Can adults learn to play the piano?
“Oh no, it’s far too late for me. I should have started when I was a kid. Now, I’m too old to learn.”
Yes, this is almost word for word what a 50-year-old bright and successful man once told me. He was genuinely convinced it was ‘too late’ for him to learn to play the piano.
I responded saying that unless he had hooves for hands, I doubted he couldn’t learn how to play.
Ok, that was a little tongue in cheek, but I meant it. Learning to play the piano is NOT an age-related skill. It’s usually fear, not age, that stops adults from starting piano lessons.
You see, authentic ‘learning’ – learning something without prior knowledge – doesn’t usually happen for most people once they graduate. Sure, there are the courses and professional development opportunities you take over the years, but most adults will not easily start a decade-long learning project where they have to start with virtually zero knowledge.
And I get that, I do. It’s scary! The idea of not knowing or not being able to do something straight away, of having to receive step by step instructions – it’s not for the fainthearted.
I also understand that it is different for kids. They go to school and are in constant ‘learning’ mode. But we as adults, we manage, we parent, we tell others what to do and how to do things. For us to step back into the role of apprentice, that takes a bit of endurance and a good scoop of humility.
But that does not mean it’s too late. Yes, even physically it’s not too late! (in fact, adults have some real benefits over kids in that regard as I explain in this previous post) You merely need to be open and accepting to being taught, just like kids are.
If you are willing to invest in yourself, it will be immensely rewarding to see your growth and development over time. Not to mention the incredible life skills you’ll be gaining: discipline, perseverance, determination. Can you set a better example for your kids, your partner, your friends?
Plus, you’re not REALLY starting from scratch anyway.
You may not (yet) know some of the more theoretical aspects of music and, of course, the physical movements to play an instrument are non-existent, but you DO have some musical knowledge. You listen to music, don’t you? Then you have already absorbed a variety of styles, harmonies and melodies! If you can move along with the music, you already have a sense of beat. If you can clap the words of a song, you understand rhythm.
Now you just need a teacher to help you turn all that innate musicality into musical output!
I know finding a teacher is not easy for an adult (I’ve had my own struggles finding one many years ago), and the prospect of taking lessons can be a little nerve-wracking.
“What will they think of me?”
“Will I be good enough to be their student?”
“Will they drop me if I don’t progress fast enough?”
Let me put your mind at ease here. Professional, adult-focused teachers know and understand these fears, and will actively work to create a welcoming, non-threatening environment for you to grow and develop. They will listen to YOUR goals and will tailor the lessons to YOUR requirements.
In conclusion, if learning to play the piano is something you want to try but you’re letting your fears get in the way, remember this: you’ll never know what you’re capable of until… you try!
If you’d like to find out more about the online piano lessons I offer adult learners, get in touch!