There are a lot of free digital recording programs.
I've messed around with a few just to see if they are worth the time to download them.
Some are good, some aren't.
Fruit Loops is ok, but there is nothing like being able to play your own instrument and recording something you created.
Lessons are a must, not just buying an instrument and a chord book. Leaning theory, and it's not as terrible as it sounds, is very important in understanding, playing and creating your own music.
If you have a few $ and want a guitar or piano, check out the classified ads in you local news paper. The economy is forcing a lot of folks to sell instruments, cheap.