Why The Amish Don't Play Musical Instruments

The Amish are a traditionalist group of Christians that follow a mostly non-modern way of life. They live in various parts of the U.S. and Canada but are mostly concentrated in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, says USA Today. While there is an air of mystery around this group of people, in the last few decades a lot more has become publicly known about the Amish and their nonconformist lifestyle, including how they make their way in the world without the use of everyday things like cars, technology, and various forms of entertainment. 

Like any community, the Amish have a set of rules that dictate how they live. Some Amish strictly abide by these rules, while others might be a little laxer due to the popularity of things such as cell phones (via Amish America). But if there's one thing that remains strict, it's that the Amish don't partake in playing most musical instruments.

The Amish will only play one instrument

According to Old Time Central, the Amish are not allowed to play musical instruments — but there is one exception — the harmonica. Despite instruments being strictly forbidden, if any musical instrument is played in  Amish Country, it will almost certainly be the harmonica. Outside of that, singing is the primary way the so-called "plain people" experience music, says Amish America

The Amish use their voices as instruments, and singing is common in church, at school, at home, and during social gatherings and events. But just because they sing doesn't mean they can clap along or move rhythmically to their songs. The Amish are not allowed to dance because it doesn't lend itself to a modest lifestyle, a main tenet of the Amish. 

That tenet is also why the Amish aren't supposed to play instruments. It is their belief that playing instruments for entertainment purposes might attract attention to that one person who is playing it, so for the Amish, playing an instrument could lead to a person becoming prideful. Per Discover Lancaster, "mild and modest personalities are esteemed."