Instrument Harmonica

i would like to learn an instrument... which one though?

hello, im 13 an would like to learn an instrument for an extracurricular activity.
i own a guitar and love it( more or less) but would like to learn some thing a little less... i don't know.
Thing like:
keyboard
keyboard-guitar( yes its an actual instrument)
harmonica (no offense)
and such thing are out.
maybe something like flute violin etc.
i enjoy playing the penny whistle but that doesn't cut it for getting into college.
an impressive enough instrument that i can learn in 4-6 years to get into college would be nice.
i don't want a music scholarship, i just want something to make me seem like a good person to accept into which ever school.
thank you
have a nice day

As somebody who plans on going to college in two years to major in music ed, I would say your best choice for both price and to seem impressive would be keyboard(but don't put keyboard on an application, put piano). All music major students(been to plenty college visits and had many people tell me) need experience on piano. It's like the bottom of the pyramid of music.

However, if you want to get involved now in say a school's extracurricular activity now and be involved with it in college your best choice would be a band(concert/marching band) or orchestra instrument. So basically on your list flute and violin. If this be the path you want you need to have an understanding of your school/college. Does your current school have a string program such as a full orchestra or (like most high schools) does it only have a band(concert/marching)?

As it is possible to play a string instrument in a concert band, you can't in a marching band. So sort of know your priorities of what you'd want to do now, also know each of those two instruments open doors to you.

The flute opens the door to being able to play in symphonies, wind ensembles, concert bands, marching bands, and sometimes jazz band(though rare, I'm fortunate I get to play 1 song in my school's jazz ensemble which is one of my school's two jazz "bands"). You also can advance forward and learn other instruments in the flute family such as piccolo while it makes it easier to learn other woodwind instruments such as saxophone.

The violin opens the door to be able to play in symphonies, string orchestra, and(well I can't think of anything else right now, just those two). You also can advance forward and learn similar string instruments of the violin such as the viola(I think, I'm no string player, I just know some guitar).

Now as for college you wanted to look impressive. As I stated already not all high school's or k-12 school's have a string program anymore. Most are dead. And from talking to different students my age attending other school's involved in their band program, the most common is Bass(upright, not the bass guitar, though you can find that in jazz bands). So a string player would be impressive to get in college. Now then like I stated before, if there's no k-12 string program, there's not a high demand for strings in college, so unless a particular college has a strong, good music program(usually offering music degrees) it may not have a good string program.

Now then that you got that laid out in front of you, you have to look at something else. The instruments(except for the keyboard guitar, often called a Key-tar) they're all very common instruments so, more competition with them. As yes string programs are down, the violin and guitar are probably the most common string instruments. The flute a very common instrument and much competition, as a flute player myself, I know as is my band director did not receive any flute parts this year for district band and we only have one flute player from a huge music program going to a county band, and there's maybe 4 of us flute players out of 24 going to a local honor band performance. As is, if I know back in fifth grade I would want to go into music, I would not have chosen the flute. The piano doesn't escape neither. Like I said earlier, all music major/minor students need experience on piano, so take those students, plus you can walk up to somebody who maybe has no interest in the school's music program, but they still know some piano.

So if let's pull out the woodwind family(flute) and the string family(violin) and if you want to look impressive you want to learn an instrument that somebody might have never ever heard of. I from looking at the numbers in my school's concert band, the least common woodwind instrument is oboe(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oboe) and from one of the many student teachers my school gets from a local college music ed department, he minored in cello and was accepted quickly only like 3 other cello players auditioning(and this college is one of the most elite music programs in my state), so cello would get my vote for least common instrument for the strings(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cello) (though you want to go very far into matters and price is no concern, the least, least, LEAST common string instrument would probably be the harp).

Hope this helped :)

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