Is it too late to learn guitar? That is a question that perspective students ask me all the time, and as an instructor I think I have a pretty unique perspective. Let’s take a look at what it takes to learn guitar!
Is It Too Late To Learn Guitar? Probably Not!
I have been a guitar teacher now, on and off, for about 10 years. In total, I have played guitar almost 30 years, almost 3/4 of my life! That is a long time to dedicate so many hours of your life to one single thing: Guitar. With that being said, I also have students that are beginners, all the way to people on par with my own playing! They are also all ages, between 14 and 63 years old!
So is it too late to learn guitar? I honestly don’t think so, and there is a lot of science that backs that up! Certainly, as we get older we have more responsibilities, and more things that we have to remember daily. But there is always time that we can set aside for music.
Most dedicated musicians, statistically DO start playing at a young age. It is true that you learn faster as a child, and that muscle memory is easier to adjust. Yet statistics also show that many people get a late start, and still learn how to play guitar. But you would be surprised at how many famous people picked up guitar as adults!
A child on the other hand, has much more time and way more “memory space” than an adult. So it would seem that it is harder to learn guitar as an adult. But that honestly depends on your goals as a guitarist, and how much time you have to practice. It also depends on your personal mindset. It is never too late to learn guitar.
Why It Is NOT Too late To learn Guitar…
Most people associate age with wondering is it too late to learn guitar. This is because most people have thought of music as something that you learn at a young age, and continue throughout your life. Now don’t get me wrong, there IS an advantage of learning music at a young age, just like languages. But guitar is also about muscle memory, which you can train at any age!
Frontiers Science has a great article about the effects of learning music, or an instrument in general. Guitar can actually make you smarter! This works with all ages, as you are using a different part of your brain. Anyone can start at any time, and reap the benefits of learning guitar.
In the article Frontiers discusses how learning music activates a completely different part of our brains. We have sight, and touch receptors in our brains. The auditory part of the brain is completely different, and actually connects to all of our other senses! So playing guitar is actually just as much mental effort, as it is the physical motion.
People who can sing on key, and decipher notes will have a great advantage when it comes to learning guitar. A lot of what you will learn when it comes to playing guitar, is what we call “ear training”. This allows the student to get familiar with notes. If you can sing on key, or harmonize, then you already have some ear training!
Likewise, if you played guitar earlier in life, and put it down for whatever reason, it is easy to come back. I have met a plethora of “former guitarists” that picked the guitar back up years later. While it isn’t as easy a “riding a bike” per se, you will still retain some of your previous knowledge, and have a head start for lessons!
No matter what your situation or age may be be, it is never too late to learn guitar. I have a student that is in his mid 60’s, and just started to play over the last two years. You would be surprised that he can play full songs and jam along with all of his favorite songs now! It is never too late!
It is Never Too Late: Set Your Goals
Obviously, if you are 30 years old, you missed the chance to be a child prodigy, but you have not missed the chance to learn guitar. Over the years, I have had many older students that have wanted to learn guitar, and they all had different goals.
Some new guitarists just want to know basic chords, so they can play their favorite songs. Other people want to learn guitar a little more in depth, and learn how to apply music theory to write their own songs. I have also had late-starters that became highly proficient in just a couple of years!
It is entirely up to you when it comes down to how “good” you get at playing the guitar. Everyone has a different perspective when it comes to learning guitar, but the basics are something that most people can grasp easily. After the basics, it is up to you to decide where you want to go!
Is it too late to learn guitar? Absolutely not! But you should have a plan, and set some realistic goals for yourself. Think about what you wish to accomplish when it comes to learning guitar. Do you just want to know the basics and learn how to play a few songs? How far do you want to take it?
So How Do I Start Learning Guitar?
The first thing is finding a good teacher, or online resource that can get you started. We have a guide to get you started with electric guitar, or acoustic if you prefer. Once you have your guitar, you need to think about what you are going to do with it!
Is your goal to just have it as a hobby? Do you want to eventually make music? It is very important to set your goals before you get started. Once you have a goal, then you need to set up a consistent practice schedule. If you have a teacher, or online instruction then they will probably set up a routine for you.
Otherwise, you will have to find a practice routine on your own. Most teachers will tell you that 30 minutes a day will be a great start, no matter what your age may be. If you have time for more, then that’s great as well! So all you need is some time, and a guitar to get started!
Is it Too Late To Learn Guitar? NEVER!
Learning guitar can be a lifelong process, and provide you with many hours of fun and enjoyment. Scientific studies all over the web will show you that playing an instrument is rewarding in a physical and psychological sense! It has been the focus of my entire life, but I know plenty of people who just enjoy playing guitar as a fun hobby.
Physically, you release the same dopamine and “feel good ” chemicals in your brain from playing an instrument that you get from other pleasurable activities. Just like exercise, or any other activity that makes you “feel good”. Learning guitar can be very rewarding, and activates all kinds of different areas in your brain!
Psychologically, learning guitar can also be a huge benefit. Studies from the UK show that playing guitar is actually good for your mental health. So along with those dopamine hits and stress relief, learning to play guitar can even help with anxiety and depression at any age.
So while you may not ever be Eddie Van Halen, you can still have a great time learning guitar. At any age, you can enjoy all of the benefits that guitar has to offer. There is no “expiration date” when it comes to learning guitar. Anyone can learn how to play, with a little bit of motivation and a good guitar!
Is It Too Late To Learn Guitar?
Is it too late to learn guitar? Absolutely not! But you should have a plan, and set some realistic goals for yourself. Think about what you wish to accomplish when it comes to learning guitar. Do you just want to know the basics and learn how to play a few songs? How far do you want to take it? It is up to you!
Does Playing Guitar Have Health Benefits?
Physically, you release the same dopamine and “feel good ” chemicals in your brain from playing an instrument that you get from other pleasurable activities. Just like exercise, or any other activity that makes you feel good. Learning guitar can be very rewarding, and activates all kinds of parts in your brain! It can even help with depression, and anxiety.