“I’m too old to start learning music.”
One of my biggest joys in life is teaching adults.
I’ve had classes of adult learners where the youngest person was 45 and the oldest 75 years of age.
These were really fun-filled, wonderful teaching experiences and each of those adults enjoyed their progress learning piano, and the realisation of their lifetime dreams.
Unfortunately, I often hear this Lie from people who are only in their 20’s and all I have to say is that each of us has the rest of our lives to learn music.
So how many years have you got left?
(I know nobody can really answer this question, but we can make an estimate, given good circumstances).
If this Lie is something you believe, I’d like you to consider the following:
1. Why are you too old to start learning music?
Some people believe that the only reason to learn music is to perform or become good at it.
From my experience having these pre-determined aims stops people from realising the true joy of learning an instrument or learning to sing.
The truth is that learning music is purely about the processes involved in doing just that.
- learning about our inner critic and inner musician
- discovering our playful nature
- developing co-ordination;
- developing memory, and
- learning to live with focus and presence, not to mention
- inviting the challenge of being authentic.
All these things simply add up to living a better quality of life and are you ever too old to pursue that goal?
I’d like you to watch the following short video of a couple who, while waiting to attend their appointment at the Mayo clinic, decided to fill in time the fun way.
It’s so obvious how music would have added to their quality of life and their 60 year marriage. (He’s 90 by the way!)
2. Did you have a negative learning experience of music when you were younger?
Many adult learners I meet have had negative learning experiences of music in the past that have held them back from approaching it again, and ultimately made them feel inadequate and unconfident.
It takes a lot of effort to firstly, take the risk of trying to have lessons again (risking the same negative experiences and/or feelings) and secondly, to give dreams a second chance.
I have to say, I have so much respect for those adults who do take those risks and I love the process of bringing music to their lives in an enjoyable way.
This is the way it should have been all along.
If you recognise yourself in this, please read this article on how to choose a music teacher and perhaps consider giving it a second shot.
It’s good to remember to research options for learning music that are available to you such as community education colleges where there are some fantastic teachers, such in this film.
If you find the right person or course to learn with, you won’t have to live with the regret of feeling you were not able to satisfy one of your desires in this lifetime.
3. What are the advantages of learning music at a mature age?
There are so many advantages of learning music when you are older.
Here they are:
- You can be more aware of your learning process and therefore gain a deeper understanding of music because you know yourself better and you have more life experience.
- If you are retired, you have time to dedicate to learning this art and it can be something that enriches your life.
- Learning music stimulates your brain and that’s great for staving off diseases associated with aging such as dementia.
- You are learning because choose to learn and are therefore much more in control of the learning process by
- Contributing to your learning path by choosing repertoire and reflecting on where you want to take your music.
As a teacher, I really don’t find that children pick up any learning quicker than adults do.
The only thing that adults tend to have is a well-developed inner critic (or negative thoughts about themselves) that often gets in the way of learning taking place.
If you a place of learning or a teacher that is aware of all these issues you are sure to do well and have a good time … and that’s all music is about… fun and challenge!