Taking up the piano after 50.
Why the heck not? Here are some of the fears I've heard over the years.
- "I can't learn anything new at my age"
- "I won't live long enough to get good"
- "I don't have a piano?"
- "I had a bad experience with a teacher in my childhood."
- "Piano lessons are boring, all the practicing and scales and stuff. I'd just hate it."
- "I don't love Bach"
- "Piano teachers are boring"
- "Practicing is no fun"
- "I don't want to go out to lessons on a cold night"
- "My spouse would just laugh at me"
Let's break it down.
You are an adult, these are excuses. I have adults aged 18 to 78. All of them are improving, reaching their goals, and having a blast.
The successful ones recognize that patience and goals that are congruent with time and available resources will works. The unsuccessful students are impatient, failing to recognize the importance of clear goals and practice time. Happy students understand that practice is the point. They enjoy watching and measuring the incremental progress that thoughtful practice reveals.
"I can't learn anything new at my age" Of course you can, if you want to. Learning an instrument is a journey of exploration and discovery. Be in the here and now. Don't focus on the goal, just dive in and see what happens. I've taught adults for many many years. The successful ones just got busy and waited to see what became of their efforts.
"I won't live long enough to get good" What do you mean by good? As good as Lang Lang, Oscar Peterson? You are probably right. If you work at it can you get better than you ever imagined. You bet. Can you take satisfaction in that? Of course.
"I don't have a piano?" If you can afford lessons, you can afford to rent a portable electric piano. They are cheap.
"I had a bad experience with a teacher in my childhood." I'm sorry to hear that. But, times have changed and so has piano teaching. My students played pop music, video game music, classical music, jazz music, boogie woogie, and country flavored Christmas music.
"Piano lessons are boring, all the practicing and scales and stuff. I'd just hate it." I'll be honest, maybe music lessons are not right for you. Playing a musical instrument is about practicing. Ask any professional. We thrive on incremental improvements and discoveries. As Wayne Gretzky said, "I enjoyed every aspect of the game". No boring bits for him.
"I don't love Bach" Then don't play Bach. Play something you like. As you grow as a musician you may find that those acknowledged masters of music had something to them. Playing Bach is like taking a walk through the Vatican galleries. Each visit impresses us with the depth of it's grandeur as we discover new things.
"Piano teachers are boring" Some of us are fun. But, all the good ones will push you to be your best. Life is too short not to push yourself to reach beyond your grasp.
"Practicing is no fun" Then you are going about it all wrong. Learning to practice properly is thrilling in every way. I'm cranky when I must stop practicing.
"I don't want to go out to lessons on a cold night" I'll teach you on Skype. It really works. I've students all over Canada and the USA. Including in the GTA.
"My spouse would just laugh at me" Couples therapy. Or, just get a set of headphones for that electric piano you rented and leave them out of it.