Myth: I’m too old to learn how to play an instrument.
Maybe you don’t need to hear this, because you’ve already proved it wrong! But there might come a day when you feel discouraged. Then you will need to remember: You are a musician if you play every day.
The practice of music is not taking you towards some ultimate goal. The daily practice of music is the goal.
I teach mostly adults (about ¾ of my student roster). Learning as an adult has certain advantages. If you’re an adult, you’re probably studying fiddle because it’s something YOU really want to do, not something your parents want you to do.
You have decided to invest your precious time on earth making music, and so you may appreciate this opportunity more than you would if you were a seven-year grinding away in a violin lesson, all the while wishing you were playing Minecraft on your mom’s iPad. I just looked at a video about Minecraft and it looks amazing. I’m not sure I would have stuck with violin lessons if I had this back then! In fact I kind of want to stop writing this and play it right now.
Mom, can I have the iPad for awhile? Please, please, please, pleasepleaseplease [times a thousand] But I AM acting my age. Lots of 48-year old men enjoy playing Minecraft! OK, what if I practice for ten minutes? What!!?? OK, I’ll practice for a half an hour….
But I digress…
A seven-year old may have more raw learning ability and have a more playful approach to learning, wheras an adult may have a more methodical approach. A seven-year old is more easily distracted by a picture on the wall, or she may get bored with doing something repetitive. The adult is better able to focus and see something through.
The beautiful thing is, we all learn the things we need to learn through practice. Perhaps the seven-year-old learns how to focus and the adult learns to let go a bit and play.
Dan McLaughlin was 31 years old when he decided to quit his job and become a professional golfer. Minor detail: he had never played golf before. He came very close to going pro! Some of my most successful students, like Fiona Higgins, have started in middle age or much later.
Not only is it never to late to start, it’s never to late to have fun. One day, you’ll wake up and your hard work will feel like play.