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devark
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04 Aug 2010, 3:02 pm

I'm 29 and have played various instruments (piano included) by ear from a very young age, but I'm wondering, is it too late to take up piano "seriously"? I never did learn to read music, although I did take a few lessons back when I was around 5 or 6 (I played the flute as a first instrument). I do have a good memory for music and tone, and also a very good sense of rhythm (I played drums as a main instrument for about 16 years), but I'm just a little intimated by the fact that so many "great" pianists started so young. I don't expect to become some sort of concert player or anything, but I also hate the thought that it might not be possible to bring my playing to that level even with enough dedication.

Any thoughts at all are appreciated, thanks =)


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Callista
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04 Aug 2010, 3:10 pm

Most great pianists started young because they have both a very large amount of talent and a huge amount of drive, plus their families had the resources for lessons. If you have just the talent, you won't start young because you aren't fascinated with the piano and/or don't have a family that pays for it.

But yes, adults can and do learn to play the piano. You seem to have a talent for music and can probably become a good pianist in a few years. Sure, kids learn faster; but "slowly" is not the same thing as "not at all". Plus, as an adult, you probably have more discipline than you did as a kid; so as far as speed is concerned it could even out.

You say you play by ear, though; that could've given you some habits to break, such as memorizing music rather than reading it; you may have to learn to read music...


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basstrousers
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04 Aug 2010, 7:07 pm

Yes.
If you have time.
If you have a good teacher.
If you are totally dedicated.
It takes 4-12 years to get to a professional level in most people's estimates, and we're talking about DEEP commitment. It's probably quite hard to go from not practicing to practicing 8 hours a day but basically its all about practice.
I am not a good pianist. I don't really enjoy playing it enough, and never took it that seriously. But it was route into learning to play the double bass and I'm now really pushing towards that intensive practice schedule (going to music college in September)
It's just like anything really, if you care enough and you put in the work you should get results.
Of course its easier when you're young, because life gets in the way of these things.



LadybugQ
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04 Aug 2010, 7:21 pm

The only time it's "too late" for anything is when senility/death occur. Don't worry about it and go learn to your hearts content!


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dyingofpoetry
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04 Aug 2010, 7:41 pm

It's never too late to learn anything. Learning new things even when you're a senior citizen helps keep your mind sharp and combats depression.

When it comes to piano specifically, my mom started taking lessons whne she was in her 40s and that was without even any musical background at all. She didn't know what a quarter note looked like. She's 69 now and she's pretty handy for Christmas parties.


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devark
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04 Aug 2010, 10:28 pm

Thanks for the encouragement and insight, its something I have been thinking about for a while now =)


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NeoPlatonist
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05 Aug 2010, 11:39 pm

Go for it! Piano is a great instrument.


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06 Aug 2010, 3:20 pm

I am 17 and I've been playing piano since three weeks ago. I used to play trombone, guitar, and baritone, so I know how to read music basically, but not how to read Piano's variation of written music. I do however know the names of the keys by now. I play about two hours a day(I've never been devoted to playing an instrument in my spare time before). Our piano was bought in a garage sale 10 years ago after having sat in that garage for 20 years. My parents wanted me to learn, but I never expressed interest. It's been in the garage for the past few years. And when I saw the movie Moon, I was inspired by the soundtrack and began trying to play the main theme:

This is the actual main theme of Moon: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lUgqeO1ZxM&feature=related[/youtube]

This is a recording of me playing my piano. I'm still a beginner, so the thing randomly speeds up at times. Plus, my piano hasn't been tuned in many, many years and my microphone isn't very good. This is only a small portion of the song.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEQyhzbvgcs[/youtube]

I really, genuinely like playing the piano. It isn't like the other instruments I've played, because I actually find it really fun to play. Trombone was a hassle to play because of it's slide and I wasn't very good at it. So I switchd to baritone which has the same type of written music, but is deeper than trombone and has buttons. I really liked the buttons, but baritone doesn't sound good by itself. Then I tried guitar. As I was born with motor skills deficiencies, playing guitar was xtremely difficult and strenuous, despite sounding much better than the other instruments I had played. Piano however, sounds good and is fun to play. Because I type all the time and constantly practice sword choreography, my motor skills have really improved. However, I still am not up to the level of normal people in terms of motor skills. Also, although I have a great sense of rhythm, piano is the first instrument in which I have had to multitask. By that, I mean that I have to do two things at once. Guitar was sort of like that with strumming. I have ADD, so I find it hard to focus on what one hand is playing and what the other is playing. And I can only focus on one rhythm, unless the second rhythm is really complex. So my mind freaks out when I try to play two completely different things. The Moon theme isn't too hard because one hand does the same thing throughout most of the song, and that is alternating between two versions of a and using your ring finger to press the a# key twice ever once in a while rather than pressing the adjacent b key.



mgran
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06 Aug 2010, 3:46 pm

It is not too late to start playing the piano, or any other instrument, at 29. I started classical guitar from scratch less than a year ago, and I am (if I say so myself) getting very good. My teacher told me, when I asked how long it would take me to get good that it's not a matter of years, but a matter of hours. By her estimate it takes a minimum of 2000 hours to get to grade nine in an instrument (that is for musically gifted people who are practising in an organised fashion.) So you could get good at any time between four years or eight, depending how much time you put in your fingers.

Go for it. Oh, by the way... I was 38 when I started guitar.



ShenLong
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06 Aug 2010, 3:56 pm

My dad often finds me practicing at 3 in the morning and tells me to stop because although they can't hear it, my dog can and will bark. Lol



pandorazmtbox
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06 Aug 2010, 5:39 pm

Many studies claim it takes 10 years to truly become expert in any skill. Music is certainly one of those things. You can start to read music pretty easily, but really training your muscles to respond to the notes on the page then "know" exactly where to land on the keyboard takes practice and some time. Just like learning to walk or learning to ride a bicycle. I once thought I would be a professional musician, and took it very seriously for 13 years (Aspie serious...right? :wink: ), and there are days I had to literally force myself to quit because what I needed was time to assimilate what I had learned. I would push to the point of frustration, never able to make it right--but if I gave myself some time and space--and a night's sleep--the problem would usually get fixed. So...it IS about practice, but it is also about going at your own pace. It takes time too, and sometime the nerves, neurons, muscles and brain cells need some time to adapt.

It's never too late, just remember that you're learning a highly complex skill which has aspects that need to become as automatic as breathing, require the same hyperawareness as driving down a busy street where anything could happen and still needs some humanity or emotion thrown in there as well. I hope it gives you many hours of complete joy, catharsis and esteem from accomplishment of challenging goals. Good luck!


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asprin
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11 Aug 2010, 4:07 pm

its never to late to learn something new



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12 Aug 2010, 7:58 am

NEVER too late. More than being something so "serious," and I mean being REALLY good at it, musical study enriches one's life. FYI: I teach piano, and at one time my oldest student was in her 80's.

And to be good at ANY instrument, it takes a lot of dedicated hard work. I seem to have a knack for picking up musical instruments. I started out on piano in 5th grade, quit, took up clarinet, went back to piano because I wanted to study music theory and write songs and instrumental compositions, got my bachelor's degree in music education, and got my master's degree in composition. By the end of high school, I'd played clarinet, alto clarinet, bass guitar, percussion, tuba, flute, oboe. After grad school, I took up recorder, synthesizer programming, sound design. I briefly taught violin. I bought a Fender Tele and taught myself classical guitar (sounds really cool on an electric!). And MOST recently I've taken up handbells. I've been composing handbell duets to include piano accompaniment and orchestration, and my wife (who doesn't read music very well) has joined me in handbell ringing.

By FAR the most difficult thing I've ever done was actually handbells. It LOOKS easy, but the sheer mechanics of bells make them difficult to play rapidly as one would play piano. So rather than insist on my wife reading music, we both resolved to memorize the music as we go. She's a quick study just with rote learning, and I'm pleased with our progress so far. The difficulty of bells is only mitigated by careful "choreography," and we find ourselves dancing the length of the tables during practice. It's quite athletic!

It's SLIGHTLY easier for me to learn because of my background in piano, my dedication to rapid music-reading, and my experience playing percussion. Handbells are placed on the table in the same arrangement as the keys on the piano or the bars on a marimba. The technique, since handbells have to be picked up to be played, involves "weaving" (ringing bells close together by taking them out of their normal position and then immediately putting them back, looks a lot like a street hustle shell game), switching bells from one hand to the other, and staying in constant motion. This isn't something people normally teach themselves, but since there's not a solo bell teacher anywhere around where I live, my wife and I are doing the best we can on our own.

I'm 32, she's 31, and she has less professional musical background than I do. It's NEVER too late to pick up a new instrument. Piano, in my experience, might be the easiest instrument to try to learn!



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12 Aug 2010, 8:05 am

asprin wrote:
its never to late to learn something new


Agreed. I was going to say that, word for word. :lol:



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05 Sep 2012, 8:09 pm

I had some piano lessons as a kid, but haven't played one in probably 45 or more years.

If I had the time, a good piano, and better hands (i.e. without carpal tunnel and similar problems), I could easily spend 8 to 12 hours a day on the piano.



onks
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09 Sep 2012, 9:07 am

devark wrote:
I'm 29 and have played various instruments (piano included) by ear from a very young age, but I'm wondering, is it too late to take up piano "seriously"? I never did learn to read music, although I did take a few lessons back when I was around 5 or 6 (I played the flute as a first instrument). I do have a good memory for music and tone, and also a very good sense of rhythm (I played drums as a main instrument for about 16 years), but I'm just a little intimated by the fact that so many "great" pianists started so young. I don't expect to become some sort of concert player or anything, but I also hate the thought that it might not be possible to bring my playing to that level even with enough dedication.

Any thoughts at all are appreciated, thanks =)


It's never too late to start to play an instrument.

But, for being a high level piano player you need to practise really a lot. Like at least 1h per day, if not better 3-5h.
And that's boring (at least for me). I played 10 years, but mainly just for fun and only classical stuff
like mostly romantic (Chopin, Schumann,etc.) late romantic(Grieg), classic(Mozart) some Bach

My favourite "classical music" is however impressionistic

To work as a pianist is probably really hard, a lot of competition. To work as a "street musician" isnt that hard but you will have trouble with finding money for your stuff.
If you are obsessed with it then I guess you can learn fast.
--> Good teacher, as already said