There are many benefits to learning music, no matter your age. But a lot of people believe that you can’t learn how to play an instrument as an adult. I’m here to tell you that that is not true.
If you have the drive and the passion, you can learn (or re-learn) an instrument at any age. In fact, there are even a few benefits to learning music later in life that younger students lack.
In this post, we are going to look at some of the biggest benefits that adult and adolescent music students have over their grade school-aged peers.
1. The Choice.
While some people know what instrument they want to play from a young age, others might be pressured or forced to learn a specific instrument. Also as a young student, you have little to no choice in the music you play.
This all goes away when you are older. As you start to have your own income, you have (some) choice in where it gets spent. You have the ability to choose which instrument you play as well as what music you play.
Freedom of choice makes it a lot easier to stick with something when you get frustrated. It was your decision to learn this instrument or that piece. When a teacher or parent makes the decisions, it can be harder for the student to stay motivated.
As an adult or even as an adolescent, you can choose just about everything having to do with music. You can choose your instrument, the music you want to learn, and even your teacher.
And now with the internet, you have access to more qualified teachers than ever. Want to learn from someone in film music but you don’t live in LA? There’s the internet! Want to learn from different teachers? The internet can help with that, too.
Your options are unlimited.
2. The Finances.
Sorry to say it, but playing music gets expensive. From purchasing your first instrument or an upgrade to buying sheet music or taking private lessons, music is expensive.
When you are younger, you are at the liberty of your parents on spending money. A frugal parent, or one that doesn’t play music themselves, may not see the value in spending money on music. That’s not a bad thing at all. Frugality is never bad.
But it can be a problem for younger talented music students. A lack of finances can stunt your progress. If you are stuck on a beginner instrument, for example, showier pieces can be harder to play. The mechanism of the instrument is only built to handle so much.
When you are an adult, or an adolescent with a part time job, you have your own money to spend how you wish. While some of that money has to go toward food, rent, transportation…you can choose to put your disposable income toward music.
Your own income allows you to make decisions you couldn’t if you relied on a parent.
3. The Time.
When you are out of school, or at least in college, you have more time for fun activities than in grades K-12. Younger students have a full seven hours of school plus other extracurriculars plus homework.
As a college student or working adult, you don’t have all of that. College students (non-music majors) average 15 hours of class per week, and thus have more time for themselves.
Working adults work their 40 hours a week and then don’t have any homework or studying at all. You can spend your free time any way you wish. It is easier to start new hobbies when you don’t have mounds of homework each day.
You can still get the same amount of sleep and rest, but you can spend more time on other things. Some younger students get overwhelmed when they have classes, extracurriculars, and homework all on top of their music.
Sadly, music is one of the first things to go when a student doesn’t have much free time.
As an adult, you have more free time to pursue your own hobbies and interests.
4. The Desire.
As stated above, some students are pressured or even forced into playing a specific instrument. Whether by an overbearing parent or a desperate band director, younger students don’t always get to play the instrument they want.
When you are an adult, that goes away. You get to play the instrument you want to play. That desire will take you much farther. That also means you will probably progress more quickly.
Passion and desire fuel us in all aspects of life, and music is no exception. Your desire to play your chosen instrument will give you the motivation to practice and improve so you can play more challenging pieces.
No matter the instrument you choose, that choice came from your desire.
*Note: While you may feel like you are too old, please DO NOT force your own children into music just because you feel you missed your chance. You didn’t.
When did you start learning your instrument? Are you a “late” starter?
Let me know in the comments!