Disclosure: I have had no formal training and I am not a professional. I am writing this from personal experience.
You can attain decent fluency by practicing for half an hour per day withing 3-6 months depending upon the instrument. You can easily perform on stage by the end of 1 year. Here are a few experiences that I would like to share
1. Some Instruments are inherently easy to play. Choose the instrument not based on what is available easily or what will get you performing in front of friends faster. Your instrument will become a part of you, your identity. Many people who learn to play musical instruments do not intend to join a band, or become a professional. They just want to learn another language to express your emotions / ideas, the instrument should go with your personality.
3. The most common musical instruments (in India) are:
- Stringed Instruments
- Acoustic Guitar
- Wind instruments:
- Harmonica / mouth organ
- Flute (Bansuri or westen flute)
- Drum sets
- Casio / Synthesizer
- Electric Guitar
Common classical musical instruments are:
Common musical instruments used in folk music are:
- Ektara and Ektara violin
- Dhaap or Dhapali
In case you haven’t decided on you instrument, here is a chart of relative ease, pros and cons of some of these musical instruments.
4. Some of the musical instruments, like Harmonica & flute come in different scales. Some of the scales are considered easier for beginners and hence I strongly recommend to visit the page mentioned above and check the remarks column.
5. Do not practice for more than half an hour in a stretch, it is a waste. Once you learn a new chord, or strumming pattern in case of guitar, you should keep your attention away from it for the rest of the day. This is because any form or performing art can only become fluent and spontaneous if you internalize it, that is to say you have to let the sub conscious connections form between synapses of your brain. This is biology and can be very easily felt- if you have ever noticed that you play, or draw or aim at a target better after taking a break.
6. If access to speedy internet is limited, availability of a coach or mentor may seriously limit the available options.
7. For vocalists or pseudo-vocalists, it is recommended that they choose an instrument that can play chords.