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Thread: Why is learning music or a musical instrument hard as an adult?

  1. #1

    Default Why is learning music or a musical instrument hard as an adult?

    Or, is it really true?

    Looks like everybody have this kind of feeling, but I could't find a good reason explaining it.

    Is it because adults are more stupid than children?

  2. #2
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    Mostly because, as kids, we do as we're told (most of the time) whereas as adults we can always find an excuse not to do something that sounds like it might be hard work!

    As for me, I taught myself to read music in my late 50's then went on to apply this new-found skill-set and learnt to play clarinet, flute and mandolin ... it wasn't a problem simply because I WANTED to be able to read music

    For those who feel they ought to try to read music for want of something to do will always find another excuse not to bother ... and use the excuse "it's too hard".

    Good grief, there's only eight notes in a scale, five if you play pentatonic tunes, if you can't learn ABCDEFG you're probably not reading this anyway !

    YMMV -
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  3. #3

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    my guess: adults have more of a fear of "failure." We want it to be perfect from the start and are frustrated when it isn't. Kids just bang on the instrument and play with it, then either latch onto it or move onto something else.
    It may be me, but I also think being a kid will let you get used to the amount of flexibility you need for chords like E more easily. Face it, tendons, fingers, etc are much stiffer when you're older and I think it's harder.
    lypfer: I'm trying to teach myself music too. I'd like to be able to basically read it and do my own tabs without having to write it all down.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jo3x View Post
    Or, is it really true?

    Looks like everybody have this kind of feeling, but I could't find a good reason explaining it.

    Is it because adults are more stupid than children?
    Kids have Teachers and Tutors put in place for them and beyond trying we expect little of children. Adults often donít have easy access to help and feel under pressure to achieve. These days I tell myself that itís OK to fail at something and hence I try to do things and not worry about loosing face should I fail, the change of attitude has been very liberating.

    Adults arenít stupid but some kids are very bright and quick on the uptake, theyíre also not worn down by life yet too.

  5. #5
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    I don't buy it that kids inherently learn things quicker than adults. Adults are self motivated. They learn because they want to learn. That gives them a leg up on kids.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  6. #6
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    Us older folks definitely have disadvantages, or excuses, if you wanna call it that.
    We have way more distractions. We have to take care of the kids who aren't concerned about survival, so they are mush less stressed out and distracted by the events of daily living.
    I find it easier to deal with this if I meditate for a short while before I play and sing.
    Also, kids hands are more nimble. I'm a nurse. It's a fact. I know.
    And they often have the access to teachers that we may not.
    Kids, at least the ones with parents who can afford rent clothes food and ukuleles, have an advantage.
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  7. #7
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    I think there is pros and cons to learning as an adult. We don’t often practice as much as we should since we are pulled in many directions. (I didn’t practice as much as I should as a trumpet player in high school band either for that matter). But I am finding the concepts of music thery are much easier to understand now. Maybe because I want to understand them now as opposed to learning only enough to pass the next test as a teenager. Now physically playing is much harder I think as an adult. Joints are stiffer and get sore more readily.

  8. #8
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    Kids have a more "plastic" brain, as they say. But if you want to learn something as an adult, you still can (obviously.) You might have to work a little bit harder, but I never let that stop me and neither should you.

  9. #9
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    Dec 2007
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    It’s not harder.

  10. #10
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    May 2018
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    Steamy Hilo, HI
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    Is it ever easy? I took lute lessions for a few years during (non-music) grad school in my mid-20s. It was the hardest thing I've ever tried to do, and I never even managed to play a full song - just some easier bits. Then I set it aside for the next 20 years as my life became a bit too nomadic. Just last year I finally got the urge to buy some guitars, ukuleles, etc and try again. It's still by FAR the hardest thing I've ever tried to do.
    Cordoba guilele
    Rebel N.E.O. tenor

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