Am I Too Old To Learn An Instrument?

Working at a Music Store I hear all of the time “I cannot learn an instrument because I am too old.” I want to shed some light on this interesting topic, and hopefully inspire people who believe they cannot learn an instrument because of age.


There are many different reasons why people believe they cannot learn an instrument later in life. These excuses usually are:

“I am too old to learn an instrument”

“I do not have enough time now that I am older”

“I do not have enough musical ability to learn an instrument”

“Kids learn instruments faster than adults.”




I Am Too Old to Learn an Instrument?


Learning an instrument is a skill that just takes time every day. As long as you still have the ability to learn then you can learn whatever you want… including an instrument. Caroline (My Piano Student) was in her mid-50s when she started learning piano with me, and she became an advanced pianist in approximately 3 years. Caroline was not an exception, because I have had others, older and younger, that are adults who have learned piano. The only common factor between all of my adult students who had success was they practiced every week for an average of 15 to 20 minutes a day.


Another thing to keep in mind is you can play a musical instrument into your advanced age. My grandmother still plays the piano for her church at the age of 86. My grandfather played his trumpet for his church until the age of 82.


I Do Not Have Enough Time


People make time for what they want in their lives. If someone really wants to learn piano they can. As long as they can just dedicate about 10-20 minutes a day to play the instrument. Too many people think it takes years and years to be able to achieve their piano goals, but in reality, usually it can take much less time.


I Do Not Have Enough Musical Ability to Learn an Instrument


Everyone has different talents and everyone learns differently, but anyone can learn to play an instrument. It is just a skill that takes time to develop. Musical ability or musical talent can be confused with just hard work and dedication. When a person sees another play an instrument well, they sometimes just chalk it up to sheer talent; when that couldn’t be further from the truth. It takes time and practice to become a good musician, not just raw talent.


Caroline (Piano Student – Started in her mid-50s) Example


Caroline had no prior musical experience, and she also did not have raw incredible musical talent either. She was a normal person that learned at an average rate. She just had a piano teacher, and 20 minutes a day to practice. Within 3 short years Caroline became an advanced pianist. She herself was even surprised to see how far she came in such a short amount of time. Sometimes she was even in disbelief in her abilities after such a short amount of time. I hope her story can inspire other adults who have been hesitant to learn a musical instrument.

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