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Late Harvest – How To Learn An Instrument Later In Life

by | Master Your Craft

Better late than never. Learning an instrument later in life comes with a handful of pros and cons, but the rewards are much sweeter than the risk. If you consider yourself beyond your best years, you can still take up an instrument or practice that you’ve always wanted to. There is absolutely no age limit on personal enjoyment, and music will always be an easy provider of joy and therapy to human beings. In this article, we’ll cover a handful of tips to help you learn an instrument later in life. 

Pros & Cons 

There are a few advantages and disadvantages to starting an instrument later on in life. None of these factors should waive your decision to begin learning but rather be used as a guideline for getting your journey started. 

Pros 

● Greater learning experience – Your personal experiences in learning at school, college, or for your job will already give you a headstart in your learning capabilities. If you’ve ever taken a course or other discipline before learning an instrument, you’ll have a basic understanding of how to set and achieve milestones in your learning. 

● Fewer insecurities – Other than your doubts concerning your age, being slightly older generally means you’ve navigated the waters of growing up and found a sense of self. This means you’re probably going to learn an instrument for self-enjoyment as opposed to self-validation. This subtle mental switch means you’ll be a lot more interested in how you play and less in how you look doing it. 

● Increased self-discipline – Let’s face it, the older you get, the more you value your time and that of others. Having a greater sense of time-management usually means you’ll be able to encompass a more focused approach when learning your instrument. 

Cons 

● Lack of companionship – You might be the only person in your current social circle that is inspired by the idea of taking on a new instrument. Musicians always progress faster around each other, and the isolation that comes with practicing alone may hinder your musical growth. 

● Out of touch – You may feel that the music that you’re interested in does not feel current or relevant. Musicians sometimes often struggle with motivation if they feel that they’re practicing with no end goal, such as a recording or performance. 

● Cognitive competence – Much like the body, the brain requires restorative treatment and constant upkeep to function at an optimum level. Young minds indeed are like sponges, whereas older brains can be likened to a pc hard drive at the peak of its performance. As

such, it may take you a bit longer to grasp certain areas of your learning than younger students. 

Get Out Your Comfort Zone 

Coming of age can often mean we get into some life habits that make us feel secure and comfortable. However, it’s been said that comfort is the enemy of progress, and you’re going to have to accept that taking on an instrument later on in life will mean developing habits that your peers might not relate to. 

You may be the only person in your social circles that spends their lunch break running scales or rudiments. You might also be the only person you know who wants to watch an unknown local band to gain some musical experience or meet possible jamming colleagues. Don’t let the sense of isolation discourage you. You’re more likely to find someone who shares your interests by seeking places of those interests. Takeup the courage and follow your desire for musical progress. Yoyoyu can still give other areas of your life attention without compromising your passion for music. 

Find a Teacher 

it’s always wise to employ a teacher or trained professional’s assistance if you’re serious about developing your skill and knowledge as a musician. Music teachers not only have a broader and reliable scope on music theory as a whole, but they are also generally better equipped to help students overcome any hurdles they may encounter while studying their instrument. 

Having an experienced player teach and train you will also help your sense of self-discipline when taking up a new instrument. Much like sports coaching, you’re more likely to complete a task if someone is present to help perfect your form and set performance expectations for you. You should be able to find independent music teachers and schools in your local area. There are also several music courses online that cater to your specific playing level and ambitions. 

Join a Jam Band 

It might be hard to believe, but musicians don’t necessarily prioritize a person’s age when trying to make music. The best musicians and producers have managed to look past any pretenses that age differences might suggest. If you have the time and means, you may want to seek out a few individuals or music communities who are keen on practicing or playing. 

Jamming with other musicians will provide you with a dynamic that solitary learning cannot. Practicing with others trains your ability to listen and react much better than learning online or with home study. Being around other musicians will also exponentially increase your motivation to practice as you’ll want to keep up with your peers’ progress. Seek out jamming groups or initiatives through your local music stores, rehearsal studios, community notice boards, and even online. You’d be surprised how many people you’ll find that are looking for some fresh musical companionship. 

Use The Internet 

The worldwide web is an endless highway of ever-evolving information. You can find answers to almost any question on the internet, and music is no different. There are various sources and resources that you can utilize to acquire knowledge and help keep you motivated to grow as a musician.

1. Online Courses – Several music schools offer both curated courses and personal training to musicians. Course fees generally compare with that of ordinary music teachers, and it’s easier to find the right teacher due to the ease of access that the internet provides. 

2. University of Youtube – Video is fast becoming the primary method of passing information across the modern world. Sites like Youtube are packed with music video channels that consist of a broad spectrum of lessons from theory to practice. Youtube is free so finding the right channel to learn from is a low-risk, high reward task. Some Youtube teachers also interact with their viewers by answering questions in the comments section of their videos. 

3. Audio and E-Book – Some online schools and institutions provide theory and practical books to download to study in your own time at home. These downloads will save you the time of having to look for a music book in-store, and you’ll always have access to this information if you store your music lessons on a kindle or your mobile device.

4. Mobile Music Apps – Several mobile applications provide incentives for you to improve your musicality. Mobile applications are generally designed to make music learning fun, and having an app within arms reach will help squeeze in time to learn on the fly during a busy day. 

Final Thoughts 

Age and time should never be a discouraging factor to anyone trying to learn a new instrument. The idea that any discipline can only be taken on at a young age is undoubtedly a foolish one, and (with the right approach) you can learn an instrument as proficient as someone half your age. Thanks for taking the time out to read our tips on learning an instrument later in life. If anything, you understand that time is of the essence, so don’t waste it doubting yourself. Happy jamming!

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