Of Course You Can Learn to Play – You’re a Grown-Up!

 In Learning to Play

Where to begin?

It would seem like picking an instrument would be the first thing to do, but there are a bunch of factors that go into that decision:

  • What kind of music do you like? If you really love folk music, you’ll lean towards a folk instrument. If you really love marching bands, narrow your field to band instruments.
  • You’re an adult, so budget does play a role. That said, since you’re just starting out and maybe not 100% sure of your commitment level, you can rent a basic version to start. It’s OK. As your ability progresses, your equipment can progress.
  • Remember your practice space. Apartment-dwellers are limited by what their neighbors can abide. So if you’re looking to play loud, make sure you have access to space that accommodates the increased volume.
  • And for some people, thinking about what instruments their friends play can be a huge factor. If you’re going to play with other people, finding something to complement what they’re doing can make a lot of sense.

Basically, choosing your instrument might be more complicated than you think at first blush. But if you give it some thought, you’ll get it right.

Overcome Your Own Objections

“I’m too old for that sort of thing. It’s too much of a commitment, and besides, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Of course it’s a commitment, but it’s one you want to make! And if by “commitment” you mean you don’t want to buy an instrument, there’s always rental options available. And you’re not marrying the person giving you lessons.

While the conventional wisdom is that it’s easier for kids to learn things like languages and instruments, a malleable brain is just one factor in learning. As an adult, you’re able to see the long-term benefit of practicing. You’re able to manage your time in ways to encourage your good habits, like getting to lessons on time. And the instrument you pick is the instrument you pick – it’s not your sister’s hand-me-down or the one your junior high music teacher thinks you really ought to play.

The Bottom Line

Now that you’re excited about learning something new and have overcome your own reluctance, what do you need?

First, you need an instrument – stopping by your local music shop and talking with the pros will help you make the right choices. Helping you figure out the right instrument and whether you want to rent or purchase is why they’re there. So that’s job one. (Gerry’s would be an excellent choice here).

Next, you’ll need some instruction. Finding a good music teacher – someone who’s not just a good technician, but is a good teacher – is definitely important. That’s another spot where the pros at your local music shop will be an invaluable resource. They know the teachers in the area, and can give you some great recommendations. (Again, Gerry’s would be an excellent choice.)

In the end, once you’ve got the right instrument and the right teacher, you’ll need patience with yourself. Keep that long view in mind, relish every step you take along the way, and know that if you stick with it, even an old dog can learn new tricks.

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