Of course you’re not! It doesn’t matter if you’re in your thirties or your early hundreds, it’s never “too late” for you to take up a musical instrument. Having said that, lessons for adult students differ from lessons for kids.
Kids have one job: get educated. Our whole society is organized in large part upon making sure that children can spend the majority of their time up to age 18 just getting educated so that they can enter the “real world” as contributing members. This even applies to their music lessons. While we of course try to make learning music enjoyable for the young student, our primary objective is to teach them to understand how music works, and to see how it works in the context of other fields, like math and history.
But you? You’re a grown-up. You’ve already done the work of getting educated. You’re already a contributing member of society. So when you start taking music lessons, you’re in charge. But if you want to enjoy your lessons and get the most out of them, there are three things that you should be clear on:
1. Your purpose for taking music lessons in the first place. Are you looking for a way to relax? Or to stimulate your brain? Or perhaps you were once an advanced student and you want to rekindle what was once a serious commitment. Whatever your purpose, make sure you communicate this with your teacher.
2. How much you’re willing to commit. Be honest with yourself about how much of your free time you’re willing to spend practicing. And be honest with yourself about how often you’re willing to have a lesson. A half-hour every other week is fine, but the results will be dramatically different from having a lesson, say, an hour a week. And that brings us to…
3. Your expectations. When we see people making music, we’re almost always seeing a finished product — NOT the hundreds of hours that went into preparing that piece of music or the years of lessons leading up to that performance. As a result, it’s easy to get the impression that playing music is as easy as falling off a log. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not suggesting that it’ll take you years of daily practice before you’ll be making music. Certainly not. But if you set unreasonably high expectations for yourself, you’ll be on the fast-track to frustration.
The take-away from this rant is simply this: Whatever age you are, you’re not too old to start music lessons, but once you’ve begun, it’s important to know exactly what you want to get out of your lessons and to have an open line of communication between you and your teacher.
Best of luck!