“Am I too old to learn music?” This is a common question for many aspiring teachers and musicians alike. The simple answer to this question is NO, you are never too old to learn music or to play an instrument.Assuming you can still use your hands to hold a fork and knife or catch a ball, there are two main things you need to learn to play an instrument.
The Big Secret to Learning Music at Any Age
Ready for the big secret? Ok.The two things you need to learn to play any instrument are (drum roll)….. patience and a willingness to put in the time for practice (what really? can it be so simple??). Maybe you’ve already heard that piece of advice before but for some reason you still feel that you simply have no talent or ability to learn an instrument. You’ve tried and tried all your life but it always ends in failure. For those of you that feel that way, let’s get one thing straight right now.
Natural talent may help with people learning faster and become great musicians more easily, but it has nothing to do with being able to learn to play an instrument. Some people learn languages faster than others, some slower. Some people drive cars spectacularly, and some are dangers to society when they’re on the road. The point is, everyone can speak a language, and most people of adult age can drive for better or worse.
Anyone can be taught and everyone can learn if they are motivated to.
The Psychology Behind Learning
For those of you feel like they need a real life example, I recommend reading a book titled Guitar Zero by Gary Marcus. In the book, the author (who happens to be a professor of psychology and director of the NYU Center for Language And Music) talks about how he learned to play the guitar after years of feeling like a talentless musical oaf with people telling him he had no rhythm and couldn’t follow music to save his life . Ok, I’m paraphrasing a little, but you get the gist of it. Learning to play an instrument is the same as any other skill. Firstly, you need to put in the time to give your body, brain and muscles an opportunity to adapt to particular movements. Next, you need to give your mind an opportunity to absorb any necessary musical knowledge you will need to read and play music.
It takes time and dedication, and this is where being older can be beneficial as more mature students tend to be able to focus better and have greater patience than their younger counterparts (true story). Adult students also tend to be more analytical and able to process information more systematically allowing them to learn faster by correcting mistakes more effectively.
While the above may not apply to every single person that ever lived, however the point is that everybody is teachable and everyone can learn, no matter what age you’re at. With that though, it does help to have somebody like a teacher or a friend to give you constant feedback if you feel you are the type of person who really struggles with rhythm. It will vary from person to person, but don’t judge your progress against someone else’s measuring stick. You are your own person with your own style of learning. Find a method that works best for you, then take it from there.
If you’re interested at giving learning an instrument a crack and don’t have access to a teacher, we have free lessons with video demonstrations here on the blog as well as a wide range of music lesson books & ebooks covering all sorts of instruments and styles.
Our books are designed to teach progressively so that you learn in easily digestible chunks, building up from each lesson and preventing overwhelm by information overload.Our books are also written by true blue music teachers and developed based on feedback from thousands of real students to ensure our content caters specifically to the people we are writing it for.
– Continue learning with us at LearnToPlayMusic.com.