Mythbusting 6: It’s too late for me to learn guitar

There are many myths about having music lessons and I’m here to bust ’em! Today, there’s something you really need to know… It’s never to late to learn!

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6. It’s too late for me to learn, you need to start when you’re seven

I have taught many people from teenage years and beyond who are living proof that this myth does not hold water. There is no “rule” for when you should start playing an instrument. (In fact the only prerequisite is that the desire to learn is strong.) Sure, if you wanted to become a world class, virtuoso classical musician, it would be very difficult if you hadn’t started early. Anyone who’s read “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell will gladly (no pun intended) tell you that you need 10,000 hours to to that kind of level an instrument. But the beauty of guitar and popular music in particular is that simplicity rules and it is possible to make satisfying music very quickly, with very little experience. Some of the most exciting music ever made was written with only a handful of chords which can be mastered in a very short period of time.

Scientists have studied brain plasticity and yes, young brains are learning machines that cannot be matched by one that’s been around the block a few times. But that does not mean that a young student will automatically make faster progress than an older one. On the contrary, it’s often quite the opposite. A child who does not yet appreciate the value of music and whose attention is being drawn by other activities might not have the required focus for diligent practice. An older person with a passion for music and a good sense of time management is far more likely to make steady progress and could easily end up a better musician than the young upstart.

Of course, one of the most satisfying facets of learning an instrument is the potential for continual growth and you will be amazed by the results that you will be able to achieve with continued, dedicated study. There will ALWAYS be something more to learn, no matter what age or level of experience you are. There was a poster at my Music School which stated, “Never stop learning” and this is one of the most exciting concepts in learning guitar: that there is an abundance of music to enjoy, the only limitations being your imagination and dedication. And that applies at any age.



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Notting Hill Guitar School. Lessons are provided at our studio on Portobello Road, West London. Nearest tube stations are Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park and Notting Hill Gate.




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I have found Seb to be a great teacher. I would heartily recommend anyone who wants to improve what they do, and expand the range of their playing material, to get in touch

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