Why learning piano as an adult is easier than you think
Adults often believe learning piano is easier for kids – but is it?
This is a common myth that often discourages adults from starting to learn the piano, namely that learning piano for adults is supposedly much harder than for kids.
This popular but untrue notion tends to give fuel to the idea that if you’re over a certain age, you may as well not bother. “After all, I’m too old and it’s too late now, right?”
Wrong. It is never too late to start!
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
Even if you've never played an instrument in your life, as an adult, because you have spent your whole life listening to music, when you’re learning to play a piano song, 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 music theory relatively easily.
Adults can understand the basic structures of music and how they’re inherent in various 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 the knowledge they learn.
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
When learning piano as an adult, your ability to understand concepts really helps
"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 to play the piano — no one is forcing you
Many kids are essentially forced to learn piano 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 keep your brain sharp for longer
Learning piano as an adult benefits your brain
As 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 as they learn to play piano with Musiah.
For more on this topic see 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 as learn to play piano with Musiah, and perhaps more importantly, they're loving their learning journey.
Quality piano learning opportunitues are so easy to access online
In the past, adults who wanted to start learning to play the piano often faced insurmountable logistical challenges getting to / scheduling sessions with a traditional piano teacher.
Now, through Musiah, the world’s first A.I. piano learning app, you can learn piano in your own home any time of day or night at a fraction of what it would cost to learn to play piano the traditional way.
While there are many learning opportunities online, only Musiah (our intelligent A.I. piano teacher) can respond to your playing just like a live piano teacher and support you 24/7, which gives a huge boost to your learning, progress and enjoyment.
Plus – Musiah Online Piano Lessons For Adults are
- Completely FREE for 14 Days
- Work with any MIDI keyboard / digital piano
- Ideal for adults
In closing, dear reader, if you would like to experience just how easy and rewarding it can be to learn piano as an adult, I warmly invite you to take our 14 Day Free Trial.
Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment (at the bottom of this page).
Brendan Hogan L.Mus.A, A.Mus.A.
Piano Teacher & Musiah Inventor