Learning to play music as an adult

Author: David Hines  

So you’re an adult and you have decided you’d like to take up playing a musical instrument? Despite what you may hear from some people it really is never too late to begin playing. Personally I started lessons on violin when I was 5 years old but I have recently joined a community orchestra and there are many in the group who only began playing in their fifties, or sixties! As with any new skill learning an instrument requires real patience and commitment but the rewards are most certainly worth the effort! Here we provide a few tips which hopefully you might find useful.


Choosing an Instrument

Probably the most important decision you will make. There are a number of things you need to consider here. Firstly, choose an instrument that is fundamental to the type of music that you really enjoy listening to. If you love classical music and soaring strings then a violin or viola would be great. If you enjoy jazz then perhaps a saxophone. Or if modern popular music is your thing a guitar is a great all round choice. Learning an instrument that you can use to play the music you love will make your musical journey pleasurable and rewarding. At Axiom Music we import all kinds of instruments so you’re sure to find the right one for you.



This depends a lot upon the instrument you choose. Some instruments are easy to teach yourself on, whilst some have a level of difficulty that means some lessons from a teacher will make things a whole lot easier. As an example, guitar is an instrument that you can easily and quite quickly learn on your own, using books or video lessons. Similarly, Ukulele is fun and easy to teach yourself on. An instrument such as a violin or flute, however, requires some fundamental technique which you will really need a teacher to help you with. Whilst some have self taught on these instruments your progress will be much faster and more productive with professional lessons. If you’re unsure on whether lessons are needed drop us a line and we’ll be happy to give you some advice. 



As with any new skill the key to success is regular practice and commitment. Set aside a time each day to devote to practicing your instrument and try to set some goals. For example, “this week I am going to master that song” or “today I want to get this scale perfect”. There’s no reason practice can’t be fun as well, but some structure and planning will move you along on your musical journey far more effectively than if you just sit down and play randomly.


Getting together with others

This is probably the best part of playing a musical instrument and playing with others will not only encourage and inspire you but it will also accelerate your learning process as you pick up tips and ideas from other players. Google for groups in your area. There are many amateur orchestras, ukulele groups and others all over Australia. There are also “jam nights” at many pubs and clubs. If you’re not ready to play in front of a large group find a friend or relative that plays and suggest a get together.

Above all, don’t be afraid! Learning to play a musical instrument is good for the brain and good for the soul. If you need any ideas or advise we are always here to help. Have fun!

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