Starting Piano Later In Life is Great

Learning piano as an adult is a great thing to do. A question I often get is, “Is it too late to start learning piano?”. I’ve heard this from a wide age range. Anywhere from mid 20’s to 60 and 70 year olds.

My answer to that is no, it’s not too late. If you want to play the piano then it’s just a case of knowing where to start and get support. Support can come from different places. You’ve got free options and you have paid options.

Colette Maze is a pianist who has just released another album called ‘109’. Think of her album naming style like Adele where it matches the age when she released it. Colette’s last album was called ‘104’.

Colette’s first album was released when she was 87!! So we all have time.

Don’t Start In the Wrong Place!

It’s very common for people to pick up playing and try to learn their favourite tune. After all, it’s what inspires them to play piano in the first place. This could be piano in your favourite pop tune or it could be some Chopin that you heard in a movie or TV ad.

What everyone needs to remember is the music you hear has had months, if not years, of practice behind it. Nobody walks up to a piano having never seen one before and starts playing Beethoven sonatas or Chopin Etudes. Don’t put undue pressure on yourself because it just leads to burnout and a kitten dies (not sure about that last bit).

Why This Doesn’t Work

When new players start trying to learn piano by playing their end goal music, it can be off putting. Don’t be under any illusion. It’s going to take time to get there.

You’ve probably seen ads saying “LEARN TO PLAY PIANO IN 30 DAYS OR LESS!”. The problem is, the outcome of these courses probably isn’t what you’re looking for. I mean, I could teach you to knock out a tune in 10 minutes. It’ll be rubbish, but you’ll be a ‘piano player’.

Starting with the difficult repertoire leads to feeling demotivated. Everyone has different levels of grit or tenacity but sooner or later, the shiny new keyboard or piano you bought will either end up in the cupboard or on Gum Tree.

Take Actionable Steps

The first tip I can give you is to be consitent with your practice. Putting in one long practice session a week is next to useless. I always say to students that one hour a week in one session won’t work. You will see far better progress if you did six, 10 minute sessions through the week.

Next, assuming you have a piano or a keyboard, look for books for adult learners. My recommendation is the Alfred Adult All In One Course. It will teach you correct posture, how to read, help you understand chords and popular chord progressions. I use this book regularly with adult beginners and it yields great results.

If it’s pop music you would like to pursue, grab a copy of the Chord Crash Course. This explains chords, different ways to play them and common chord progressions. Once you’re making progress here, get yourself The Real Pop book from Hal Leonard. This has hundreds of pop tunes in their original keys which means you can play along with Spotify without changing anything.

Take notes of your problems and use YouTube. There are loads of excellent lessons available on there.

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