As adults we are constantly emphasizing the fact that learning to play music for a child is extremely beneficial for his/her brain development and overall growth. However we give very little consideration to adults learning musical instruments, maybe because we think that the ship has already sailed and if we didn’t pick up a musical instrument growing up then its too late for that now.
A lot of adults in their 30’s, 40’s and even 50’s decide to learn a musical instrument. It doesn’t matter what reasons they have behind this but a lot of adults face apprehension and doubts about our capability to start learning at a later stage. Some of them want to give up after the first few sessions because they think that its not going to happen.
In this article we are going to address roadblocks adult learners’ face which makes them want to give up learning a musical instrument and also talk about ways through which adults can stay motivated and on course in their music learning journey.
“I am too old for this”
It’s a highly de-motivating myth when you assume that you won’t be able to grasp the learning easily. However the truth is adults have the capability to learn just as easily and quickly as young kids simply because as an adult you learnt to be much more patient than your younger self which is a very important skill required to learn almost anything.
Expecting results too soon
Did we forget that every learning comes with a curve. We develop a tendency to think that just after a few lessons we will be able to compose on our own or will be able to play “Hotel California”. And when doesn’t happen you think it’s because you are too old for this. Think of it. People take years to attain the mastery which you are hoping to achieve with just a few sessions.
How about you start by maintaining consistency in your practice even after your music class and also maintain diligence in the practice. Enjoy that moment and stop thinking about the future. I will say this with utmost confidence – with continuous and dedicated practice you will get there. Patience is your virtue here.
Decide what type of musical instrument you want to learn
As a parent you typically make the music learning choice for your kids, but as an adult you decide to pick up the musical instrument because you want to; which is why you should go for the musical instrument that would like to learn. At the same time make a conscious choice about the style you would like to learn such as classical music or western music. You wouldn’t want to learn guitar when you would have preferred playing the Piano.
Get a good teacher
This is a very important step that will help you maintain focus. A good teacher will keep you motivated at all times. An efficient teacher usually applies adult learning principles while coaching adult learners. And they will also make you accountable for the regular practice and for working through music daily.
Apply the recognize and reward method
Recognize when you make progress, think of the time when you couldn’t remember a particular chord and now you can. Set a short term goal for yourself and whenever you achieve it, reward yourself wholeheartedly.
Socialize in the similar circle
Connect with people who are at the similar stage of music learning process as you are. Share experiences, exchange notes with each other. Peer to peer learning is another great method to stay on track. Practicing becomes much more enjoyable if you have someone to do it with.
Continue the learning process
Don’t just restrict yourself to actual hands-on practice but enhance your practice by watching YouTube videos, success stories of musicians and also by listening to music. Try and watch musicians play live. Indulging in these kinds of supplementary activities will really help you stay on path and keep you motivated.
Your journey of learning music doesn’t have to be painstaking; you can make it an enjoyable event. And whenever you find yourself losing focus or motivation think of the reasons why you decided to do it in first place. I can go out a limb and say that there is absolutely no downside to learning to play a musical instrument.