If you are wondering if it is time for you to start piano lessons this is the page you need. Here we answer important questions like at what age you should start learning to play an instrument? and cover practical considerations. For example, do you have enough time to take piano or keyboard lessons? Are you physically capable of learning to play?
Am I too old to start piano lessons?
Fortunately, you are never too old to learn. Numerous studies show that most adults can continue to expand their knowledge.
There is a perception that the speed at which you learn slows down as you age, and, in some cases, this may actually be true. However, you should not let that put you off. If you want to stay mentally healthy in old age, you need to continue to use your brain. In fact numerous studies show that learning to play the piano can slow mental decline. Read our 10 unexpected benefits of learning to play piano article to find out more about this.
So, you can learn to play the piano as an adult, at any age. Of course, if you are suffering from ill health that restricts your movement, ability to hear or to sit for long periods you may need to take a more creative approach. But, it is safe to say that the majority of people can learn an instrument as an adult.
However, if you want to be a professional piano player, generally speaking, the younger you start the better. The majority of the worlds classical piano maestros were child prodigies that started to play instruments when they were just a few years old.
That is not to say that you could not, as an adult, learn to play well enough to earn money from performing. There are plenty of people out there playing in bands and providing background music for events who only started to play as adults.
So, regardless of your age, our advice is always to try before giving up your dream of learning to play the keyboard, or piano.
OK, so now we have managed to get the age thing out of the way, let’s have a look at the practicalities of starting to learn the piano.
Have you got the time to start piano classes?
If you are not in a rush to learn how much spare time you have available is not a big consideration. You can dip in and out of lessons, and learn at a pace that fits in with your lifestyle. A lot of our readers choose to learn over the course of several years, just doing it when time permits. This type of learner tends to do best by buying an online piano course, and booking themselves the odd Skype lesson or private class.
However, if you want to learn faster you are going to need to set some time aside. Fortunately, you do not need large blocks of time to learn. This is evident from the fact that a lot of piano teachers recommend half hour classes for new piano students.
You can easily learn if you are prepared to set aside 15 to 20 minutes of time most days. If you can do a couple of extra sessions over the weekend that is even better.
Before you sign up for lessons, or buy an online piano course, we highly recommend that you quickly assess how much time you can dedicate to your lessons.
How much does it cost to learn to play the piano?
Another important consideration is whether you can afford piano lessons. Well fortunately, virtually everyone can afford to learn to play. In years gone by, the only way to learn was through private lessons, which can be expensive.
These days you can start for free, using YouTube and a borrowed keyboard. This approach will get you playing to a basic level, by which point you should have been able to save a bit of cash to buy a simple course, or ask for lessons as a birthday present.
Do you have enough patience to learn to play?
The other consideration is if you are patient enough to learn to play the piano. Mastering this beautiful instrument takes time. You are not likely to be able to play anything but Jingle Bells for at least a couple of months. If you are not patient, you will not get much further than that. You need to be realistic about the time it will take you to learn, and factor that into your decision making process.
Playing the piano with a disability or physical problems
Another consideration is whether you are physically able to play. For example, if you have arthritis in your hands or cannot sit for long periods of time the piano may not be the best instrument for you.
However, our advice is not to just dismiss the idea of learning to play because of these ailments. A better approach is to try first. Doing so will allow you to better understand the issues and work out if you can get around these problems. For example, if you cannot sit for long periods, you can try playing standing up.
There are people out there that have found ways to play the piano with disabilities. There are hundreds of visually impaired, and deaf piano players out there.
Do I need slender fingers to play the piano?
There is a persistent myth that you need long, slender fingers in order to be able to play the piano well. This is definitely not the case. Long fingers, with a good span will help, but, honestly, it is not essential.
In fact, there are several finger-less piano players out there. Including, the young Russian, Alexey Romanov, who is very talented. Not to mention Liu Wei, who plays like a pro with his feet. So, if you have sausage fingers, forget the myth, do plenty of flexibility exercises and just get out there and enjoy playing the piano.
Playing the piano with mental health issues
As we mentioned earlier playing the piano brings several benefits including for those w
ith mental health issues. If you suffer from depression, or one of the many other mental health issues that afflict people, learning the piano can be very helpful. Numerous studies show that learning to play an instrument improves mental health. So, do not allow this type of health issue to stand in your way. There are even people with ADHD who have managed to learn to play the piano. With the help of the right teacher, or course, you can too.
Can you learn to play the piano with Alzheimer’s?
If you learned how to play the piano as a child there is a good chance that you can resurrect that skill even if you are suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Various studies show that many people with the condition can carry on playing for many years, and enjoy doing so even while other functionality declines. This study explains why that is, far better than we can.
The area of the brain that is used when you are playing music is the part that tends to remain in tact for longest. Therefore, playing the piano is something that many people with this condition continue to enjoy.
For someone with Alzheimer’s learning new skills is extremely frustrating. It puts them under huge pressure, but brushing up on a skill that they used in the past is far less stressful. As a result, starting to play again even after a break of many years is possible and can bring a lot of joy to someone’s life. You have to approach this with caution because it may not turn out to be a good idea for everyone, but it is for most.
OK, perhaps we went a bit off track there, but you get the picture, don’t let anything stand in your way when it comes to starting to learn to play the piano. But, do be realistic about whether now is the time to start piano lessons. Consider if you have the enough time, money and patience, and are physically able to learn before booking your first piano lesson.