You're Never Too Old To Handle These Keys: 3 Myths That Keep You From Taking Adult Piano Lessons

Posted on: 14 October 2015

You'll find the words "learn to play piano" on many adults' bucket lists. That's because the piano is such a versatile instrument, it can be used to play nearly any type of music from classical to jazz. And even if the power goes out, a standard piano will still give music and keep your loved ones entertained while you wait for the lights to come back on. 

More importantly, learning the piano at a later age will keep your brain sharp. One researcher found that there was more gray matter in the brains of musicians than in those of non-musicians. So what's holding you back from signing up for lessons?

Hopefully, it isn't one of these 3 myths:

Myth 1: "I'm too old to play the piano."

There are, unfortunately, a few music teachers out there who claim that adults can't learn piano, but that simply is not true. Students of any age can begin piano study and do very well. If your aim is to learn a few songs and entertain yourself and friends, shop around until you find a teacher who has experience working with adults.

It's true that most piano-study primers are designed for young children, but sheet-music publishers have also released instruction and practice books made specifically for adult beginners. The key to successful adult lessons is the same for kids and adults, however: practice and then practice some more.. If you take lessons once a week, and practice 1-3 hours a day, you'll find yourself improving much more rapidly than if you only practice the day before your lesson.

Myth 2: "I can teach myself with videos and online courses."

It's true that you can be a self-taught pianist, and it's also true that there are instructional videos on DVD. There are online piano lessons to boot, and they are all great introductory courses. The problem with these methods is that you need accountability when you study piano. The benefits of formal lessons are learning proper technique, disciplined study, and patience with yourself.

Bad fingering techniques and hand positions don't matter when you first start playing one-note melodies. But as you advance to learning arpeggios and scales, sloppy hand techniques will make it very difficult for you to play accurately or comfortably. It's also possible to damage your hands and wrists with too much bad form. A professional piano instructor will be strict about your hand positions, and as a result, you will progress much more rapidly in your piano skills.

Myth 3: "I can't sing a note or hold a beat. I'll never learn."

You don't need formal music training or great rhythm to learn piano. Your piano lessons will cover easy music theory at first, and your teacher will ease you into advanced theory only when you are ready.

You don't have to worry about having poor rhythm, either. That's what metronomes are for, and your piano teacher will use one. This is a tool similar to a clock that can be set to pulse or tick to any frequency; it provides you with an audible beat to help you keep correct time.

Piano is a great instrument to learn at any age, so don't let silly myths keep you from discovering the joy of music at your fingertips.