My list of comforts is a bit longer than Cicero's, but only slightly, and it definitely includes musical instruments. As people strive to find more value in life by simplifying and downsizing their possessions, music often becomes more important not less. It seems that music, and specifically music making, is a primal need; music exists in every culture. Whether you're seeking to satisfy that primal need, or whether some other motivation is causing you to consider taking up a musical instrument for the first time, the tinwhistle can be a great starting point. It is inexpensive, easy to learn, readily available around the world, and most importantly makes great music when in the hands of someone who has learned how to use it well.
Recently I found my tinwhistle under my bread-maker. This happy rediscovery of its existence caused me to feel a bit of guilt that I had not bothered to play it all summer, but at the same time it made me eager to share a few words about this instrument. Although neglected these last few months, the tinwhistle has been an important part of my life for the past few years. Its importance to me was not so much that I spent a lot of time playing the instrument, but rather that it gave me accesses to an inexpensive portable instrument and somehow connected me with the hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of other tin-whistle players around the world. It was discovering how popular the instrument is becoming again thanks to You-tube instructional videos, that got me interested in learning how to play it. A young student of mine first introduced me to the sound of the tinwhistle many years ago. He was so great at making music with it that I assumed it would be a difficult instrument to play. The online instruction broke the process down into steps and gave me the confidence to try it myself.