Am I Too Old to Learn to Play the Piano?

Sweet Symphony Piano Lessons FAQ

Am I Too Old To Learn To Play the Piano?

At Sweet Symphony we offer music lessons to Students of all ages, from our Preschool Piano Lessons from age 3 right through to retired adults.

Throughout the course of an initial enquiry phonecall from an adult Student, we often hear the following:

“Am I too old to learn to play?”

Our answer? Absolutely not! We love our older Students here at Sweet Symphony!

While it’s quite common for Students to start their lessons at a young age while still at school, there’s absolutely nothing unusual about an adult taking up Piano lessons.

Why Do Adults Take Up Piano Lessons?

The reasons adults decide to take up Piano lessons are wide-ranging and varied. We often hear from adults who had lessons as a child but stopped before getting as far as they could (this is so common during the teenage years, especially), and it’s been something they regretted not continuing.

Music can be a great source of stress-relief. As such, many adults take up lessons, not necessarily to excel in the instrument, but as a way of relaxing and doing something for themselves. That weekly lesson and the associated practice time is an opportunity to shut out everyday life and to enjoy some much-needed “me-time”.

Sometimes, learning to play the Piano is something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the chance. Several years ago we had a lady take up lessons with us. She told us that learning to play the Piano had been on her bucket-list. So, on her 80th birthday she signed up for lessons and began to realise her dream!

And, of course, as an adult we have a lot more disposable income than when we were children, and more of a say in how it’s spent!

Is an Adult Piano Lesson The Same As A Child’s?

An Adult Piano lesson is structured in a very different way to that of a child. For one thing, your Teacher can explain new information in a way that just wouldn’t be suitable for a young child, using different language. Yes, you will have to learn the same elements as a younger Piano Student – all new Piano players must learn the basics before progressing – but the way in which you learn will be age-appropriate.

Likewise, the music you use in your lessons will be different. Our Piano lessons for children use various series of tuition books which are written specifically for young Students, and the songs within them are included because they’re familiar and recognisable. Adult Student tuition books usually move a bit faster than those for children and move onto “proper” music a lot quicker. You’ll be playing pop, rock, musical theatre and everything else in-between before you know it!

As an adult, you tend to have more of a say in the direction your lessons move in, too. If you signed up to lessons in order to learn a specific style of music, to play a particular song or wanted to pass a grade (see below), then you can discuss this with your Teacher and they can help to incorporate this into your lessons. Although your Teacher will teach you the staples of Piano-playing, once you’ve mastered the basics you can work together to move your lessons in a direction that helps you achieve what you’d like.

Do I Need To Sit Exams As An Adult Student?

We never force music exams on any of our Students. We’re very much of the opinion that exams are NOT the reason anyone decides to learn to play a musical instrument. They can provide valuable feedback and are a useful way to gauge your progress if this is something you’re interested in, but they’re in no way compulsory for our Students.

Many of our Adult Students do decide to sit music exams as they like the recognition for all their effort and hard work. Others prefer to work through the exam material, so they know that they can play to the required level, but don’t sit the actual exam.

The choice is entirely yours.

Is It More Difficult To Learn The Piano As An Adult?

We wouldn’t say it’s more difficult to learn the Piano as an adult. But it’s definitely true that adult Students face their own unique set of challenges when learning the Piano (or any other musical instrument). We’ve addressed two of the biggest challenges below:


Sometimes just finding the time to attend the lesson can be tricky enough! We know that life can be unpredictable and can get in the way of the best laid plans. But assuming you make it to your lesson, there’s also the issue of practice at home. Children often have their Piano practice incorporated into their nightly routine of schoolwork and this works really well. However, as an adult once you’ve picked the kids up from school and/or their various after-school activities, made dinner and got everyone to bed, the night is almost over! Where do you carve out some time for yourself to practise?

This is possibly one of the trickiest issues facing adult Students. Even if you don’t have children, work-life can be hectic and full of deadlines. It can be difficult to prioritise “you” above everything else. However, we would say that finding time to practise is very important to your progress and probably in your enjoyment of your lessons. No practice = no progress = another lesson working on the same material = boredom creeps in. We completely understand the demands on your time as an adult Student. We don’t expect a regimented nightly practice schedule, but little and often where possible will make all of the difference.

Impatience to Progress

Generally speaking (and I’m including myself in this, too!) adults are not good at being beginners…at anything! With age comes an expectation that we should already be able to do whatever it is we’re trying to do!

But playing the Piano is not an innate skill. It is something which requires teaching, patience and stamina. One of our favourite sayings is “every master was once a beginner”. Take your time, be patient and you’ll get there. If you’re ever feeling despondent and in a bit of a rut, try looking back at how far you’ve come. At every stage in your journey so far there will have been pieces which you thought you’d never finish. Looking back can help to re-energise you and confirm that you are, in fact, making progress.

So, Am I Too Old?

No, never! As long as you’re prepared to put in the time and effort which it takes to learn a new skill, you’ll be reaping the rewards by playing beautiful music in no time!

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