Can I Learn How to Play an Instrument when I’m Older?

If you think you are too old to learn how to play a musical instrument, think again. Older adults are slowly letting go of the notion that piano and violin lessons are for kids. A recent post in The Washington Post tells a story of several people who have learned how to play an instrument at an advanced age.

It turns out that there is an upside of learning new things as an adult;

Adults are more motivated and focused because it’s their choice.

They also bring skills that they have learned from other things as well as analytical thinking.

For some people, the period after you are done raising kids and going to your 8-5 job is the perfect time to learn musical skills. You have all the time in the world, and you can finally scratch it off your bucket list and let that itch go.

From a scientific point of view, learning how to play a musical instrument helps to improve your cognitive skills, memory, and even emotional health. Music is what circuit training is for the brain; it exercises all the cells and prevents them from dying. As an adult, playing a musical instrument expands your social circle, builds your self-esteem, and helps you to improve on other things.

Make no mistake, though; learning how to play a musical instrument when you are older is by no means easy. You will need boatloads of patience and determination to sit through many days of practice until you master the basics. If you remove all the excuses out of your mouth, these tips will help you to accomplish your dream of being a musician no matter how old you are.

Just start

Your most significant obstacle to being a good guitarist or pianist is procrastination. You are afraid of failing because of all the stories you have heard about older people being slow. You are embarrassed to start something at your age and fall on your face. You are scared of what people will say, so you keep pushing it forward.

Just start. Today!

Take that first step to buy the instrument, contact a teacher, or download that YouTube tutorial.

Find the ideal teacher

Adult learning is very different from the way kids learn. Unlike children who have limited muscle training, adults have long muscle memory from all those years they have been doing things. It is, therefore, hard to retrain their fingers to do something else. A teacher who specializes in teaching adults will be better versed to train your brand-new hand forms, posture, and movements.

As an adult, you also have other things that could take priority over practicing music. A teacher will help you to come up with a schedule that works for both of you.

Find a partner

A suitable teacher will play a massive role in keeping you motivated. However, playing a musical instrument when you are older takes time. It would help if you had someone you can encourage each other through the journey and laugh at yourselves. Better yet, find a community of music players who are learning so you can practice together.

Be careful, however, not to compare yourself to each other because you will learn at a different pace.

Set reasonable goals

What is your end game after you learn how to play that guitar? Do you want to play in a band, play in church, or entertain your kids after dinner? It is very common for a beginner to aim high and dream about making music for others. However, in the beginning, you should take it one step at a time.

Maybe your first goal can be playing something that vaguely resembles music, and then you can move to make your teacher happy. With time and practice, the sky is the limit.

Use your transferable skills to play an instrument

The best thing about adult learning music is that you already know a lot of things. Your brain is full of skills that will help you in your journey of music. For instance, skills like analytical thinking come in handy when playing instruments because you want to know why something happens. You have also mastered the art of typing without even looking at the keyboard. Use those skills to place your fingers in the right place when playing an instrument.

When asked what advice they would give beginners, people who started playing instruments at an old age said you need to enjoy the rewards. With practice, you will realize your memory is improving, your hands are lighter, and you are generally happier. Enjoy every step and celebrate even the smallest milestone.

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