People say it all the time, but you really are never too old to start learning an instrument! Like any skill, learning to play an instrument as an adult is a process and not an immediate pay-off. However, if we do say so ourselves, it’s one well worth the time and the process. Whether you played as a child and want to start up again or are starting from scratch, we have some practical advice to help set adult beginners up for success.
Finding an Instrument
No matter which one you choose to learn, starting with the right instrument is key. Regardless of whether you decide to rent or buy, you want to make sure that you’re getting an instrument that’s in good condition. Work within your budget, but don’t fall prey to getting the cheapest instrument you can find. Cheap instruments are usually made incorrectly with poor quality materials. These instruments are difficult to play, which will hinder your progress and enjoyment. Playing an instrument should be fun! We can help with instrument rentals and purchasing an outfit.
There are ways to teach yourself, but we highly recommend finding a teacher. Learning an instrument is a specialized skill, and doing so alone can be frustrating. Using a teacher can help speed up your progress and reinforce good habits. They can be your cheerleader, mentor, and someone to hold you accountable. They are also a great resource for general questions and playing opportunities.
The Mental Game
It’s easy for adult beginners to fall into the mental trap of embarrassment or self-doubt. Remember: you ARE a beginner, and that’s great! Everyone starts somewhere. Make sure you practice daily – yes, daily – to build up muscle memory and reinforce the skills you are learning. Also keep in mind that simple skills or pieces are not bad. You don’t learn to drive by being put on a highway your first day, and you don’t learn to play a concerto right away either. There are many other foundational skills that come before that.
If you’re coming back to playing after a lengthy hiatus, be patient with yourself. You have a memory of what things felt and sounded like when you were actively playing, and that won’t be what you immediately hear or feel. Going back to basics is difficult but rewarding, so keep at it!
Final Tips for Adult Beginners
- Did we mention practice? Go practice! Lunch breaks can be a great opportunity depending on where you work.
- Play with people. Find other musicians, groups or organizations to play with. You can also consider making your next vacation a musical retreat or program; they’re not just for kids!
- Most importantly, HAVE FUN! Make it joyful work.