruments to learn to play

Hipster Ukelele

Learning an instrument can be a rewarding experience. Developing a new skill is always a good thing, and when it is something as enjoyable as playing music, it can open you up to a whole new world filled with creativity and new people. There are so many instruments to choose from, but not all of them are great options if you’re living in an apartment, where the close living quarters can make your practice time a nuisance to those living around you. Here are a few apartment-friendly instruments to consider that will allow you to make music without disturbing the neighbors.

Guitar. This is a hugely versatile instrument, and one that gives you great control over volume. Acoustic guitars are generally not extremely loud to begin with, which makes it easy to practice quietly. Their sound can be dampened further by covering their sound hole, which is the hole in the body of the guitar typically found beneath its strings. Electric guitars are louder, but guitar amplifier technology has advanced to the point where you can fine-tune the volume and use headphones to monitor yourself instead of having to play out loudly.

Ukulele. This four-stringed Hawaiian instrument is typically acoustic, taking the shape of a guitar. It has a very mellow, yet pleasant sound, making it an especially good instrument to learn in an apartment. What’s more, it is small enough that even if you’re trying to play it loudly, you will still be unlikely to reach a volume that would disturb your neighbors.

Harmonica. This folk and blues instrument is played with your mouth, creating a reedy sound that’s far from the blaring timbre of a horn. Volume is controlled by how hard you blow on it, giving you a good amount of control over its loudness. One thing to note is that different techniques may require you to blow harder on the harmonica, but its handheld nature and small size allows you to muffle the volume easily.

Keyboard. A full-on piano may be hard to move into your apartment, but a digital keyboard is a great, and quiet, alternative. Headphone jacks are usually built into these units, and even without headphones, the built-in speakers are generally too small to create much of a racket. Digital keyboards are versatile, too; some models allow you to select simulations of different instruments, including drums, horns, and even sound effects, and sometimes also include backing tracks for you to play along with.

Digital Drums. Practicing on an actual drum kit will likely cause your neighbors to complain, but using a digital drum pad is a good alternative if you absolutely must play a percussion instrument. These can be played with traditional drum sticks, or with just your fingers, and are a great way to learn the basics of sample-based music. Many finger-controlled drum pads hook up to computer software, which is highly customizable and doesn’t need to be loud to sound great.

10 Real Instruments Under $100 [Apartment Therapy]

How to Practice Music in Your Apartment (Without Disturbing the Peace!) [Apartment Guide]