It’s a common misconception that after reaching a certain age, we become ‘too old’ to learn an instrument. Why? Because society tells us so. Because research tells us so. Because some music teachers tell us so. But let’s get this straight.

 

  • If you want to be the next Mozart by the time you’re 16, then obviously you would have to start taking music lessons as a child. But, you can of course still reach a very high level of skill in an instrument later in life (Leonard Cohen began his music career at the age of 33!) There is also more to playing music than being the absolute best of the best; music is  about enjoyment and self-expression, and anybody can achieve this.

 

  • There is certainly research indicating that music education as a child has a massive amount of health benefits, but does that mean that adults learners can’t benefit also? Studies show that adult learners have reaped the benefits of memory retention, personal growth, fulfilment, self-actualisation, accomplishment, enjoyment, an escape from routine, a sense of social/cultural involvement and even decreases in blood pressure! It goes without saying that dramatic increases in musical skill, musical knowledge and musicianship were also largely evident.

 

  • Unfortunately, there are some music ‘educators’ out there that promote that music lessons are for people of younger ages. Hmm… Did you know that anybody can set up a private studio and ‘teach’? But I promise you, if you ask an experienced teacher who is truly passionate about music, they would be thrilled to teach you as an adult.

 

If I still haven’t convinced you, let me share some of my personal experiences with you. Of all my students, past and present, around half were above the age of 18. Around a quarter were over the age of 30. Some have been in their 60’s. Of these students, I’ve seen them learn to play their favourite songs, learn to read, learn to improvise, play the blues, rip out solos, sit examinations, write their own songs and gig around town. But most importantly, these students have not once demonstrated that they are less capable of learning or enjoying music than any of my children students. In fact, a lot of them felt comfortable with an instrument much quicker.

 

One of my favourite quotes is from the wonderful jazz pianist, Kenny Werner: “If you can talk, you can play.” There is no age limit on learning music – there are no boundaries at all. At the end of day, music is an expressive and joyful part of life, and everybody can, and should, play music.

 

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