Article

Why Learning Piano As An Adult Is Easier Than You Think

3 October 2014

Piano _Brain _Learn _Piano _At _Any _AgeAdults often believe learning piano is easier for kids – but is it?

 

The truth is; adults have several key advantages over kids when it comes to learning to play piano.

 

Today I want to talk about a common myth that often discourages or even deters some adults from taking up learning the piano, namely that kids allegedly learn piano quicker or more easily than adults.

 

This popular but untrue notion tends to give fuel to the idea that if you’re on the wrong side of 30, you may as well not bother. “After all, I’m too old and it’s too late now, right?”

 

Wrong. There is no such thing as “Oh well, it’s too late now”.

 

The truth is; adults have several key advantages over kids when it comes to learning to play piano.

 

You already understand more about music than you realize

 

Because you have spent your whole life listening to music, when you’re learning a piece, you can relate it to the music you already know. This knowledge (which you probably don’t even realize you have) can help you understand many aspects of musical theory relatively easily.

 

Adults can understand the basic structures of music and how they’re inherent in a number of different songs they listen to or know. By contrast, kids are almost like empty vessels with no experience to go on and consequently no frame of reference to which they can relate their newly acquired knowledge.

 

You have the discipline and focus to make yourself practice

 

Kids, especially young kids, are still developing self-discipline and the ability to focus. To illustrate this point, I recently read about a music teacher whose wife has to bribe their young child with chocolate drops even to get them to do 1 minute of practice.

 

The simple fact is, as an adult you have a huge advantage.

 

As Dr Jessica Grahn, a cognitive neuroscientist and professor at the Brain and Mind Institute and Psychology Department at Western University in Canada who researches music puts it:

 

"The disadvantage that children have is that they are not so good at figuring out higher level rules and they don't really know about how to get good at something," says Dr. Grahn. "Whereas adults usually have some practice, either with sports or school, at saying, 'Okay, I want to succeed at this so what must I do? I must practice.”

 

You are much better equipped to absorb complicated, abstract concepts

 

"You can explain to an adult, 'Well, here are the rules of a scale and this is why these notes follow each other and these notes don't follow each other,'" says Dr. Grahn. "That might be much easier to remember because that's a rule. They can then apply that rule in lots of different places in music, whereas children kind of have to learn it all by practice."

 

The biggest difference in how adults learn Vs how kids learn is that adults tend to be analytical in their approach. Children tend to play what's put in front of them as fast as they can, while adults are usually sticklers for perfection. If you can put aside your desire for a mistake-free session and play even if your fingers aren't exactly in the right position, you are likely to learn quicker.

 

You actually want to learn the piano — no one is forcing you

 

Many kids are essentially forced to take piano lessons by their parents. I know, when I was a kid, I went through at least five significant stages when I wanted to give up learning piano, and thank goodness my parents didn’t let me.

 

However, as an adult who actually wants to learn to learn piano, you have a huge advantage. Most adults who are learning piano do so largely for the joy of learning, and this is tremendously motivating, plus as Dr Grahn says, “it actually has some great cognitive effects, increasing your ability to learn faster.”

 

Playing piano relieves stress (something you need more now than you did as a kid)

 

There have been studies singing the praises, so to speak, of music's ability to reduce stress. Now that you're not a carefree kid anymore, this can be particularly beneficial and serve as yet another powerful motivator. And this probably accounts, at least in part, for why 70% of Musiah students are adults.

 

Music has been proven to release dopamine in reward areas of the brain, the same ones that light up in response to food, sex and drugs. In fact, Dr. Grahn says, "It's probably harder to find areas of the brain that don't respond to music than to find areas that do."

 

There are some mood benefits of music that can actually help you learn how to play piano, too, which come in handy as an adult. (Studies prove this).

 

"Having a positive mood is generally very good for your cognitive function, for your general well-being and for being able to sleep, which we know enhances brain function," says Dr. Grahn.

 

The brain training benefits of learning piano help keep your brain sharp for longer

 

Brain-trainingAs an adult, learning how to play piano is what Dr. Grahn calls a "brain trainer," a way to challenge your brain in an effort to stay sharper and alert for longer. Not only is it possible for this stronger cognitive function to stave off dementia, but it will also allow you to enjoy a higher quality of life with a more active brain."

 

In fact, many adult students comment on the brain-training benefits they can feel they are receiving through their piano lessons with Musiah.

 

For more on this topic see these great articles:

 

Learning To Play Piano: The Greatest Benefit You Never Heard Of

Brain Training: How Learning Piano Boosts Academic Results

 

Hopefully some of the above thoughts will help to dispel the myth that learning piano is somehow harder for adults than it is for kids, or that it can ever be too late to start learning.

 

The truth is, you can start learning piano at any age.

 

In fact, we have many students in their 70’s and 80’s who are achieving great results in their Musiah piano lessons, and perhaps more importantly, loving their lessons.

 

Plus, you’ll find piano lessons are now easier than ever to access

 

In the past, adult students who wanted to take up learning the piano often faced insurmountable logistical challenges getting to / scheduling piano lessons with a traditional piano teacher.

 

Now, through Musiah, the world’s first A.I. virtual piano teacher, you can learn piano in your own home any time of day or night at a fraction of what it would cost to learn piano the traditional way.

 

Of course there are many online piano lesson” offerings, i.e. offerings that claim to offer you “lessons”, but only Musiah (our intelligent virtual teacher) can respond to your playing just like a live piano teacher and support you 24/7, which gives a huge boost to your progress and enjoyment.

 

In closing, dear reader, if you would like to experience just how easy it can be to learn piano as an adult, why not take our Free Online Piano Lessons 14 Day Trial — available for a strictly limited time.

 

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment (at the bottom of this page).

 

Til next time,

 

Brendan Hogan

Piano Teacher & Musiah Inventor

 

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with others by putting a link to it on your facebook page, blog or website.

 

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