Piano lessons for adults are becoming ever more popular nowadays. While most people still do tend to imagine children as the students when piano lessons are mentioned, it cannot be denied that a large portion of the current student market is now composed of people well past their teens.
If you are someone currently considering the possibility of learning the piano at a late age, don’t worry: you are neither alone nor dreaming of the impossible. Your age should never be taken as an argument against trying to pick up a new skill, especially something as rejuvenating as music.
Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?
While there is some truth to this aphorism in some situations, it has also been abused quite terribly by being forced to apply to cases where it really should not. This is one of those cases. As we have already mentioned, a lot of people first take up the piano past their teens.
All well and good, you might say: do they actually pick anything up, though? The answer is yes. A lot of people not only study piano very late but actually learn it very late. Even middle-aged students and older ones can pick it up quite well given the right course of study and discipline.
The interesting thing we should point out here is that children being faster on the uptake does not necessarily apply to piano playing. In some cases, a bit of maturity actually does help the learner. For example, an older learner will be able to be better appreciate the concept of halved and quartered notes — something that can be very hard to explain to a very young student.
Whatever the case, fear that you are “too old to pick up new things” is hardly a good excuse not to try something. You will not learn anything by simply being negative: you actually have to rouse yourself into an attempt. No-one ever achieved anything new by giving up beforehand.
Should You Need to Sit With Children?
This is something that worries older students. The truth is, you do not always have to share lessons with much younger students. It’s your call if you would prefer to be in a class with younger learners — the truth is, it couldn’t hurt you — but most teachers, especially ones for adult piano lessons, actually do give one-on-one instruction now. This means no-one else, old or young, will have to watch as you take your lessons.
In the first place, you can actually choose whether or not you want lessons with a teacher who interacts directly with you. This can be very useful, as this sort of one-on-one attention gives you a lot of guidance. However, there are also drawbacks to it.
For one thing, these lessons usually cost a bit more than self-study ones. There is also the fact that they can be harder to schedule, as there are two adults with their own lives and commitments to take into account. It can also be awkward for some if they find it hard to deal with people on such an intimate level, or if the person doing the instruction again happens to be someone much younger than them.
If these are not things you want to deal with, you can try to take self-study piano lessons instead. These are usually available now in digital formats and even include a good bit of multimedia to stand in for the demonstrations a face-to-face instructor would normally give. A good example is the Piano For All series penned by Robin Hall, which contains over 200 videos to demonstrate certain piano playing movements to the student.
The beauty of such lessons is that they can be easier on your pocket than ones requiring you to pay an instructor for their time, can be scheduled to take place whenever you want (as you have control over course materials), can be done privately if that matters to you, and allow you to moderate your own learning pace.
Some Tips for People Taking Piano Lessons for Adults
- Follow the course as it is set down. This is especially true for self-study pupils. Most self-study lessons rely heavily on a hierarchical organization of skills and techniques. In other words, they are arranged in such a way that recognizes which things need to be learned before others, or which things are foundational in the learning of others. If you skip something on a self-study course syllabus, there is a very good chance that you are technically making yourself unable to learn later lessons as a result of skipping out on a crucial part of your foundation.
Following the course the way it was meant to be studied prevents you from running before you can walk. Covering the basics is always important when studying something new because it spares you wasted effort and errors you would make otherwise. Do not try to presume yourself too good to go over the simpler lessons, or you may rue your own conceit later on.
- Do not be too easily disheartened. You will make mistakes and you will struggle at some point or another. No one ever said learning or gaining new skills was a simple matter. You will get better over time, as your muscles begin adapting to piano playing and start taking on new movement memories. You just need to keep your spirits up and not abandon the venture at the first hurdle.
- Do not think there is only one method of teaching adult students. A lot of different schools of thought now exist as to the best way to teach people piano, whether they are young or old. If the one you are trying now does not seem to work for you, know that there are many other options available, sometimes with vastly different ways of approaching instruction.
- Practice a lot, if not lengthily. You do not have to spend an hour on your exercises each time you do them, but you should try to do them at least once a day. Remember: it’s about building muscle memory and adapting your fingers to a new physical skill. Doing it often is what counts, not doing it until you are exhausted.