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How old is too old to learn the guitar?

By Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Music > Guitar > Beginner guitarists: there’s no ideal age to learn to play

The guitar: every young person’s fantasy instrument?

Symbol of freedom, rock, rebellion, pop songs and concerts, the guitar is an instrument that attracts adolescents and young adults. At first glance, it also appears easy to learn and light enough to carry around!

But when you’re 28, 35, 42, 55 or even 63 years old, can you still learn the guitar? Or are you too old for strumming and fretting?

Is there an expiry date for becoming a “guitar god”?

Remember when you were younger and you fantasized about becoming a guitarist like your idols, on stage, in a bar or at wild rock concert?

But, as the years went by, you’ve built a professional life, maybe even started a family, and your responsibilities and pursuits piled up.

Now, you’ve worked hard to get to where you are, and have all you ever dreamed of, but one thing is missing: you regret not ever having learned to play the guitar.

Know this: your dream doesn’t have to end this way: whatever your age, you can learn to play the guitar.

Although it may seem obvious, we think it’s worth stressing: there is no ideal age for learning to play the guitar! Some very gifted guitarists began to play as adults, even in their retirement! Others learned to play the guitar as children. We’ll let you in on a little secret: whether you begin the guitar at 5 or 50 years of age, the key to success is motivation.

You can to learn to play the guitar at any age if you are motivated and organized enough, and if you take time for yourself and for your hobbies.

You still have time if you want to achieve your dream of becoming a guitarist. So why not sign up to take guitar lessons? Whether guitar lessons london, Manchester or Glasgow, the choice is yours!

Is learning as a child is easier?

It’s also true that the younger one is, the better the training and learning faculties. Most children and adolescents have a deeper capacity for memorization and faster learning speed than adults. They learn languages easier than adults. And the same goes for sight reading, or learning to play a guitar chord. 

The fact that our fingers become stiffer on the fretboard is not a convincing excuse. There are exercises in place just for this issue! A child, in contrast to an adult, doesn’t have completely formed fingers, notably in terms of muscles. With exercise, the fingers transform and acquire a muscle tone and power that wasn’t there before. Both children and adults have to work to make this happen. So start stretching and practicing that left hand…

You may be convinced that as one gets older training becomes laborious.

But even if you learn at a somewhat slower pace, with a lot of effort, you learn all the same and that is the most important message: we are always capable of assimilating and learning new things at every age.

You know the old saying: Rome wasn’t built in a day! What’s more, as an adult, you have other advantages that children don’t.

Adults can learn to play the guitar well!

Adults have more time on their hands

One of the benefits that you have over children is the time to learn the guitar, especially if you are nearing or already at the retirement age. You have the opportunity to spend several hours of your day taking up a new instrument.

Children, adolescents and other students don’t have this “leisure” time as school and college already take up a good portion of their days.

Think about the ways in which you organize your time and see if you can’t set aside an hour every three days to play the guitar and learn a new chord, octave, arpeggio or guitar song? You’ll see that you most probably can.

Adults have more financial means at their disposal

Needless to say, taking music classes is not free: on top of the cost of guitar lessons there is also the price of acquiring an instrument, and other “parts” including a guitar case, a metronome, guitar picks, an so on. And if you are a fan of the electric guitar, you’ll need an amplifier and other expensive pieces of equipment.

Compared to children, adults are normally better equipped financially to cover these costs.

For example, you’ll be able to take beginner guitar lessons with a private instructor, which is a more efficient way to learn than attending a music school or taking free guitar lessons online.

You’ll also be able to afford better learning materials, which will aid in your guitar training, from books and sheet music to DVDs and CDs.

Of course, all of this won’t magically transform you into a “guitar hero,” from one day to the next, but it will certainly facilitate your learning!

Adults have more life experience

The fact that you’re older means that you’ve already lived through many things, both on a personal and on a professional level. Children and adolescents have much fewer life experiences behind them.

This set of experiences that you’ve accumulated over the years have served to give you a better understanding of yourself: you can recognize your personal strengths and weaknesses, you know how you work best, how to succeed at concentrating and how to manage and stick to a work schedule. Practice makes perfect!

Then, there is a higher chance that you’ve already practiced an activity like a sport or maybe you’ve even taken other music lessons when you were younger.

Sports, like music, necessitate a lot of work: you have to know how to continually practice and improve upon the same gestures, positions, and postures, and how to master your physical and mental development.

Another important way in which your increased life experience is useful is that you have already faced a failure that you’ve had to learn to deal with in order to advance.

Practice makes perfect!

So while children have less patience, and adolescents pass quickly from one activity to the next thinking they’ve mastered it, you know better than anyone how to recover from a “failure,” and that this is even a vital part of any training experience.

Whether you’re taking electric guitar or acoustic guitar lessons, there is always a moment when you’re facing a challenge or failure, or are frustrated because something isn’t working as you’d like it to (like a chord progression or a pentatonic scale).

These instances are inevitable but instead of getting annoyed or quitting, you will know better than anyone how to handle and work through these little “crises.”

How is your guitar motivation?

This is definitely one if not THE reason that you’re not too old to learn to play the guitar (or any instrument for that matter).

Children or adolescents are often motivated to play the guitar because they saw one up close being played at a party or because they want to imitate their idol, but there is a difference between being motivated to play the guitar and being motivated to work at the guitar.

This is exactly where you have the advantage: as an informed adult, you know that training is an investment to learn guitar, and it doesn’t happen miraculously; you have to work in order to learn to play.

It’s as simple as that.

This doesn’t mean that this work has to be tedious or annoying. But you know that every task necessitates concentration, compromise (not going out with friends every night), self-sacrifice, willingness, and a large dose of motivation.

While children want rapid results, you know that there will be difficulties to face that, without motivation, you wont achieve.

Do you know how to keep your motivation high?

Even if you’re naturally disciplined and hard-working, there are always means and tricks for keeping yourself motivated: you can choose to surround yourself with friends and guitar lovers, for example.

On the Internet, there are music forums where each person speaks about his or her passion for the guitar, asks questions about struggles and doubts, and relates successes stories.

Next, go to meet a guitar instructor. An instructor will regularly motivate you, correct you, and demonstrate how you’ve progressed. Absolute beginners will first learn all the parts of the guitar and how to tune a guitar. You’ll learn the difference between power chords, open chords and barre chords. A guitar teacher can also teach you how to read music, how to read guitar tabs and play songs, among many other skills. More advanced players will tackle fingerpicking, different fingerstyles, and solos.

To sum up, you don’t need to have played the guitar for 20 years to be able to learn how to play well and enjoy it. Beginner guitar lessons can be fun!

Just like for adolescents, it’s also important that you find your particular music niche: are you a fan of jazz guitar, blues guitar, classical guitar, variety, rock, tango or… different styles will affect the content of your guitar instruction. From private lessons in the conservatory, online guitar courses to guitar training in a music school, the choice for education is vast. This is especially true in today’s digital age, where it’s easy to find tutorials, free sheet music and free online classes to learn to play the guitar. (Sometimes people are even giving away a free guitar!) And you’ll soon be able to play the guitar songs that you know and love.

Your guitar dreams are at your fingertips.

Don’t wait another second before learning how to play the guitar! Don’t be one of those people who always put their dreams off with lame excuses: the more you wait, the harder it will be to learn to play the guitar.

As you can see, there’s no official age for learning to play guitar riffs, as each age has its particular constraints. Learning music is for everyone. If you’re motivated, everything is possible, including achieving your most fantastic dreams on the guitar fret! Are you the next Jimi Hendrix? Book a guitar course and find out.

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