Learning the Piano When You're Older

This forum is for anything not Reason related, if you just want to talk about other stuff. Please keep it friendly!
User avatar
Creativemind
Posts: 4486
Joined: 17 Jan 2015
Location: Stoke-On-Trent, England, UK

Post 07 Apr 2021

Hi All!

I've been trying to learn the piano for years and still not getting anywhere. I actually think it's to do with brain plasticity (neuroplasticity) and it being more difficult to learn things that require certain motor skills (like both hands working in conjunction on 2 opposite sides of the keyboard) at the same time.

Anybody here learnt the piano efficiently over say the age of 25 (with no prior lessons or anything).

I found this interesting article though that goes against what I just said:-

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/change ... 2Dtwenties.

Thanks!
:reason:

Reason Studio's 11.3 / Cockos Reaper 6.42 / Cakewalk By Bandlab / Orion 8.6
http://soundcloud.com/creativemind75/iv ... soul-mix-3

User avatar
integerpoet
Posts: 295
Joined: 30 Dec 2020
Location: East Bay, California

Post 07 Apr 2021

One factor might simply be that "older" people don't have as much time on their hands.

When I was learning to write software, I once sat in the same chair without sleeping, without anyone bringing me anything, and without getting up for anything for 36 hours straight.

And no, no drugs were involved. :-) It sounds crazy because it was. But I did it, and I was probably 21 at the time.

PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 2629
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Norway

Post 07 Apr 2021

Idk about you, poet, but I lacked the discipline back when I had the time so it was mostly wasted. 🤷‍♂️


RT Warning level: 1

🏁

User avatar
integerpoet
Posts: 295
Joined: 30 Dec 2020
Location: East Bay, California

Post 07 Apr 2021

PhillipOrdonez wrote:
07 Apr 2021
Idk about you, poet, but I lacked the discipline back when I had the time so it was mostly wasted. 🤷‍♂️
In the case of my story about learning to program, it was less discipline and more fascinated enthusiastic obsession. I guess learning to play a proper instrument properly is not very similar. It's work!

That's probably why I haven't managed it in adulthood. I have one of the world's many thousands of unplayed bass guitars. The bass is allegedly one of the the easiest non-trivial instruments. Guess who hasn't ever become competent.

I was almost competent on piano… when I was about 12. :-)

Every once in a while I wonder if I should get a theremin. It seems like ears are super-important, and I have good ears. And it seems like hands are not as important, or perhaps I should say calluses are not as important. :-)

User avatar
aeox
Posts: 3085
Joined: 23 Feb 2017
Location: marsoo

Post 07 Apr 2021

Creativemind wrote:
07 Apr 2021
Hi All!

I've been trying to learn the piano for years and still not getting anywhere. I actually think it's to do with brain plasticity (neuroplasticity) and it being more difficult to learn things that require certain motor skills (like both hands working in conjunction on 2 opposite sides of the keyboard) at the same time.

Anybody here learnt the piano efficiently over say the age of 25 (with no prior lessons or anything).

I found this interesting article though that goes against what I just said:-

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/change ... 2Dtwenties.

Thanks!
I started trying to learn piano when I was 25, it's been a few years now. I'm an amateur but I taught myself to play with both hands, enough to record midi for my tracks, etc.

After I purchased a midi keyboard for the first time, I just kept trying to play stuff every time I'd be in Reason. If you keep trying every day, there is nothing stopping you from learning in my opinion.

Since I don't know about brain plasticity, I'd say don't let that stop you from trying to learning anyway. Everything muscle memory related feels weird at first, right? Takes time!

User avatar
DaveyG
Posts: 1328
Joined: 03 May 2020

Post 08 Apr 2021

Did I ever tell you about the time I bought my first real six string and played it 'til my fingers bled?
Or I may be confusing myself with a Canadian soft rocker.

But, yeah, definitely harder to learn instruments as you get older.

User avatar
MrFigg
Posts: 7253
Joined: 20 Apr 2018

Post 08 Apr 2021

How many times have you asked someone “do you play an instrument?” and got the answer “No. I’d really like to but I don’t have the discipline to practice. “?
I’ve never had a problem with discipline in that sense as it has never felt like I had to sit down at any particular time or practice an hour every day or whatever. When I started learning the guitar it wasn’t a conscious effort. It was more that whenever I was just sitting around I always had the guitar in my hands just plinky plonking on it. Felt more like relaxing therapy than a chore. Even now when I’m going from room to room in my house I’ll often pick up a guitar automatically. I’m kind of the same with piano too...I’m not particularly good but every time I sit with it in passing I get better. Like driving maybe. Wandering basslines and chords with one hand and melody with the other. I know where all the note should be in any case. I’ve never read music. I think it’s probably easier to learn an instrument when you’re enjoying doing it.
Was actually the same when I was learning different languages too. Sitting down and studying was a pain but sitting in good company or at work was a pleasure learning new words and grammar and all that.
丰2ॐ

User avatar
Jagwah
Posts: 2104
Joined: 16 Jan 2015

Post 08 Apr 2021

No I haven't learnt the piano but I do have some opinions on it.

It's important to know what your intentions are in regards to it. All lessons / tutorials / books I have seen on the subject are only interested in classically training you until you are some kind of expert which is going to need serious dedication. If you want to play in a band, you need to learn this stuff, if you want to learn it to help you compose it's very likely you can learn your own style just like most of us have our own style of typing on our qwerty keyboards. I doubt many of us are touch typing yet we fluently use our qwertys for our needs.

I play to compose and I do none of the 'cup your hand like you are holding an orange' or 'cross your arms over at this point in order to use the correct fingers.' I just learnt my own style and it works swimmingly for my purposes.

I agree with MrFigg above, I am no guitar player but I would like to play it a bit, and having my guitar sit around I pick it up for enjoyment and slowly learn a few things and it is fun and I slowly progress, the flipside would be doing scales for an hour every day then after a year learning to play mary had a little lamb - the long road to officially learning an instrument.

What a shame / extraordinary situation we have in that kids could learn a bunch of these instruments whereas we need half a life time to learn one just as well.

User avatar
Jackjackdaw
Posts: 1022
Joined: 12 Jan 2019

Post 08 Apr 2021

My old man is learning the Piano. He's 60 something, been at it a couple of years now. Last I heard he was doing some Joni Mitchell stuff and it sounded good. He started from scratch with some lessons aimed at kids.

I tried it in my 20s but couldn't stick at it. Conversely I seem to have endless patience for guitar excersises with a metronome. I think you have to find the instrument that inspires you enough to be able to find the learning of it meditative.

User avatar
EdwardKiy
Banned user
Posts: 760
Joined: 02 Oct 2019

Post 08 Apr 2021

Creativemind wrote:
07 Apr 2021
Hi All!

I've been trying to learn the piano for years and still not getting anywhere. I actually think it's to do with brain plasticity (neuroplasticity) and it being more difficult to learn things that require certain motor skills (like both hands working in conjunction on 2 opposite sides of the keyboard) at the same time.

Anybody here learnt the piano efficiently over say the age of 25 (with no prior lessons or anything).

Thanks!
The opposite is true. Generally speaking, our brains are not even formed until we are at least 26-27 - that's when the prefrontal gyrus of the frontal lobe fully matures and we can fully correlate the effort-to-reward-to-danger ratios aka risk taking. This is why most incarcerations, most suicides, most countries conquered, and most grandmothers murdered with an axe - are all done by people 27 and younger. There's plenty on this by Eric Kandel or Sapolsky.

Our brain keeps evolving, enhancing and optimizing circuitry until we die. It just becomes a more sophisticated tool, less clay and more scalpel. There's a trade-off, of course. Scalpel is more brittle and prone to rust. Faculties that are not used degenerate faster with age, but those that are trained are enhanced more rapidly. Most prominently, faculties of physical perception and cognitions are the fastest to degenerate when not used.

But it's not just our neural mapping changing with age to be more efficient at set tasks (neuroplasticity), but excitability and inhibition ranges for neurons as well = neurons takes less signal to start up and a lot less signal to slow down or stop. This means that young adults can potentially complete the same complex intellectual tasks as the adults, but they will burn more fuel and rev up the engines to higher RPM's so to speak.

Here's some more recent stuff,
simple english:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2 ... 105917.htm
study article:
https://www.nature.com/articles/srep27388

But then there's diseases, of which you have higher chances to develop the longer you live, like the various forms of dementia, which is not a normal part of aging. The good thing about it being a disease is that eventually treatments will be found.

User avatar
challism
Moderator
Posts: 3283
Joined: 17 Jan 2015
Location: Fanboy Shill

Post 08 Apr 2021

integerpoet wrote:
07 Apr 2021
One factor might simply be that "older" people don't have as much time on their hands.
If that's a pun, it's a damn good one.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Players are to MIDI what synthesizers are to waveforms.
Image
ReasonTalk Rules and Guidelines

User avatar
integerpoet
Posts: 295
Joined: 30 Dec 2020
Location: East Bay, California

Post 08 Apr 2021

challism wrote:
08 Apr 2021
integerpoet wrote:
07 Apr 2021
One factor might simply be that "older" people don't have as much time on their hands.
If that's a pun, it's a damn good one.
It's a play on words now and you get all the credit.

User avatar
Creativemind
Posts: 4486
Joined: 17 Jan 2015
Location: Stoke-On-Trent, England, UK

Post 08 Apr 2021

Jackjackdaw wrote:
08 Apr 2021
My old man is learning the Piano. He's 60 something, been at it a couple of years now. Last I heard he was doing some Joni Mitchell stuff and it sounded good. He started from scratch with some lessons aimed at kids.

I tried it in my 20s but couldn't stick at it. Conversely I seem to have endless patience for guitar excersises with a metronome. I think you have to find the instrument that inspires you enough to be able to find the learning of it meditative.
Yeah I didn't start learning the guitar till I was 22. I found (though I was still quite young then) I was dedicated and maybe slightly addicted and was pretty good rhythm guitar-wise after a year and now been playing 23 years.

The piano, although I can tinker I find it really difficult to get fluent at. I play maybe 2 chords in succession and then I will overdue or copy / paste / adjust to make a melody up
:reason:

Reason Studio's 11.3 / Cockos Reaper 6.42 / Cakewalk By Bandlab / Orion 8.6
http://soundcloud.com/creativemind75/iv ... soul-mix-3

  • Information
  • Who is online

    Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot], Trendiction [Bot] and 1 guest