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#1057621 - 10/24/04 07:31 AM Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
screaming_wind Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/24/04
Posts: 13
i'm around 20, and i'm just going to start to learn? is this too old?

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#1057622 - 10/24/04 07:43 AM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
cranky woman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 282
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Absolutely not! Anyone can learn and at any age.
_________________________
www.tcwresources.com

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#1057623 - 10/24/04 07:47 AM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
I was 38 when I started my lessons.

So that means you have 18 years before it's too late! ;\)
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

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#1057624 - 10/24/04 08:06 AM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
I started lessons for my 37th birthday. Have fun!

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#1057625 - 10/24/04 08:09 AM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
if you want to be a concert pianist, it is perhaps too late. but other than that, it is not!

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#1057626 - 10/24/04 08:12 AM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
cello lover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/04
Posts: 111
Loc: belgium
If you think you're too old, you're too old. But don't think for somebody else!
_________________________
If you play mistakes, OK
If your technique is not perfect, we can live with that
But if you play boring,
I'll chop off your fingers and feed them to the dogs

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#1057627 - 10/24/04 11:14 AM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
the day before you die is probably too old, other than that, go for it!
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

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#1057628 - 10/24/04 11:24 AM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
LudwigVanBee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/04
Posts: 83
Loc: USA
Only when you're six feet under.
_________________________
_ _ ___________________________ _ _
"There are no shortcuts to anything worth doing." Beverly Sills

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#1057629 - 10/24/04 11:32 AM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
screaming_wind Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/24/04
Posts: 13
 Quote:
Originally posted by signa:
if you want to be a concert pianist, it is perhaps too late. but other than that, it is not! [/b]
so it's really too late to become a concert pianist?

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#1057630 - 10/24/04 01:04 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
cranky woman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 282
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
My belief is yes, it's too late at 20 to be a concert pianist. (you may want to see past threads to define concert pianist).

The reason it's too late, is that you have missed out on very important small motor development. When you begin piano as a child, you have a window of time when your physical body is growing. It's important that during this time you train your small motor skills. (clarity and speed technically) Generally, what I was taught in college, is that you have until the early teens before the window "closes".

That being said, it doesn't mean you can't learn and be proficient at the piano. You just may not reach the level of a true concert artist with absolute fluency at the keyboard.

Cranky Woman \:D
_________________________
www.tcwresources.com

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#1057631 - 10/24/04 01:26 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
James L. Taylor Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 7
Loc: Towson, Maryland
I am 73 and started about 4 yrs ago. I am getting better each day. I started out with childrens books and now have over one hundred books and sheet music that I have purchased. Be patient and play several hours a day. If you make mistakes, so what. I still make mistakes. I'm human.

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#1057632 - 10/24/04 01:32 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
Lightnin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/17/04
Posts: 210
You've got me beat James. I started learning piano early, when I was only 65 \:\) It's been a year now, and so far, so good.

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#1057633 - 10/24/04 05:24 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
KevinR Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 3
Loc: Washington State (SW)
When I was 20, a friend said I was too old to start learning the piano and I wasted 3 yrs by thinking I did'nt have the ability and couldn't learn before I started regular piano lessons. Not only did I learn but the more I played the better I got. So go for it!!!!

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#1057634 - 10/24/04 07:27 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
screaming_wind Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/24/04
Posts: 13
I did a search on concert pianist in this forum and found nothing that defined it. soo..uh, what exactly is a concert pianist? also, is this belief about learning too late to become a concert pianist universal? its really kinda discouraging.
and does this apply to other instruments as well?

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#1057635 - 10/24/04 08:01 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
a concert pianist is known as a pianist making living by doing recitals and concerts. it means that he will be traveling to anywhere (if got invitation to play) or touring around US or even world to play with orchestras or make appearance at music festivals or something like that.

but as i heard, not many pianists make it to the concert pianist level, because only the best or the important competition winners would beat the crowd and make it to concert circle and get well paid.

i only heard those from other's talking...

so, if you start when you are 20, it is probably too late to be in such a field because many talented pianists have started very young and you may not be able to compete with the crowd like this. it's never too late or too old to learn playing piano, but it is not realistic perhaps for you to dream about the path to become a concert pianist. a lot of pianists end up doing teaching piano/music or doing something else. i think the competition in any music instrument field is fierce, and only the best survives and becomes a member of an orchestra or soloist.

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#1057636 - 10/24/04 08:45 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
Jac Ang Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 27
Loc: Singapore
20 plus is always not too old....I have start my lesson on 26.Just do it (not NIKE adveristment)

Never get influence by wat others say.Focus...focus...focus.

NEVER live to regrets!!!

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#1057637 - 10/24/04 09:35 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
Lightnin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/17/04
Posts: 210
My teacher says no one is too old to learn piano, and that simply ANYONE can learn to play the piano. I can vouch for that \:\) That doesnt mean it is easy. It will take a few years to get to where you want to be, and you do have to want to do it, or you probably wont stick with it.

If you search www.wikipedia.org for either pianist or jazz musician, you get long lists of performers including short biographies. All of them started extremely early, like age 3, and were doing their best work when they turned twenty (after 15 years of practice). There could be an exception somewhere, but a quick search did not find one.

It is said this is due to the early developing brain, which could be, I dont know. However, very many of these world class people were outright prodigies too, or at least had very unusual interests and unusual skills. OTOH, very many 5 year olds also instead give it up long before they ever become a concert pianist \:\) So while I have no clue myself, I am less sure if age is the only factor, or how important this age factor actually is. I have no way to know, but it may just be true that if you "have it", it probably does show up early too.

But... regardless, the rest of us dont have to be anywhere near that world class level to really enjoy learning piano. I suspect if they interviewed all church pianists or other such very good pianists who didnt make the "best in the world" list, probably many of them were not a star at age 20 either.

I think "just do it" was the best advice.

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#1057638 - 10/25/04 07:53 AM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3149
Loc: Virginia, USA
I am 51 years and in my second month of piano lessons.

I do not expect to attain the skill level of concert pianists.

But I also do not expect to remain a clutzy eternal beginner amateur. I expect to achieve a reasonable level of fluency and technique, sufficient to play what I might need to in certain limited performance situations.

At 20 you will learn faster than I do. Take advantage of it while you can!
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1057639 - 10/25/04 08:09 AM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
Pathbreaker Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1030
Loc: Massachusetts
i started at 20 and i thought it would take ten years to play the things i wanted to. but it happened so much faster then that because i was so serious about playing. from my point of view, obstacles to becoming a concert pianist often come from a need to survive. life gets in the way when you are older. when you are young you have loads of time and support to do whatever you want(at least it's more likely that you do). i tried my best to continue my fast progress but after 2 years i ended up unintentionally quitting for a year and a half. now i'm back but it's all for fun this time \:\)
i think it's better to play just for the joy of playing. if you end up with too many pressures it can start to feel like a job.

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#1057640 - 10/25/04 12:06 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
Vintagefingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 331
Loc: SE
I started 10 months ago at age 54 and find the biggest challenge physical, my tight finger muscles and tendons. I go through a ritual of stretching and soaking in warm water to loosen up, hurts so good! At 20, you probably don't have to deal with such issues, lucky you.

I played woodwinds as a kid from age 10-20 and intermittently thereafter so I do have a foundation and this helps a lot. But is ainít the piano. I expect many give up in the motivation department (practice, practice practice) before realizing the limits of their talent and capabilities. The same would apply in almost any endeavor. I also suppose that most at the highest echelon of the art/craft started young with a continuing expanding and burning desire. These folks have pushed their talent potential and continue to pursue the boundaries through perseverance and total dedication. How many prodigies are out there, really?

I read this from a link supplied by a generous member of this community. When a woman gushed over Fritz Kreisler's performance at a concert performance. "Mr Kreisler, I would give my life to play like that" to which he replied, "I have".

Go for it, "too old" is a limiter we impose on ourselves.

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#1057641 - 10/25/04 04:36 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
I started at almost 46.. it's going fine. I will never play Carnegie Hall, but I will play with a jazz trio with my brother and in restaurants and piano bars eventually.

Yer probably not even shaving yet, Baby Budd.. go for it.
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

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#1057642 - 10/25/04 05:06 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
David Kirkham Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 159
Loc: Provo, Utah
I have a very different perspective.

I really started to learn Spanish when I went to college. I studied harder than most and when I finally finished, even the natives could not tell I was an American. In fact, they often came to me with questions about their own vocabulary and grammar.

I started to learn Polish when I was 28 and now, most of the time, Poles do not know I am an American when I speak. (I get tripped up in strange topics, like religion, and politics.)

Of course, I used to spend hours, and hours, and hours repeating phrases and grammatical structures over and over and over and over again until I could reproduce the subtle sounds of the language.

I can remember standing on the corner outside in Poland one day and saying violin at least a 1000 times one day in Polish. (The word is terribly difficult for Americans to say.) Everyone passing by must have thought I was crazy.

As you many know, many "experts" think you have to learn a language when you are young or you will not be able to learn it perfectly. I don't believe them. I remember my girlfriend (Peruvian) in college once told me, "When I close my eyes, my ears tell me you are Latin, when I open my eyes--they simply don't understand what they are seeing."

I think if you want to become a concert pianist, then you will have a bigger hurdle wrestling with your own determination and practice habits than you will with fine motor skills. I have no doubt Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and Liszt all spent an unbelieveable amount of time practicing.

Now, will I ever become a concert pianist...no. As you get older, life just has too many problems it throws at you and there is really no possible way I can practice more than an hour or so a day.

David \:\) \:\) \:\)
_________________________
David Kirkham
Kirkham Motorsports
www.kirkhammotorsports.com
I bought my piano from www.pianocraft.net

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#1057643 - 10/26/04 11:14 AM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
MikeJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 37
Loc: wisconsin
"so it's really too late to become a concert pianist? "

If you don't try you'll never know.
If you do try, you will know that even if you don't succeed then you at least tried.
The possibility is there, and you may become what you hope to become.
But if you don't try you'll never know.
All it will take to find out is to try.

Not all of us had the opportunity in childhood, or we didn't have the interest then.

There was a man down the street where I grew up, our family visited with them fairly often. My mom played piano some, but he was definitely a concert level pianist. For his career he was a shipfitter, and only played the piano because he enjoyed it, he had no interest to play for large audiences nor for fame or glory, he simply played for his own enjoyment and for the enjoyment of his friends. He died at a relatively early age from asbestos poisoning. Not all concert level players play concerts.

Only time will tell how far you'll progress.
How much time you have only you can answer.

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#1057644 - 10/26/04 04:24 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
kateriniparalia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/04
Posts: 139
Loc: Cali
Like you, I thought I was "too old" to start piano at age 20, and at 21... and at 30... I finally started as a well-seasoned adult (and I'm actually pretty darned good, much to my surprise). Piano is definitely hard, but nowhere near as hard as I had thought it would be when I kept telling myself that, since I didn't start as a toddler, there was no use trying. Taking up piano is, without doubt, one of the most amazing things I've ever experienced. It has given me so much beauty, so much to look forward to, and dream about. I will forever be grateful that I got past the ridiculous notion that it was too late. As for the issue of never becoming a concert pianist, before you get depressed about whether or not that's true, is it really a main objective of yours? I felt similarly (except for me, it was about being an amazing jazz pianist), but I have become so enraptured by the learning *process* and the milestones of progress... the ongoing epiphanies musically, that I have lost all despair relating to the possible limitations to how far I can go. Every time I sit at the piano, something wonderful is in store. That's one thing I think us adult beginners have over the little tots. I think our ecstasy at each and every musical breakthrough is more intense, and these early learning months and years as beginning pianists represent such a magical time. We have more perspective and capacity to appreciate them than your average 5-year-old. This is your musical journey. Be aware of it, absorb it cherish it, and remember it forever. Just my two cents...

~kat

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#1057645 - 10/26/04 05:00 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
Jerry Luke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 969
Loc: Tillamook, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by kateriniparalia:
I think our ecstasy at each and every musical breakthrough is more intense, and these early learning months and years as beginning pianists represent such a magical time. We have more perspective and capacity to appreciate them than your average 5-year-old. This is your musical journey. Be aware of it, absorb it cherish it, and remember it forever.[/b]
What an awesome quote! And so true!
_________________________
Support our troops!

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#1057646 - 10/26/04 05:25 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
Robert J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/04
Posts: 88
Loc: west of Toronto, Ontario
 Quote:
Originally posted by James L. Taylor:
I am 73 and started about 4 yrs ago. I am getting better each day. [/b]
Great work James!

I worked in enrollment for a music school and I had a guy who was 75 and signed up. It's never late. Personally I'd reather die at the piano than at my bedside.
_________________________
RJ

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#1057647 - 10/26/04 06:01 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
David Kirkham Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 159
Loc: Provo, Utah
Kat,

Wow, what a wonderful post.

In one sentance you have adroitly illuminated why I struggle so to play the piano; something I could not do in an entire, bumbling page.

David \:\) \:\) \:\)
_________________________
David Kirkham
Kirkham Motorsports
www.kirkhammotorsports.com
I bought my piano from www.pianocraft.net

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#1057648 - 10/27/04 11:50 AM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
Kat's was an eloquent post, wasn't it? Wow.. and I studied journalism and wrote short stories..

Humbly,
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

Top
#1057649 - 10/27/04 12:59 PM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
Vintagefingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 331
Loc: SE
Oh yes Kat, beautiful, thanks for sharing that and articulating so wonderfully what I am sure we all feel.

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#1057650 - 10/29/04 08:31 AM Re: Is there a certain age where some is too old to learn?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Couldn't resist sharing in everybody's enthusiasm for the piano.

Had anyone considered the advantage that the keyboard has over all the other single-voice musical instruments? (strings, brass and woodwind)

Whatever the pianist's stage of development, you have the awesome potential of a full orchestra at your finger-tips. You can call up the roles of percussion, cellos and tubas in the bass and bring in violins, oboes and trumpets in the treble - and even, like hilarious Oscar Lavant in "An American in Paris", you can add the role of whimsical orchestral conductor.

Never look back!! Without experiencing the seduction of the piano you haven't lived!

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