Learning music as an adult has its perks over learning music when you’re young. We should make full use of these advantages for effective learning.
Advantage 1: Deeper understanding of music
As you mature into an adult, you have a deeper understanding of music both analytically and emotionally.
Adults tend to have an easier time understanding music theory than children. Chord progressions and common motifs may sound unfamiliar to children but adults who have spent their lives listening to a variety of music will find them easier to recognize. In addition, adults find it easier to relate to the feelings that underlie music compositions.
Adults have the necessary maturity and relevant life experiences to empathise with the thoughts and messages that songwriters want to convey. While children might have competent technical ability, they might not understand the deep passion and longing that underlies songs like George Michael’s Careless Whisper.
In a similar vein, the emotions in classical music are more accessible to adults. For instance, some of Chopin’s work like Prelude in E minor conveys deep melancholy that might be lost on younger learners.
Advantage 2. Greater drive to learn music
It is commonly said that 10000 hours of practice is needed to master any craft.
Likewise, learning music requires patience, discipline, and sustained interest. As an adult who (most likely) pays for your own music education, you are most likely learning music because you want to, and not because your parents are forcing you. With your motivation, you will find it easier to stay committed to music practice and develop mastery. Children are less likely to have this discipline.
It’s not all roses though. Learning music as an adult comes with unique challenges that children do not usually face. We should work around these challenges.
Challenge 1. Commitments
We are all busy. We have our jobs and careers to build, aging parents and growing kids to take care of, friends to keep in touch with, and chores to do…the list goes on and on. While we might have the motivation to practice, our responsibilities can make it hard to find the time to practice or commit to regular lessons
Challenge 2. High expectations
Sometimes, we have unrealistically high expectations for ourselves. We hope to play as well as our favourite musicians or talented friends within a short time. However, these musicians have put in many years of practice to get that good at their instruments. To avoid disappointment and frustration, we need to recognize that it takes time to attain mastery of our instruments and set achievable goals.
Challenge 3. Physical restrictions
While some of us might be able to put in hours of practice each day, we might eventually experience pain, especially when we first start learning music. Stiff necks and shoulders as well as bad hips can stop us from putting in