Last week I touched on understanding the needs/wants of the person the instrument is for, which is incredibly important. But what about practical realities? If you want to play drums like Niel Pert, but your practice room is only 6′ x 8′, this is probably not a good idea. Also not a good idea if you live in an apartment complex.
Other instruments that won’t work if you share walls with your neighbors (unless they are deaf):
Bagpipes. Seriously. They are f#%%*!g loud!
Any guitar plugged into any tube amp higher than 2 watts.
Pots and pans. Sounds good in a book, not so much in real life.
Most brass instruments without a mute of some sort.
In all honesty, proximity to neighbors, siblings, great-grandma, is quite possibly the biggest limiting factor for most people when it comes to choosing an instrument. There are other factors too: portability and expense come to mind.
I have a friend who travels quite a bit for his job. The problem for him is that he really enjoys his immense guitar rig (it takes up approximately 10’x10′. Not even exaggerating.) Clearly for someone who has enough frequent flyer miles to fly around the world several times, this means one of two things; either he never gets to play, or he has to get creative with how to shrink his rig enough to make it portable.
For any household where the living space is cramped, or there is a lot of transition, having things be small and portable is not just desirable, it’s the difference between being able to use your creative muscles or letting them atrophy.
Fortunately, (especially thanks to newer technology) there are lots of affordable options available, and while not all of them will make you feel like a rock star, they may help you find a way to develop your craft in a way that is suitable to your lifestyle. Next week we will begin diving into some practical guidelines for how to identify a quality instrument on a budget, and some of the ways that cost-effective technology can help you along the path (as well as some pitfalls you will want to avoid!) See you then! -Nate