May be you want to start learning the piano, but you have this little voice in your head whispering to you, “What are you thinking?  You should have done that years ago.  You’re too old now.  Your brain can’t handle learning something that complicated.”  If any of these voices sound familiar, I have good news for you.

From my own experience as a piano teacher for over 20 years, you absolutely can learn to play the piano easily at any age!   In fact let me share with you why an Adult beginner may have many advantages over a younger beginning student!

Through out my 20 plus years of teaching piano lessons, I have mainly taught younger students, but I have also had the opportunity to teach many adults piano lessons. When they first inquire about taking adult piano classes, they usually ask me rather hesitantly. 

I get the feeling from them that  they are almost embarrassed to be starting beginning piano lessons, and that they should have learned this years ago as a child.  I remember this one particular lady say to me that she couldn’t progress as fast as her children because you learn the piano faster as a child.  She said this rather factually and  it got me thinking.  It’s kind of like these adult beginners were adopting the theory,“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” (haha) I know it’s not the most flattering analogy, but seriously that’s the feeling I get time and time again in working with beginning adult students.

Do Adults Progress As Fast As Younger Beginners?

When I first came upon this situation, I was like hmm?  Do adult beginners have a disadvantage because they didn’t learn the piano as  a child?  I wonder if this is true? It didn’t make a lot of sense to me, and my instincts told me otherwise. Now over two decades later and having taught many adult older beginners, I have really found this not to be true at all! If anything, I have found the opposite to be true.

Of course it doesn’t surprise me that most of my adult piano students learn at a faster pace than very young children and have much better coordination of the hands.  They also learn just as fast as children who are 8 and up.   In my experience, Adult piano beginners have a much easier time learning to read music off the staff than younger students do.

I have found that adults usually have the motivation and time to practice.  On the other hand, children don’t usually have the discipline to practice piano on their own unless their parent’s are constantly hounding them.   This is a huge advantage for the adult student to progress at a much faster pace as they are much more self motivated to practce.  

The argument could be made that younger students may have more time in their schedule, but I’m finding that not really to be the case in this day in age with parents overscheduling them in multiple extracurricular activities such as sports, dance, church activities, etc.  I have had students who are enrolled in 5 different dance classes, leaving very little time to practice and ultimately results in  slow piano progress.


Adult Practice or Play Time?

On the other hand, most of the adults I teach want to play and practice the piano for their own sheer enjoyment. I haven’t met any Adult beginners yet that are seeking to be concert pianists. However, I have seen plenty that dream of being able to play some challenging concert type pieces.  The good news is they can actually do this, if they are able to find a qualified teacher and are willing to put in the time and effort to develop the proper piano technique.

My own Father was an example of this. He started taking piano lessons at 40 years old and took private lessons for about a year and then just taught himself after that. He was asked to play at church for different meetings, but he didn’t feel confident enough and that really wasn’t his goal to play in front of other people. He was basically learning to play the piano for the pure enjoyment and challenging himself. He had a beginner piano practice schedule of about  20 minutes a day and as he improved he increased his time to around 30 minutes everyday until he died at age 79.

I would say the songs that he loved to practice were intermediate pieces which can be fairly challenging if you don’t practice consistently.

I remember he played this song called The 3rd Man Theme which I can still hear the chorus in my head to this day. Even though some more lessons in piano technique would have served him well (haha) he would enjoy practicing each day and improving his piano skills. This was not practice time for him but “play” time!

I remember he would come home for his lunch break and try and get some “play” time in.  Sometimes my mom would get a little jealous of him practicing because she wanted more of his attention.  Each day  he had a goal to study French, practice his guitar and the piano.  He had many other interests as well  Needless to say, he was never bored and he rarely neglected his piano practice!


The Comparison Problem

Kind of like my father, I teach an adult student who has a lot of natural talent.  Things come very easy to this person but every week when they come into my piano studio they get  to listen to the younger 13 year old student who is just finishing up their lesson.  This student can play some beautiful pieces with a lot of flare and has been playing since they were 7 years old so they have a lot of experience.

The adult student sometimes would make a comment like, “Wow, I hope to be able to play like that someday!”  So I understand why an adult student might feel a little intimidated when starting beginning piano lessons.  For example, let’s say an adults starts to learn the piano at 40, 50 or 60 years old, the songs they will be learning in the beginning will sound quite elementary compared to what a much younger student can play who has been playing for years.  It’s hard not to compare yourself to these more experienced younger students and say to ourselves, “Wow, I want to play like that!  Why am I still playing at this level?  How long will it take me to sound  like that?” I imagine it feels a little awkward to see someone so much younger out perform you.  I have a sneaky suspicion this is why older beginners almost always refuse to play in piano recitals too.  It takes a little humility to start anything as an older beginner.

So my recommendation to these adult students is to set time aside each day at least a minimum of 4/5 days a week for a piano practice routine.  This is where they should be practicing their sight reading skills, piano exercises, chords, etc. so they can develop strong piano technique.  Then before they even know it, they will be playing beautiful piano music and sound amazing too!


What Will You Do With That Extra Time?

Most of the adult students I teach are at the point where their kids have left home or have grown up  and don’t require as much time.  They find themselves with a few more hours in the day to try something new and exciting that they never had the opportunity to try as a child.  For some other adults they would like to rekindle their piano experience that they started as a child.  (aka –quitting piano lessons!) Empty nesters and retirees also may feel a little lost on how to fill their time.

I hear this quite often from retirees, “Yes it’s great being retired! You get to wake up and do whatever you want!” I also hear “I love being retired, but I really miss the people at work and I’m having trouble filling my time.” I know people who are older who fill their days doing crossword puzzles,  playing endless video games, taking naps and sleeping 12 hours a night, just trying to pass the time.   Okay I know you would not be that type of person since you are reading this article, because if you were, you would be too busy reading the National Enquirer instead! (haha)  Anyways what I’ve discovered from others and from personal experience is that leisurely filling our days doesn’t always bring us that self fulfillment we are all seeking.

From my observation of life, doing something that is a little bit challenging and developing and improving our talents, can really fill an empty void and enrich our lives.  

That’s why I would really recommend adult piano lessons if that is something you are leaning towards.  Being a piano player, I’m a little biased as the piano being one of the best instruments to learn. I’ve taken lessons on other instruments and I just prefer it because it sounds amazing all by itself.

There Has Never Been A Better Time to Learn The Piano

I believe there has never been a better time in the history of the world where there has been so much opportunity for learning and developing skills we only used to dream about!  For instance, I have always wanted to learn more about composing.  I could sign up for an online course right now if I wanted to.  I can learn things now online which in the past would have been too expensive and may have required attending a university!

Literally the opportunities for learning to play the piano are now at our finger tips! (No pun intended).  No longer do you need  to drive to lessons and coordinate with a teacher’s schedule.  If you want, you can  take piano lessons in the comfort of your own home with online piano tutorials in your pyjamas eating bon bons!

I believe if you are going to learn a new instrument, or take up a new sport, etc. you need to learn the proper technique from the beginning.  I believe that learning proper piano technique such as correct piano posture, piano hand posture, weight control. etc.  will payoff by leaps and bounds later on.  If you learn correct piano technique in the beginning this  will eliminate you having to unlearn bad habits later on and will allow you to play a lot more challenging music.

Please feel free to learn more about my online training membership course at where I will teach you rock solid foundational technique that is extremely affordable.  Here you will be able to learn the skills that will help you develop that beautiful tone that you hear in inspiring piano music.   

From my experience in teaching adult students, I realize it can be intimidating to learn something new and  challenging as we age.  I also know from experience that it is completely doable and super rewarding so don’t be afraid.  You are never too old to start learning to play the piano and now is the best time to learn!

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