The answer is: “Yes.”
“We are able to teach our students that at 51 years old they’ll be one of the most talented players that you can find,” says Mike McLean, a music professor at University of Texas in Austin. “The age barrier for teachers is actually lower than it is for students, and I know that’s been the case for many years. It’s become more common, but it’s something we have taken notice of.”
The key, says McLean, is being proactive. “The real trick is not trying to change your body or your mind or your style, but to actually focus on what’s happening on the violin instead of what you can’t be doing,” he explains. “It’s not something you can do today, so you need to be focusing on it instead of worrying about when you can play the next day.” (Learn how to play classical violin, the violin from a cello, and more.)
Do I have to be 100% sure I can play?
If you do have to be 100% sure that you can play as well as you did at your age, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new from it. According to McLean, in the grand scheme of things that makes for a huge difference, and there are a number of things that are worth studying.
Learning how to play an instrument is different to learning a language. It’s not just about the music, but the social aspect of it, or your teacher’s enthusiasm to make you feel and understand how good this is going to sound once you learn it.
In order to get great results, you’re going to need to put in lots of hours studying, as well as the right way to practice — even in the absence of a great teacher or the right school. As McLean advises: “If all you’ve ever gotten out of a teacher is to have them give you an A+, what do you really get out of playing your instrument? And really, what are the odds of that A+?”
Can I use other instruments, like cello and piano?
Yes and lots, according to the National Foundation of the Arts. There’s more than one good reason to learn how to play with your guitar or piano. (You can check out our top 10 reasons to learn to play the violin, and an expert’s advice on how to play cello.)
What kind of lessons should I get?
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