In music, is there really a suitable age to start playing an instrument?
Once you reach a certain age, you often let yourself go to statements about the past, seasoned with a bit of melancholy and many regrets.
Someone swears that, without a bad injury, he would now be fighting with Cristiano Ronaldo for the Ballon d’Or; another shoots general curses at those who stole an idea that would have made him a billionaire.
Many, many more, are those who share the regret of not having studied a musical instrument, and years later continue to remain passive in the face of the situation.
“I’m not a kid anymore, I’m not old enough to understand anything.
So, does age count for anything?
To answer this fundamental question, let’s start by analyzing the various phases in which piano learning is articulated.
THE “THREE STEPS” IN LEARNING THE PIANO
Let’s examine a rather complex instrument to approach, the piano.
First step: the first hours of study of this instrument, tens, if not hundreds, are very similar: exercises, muscle pain, exercises, tendon pain.
Here, the increased muscle elasticity of children’s brains can make a difference.
Second step: then, we move on to deal with slightly more complex pieces, with a melody of their own, with indications of expression and speed. Repetition, sometimes at the limit of obsessiveness, is the key to this step in learning.
Here, too, a more ‘reactive’ brain can be considered as an extra gear.
Third step: the complexity of the pieces dealt with increases, to which is added, however, the request/research for a more marked interpretative capacity.
In this case, the performer’s experience, understood as the whole of the interweaving of experience, represents the only source of energy. The ability to draw on personal emotions and to make them music, comes from the greatness of the subjective experiential baggage that matures, and expands, over time.
Of course, to get to the third step, however, you have to overcome the first two, which are rightly facilitated by age.
So only children can learn perfectly?
When you grow up, do you have to accept defeat?
A child can be facilitated in the study of the piano, thanks to the known malleability of his brain, but he must be spurred on, because often he has absolutely no desire to learn to play an instrument, he gets bored easily loses concentration.
An adult, however, has the ability to self-impose much longer periods of attention, knows how to manage himself, in time and rhythm, is driven by a personal motivation, much more tenacious.
He plays and studies because he is a suascelta.
What really counts to learn how to play
If on the one hand the age is a factor that helps the study of the piano (and any instrument, discipline, etc..), factors such as motivation, commitment and consistency, are the real fuel for learning, the real foundations on which to build new skills and knowledge.
Imagine the marble blocks with which Michelangelo’s Pieta were made. Here, before arriving even just to glimpse the works of art that we all know, Buonarroti had to sweat, work hard, spend their time.
Three works of art as the three steps listed above.
The genius, the mental elasticity, the predisposition, exist. But they are nothing without willpower and self-control.
Clearly, an adult has several other activities to do in life: work, family, machine overhaul, shopping.
We often feel tired, once we have completed our “daily missions”, and certainly we do not want to perform repetitive exercises in our little free time.
But beware: it all comes from our choice.
We all have free time, some more, some less, and we are able to decide on its occupation.
Have we decided to learn how to play our favorite song? Perfect, as soon as we can release ten minutes, we unplug everything and focus on the keyboard. A few minutes, a few hours, once or more times a week. The important thing is to achieve the goal we set ourselves.
Some useful advice
Get your head around what goals you want to achieve and, above all, how much time you want to spend in the study of the piano. Whether it’s the melody of your girlfriend’s favourite song, to be learnt by the anniversary of your love story, or the chords of the freshest hit of the moment, find some space for piano practice.
At first it will be complicated, often repetitive, certainly nerve-wracking. You have to hold on! The top of the mountain closest to each exercise you complete, and then it’s all downhill.
And remember that when you enter a crowded room, and you are able to play the piano, even if you just strum it, it will instantly make you the most admired people.