Learning the Piano at Any Age
I have never been musically inclined but that did not stop me from loving all types of music or from joining choir in high school. A part of me always yearned to know how to play an instrument but thought that was out of my reach. Finally, at age 41, I decided to learn to play the piano. Lucky for me, I attended a church where the pastor’s wife played and taught the piano well. I lived in a small apartment so I bought a mini keyboard with headphones ($100), a beginning piano book ($20) recommended by my teacher, took lessons on Wednesdays, and practiced at least 3 hours a week. Within six weeks, I could play a number of short pieces, like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and felt quite accomplished. I was not very good but I was doing it.
Tips to Success
- Find a reputable teacher: family, friends, online and newspaper ads, community message boards, etc. Ask for references, proof of education/certification, and/or a performance of skills.
- Take lessons at least once a week. Show up prepared, having completed homework and ready for the next lesson. If you can perform hand warming exercises and scales before class, the better.
- Set aside, at minimum, 3 hours a week to practice. Same day, time, and place works best. Treat practice time as an appointment you can’t miss. Don’t let anyone or anything throw you off your schedule other than a real emergency.
- If you don’t have a piano, can’t afford one, and/or don’t have the space to store it, buy a small keyboard with headphones. It worked for me well enough.
- Browse the local music stores for books, teachers, jam sessions, and advice.
Of course, this is not all the advice to give about learning a new skill at any age but it is a start. You might have your own ideas and strategies that work for you to be successful, whether it is playing the piano, painting, or skydiving.
- Don’t be afraid of new experiences
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
- Work hard and have fun