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It’s Never Too Late to Learn a New Instrument

Posted on the 22 May 2014 by Cheekymeeky

One of the wonders of music is how instruments can have such different voices. Many people learn a single instrument as a child but adult learning is less common, even though it’s often in adulthood that the desire to learn another one strikes. Often it’s assumed that adults can’t learn anything as well as children can because their brains are less flexible, a long-held belief now being challenged by science. Recent research suggests that, in fact, it’s just a question of effort. If you really want to learn and you’re willing to put in the work, there’s no reason why you can’t succeed, even if it’s the first instrument you’ve ever tried to play.

Why take on the challenge?

Learning to play a new instrument may be difficult but it can be a life-changing experience. Taking on a challenge like this leads to increased activity in the brain. It can get you back into the habit of learning, making it easier to go on and do more, and it can give you a real sense of achievement. Although it may be a slow process, each new success will boost your confidence. It won’t be long until you’ve mastered the basics and after that, alongside learning, you’ll have the opportunity to be creative.

Choosing an instrument

If you don’t already have your heart set on learning a particular instrument, how can you choose one that has a good chance of working out well for you?

  • Play to your strengths. Do you have a good set of lungs? You might be suited to woodwind or brass. If you have dexterous fingers? A string instrument or piano could be for you.
  • Consider your budget. At the very bottom end, it’s easy to afford a mouth organ, ocarina, ukulele or tin whistle. You’ll need a lot more money for a good quality violin or saxophone. If you want an expensive instrument, consider hiring one to try it out for a few days before you buy.
  • Consider your neighbors. If you live in a busy apartment block with thin walls, drums might not make you very popular. An acoustic guitar might be a better choice.
  • Think about the learning process. Will you need a teacher? If so, can you find one locally? Alternatively, can you find online tutorials good enough to learn from?
  • Think about how you’ll play. Many instruments can be enjoyed alone but if you want to learn bass guitar or cello, you might want to find people to play with first.

If you’ve thought about these things and are still uncertain, ask for advice at your local musical instrument store, where the staff will be able to help with anything from the purchase of a sweet potato ocarina to an expensive piano.

What can playing an instrument do for you?

Learning a new instrument is like finding a new voice. It can give you a whole new register in which to express yourself. Whether you want to play on a stage, entertain your friends or just enjoy some time alone expressing your thoughts through music, learning to play a new instrument is something you’ll never regret.

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