Whether you’re inspired to learn an instrument as a hobby or serious about kicking off your music career, having the right music accessories can significantly impact your learning process and overall enjoyment of playing music.
And for most beginners, deciding what gear or accessories to invest in can be daunting. Fortunately, you can start on the right foot with just seven music accessories that any beginner should have.
These accessories will not only enhance your playing experience by improving sound quality and helping you learn faster, but they can also open up new learning and experimentation possibilities. So while it may seem overwhelming to decide what to buy, researching and investing in quality equipment can make a significant difference in your musical journey.
This one is a crucial accessory since nearly all instruments go out of tune when just sitting there unused, and they will sound discordant when you pick them up again. So, for instance, if you want to start playing string instruments such as a guitar, bass, violin, or cello, a digital tuner is vital to making them play at the correct pitch.
First, proper tuning is essential because a musical instrument will only sound right if it’s in tune. Second, it prevents our ears from getting used to that out-of-tune sound, distorting our hearing and musical ability.
There are different types of digital tuners, ranging from handheld tuners to clip-on tuners, pedal tuners, polyphonic tuners, rack tuners, sound hole guitar tuners, app tuners, and virtual tuners. So naturally, prices and brands vary, and they all have advantages and disadvantages, so it’s up to you to find the tuner that best suits your needs.
The metronome is an indispensable and practical device that can significantly facilitate the progression of musicians by defining the pulse and rhythm when playing. But, unfortunately, it’s sometimes difficult to use, especially for beginning musicians. But what is a metronome?
A metronome is a device capable of producing a continuous pulsation of a determined number of beats per minute (BPM). In other words, it generates an audible click or sound and repeats it precisely at regular intervals. Metronomes are an excellent tool for music practice and study, and their use is widespread in recording sessions and live auditions.
There are several advantages to using a metronome, including:
- Improving your timing
- Enabling you to build your speed and slow down
- Improving your precision
- Allowing you to detect errors in your playing
Three main types of metronomes exist: mechanical, quartz, and digital.
Mechanical metronomes are the oldest and are ideal for those who prefer a traditional time-keeping approach. These pyramid-shaped metronomes have a pendulum that swings down the center and incorporate a classical tempo scale printed behind the pendulum shaft for reference.
In the case of quartz metronomes, the beat is indicated by blinking lights, though you can frequently select an aural indication. In addition, quartz metronomes incorporate a dial to set or adjust the desired tempo.
Digital metronomes are the newest type. These are typically more portable and offer features like using a human voice for the tempo. They also let you increase and lower the beat volume and select different click sounds.
Sheet Music Stand
Ok, this next accessory isn’t sophisticated, but you’d be surprised how much it will help in your playing, especially in terms of comfort, regardless of the instrument. If you’re beginning your musical journey, chances are you’ll often be sight-reading or practicing with tabs, and this is where a sheet music stand comes in handy.
A music stand should be part of your music-playing toolbox, as it makes your sheet music/tabs easy to see by placing them vertically. In addition, it provides a convenient place to keep other items handy, like books, a metronome, a tuner, and pencils.
An audio interface should be on your list if you are setting up a home music studio. An audio interface is hardware that connects microphones and headphones, among other sound devices, to your PC. A typical audio interface converts analog signals into digital audio information so the PC can process it correctly, hence its name since it acts as an interface between analog audio devices and your digital equipment.
An audio interface can also perform the same process in reverse. It receives digital audio information from the PC and converts it to an analog signal you can hear through connected peripherals such as speakers, studio monitors, or headphones.
Reasons why you need an audio interface for your home studio:
- Provide Phantom Power for the microphones.
- Pre-amplify the audio signal.
- Provide connectors for microphone and instrument inputs.
- Provide outputs for the studio monitor and headphones.
Most people use headphones for on-the-go listening, and music lovers appreciate them for the insulation they provide. But suppose you’re pursuing a career in music or want to hear home recordings of you playing your instruments. In that case, studio headphones serve as a monitoring and analytical listening tool in recording processes such as mixing or mastering your homemade tracks.
Studio headphones accurately reflect the music or sound you create and help reveal flaws since they have a neutral sound signature compared to consumer headphones. Therefore, using studio headphones to record will make your tracks sound better across different systems when played back, thanks to their flatter frequency response.
If you are learning to play an instrument or want to start making home recordings, you should seriously consider getting a standalone microphone. Using your phone or PC’s mic is fine for recording ideas, but a decent microphone is a necessity when you’re recording the real deal.
And to complement the microphone’s use, it’s essential to incorporate a pop filter or shield to:
- Disperse the sound pressure exerted by the air emanated during singing, speaking, and breathing in the microphone capsule.
- Control the “pops” or “plosives,” sound saturations captured with Bs, Ps, and Ts.
- Avoid splashing saliva on the microphone, which can reduce its lifespan.
Speaking of mics, there are a ton of vocal effects out there to help your recording sound more professional. From using an AI vocal remover to isolate vocals from a track, to compressing and adding noise gates, it’s important to get in the habit of tinkering with your recorded tracks and figure out the intricacies of the craft.
So this one is more of a necessity than an accessory; an acoustic treatment is essential to transform a room where sound quality is paramount. Compared to soundproofing, whose primary purpose is to impede sound propagation, acoustic treatment seeks to optimize the sound within a space.
Acoustic treatment is suitable if you’re looking to enhance musical listening in a dedicated room, optimize musical practice, or build a home recording studio. However, when setting up a recording studio, acoustic treatment is likely something beginners will overlook and underestimate. It is a common mistake that beginner musicians spend too much time and money on their instruments and recording equipment instead of paying more attention to how they will sound.
These accessories, perhaps some of which you already knew about but didn’t realize you needed, can make a big difference in your creative process, whether you are learning an instrument or want to set up your first home studio.
Before buying any of these accessories, make sure they meet your musical needs, depending on your goals, so you can get the most out of them and enjoy your practices and sessions more.