Instrumental Choice

musical instruments

My daughter is in 4th grade, and was able to choose a band instrument to learn in school. I play the drums and her father plays the sax. We were each talking up our instruments, while teaching her the differences between the sounds and the mechanics of playing the different instruments of which she could choose*.

I have always wondered why a person selects a specific instrument. Why pick a trumpet over a harp? Why does a cello call to some, while the accordion calls to another? Why play an organ instead of a piano or even a marimba? Why pick a high, middle or low pitched instrument? Is it an extension of your personality or self-image?

Is it a function of trying to emulate someone you admire? “I like my cousin, and he plays the trombone.”

Is it a function of what is needed for the school band? “We have too many drummers, we need a clarinet player.”

Maybe you are a front person. You might choose the guitar.

Maybe you are more laid back. Then you might choose the bass guitar.

Can it be the type of music you are exposed to? “My mom plays bluegrass CDs; I want to play the banjo.”

What instrument is at hand? “Here are my uncle’s old harmonicas.”

Perhaps you are just gifted with a golden voice?

And indirectly related to this topic; are drummers really superior in intellect?

I play the drums, but I could never figure out why. It’s almost as if the drums chose me. When I am lugging around the cases, setting them up, and breaking them down for every show, I lament the fact that the flute didn’t choose me. But while I am playing, all that falls away and I’m in the groove.

Why did you pick the instrument that you play or want to play?


*She chose percussion ;)


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9 responses to “Instrumental Choice

  1. I chose the drums too. At the time, I was a teenager and my dad’s band needed a drum player. It seems ridiculous looking back how fast I jumped in, but music was a big part of our family, most of us play by ear, and I had experience with a snare. At least I was able to keep a good rhythm. I don’t play in a band anymore, life here is busy enough, but I still get together with my dad each weekend to play. He’s a great guitar player. Really, I wish I could play like him, carry it on so to speak, but it is hard to find the time I would need to devote to learn the guitar.

  2. I wanted to play Hammond Organ. You know, the big kind with a thousand different voicing selections. Even dabbled with lessons for a year when I was 8.
    But my Father played drums (rock & jazz) and eventually, around age 14, the drums chose me. I had a huge rock drumset back in the day, but I’ve slimmed down to a small jazz set… And I still love playing.

  3. Beth L

    My sister’s three children all picked brass–though none of our family played any instruments (some of us sang). The oldest was asked to switch from trumpet to tuba because he was tall and could carry it around for the HS band. He stayed with it though and has it at college. The youngest is studying music now at Duquesne. (The middle child went for drama instead of music but still gained all that valuable knowledge.)

  4. My son is 4 and says his favorites are drums and bass :)

  5. Joelle

    Thank you for your comments!

  6. When I went to the school to choose an instrument, I meant to say “oboe.” For some reason, “cello” came out of my mouth. I don’t think I even knew what a cello was. I’m sure the cello chose me. It was the right instrument for me.

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