How old is too old to start learning a musical instrument?

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Image Credit: Calum MacAulay

Isn’t it too late to learn a musical instrument as an adult? Sounds like a convenient excuse …

Look, no one said learning a musical instrument was easy. It takes extremely high concentration and works your mind and muscles as hard as learning a TikTok dance routine to prove your youth. But does age make a difference when trying to learn a musical instrument?

Don’t be discouraged from starting to learn a musical instrument as an adult, just because you didn’t do it as a child and now feel too old to start. The biggest challenge for adults who are starting to learn a musical instrument is personal motivation, as learning any new skill from scratch requires great patience.

As an adult, no one will force you to practice. With a busy life, it’s easy to find excuses and quickly forget about the guilt of skipping daily workouts because no one will notice (except the neighbors).

Adults are so used to the pressure to do their best, whether at work or in personal life, that it can prevent them from fully embarking on the task, for fear of failing or being embarrassed to do so. the idea of ​​being heard struggling to improve. . Yes, it will probably sound awful at first, but everyone has to start somewhere.

There is the freedom to be able to approach the instrument in a creative way, not limited by school type lessons, learning the most engaging songs and style of music. Adulthood independence also offers the freedom to learn any instrument to your liking, from banjo to sousaphone.

(Can’t afford an instrument? Cut one out of a potato.)

There are many benefits to learning music after childhood. Adults tend to take a more pragmatic and organized approach to the new challenge – seeing the big picture, learning the theory, the history of the instrument, watching tutorials and endless YouTube performances.

The biggest success factor is spending time practicing and working hard on the instrument. A workout for your brain, although it is true that some instruments are considered easier to learn than others. The structure offered by taking music lessons might help – again being an independent adult means they can go in any direction they want, there is no right way to learn.

Doesn’t mastering something new become impossible after puberty as the brain ages? Apparently not. Studies to start learning music at an early age “provides little support for a sensitive period for music” and little evidence that “early training has a specific causal effect on performance and subsequent achievement”.

Plus, learning music is good for your brain. Monitoring a group over 60 taking music lessons saw gains in the ability to plan memory and other cognitive functions, compared to those who had not received the lessons.

The answer, then, is that it is never too late to start learning to play a musical instrument. You are as old as you feel.


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