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#1942750 - 08/14/12 07:13 PM Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s?
BBM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/29/11
Posts: 30
Loc: USA
I’m an absolute beginner with zero music experience / background. I have been taking classes for a little more than a year and am in my 30s. I’m averaging 30minutes of practice every night. I am wondering if anyone from the forum start music late in life and it is able to make it in the advance level. If you do, what advice you would give to stick with the practice and keep progressing?
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#1942779 - 08/14/12 08:16 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
majones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 331
Loc: Deep East Texas Piney Woods
Define advanced. I took up music at age 65 when I retired in 2000. Yep, do the math.

Banjo led to rhythm guitar. Rhythm guitar led to electric guitar, that led to keyboard, keyboard and chord piano (chord accompaniment)is how I play the keyboard. Somewhere in there 4 string electric bass guitar came into my life. The bass and keyboard get most of my time now.

Will I ever be really good, probably not, but, I can, and do, hold up my end in two bands. Been with one of those bands for over 10 years now. Its not rocket science..... One way or another get with other people and play music with them.

You asked about being 30. Age itself has little to do with it, it's the time you give to your music that will determine how far you advance. Thirty minutes a day is the bare minimum to spend. If I look back when I was 30 I doubt I would have had 30 minutes a day to spare what with the job, family and putting bread on the table.

All the musicians I know have a day job. Most of us will never make enough money from music to feed the family. Enjoy the journey, its a great hobby and if a little money does come in so much the better.


Edited by majones (08/14/12 08:57 PM)

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#1942804 - 08/14/12 09:07 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Your age is irrelevant. From my perspective, thirtyish is practically a teenager, but try for at least an hour of practice a day. Thirty minutes just won't cut it. It's not unusual for serious amateurs to practice three or four or more hours a day. That's about what it takes to reach a genuine advanced level. For now an hour of focused practice each day will at least build you a good foundation. You don't have to do it all at one go. You'll find that as you progress you'll want more practice time and you'll figure out all sorts of sneaky ways get it.
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#1942812 - 08/14/12 09:21 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4804
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: -Frycek
Your age is irrelevant. From my perspective, thiryish is practically a teenager, but try for at least an hour of practice a day. Thirty minutes just won't cut it. It's not unusual for serious amateurs to practice three or four or more hours a day. That's about what it takes to reach a genuine advanced level. For now an hour of focused practice each day will at least build you a good foundation. You don't have to do it all at one go. You'll find that as you progress you'll want more practice time and you'll figure out all sorts of sneaky ways get it.
thumb (Hi -Frycek! Great post.)
Originally Posted By: BBM
I am wondering if anyone from the forum start music late in life and it is able to make it in the advance level. If you do, what advice you would give to stick with the practice and keep progressing?
Yes! I have two friends who both started piano in their 40's. Neither took lessons as children and both are now playing RCM level 9 music. How did they do it? By working with a good teacher, working hard and practicing what they loved.
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Deborah

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#1942922 - 08/14/12 11:01 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3165
The key is to get a good teacher, and learn how to practice correctly.
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#1942943 - 08/14/12 11:58 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Started at 47 and practiced 2-3 hours a day, every day!
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#1942994 - 08/15/12 03:59 AM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Yes.
Advice: stick with it and keep practising.
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#1943070 - 08/15/12 09:01 AM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: rocket88]
chopin_r_us Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 958
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: rocket88
The key is to get a good teacher, and learn how to practice correctly.
Good advice. I got a performance diploma in my late 40's, only because I had a superb teacher. Remember, it's not how long you practice it's how you practice.

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#1943091 - 08/15/12 10:01 AM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
Stanza Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
Don't try to run before you can walk. If you try to advance to rapidly you will get frustrated and maybe even quit. Enjoy the journey and one day you will wake up with pretty good skills.

Really work on reading music and theory! Just as you learned to read text, which opened up a whole world of knowledge, being able to read music well and sight read a little will enable you delve into the vast amount of piano literature. Knowing theory will help it all make sense and facilitate learning pieces and improvisation.

Remember that most instruments are monophonic. Just because the piano is polyphonic doesn't mean that you can't produce beautiful music with even simple melodies and "easy" pieces.

Good luck you can do it just as others have said, be patient and keep at it!
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#1943094 - 08/15/12 10:11 AM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
jjo Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 639
Loc: Chicago
BBM: Why worry about becoming an "advanced" player? "Advanced" means you can play more technically challenging pieces, but there are simple pieces of music that are utterly beautiful. If you love making music, how "advanced" you become is not that important. Sure, it's fun to play more complex pieces, and there is a nice sense of accomplishment. But the the real pleasure in all of this is the magical ability to make music, and you can do a lot of that at almost any level.

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#1943325 - 08/15/12 05:28 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: jjo]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
I wonder if we scared him off - - -
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#1943385 - 08/15/12 07:54 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1993
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Yes you can if you practice every day and take lessons from a good teacher. Even if you are an average player like me, you will get there. Give it ten years with 2 hours a day. My friend started piano 10 years ago first time in life, now she is playing Bach Italian Concerto very well.
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#1943901 - 08/16/12 02:47 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
9symphony9 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Long Island, New York
I think it depends more on the persons ability to learn rather than age. It is usually much harder the older you are though. Some peoples brains are still active enough to learn at an older age.

I'm also learning two languages at once; Spanish and Japanese. It is anything but easy. You don't remember things as well compared to when you were 15 years old.


Edited by 9symphony9 (08/16/12 02:48 PM)

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#1943911 - 08/16/12 03:01 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
PianoFlyer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 10
Loc: Park City, Utah
I am sure I'm paraphrasing a well-known quote here, but just like with most things in life, whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right!
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4th Time Beginner...But this time I'm SERIOUS!

2008 Perzina GP-129
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#1943938 - 08/16/12 03:32 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: PianoFlyer]
writebynight Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/23/12
Posts: 14
I just turned 40 this year. While there's not a day that goes when I wish I took lessons much earlier, I love the discoveries I make everyday. I'm not looking to be Liberace. I simply love music and I love keeping my brain sharp.
_________________________
Working on Lead Me On by Maxine Nightingale.

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#1943971 - 08/16/12 04:24 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: writebynight]
9symphony9 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Long Island, New York
That is the same reason why I really did it also. Another way of keeping your brain sharp is learning languages.

That will keep you going forever since it is really impossible to ever learn all of the words in an entire language.

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#1944085 - 08/16/12 08:13 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
Butcherbob880 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/17/12
Posts: 1
Loc: ohio
I sure hope so BBM.Im 52 and just started taking lessons.I always loved the keyboards.and I figure with my piano i will never be bored.

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#1944797 - 08/18/12 12:19 AM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: -Frycek]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: -Frycek
I wonder if we scared him off - - -

LOL laugh

If not, this might..

It is quite possible. Age is not a barrier. Time is. Sounds like I'm contradicting myself, but I'm not. I've read that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of dedicated study to become a "master" at something. So, at one hour a day, that's 10,000 days or about 27.5 years. Someone who begins at 30 and expects to be an expert by 31 is most assuredly not going to make it.. but by no means is it impossible to eventually reach your goal. It just depends on how much time you have available to dedicate towards that goal.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#1944968 - 08/18/12 09:52 AM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: 9symphony9]
Cmajor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/11
Posts: 229
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: 9symphony9
I think it depends more on the persons ability to learn rather than age. It is usually much harder the older you are though. Some peoples brains are still active enough to learn at an older age.

I'm also learning two languages at once; Spanish and Japanese. It is anything but easy. You don't remember things as well compared to when you were 15 years old.


Individual ability does indeed play a role in how effectively and adult, or a child, can learn. However, the belief that it is "much harder", in general, for older adults to learn is a very common misconception that has been contradicted by numerous studies.

I am presently taking part in an 18 month study of retirement age (55 to 75) adults who have taken up challenging hobbies, specifically, a musical instrument or a new language and the effects on learning ability and cognitive skills. It is being conducted at a major University Medical School and the early indications are a substantial increase in learning capacity the longer one pursues that hobby. (Seems you have to practice learning too)

According to the medical professionals administering the study, their results so far coincide with numerous previous studies of older adults and their ability to learn and that is... Unless they are suffering from a neurological disorder of some type they are able to learn as quickly as younger adults and even children in some cases. Of course, there are many variables that can effect this ability and it may be necessary to "relight" certain areas of the brain to pursue languages and such but it can be done.

These types of studies continue to validate the age old datum of "use it or lose it".

Older adults should embrace challenge, not fear it as being too hard or even impossible, as it is the only known "fountain of youth" to actually exist.

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#1945139 - 08/18/12 05:04 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
PianogrlNW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/11
Posts: 301
Loc: Seattle, WA
Forget about the goal of becoming a certain level of pianist and enjoy the process. Believe me, you have plenty of years to become accomplished. As you probably have already gotten this message from the previous posters, there are NO SHORTCUTS. Dedicated practicing with short-term goals and a good teacher will be the key to improving.
_________________________


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#1945150 - 08/18/12 05:37 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
BBM, practice more every day, dear, and then write us back. You are on the right track: studying with the guidance of a teacher, and practicing every day. But you have to double down on that practice time if you expect to learn your lessons faster than you forget them.

"...the belief that it is "much harder", in general, for older adults to learn is a very common misconception that has been contradicted by numerous studies..."

It sounds like you are not older yourself, or you would know better. The plastic, amazingly absorbent, relatively uncluttered and wonderfully energetic mind of a very young person does learn very quickly, and often almost effortlessly. This is an endowment of nature. We do have to make more of an effort to pick things up and remember them as we get older: that is nature's endowment of the older mind. But you're right that it is possible and very much worth the effort; idle brain cells rust up just as surely as idle fingers.

BBM, practice at least an hour a day, at least five days a week. There's a figure "cited by numerous studies" that it costs 10,000 hours to attain proficiency, not just in piano but in many endeavors. Having not reached 10,000 myself, I couldn't say for sure, but let's say it is (or something like it): divide 10,000 by however long you're practicing, then figure out how many years it would be. If it's longer than your life expectancy, better step it up if you want to get there and enjoy it for awhile.

I think the growth of your desire to progress is a natural feature of the learning process, and a sign that you are on the right track. The fact that you are wise enough to ask this question is another good sign. Your thirst for mastery and your open mind for knowledge will take you a long way.
_________________________
Clef


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#1945157 - 08/18/12 06:04 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
ukbuk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/30/10
Posts: 86
Loc: UK
Go for it. I agree, increase the practice time but just go for it. Other than probably not being able to become a concert pianist most of the repertoire will be playable by you in time if you persevere (but more practice will be required).

I don't believe in that 10,000 hour thing. More important is the quality of your practice. 10,000 hours practising with bad technique will make you really good... at playing with a bad technique.

Just focus on short term goals, learn as much as you can and put it into practice as often as you can. Read stuff on here but don't take anything for granted (including my post!), try stuff out but if it doesn't work for you just leave it behind. Ask questions of your teacher and don't be afraid to move on to another if you feel you've outgrown that teacher. Absorb as much piano music as you can whilst not at the piano. Develop a good ear too.

Another thing about the age thing. There are some people who say that it's easier for a child to learn to play the piano but think about the advantages you have. Self-motivation. Your own experience as to how you learn best. Better problem solving ability. Handspan! What you probably don't have as much of is time in the day, but you'll just have to work around that.
_________________________
Restarted piano in September 2010 after previous misguided attempts to learn without a teacher.

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#1945166 - 08/18/12 06:38 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: ukbuk]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: ukbuk
I don't believe in that 10,000 hour thing. More important is the quality of your practice. 10,000 hours practising with bad technique will make you really good... at playing with a bad technique.

Good post. I just want to try and clarify one thing, since more than one poster has now mentioned the "10k rule". You bring it up here, as well: it is considered "understood" that someone attempting to achieve mastery, or proficiency as Jeff used, would attempt to practice correctly. You are 100% correct in saying that someone who practices something incorrectly will be a master at doing it incorrectly. The premise for the "10k rule" supposes that a person is practicing correctly.. and that it still takes 10k hours.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#1945180 - 08/18/12 07:42 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
SoundThumb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/10
Posts: 344
Loc: San Diego, CA
Although the 10,000 hr number gets thrown around a lot, there is anechdotal evidence based upon the experience of members of this forum that somewhere around 3,000 hrs one moves from student to practiced musician. So don't get scared off by the 10,000 hr number. We can debate what "advanced" means, but I like to think it is probably a skill level that is obtainable a lot sooner than at the 10,000 hr mark.

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#1945248 - 08/18/12 11:29 PM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: -Frycek]
Brian Lucas Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 979
Originally Posted By: -Frycek
I wonder if we scared him off - - -
Maybe he was 39 when he posted, just had a birthday and now this subject no longer applies.

My thoughts, you're going to age anyway, might as well go for it. In response to the "Do you know how old I'll be when I finally get good at piano?" question, I always say, "Yep, the same age you'll be if you don't learn!"
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#1945261 - 08/19/12 12:09 AM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: Brian Lucas]
PianogrlNW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/11
Posts: 301
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: Brian Lucas
My thoughts, you're going to age anyway, might as well go for it. In response to the "Do you know how old I'll be when I finally get good at piano?" question, I always say, "Yep, the same age you'll be if you don't learn!"


Bingo - couldn't have said it better!
_________________________


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#1945302 - 08/19/12 04:41 AM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
Johan B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/07
Posts: 979
Loc: The Netherlands, Grootegast-Gr...
Hi BBM,

I use to think...... Nil volentibus arduum.....that's Latin for.... Nothing is difficult for those who really want.... grin

Enjoy it and good luck.

Cheers,
Johan B
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#1945314 - 08/19/12 06:48 AM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
Tubbie0075 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 544
I think the key factor between an adult and a child's learning speed is resource. Adults have less time, financial limitations and life to worry about other than music. A child who is provided a piano and piano lessons has a lot less to think about other than music. If both are as motivated, a child progress quicker mainly because of the circumstances.

I don't believe an adult cannot learn something new purely because they are older. I envy those that has 3 hours a day to spend on practising. The most I can practise during the work week is 2, 3-5 hours on Saturday and 3 hours on Sunday.

Good luck!

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#1945335 - 08/19/12 07:56 AM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2995
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
The 10000 hour rule comes from the book
'Outliers' in which glad well claims that those musicians who reached 10000 hrs of practice by age 20 went on to become the elite.
Those with 8000 became good musicians.
And those with 4000 became music teachers.

Not my words :-)
Read the book for more details, great book.

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#1945341 - 08/19/12 08:04 AM Re: Is it possible to become an advance player at 30s? [Re: BBM]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2995
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
The ears of a 4 year old are incredibly better than those of a 9 year old.
If a child learns English at age 10, he will forever have an accent.
If he does at age 5, he will not.
If he does at age 21, he will have a thick one.

It doesn't even need to be conscious practice or lessons. You can throw in all the 10s of thousands of hours you want. The 5 year old wins. Without a sweat. :-)

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