The Case for Music Lessons in Adulthood

“It’s too late for me.”

“I’m no virtuoso and never will be.”

“I’m afraid of performing.”

“I’m slow to learn new things.”

Those are common statements I hear from adults who are trying to convince themselves they should not take music lessons. They are usually faced with one of two things: learning music for the first time in their lives or picking up something they quit during childhood.

Music is often primarily studied during formative years. In adulthood, when synapses are closing and motor skills are slowing, starting anew can feel like volunteering for a needless root canal.

Don’t worry, my friends. I am here to show you why each of the above statements is not true.

Debunking the myths

  1. “It’s too late for me.”

    Is it too late for you to win the Tchaikovsky violin competition, the age limit cut off of which is 32? Perhaps.
    Is it too late to learn to play a piece on the violin? No.
    Is it too late to play in Carnegie Hall? Not necessarily.
    Is it too late to get immeasurable enjoyment and satisfaction from learning to play music? Absolutely not.

  2. “I’m no virtuoso and never will be.”

    Okay, I’ll give you that. This is likely true. However, here are two reasons why it doesn’t matter.

    1. I have two music performance degrees from some of the top schools in the country, have been playing for 24 years, and I have never been, nor will I ever be, a virtuoso.
    2. Musicality does not require being a virtuoso. The most meaningful performance I’ve ever witnessed was from an adult student who started learning the cello after being seriously injured in a car accident. She played so beautifully that her entire family was in tears at the end and she got a standing ovation. It was one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever seen. Think about the pride your family and friends can feel for you, and you can feel for yourself, without having to be a virtuoso.
  3. “I’m afraid of performing.”

    You don’t need to be a performer to be a musician. If you would rather learn music just for yourself, that’s 100% acceptable and encouraged. If you would like to perform but are afraid, find a teacher who can help you overcome this fear.

  4. “I’m slow to learn new things.”

    Who are you racing against? If it’s yourself, you should be putting in no unnecessary time limits. Learning is, truly, different for everyone. Speed is not the point.

Going for it

The most common reasons for studying music as an adult are the following:

  1. Live without regrets

    If you quit music as a kid, start up again now. You’ll be glad you lived it out.

  2. Be a “cool” older person

    This is a statement one of my adult students said was her reasoning for taking flute lessons. In your golden years, imagine how much richer your life will be with an instrument!

  3. Stay sharp

    Many studies show the positive effects of music on the aging brain. Things preventing loss of memory or improving cognitive skills and speech are just a few.

  4. Enjoy health benefits

    The therapeutic and health benefits of music lessons have a universe of information both studied and not yet studied. Playing a musical instrument as an adult will be good for your health in countless ways.


There are many other reasons why taking music lessons as an adult will pay off. Do you have more to add to this topic? Leave a comment here or write to me.

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