Jump to content
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Sign in to follow this  
SweetLittleBaby

Are you ever too old to learn to play an instrument?

Recommended Posts

Both of my parents play musical instruments, my dad being a classically trained musician, but for some reason they never pushed me to take any lessons. I would like to master at least one instrument, but I'm afraid I might be a bit too old to learn now. Is the proverbial "can't teach an old dog new tricks" true in this case?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's silly. If you put your mind to it you CAN do it. The only advantage I see is that kids have more free time to practice. I've heard they can absorb things pretty good also but a focused adult can learn better than a kid because we have more knowledge and intelligence than children.

What instrument do you want to take up?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is never too late. Since I first picked up a guitar my dad always wanted to learn to play but I guess he was just "intimidated" by it. Several years later, after watching my "ability" to play grow, he became inspired. In his mid 50's he finally picked up the guitar. He advanced incredibly!

I'm going to take the opportunity to say, ignore everything anyone ever told about having the "ability" to learn/play an instrument. Everyone is equally endowed the ability to grow and create. :) Sooooo......Go for it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A friend of mine is 63 and just got an inclination to play drums. I as a guitar player in a band, with some knowledge on drums, was able to answer some of his initial questions. I thne made a few phone calls to some local music stores and he and I went out and rented a set of Tama's for a month to see if he really will take to it. He is in his first week with the set and at the end of the month he will know if he wants to extend therental, possibly buy, or quit it all together. He actually asked me if I thought he was too old and said no way and that if he ends up sticking with it he'll potentially enhance his life with some new found experiences. Hope this helps you to forge ahead and don;t let age or what anyone else says get in your way. I'm 47 and still rocking and rolling and plan to do so for many more years! good luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice, all.

@ DAS, I really want to learn to play guitar. Well, any stringed instrument, really, but guitar in particular.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is never too late. Since I first picked up a guitar my dad always wanted to learn to play but I guess he was just "intimidated" by it. Several years later, after watching my "ability" to play grow, he became inspired. In his mid 50's he finally picked up the guitar. He advanced incredibly!

That is cool!

SweetLittleBaby, you should go for it, definitely. R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck didn't learn to play til he was 21, which in the rock cosmos is something like taking up acrobatics when you're in your seventies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, that definitely gives me some hope. Not that I want to do so professionally. More just for my personal amusement. I love music, so being able to actually PLAY it would be great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I play just for fun as a hobby like you want to do. I'm pretty well self taught but I have had a little help along the way. I would recommend learning this way because you can learn at your pace. Plus all the guitar lessons I've seen are pretty pointless in the days of youtube (use youtube a lot) where you can get the same thing for free. If you know someone who already knows how to play a guitar that will help big time. Even if you don't take lessons from them it helps to have a veteran player to bounce things off of when you are having trouble with something. Also get a book of chords and scales. Everyone thinks differently on which ones you should learn since there are way to many to learn them all. Just go for your major and minor chords to start with is what I did and then the 7, Major 7 and then Minor 7s. Lastly, so you don't get bored I would learn actual songs so your not always playing boring things like chord sequences. I would recommend the Phrase By Phrase DVD series by John Mark Sternall. He has a Led Zeppelin DVD and he really breaks the songs down and makes it easy for someone of any playing experience (I learned how to play slide from this DVD where he explains how to play What Is And What Should Never Be). Although nothing about Jimmy's playing is easy so it's not a total breeze. Most importantly, don't get discouraged. You have no idea if you've never played before how bad your fingers will hurt, how many times you'll hit the wrong string, make the strings buzz, not be able to make a chord come out right, and go WAY to slow. Just keep trying and you'll get it. But it will take awhile. If it were a cake walk everyone would be a master player.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I play just for fun as a hobby like you want to do. I'm pretty well self taught but I have had a little help along the way. I would recommend learning this way because you can learn at your pace. Plus all the guitar lessons I've seen are pretty pointless in the days of youtube (use youtube a lot) where you can get the same thing for free. If you know someone who already knows how to play a guitar that will help big time. Even if you don't take lessons from them it helps to have a veteran player to bounce things off of when you are having trouble with something. Also get a book of chords and scales. Everyone thinks differently on which ones you should learn since there are way to many to learn them all. Just go for your major and minor chords to start with is what I did and then the 7, Major 7 and then Minor 7s. Lastly, so you don't get bored I would learn actual songs so your not always playing boring things like chord sequences. I would recommend the Phrase By Phrase DVD series by John Mark Sternall. He has a Led Zeppelin DVD and he really breaks the songs down and makes it easy for someone of any playing experience (I learned how to play slide from this DVD where he explains how to play What Is And What Should Never Be). Although nothing about Jimmy's playing is easy so it's not a total breeze. Most importantly, don't get discouraged. You have no idea if you've never played before how bad your fingers will hurt, how many times you'll hit the wrong string, make the strings buzz, not be able to make a chord come out right, and go WAY to slow. Just keep trying and you'll get it. But it will take awhile. If it were a cake walk everyone would be a master player.

Awesome advice, DAS. Thanks. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well i'm 18 .. and about 5 months ago i stumbled upon the greatest thing that ever happened to me .. Led zeppelin ... i fell in love with them, and they encouraged me to pick my dad's 40 years old yamaha acoustic ... the neck was bent and the strings were rusty, and i thought it was impossible for my fat short fingers to adapt to the neck at that age ... but now after 3 months of playing .. i can play the Moby dick riff .. in the evening and heartbreaker ... and i'm learning the immigrant song .. not perfect .. but at least they sound the same :D .. now i'm getting my Ibanez GRG in a couple of days .. and gonna make it a bit more professional ... i want to be like Jimmy ... i'm far far far far away now .. but at least now i know it's possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a guitar teacher. I have a guitar-school in the netherlands.

You are never too old to learn an instrument. The are a few factors that you have to take into account.

A child's brain will absorb info much faster, his fingers wil have a lot more cartilage as opposed to old fogeys bones.

So you might take a bit longer then the damn kid who started out at your teacher the same day.

Also learning an instrument takes some years (depending on the instrument.... learning a bit of violin will take you decade...strumming some cool Zep-chords on a guitar might only take you a year or two) It will take you shorter or longer depending on the talent you have. But talent has nothing to do with the possibilty to reach that goal. reaching that goal has everything to do with practice.

And that is the crux. You'll need to incorporate at least a half hour in your dayly scedule to practice.

then there is the psychological factor. You have to be open to the idea that some snotty 20 year old guitarheroe is going to be your teacher and telling you what to do and what you're doing wrong. :-)

Most of all. be sure that you are enjoying the process. get that cool guitar that you enjoy looking at, pose in front the mirror more often than is healthy for you :-) and make sure you are learning tunes that you like or inspire you to keep practicing.

enjoy !!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can say the same as the others.

I'm 26 years old and I've started to learn play guitar about a year ago. I'm a self-taught (usually I learn from YouTube) and I practice every day even if I have few minutes for it. At the very beginning it was very very hard, the guitar has a very stubborn soul, but with a lot of patience, you can tame it.

Sometimes I think the same, that I'm too old for it, I still take mistakes of course and I must learn a lot, but I feel and hear that I play much better now than when I started.

So, stop hasitating and pick up your guitar!

Edited by why-att

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No it is never too late to learn anything- the body ages but your mind and soul gets better and better. So I already play drums for about 34 years-when I am 80-Hopefully I can pick up Kazoo. haha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well i'm 18 .. and about 5 months ago i stumbled upon the greatest thing that ever happened to me .. Led zeppelin ... i fell in love with them, and they encouraged me to pick my dad's 40 years old yamaha acoustic ... the neck was bent and the strings were rusty, and i thought it was impossible for my fat short fingers to adapt to the neck at that age ... but now after 3 months of playing .. i can play the Moby dick riff .. in the evening and heartbreaker ... and i'm learning the immigrant song .. not perfect .. but at least they sound the same :D .. now i'm getting my Ibanez GRG in a couple of days .. and gonna make it a bit more professional ... i want to be like Jimmy ... i'm far far far far away now .. but at least now i know it's possible.

love your post! Keep practicing! Good luck...Rich aka FishHead] Edited by fishhead

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that there is no such thing as going too old with learning to play another instrument as there is no standard, whatsoever that tells how you are supposed to learn and be able to play a certain instrument.

But to be fair with people, it really becomes quite hard to be really familiar with the instrument if you are already in the deeper water with your age, not to put any pressure to those who are just going to learn something just now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Always learning. Good at guitar? Learn Mandolin. Good at Mandolin? Learn Banjo. Good at Banjo? Learn Bouzouki. Good at Bouzouki? Learn ...

8-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

no no.but it depends on the instrument and the teacher.

if you have a good teacher he can keep the fire and you learn

easily.i would advice everybody to learn an instrument.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both of my parents play musical instruments, my dad being a classically trained musician, but for some reason they never pushed me to take any lessons. I would like to master at least one instrument, but I'm afraid I might be a bit too old to learn now. Is the proverbial "can't teach an old dog new tricks" true in this case?

I actually have an article about old dogs learning new tricks. When I was 16 (1966) I was fortunate to have been able to buy a brand new set of Ludwig drums and I'd never played a lick in my life. I just got together with some friends and we did the garage band thing playing some of the hits of the day (Gloria, Time Is On My Side, My Girl, etc.) None of us were any good but we had fun. The downer was I lost my drums to repossession (Nobody's Fault But Mine) and my interest waned but I was able to play on some sets here and there after that over the years. Jump forward to 2003 and I suddenly got a hankerin' to learn guitar. My Dad played most of his life but it never rubbed off on me for some reason. So as I began to listen to many different styles of playing I had first wanted to learn the Dobro and then I heard the classical guitar and I knew that was it. I couldn't get enough of it. Of course I couldn't afford a nice guitar then and I had borrowed my nephews Gretsch 'Tennessean' to start on and it was great til he decided to sell it. I was then fortunate enough to know some people and I was given a hand made classical guitar and have had it ever since. I don't expect to ever play like Segovia or Ida Presti but I plug on in my slow way. I've also had my ups and downs where I wanted to quit but I stuck with it and now it's ingrained and in my blood. I'm currently learning one song that I never thought I would ever learn and am also working on another that has a lot of artificial harmonics that is a beautiful song. It's short but difficult but I'm determined to learn it. And recently I have gotten a set of Roland electronic drums that are great to play on with headphones and my friend Brian has been coming over and we've started to play some Zep songs and are currently working on 'Nobody's Fault But Mine'. It's fun to be back on the drums too but I won't give up my guitar either no matter what.

But the bottom line is to at least give it a try (Effort Equals Results) and you may/will get discouraged but keep at it no matter what. Who knows, you may be a late blooming prodigy. :^) By the way, I just turned 62 and my friend Brian thinks I'm awesome on the drums (but I AM rusty). I don't think age should hold anyone back. Jump in with both feet, good luck and keep us posted. :^)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, never too old when it comes to learning and playing music! My 66 year old Dad has just recorded a harmonica solo on his friend's itune release, ok he did learn as a teenager but i'm sure he never expected to be recording new music at 66 after a 40 year break :) - music shouldn't have age limits...

You may also have more patience and practise harder when you're older - I could've done so much better with my violin/guitar/songwriting etc (I started young) but got too distracted with boys and the like ;)

Good luck :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I certainly hope not! I'm seriously considering learning how to play guitar. Now I just need to stop procrastinating and get on it. If anyone knows anyone from the Ottawa area who would be a good teacher, hook me up? I thought about learning on my own but I'd like a few lessons to get me going. The difficult task is finding someone good to teach me.

Cheers, Patrizia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I certainly hope not! I'm seriously considering learning how to play guitar. Now I just need to stop procrastinating and get on it. If anyone knows anyone from the Ottawa area who would be a good teacher, hook me up? I thought about learning on my own but I'd like a few lessons to get me going. The difficult task is finding someone good to teach me.

Cheers, Patrizia

You have hundreds of teachers readily available to you on YouTube. Stop procrastinating. It's worth the effort! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×