Am I Too Old to Learn Piano

“Am I too old to learn the piano?”

This is without doubt the most asked question I have encountered throughout my piano teaching years.

Studies have shown that the brain‘s speed and reasoning capability starts to decline by the age of 27. No wonder adults question their ability to learn the piano or any music instrument.

old-musicians

Eric Claption is 62 and still one hell of a blues guitarist. Chick Corea is 69 this year, but still throwing young musicians off their feet with his musical prowess.

But perhaps the most talked about is Bill Tapia, the 103 years old ukulele player,who could be the oldest performing musician in the world, and the only professional musician who has played in World War I.

bill-tapia

Bill Tapia photo by colleeninhawaii 

All these extraordinary people are just a few among many musicians who have overcomed the barrier of old age.

What most adult students fail to realize is, the main problem is NOT about AGE, but TIME ALLOCATION.

ie. Grown up nowadays are caught up with so many things in life, they could hardly find time to sit down and practise the piano an hour a day, the way they would require their child to.

Do share your thoughts, would be glad to hear them…. :D

16 Comments

  • KCLau

    Reply Reply April 2, 2010

    you got the point… most adults simply can’t commit the time to practice.

  • Mari.Bee

    Reply Reply April 3, 2010

    Jazz pianist Marian McPartland Is about 90 and up until recently performed concerts very successfully. I know of “older people” taking lessons to keep their minds sharp.

  • Tom

    Reply Reply April 8, 2010

    The examples do not support the title. All mentioned musicians did not start learning at older age but are still playing at older age.
    I started learning to play the piano when I was 42. Now, 10 years later with practicing almost every day for 1 to 2 hours, I have reached an intermediate level. My play is feeble and every area, touch, rhythm, reading, interpreting and phrasing is poor. But I cannot stop.
    I have fun in playing but now and then I get sad because of the level I will reach in the next 10 years. I put a lot of effort in, but very little is coming out.

  • rewsnat

    Reply Reply April 8, 2010

    The musicians mentioned here did not start learning at older age, but the point Im making is that they still manage to perform tasks far more complicated even for young people.

    My suggestion is to keep working hard no matter what age you are in. Because in music, no matter you are 15, 25, or 35, you will still be putting a lot of effort, with very little coming out.

    I am 33 now, i practise about 4, 5 hours a day, and still very little is coming out… :)

    • Torde the Flying Ficus

      Reply Reply May 7, 2011

      That must be very discouraging to practice that much and not feel that you are getting very far with it. From all I have read, anyone who practices that much should be progressing to an intermediate level within say six months to a year but don’t be too hard on yourself as everyone goes at a different pace. Granted there are alot of unknowns as to what could be hindering your progress or why you feel that way. Do you have a teacher, self taught or what? Did you learn incorrect fingering, and on and on, so many things could be the culprit. I’m not an expert, just learning my self but it seems there are stages and plateaus along the way. Some times parts of a lesson would be rough going and other times the new material and playing would jump right out at me! so….hang in there, bro! It will come…It will come….meanwhile for some super inspiration, google Kyle Landry and listen to some of his playing on utube. He is in his early twenties and began learning at the age of 8. Wish I could claim that!~

  • farouk

    Reply Reply April 22, 2010

    I’m about 50 and still playing piano/performing and still wanna learn more ..music has no limits.

  • Chanya

    Reply Reply May 11, 2010

    I’m older than you Rewsnat & play worse than you Ha Ha…. still struggle for having sometime to practice…..LOL…

  • Mowandi

    Reply Reply May 25, 2010

    I have problem with finger so play guitar with feet and also the piano keys with toes. I play Mozart with toe and very good also. Many people liking to hear me playing. This not hard for person who like to try.

  • Torde the Flying Ficus

    Reply Reply May 7, 2011

    Well, I’m 62 years old, always wanted to learn, never had the time to devote to it, but now retired so I bought an 88 key digital piano in December 2010. It was real slow going at first as learning the basics is not very rewarding until a bit later. Well, it started coming together and I sometimes spend hours entertaining myself! ha…I’m about half way through the beginner book but had to stop completely due to time of year – spring yard and garden getting started, but I’ll be back at it!! BTW, there are some xlnt self taught courses out there. If you cant spend the time (to practice), your playing will not progress so you will get exactly what you put into it. Even the most gifted pianists still have to practice lots!

    • Doris

      Reply Reply February 4, 2014

      Thank you so much, this has really given me the courage to at least try it.

  • Susanah

    Reply Reply July 16, 2011

    I had started my piano lesson when I was 61. After a few years of piano lesson , I found that out I am very slow keying the music notes. So I quit. But I still practice the piano a 3-4 hours a week rather than comple stopping.practice in the middle of Czerny and Sonatinen. I hope the time I put will be paid off.

    • KCLau

      Reply Reply July 22, 2011

      As long as you practice, skills do improve and also the musical sense.

  • Ruth

    Reply Reply July 22, 2011

    A really good point coming out of the comments – people who start learning to play piano when they’re a bit older may never be brilliant pianists but they’re enjoying it! What else matters?

    • KCLau

      Reply Reply July 22, 2011

      Yeah .. that’s the whole point of living a life – ENJOY!

  • jeeradate

    Reply Reply December 6, 2011

    I just bought ,Yamaha PSR E423, electronic organ last week end when I am going to 60 year old in next 4 months. I never learn to play it before and I don’t think I will be good at it. But I just want to enjoy myself and learn something than wasting my time on movies.
    I am going to learn by myself, enjoy it not for showoff so I don’t want to spend a lot of money on it too.

  • Alejarce

    Reply Reply December 16, 2012

    I do not play the piano.
    But I started to take singing lessons at 56. Before that I was totally unable to sing.
    At first it was a matter of objetives. If I coud ever sing “Evergreen” I woud be in heaven.
    However, my two-monthly lessons still going, I do not have goals any more.
    It just became a process…each time a little better, and it will never end…and I do not care to sing for other people..it’s just me and music.
    Actually, I’m planning to do the same with piano…

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