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If you’ve ever listened to a song and not just appreciated it, but thought “I could do that”, you might have gone as far as actually thinking about learning an
instrument. But then, you might have been immediately put off the idea.
After all, you may have reasoned to yourself, you’re 35, or 65... not 15. You’re probably too old now for it to be worth the bother to learn to play music. Your cognitive connections are set, you’re too stuck in your ways, and when would you even get the time to play, anyway...
It’s at this point that here at Dr Downing Music, we’d say a very firm “stop”! The truth is that it’s definitely possible to learn to play music for adults. In fact, we’d argue that in some ways, it could actually be better to learn an instrument when you’re older, than when you’re younger.
Getting to grips with an instrument definitely isn’t just for kids!
There are just so many unhelpful myths out there about the perceived difficulty of learning music as an adult. Some of these might have a semblance of truth in them, but also fail to give the full picture.
While it is easier, for instance, for a child’s brain to form new cognitive functions than is the case for adults, this is a very different thing to saying an adult can’t learn to play music.
Plus, as an adult, you’ll have life experiences to bring to your music-making that a younger person doesn’t. You have probably spent a lifetime listening to a variety of music already. This means you’ll almost certainly be better-placed to understand both the emotional and analytical aspects of music than a child.
So, not only is there a good chance that you will be better than the average youngster at recognising chord progressions and common motifs, but you’ll also have the maturity to grasp the thoughts and messages conveyed by songwriters, whether you’re attempting to play a sensual R&B ballad or Chopin’s Prelude in E minor.
It’s very doubtful, then, that it’s much harder for the average adult to learn music, than the average person several decades younger. Remember, too, that as an adult, you’ll be accustomed to being productive and disciplined. Your mindset, then, will likely be much better-geared to learning music over time than that of a rebellious teenager.
And there are just so many benefits!
Even putting aside how difficult – or easy – it is to learn to play music for adults, it can be hugely worthwhile doing so because of the wider benefits music-making brings to your life.
Anyone who has ever spent much time listening to their favourite music knows how it can relieve stress and improve mood – and learning to play can bring those benefits to a whole other level. It could help to enhance your cognitive function, sharpen your mental focus and even improve your sleep patterns. You’re likelier to feel calmer and more assured, and your life less hectic.
So, whether or not you had it as one of your New Year resolutions, 2020 is definitely the year to put away those limiting beliefs about your ability to learn music as an adult that have been holding you back.
And here at Dr Downing Music, we’d be delighted to provide you with all of the original books, charts and sheet music that will enable you to start your new life of music-making!