Am I Too Old to Learn Guitar? The short answer is no.
The mission of Learn Guitar Austin is to provide quality, guitar education for beginner guitarists of all ages and abilities.
Since our inception in 2010, we have run across numerous people over 30 who have always wanted to learn the guitar and, for whatever reason, didn’t.
They didn’t have time, weren’t talented, didn’t have the resources, work and life got in the way. Now, they are wanting to revisit the idea of learning the guitar and feel they have missed the boat.
There is no boat.
In our society, we are constantly bombarded with stories about Tiger Woods, Mozart, Serena Williams, Pablo Picasso, etc. These artists specialized early in their field and we are lead to believe that starting early in life is the missing piece of the puzzle for developing expertise.
That’s All, Bologna!
Here’s a list of late starters in their field:
- Vincent VanGough started painting in his 30’s. He Died at 37.
- Sam Walton started Walmart at age 44.
- Jeff Bezos ditched Wall Street to start Amazon at 31
- Thelonious Monk finally got a record deal at age 44
Here’s the thing about starting early. It has nothing to do with skill development.
To prove my point, I would recommend reading a book called Range by David Epstein. His book provides plenty of research and historical examples of how early specialization is pushed as the answer for developing expertise. I thought it was a good book. Check it out here if you want to.
If there is one take away from this article is that early specialization has nothing to do with skill development.
Even a person, 30 plus years of age, can pick up the guitar and perform in a way that brings themselves and their listeners’ joy.
I often find that older players, with the right teacher and realistic expectations, can fall in love with the guitar. Realistic expectations often take the pressure off of older players when they focus on what they really want to do.
If you’re wanting to be in a rock band and be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, you may have missed your opportunity, or maybe not. But learning and sharing music with others is certainly something that’s within your grasp.
There are like-minded people in your area. Maybe someone that wants to jam once a week, your church band or, another organization.
In closing, I would like to dispel some common myths about learning the guitar:
Myth: I don’t have time
Fact: I’ll start out by quoting Bruce Lee “long term consistency beats short-term intensity.” Even just practicing 20 to 30 minutes a day can is enough to develop the skills necessary to play the guitar.
Not to mention the joy and mental health benefits that come from doing something you love daily.
So the real question you have to ask yourself is, what do you want?
One of my teachers once told me, “you decide every day what kind of guitarist you want to be.” Skipping the Game of Thrones re-run to play guitar is a choice only you can make. No one else can do that for you.
Remember what I said about realistic goals. You don’t need to practice 3 to 4 hours a day to develop skills and experience the joy of music. The everyday part is more important than the duration of time.
Check out my guide on Practice Routine Guide Here.
Myth: I don’t have the money.
Fact: You can get a quality instrument at your local music store or on Amazon. Guitars between $200-$500 dollars usually have a great tone and are the ideal dollar range for a beginner.
Check Out My Guitar Buying Guide Here
Myth: My hands are too big or small to play the guitar.
Fact: Unless you have a medical condition that like arthritis that affects your fine-motor skills, your hands are just fine to play guitar.
Django Reinhardt used only two of his fingers on his left hand; he did just fine. Tony Iommi, the guitar player from Black Sabbath, cut off the tips of his fingers in a manufacturing accident.
This is a common excuse by new players and is usually not the case. If you can pick your nose, you possess the fine-motor skills necessary for guitar learning.
Myth: I’m too old, and I’ve missed the boat
Fact: No, you are not. Adults pick up on things really quickly. Especially when you consider the fact that adults likely possess the motivation and discipline to play guitar regularly.
Also, I have found that if you spend money on lessons and an instrument and belong to a group of like-minded individuals, you are financially and intellectually invested and the likelihood of you quitting is much lower.
Myth: I’m not talented
Fact: There is really no such thing as talent. Sure, at times, it seems like some people are just naturally good at specific tasks. However, hard work and dedication always win in the end.
The mindset of not being “talented” is likely something that someone learns in the course of their lifetime by comparing themselves to other people.
I feel like I’m untalented when I compare myself to someone like Jimi Hendrix. But when I compare myself to the guitar player I was yesterday, then I see the progress.
Time to Make Moves.
I am currently working for a company called JamPlay.com (Click Here).
They have the most comprehensive online guitar instruction in the world. I am a member, and I work for them. I wholeheartedly recommend and endorse their service and can offer you a discount here.
In this article I have provided you with:
- an explanation of why you’re not too old to learn
- links to my guitar buyers guide
- my daily 20-minute practice solution
- a 10% coupon for the most comprehensive online learning platform in the world
- an additional 1-hour lesson one a month live lesson with me via Skype
If you already have a guitar, you can get started with a year’s worth of lessons for about $100 bucks right now. It’s up to you.