Do you feel like your fingers are too brittle? Do you often think of the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” Don’t sweat the digits on your age.You may think that it will be much harder to learn now, or that there isn’t enough time. It’s all about changing your perspective and seeing the advantages of starting at an older age. You’re never too old to enjoy and play guitar. Here are some pretty rad reasons why.
Why You’re Never Too Old To Play Guitar:
1. You’re pretty much set on what kind of music you like listening to—and playing.
You’ve decided that you want to play the guitar, so it’s safe to say that you like music. For some, it takes years and years of exploring different genres and styles to be able to figure out what they like. That’s something kids who start learning an instrument early on have done very little of. That playlist of yours that you’ve been adding to since fifth grade? That’s your mix right there. Pretty soon you’ll be playing along those sweet jams and performing cover songs for an audience. You can even develop your very own playing style based on the music that you like.
It also helps that you know for sure what you don’t. This way, you can personalize your training and learning experience and make it a more positive and enjoyable one. Imagine having to practice songs that you absolutely hate. Most kids in guitar lessons don’t get a choice, and some don’t even know what the don’t like until they hear or play it themselves. Talk about taking the fun out of things.
You may think it’s going to be a problem if you’re too set on your ways to learn something new. Don’t let that be a discouragement. In fact, it’s an advantage!
Like the relaxed sounds of the acoustic guitar? Learn to play great rhythms and perform anytime, anywhere with great online beginner courses. There’s no reason why you should love Bluegrass and not take up lessons for it! From learning your chords to mastering solos, there’s a whole lot of great quality material that will help you get to where you want to be—minus what you’d rather not be hearing or playing.
Knowing your musical preferences will make it so much easier to pick out lessons and how-to’s. You can choose to sign up for professional courses that cater to the genre that you want. Again, there are a whole lot of great online tutorials and video guides that you can watch or download—knowing your style takes hours off of internet searching and trial-and-errors. And it sure is fun watching and learning along great teachers and taking advantage of technology to do it, isn’t it?
2. You’re a lot more mature.
If you think maturity doesn’t come to play when it comes to, well, playing, it does. Big time. Discipline and consistency is a big factor to being able to master not just to play guitar, but pretty much everything you want to learn. This is something that early learners and young students miss out on. It’s definitely not their fault, but older beginners can sure take advantage of wisdom acquired over time and experience.
Nope, age does not guarantee maturity, but you’re still a lot sturdier and tolerant with responsibility than a five-year-old who just got roped into music lessons. Or a teenager who has more hormones than rational decisions (and that need to be ‘cool’ or part of a ‘clique’). Think of the other accomplishments you’ve achieved because of working hard and clocking in your hours. Bet you didn’t think back then that you’ll be able to do any of them, right? Having had to work in different environments with different people definitely helped shape a stronger sense of prudence in work and a better appreciation for that feeling of accomplishment after.
Most older students fear ridicule when they think of signing up for courses, or that they won’t be able to keep up with younger ones who learn faster. Guess what? It’s an advantage that you’ve decided to learn to play guitar now that you’re at an age when you know you REALLY want it. It’s not the hype, or the ‘cool thing to do’ at school, or what everyone else does. It also helps that you can better appreciate a teacher’s guidance in the process of learning—none of the resentment for schoolwork or annoyance with being told what to do.
It’s simply wrong to think that age will make you less receptive as a student. Being mature enough to show respect for someone who has honed his or her skill in music over the years, and is now sharing those very same skills with you will foster a more engaged and interactive process.
Worried about your learning curve? Start easy and do it at your own pace. Don’t let anyone else dictate your timeline. Learn your major chords first. Or pick out your favorite song and learn to play along.However way you choose to do it, don’t compare yourself with anyone else and just have loads of fun.
3. To play guitar can be your stress reliever
Do you remember all the activities and schoolwork you’ve done when you were younger and wonder how the heck did you manage to do all of it? We all do. There is a tremendous amount of pressure for kids with academics and extra-curricular whatnots—including music lessons. At times, the whole learning experience turn into another piece of homework that needs to be done, instead of an art that the student wholeheartedly participates in.
Practicing without the unnecessary pressure = therapy. Let it be your personal ‘me’ time. Your pleasurable time-out from work, bills, and problems (We all need that every now and then). Your choice of personal enrichment. Here’s a handy guide on how you can track your guitar-playing practices effectively:
Choosing to learn a guitar now that you’re older takes away that pressure—mainly because you’re going into it with a different perspective. Whether it’s a part of your bucket list, or something that you really want to master, you start with a more relaxed attitude when you start. It’s not a grade that you need to pass or something that has a time limit. You’re learning at your own pace. There’s no one to compete or keep up with.
The problem with most older learners is that they think they are physically unable to handle everyday practice. Yes, your hands may feel stiff the first few times. That happens to anyone new to the instrument. Playing the guitar will eventually loosen those fingers and even help you improve your hand-eye coordination. A helpful way to do this is simply practicing your rhythms and your chords.
Whether you’re strumming, plucking, or going through the scales, making it a part of your everyday routine will become your favorite relaxing exercise. You’ll notice that your hand movements are more accurate in no time at all. And it will show not just with guitar-playing. Isn’t that great?
With the tiring everyday grind in the world of adults, a quiet half hour with your guitar can be your much-needed ‘escape.’ Making it a part of your daily routine, just like doing physical exercise, will help clear your mind and give you a much-needed ‘reset’ to ready you for another day.
4. You’re much more in touch with reality.
Admit it—you’ve fantasized about performing in front of a sold out audience and thanking Bono and Sting for collaborating in your latest album. Your passion for music is what motivated you into picking up that guitar, and it’s more than okay to have daydreams of fame and being the master of the instrument. It adds a pinch of spice to your learning (it doesn’t hurt that it makes you smile too).
What makes learning to play guitar at an older age is that you are able to set realistic goals. You know that it takes a lot of practice and a lot of consistency. No air guitars. No walking in the park slinging the guitar bag over your shoulder like some runway model. No photos on social media with a guitar captioned, “that guitar life tho. #icandothis”
Older students get overwhelmed by the amount of learning to be done. Don’t be. It’s all about mapping out your short and long-term goals and setting a timeline for each and every one of them. Nobody learns everything overnight. Music playing is a continuous learning process and you should make each step enjoyable and fun. Pat yourself on the back for each new skill! Take pride in being able to play your favorite song. Whatever small wins you may achieve, savor it and know that you’re getting closer to being the great guitar player that you want to be.
Use your genuine interest in the instrument to keep your fingers on the string and your feet on the ground. Surround yourself with people who encourage you but don’t patronize. Those who give constructive criticism but don’t hinder your growth with negativity. Find people with the same love for guitars and exchange stories. Don’t be afraid to get yourself out there with the younger ones and the better ones. Be confident that you will learn your instrument, be consistent with practice, and you will complete those 10,000 hours with a clear objective, a clear timeline, and a clear mindset.
5. You have more time.
Most adults will deny this to their grave, but older people do have more time, even with work and family. Compared to doing a lot of school and homework, part-time jobs, club activities, volunteer work. Kids make it seem like anyone below 18 runs with ten car batteries.
If you think you’re too old and too laden with responsibilities to indulge in a capricious new hobby, don’t be too hard on yourself. Busy is as busy does, yes. But if you make time to play guitar amidst all of the adulting, you’ll find that your motivation, maturity, and discipline works better for you than when you were younger. Back then it was a chore to prioritize. Decisions have to be coursed through adults most of the time. Now that you’re doing things for yourself, you can manage your time more efficiently and without the added pressure from parents or teachers (or puberty, thank goodness).
But hey, you’ve still got to make it count, yes? Clocking in those hours won’t be for nothing if you set goals and objectives every time you practice your chords and scales and solos. Don’t try to learn everything at once. Set daily, weekly, or monthly goals. Whatever your schedule or interest permits. What matters is that everytime you pick up that beautiful instrument, you’re doing something that helps you grow as an artist—because yes. You’re an artist.
6. You’re financially free to be able to play guitar
Younger ones are at the mercy of begin given their regular allowances (if they’re lucky). One of the advantages of having to work for money when you’re older, is being able to choose how you spend it.
Sure, you’ve got financial responsibilities. There’s rent to pay. Mortgages. Utilities. You may even have a family to support. But just like time management, being able to afford your newfound passion to play guitar is something you can work on if you really want to. Hey, if there’s a will, there’s a way, right?
And knowing that you’re paying off your lessons with your hard-earned money does teach you to appreciate your guitar purchases and expenses more. You can make more sound decisions as to what equipment you should get, and make the most out of the dollars you shell out by making sure you take the lessons seriously. This is something that most kids can’t get a grasp of.
Worried about the expense of your newfound passion for guitars? While there may be some who take advantage of those who want to learn with ridiculously overpriced courses and lessons, there are those who simply want you to learn and hone your skills without robbing the bank. Search for a reputable guitar site that offers reasonably-priced courses and even free how-tos and professional advice for beginning players like you.
Once you’ve got the basics covered, you’ve got more freedom to pursue what you want, whether it’s more advanced courses like music theory, or learning a particular genre. Since you’re providing for your guitar-playing education, you can make decisions based on what you want, and you can look for the best options for yourself and make better decisions based on your budget. Kids who are still very much dependent on parents or guardians to spend for their music education often dictate the direction of the learning process. And more often than not, these kids don’t get to choose what they’re really interested in.
My dear friend, say this with me: it is NEVER too late. If you’re still hesitant about starting a new chapter in your musical life—don’t be! Music is for everyone, regardless of age. Pick up that instrument and make that choice to begin your journey.
We at Guitar Zoom are absolutely psyched that you want to learn! Make this your daily mantra: You’re never too old to learn to enjoy and play guitar. Pick up that beautiful instrument, check out our great online courses, read through out awesome how-tos and guitar wisdom posts, and sign up for more invaluable resources and tips on how you can make your learning experience all the more fun and fruitful. Happy playing!