Learning a Musical Instrument as an Adult

My wife has recently become seriously interested in learning to play music after not really having any musical education prior. While she’s dabbled a bit in the past, she needed to find an instrument and genre of music she was particularly excited about to get to the point of where she decided to take the plunge. For her, it’s Celtic harp.

She enjoys being able to ask me for help. Even though I don’t have a background in either Celtic music or harp, I’m still able to answer basic questions and even more complex ones involving music theory or ear training. I’ve been on the lookout lately for things that she might find useful and came across 7 tips for adults taking up a musical instrument. Honestly, the advice that’s in there is good for anyone, regardless of how old you are or even whether you’re just starting out with music or have been playing for decades.

  1. Dedicate a small amount of time every day to practice.
  2. Find some new music to play.
  3. Get your instrument serviced.
  4. Give yourself something to work for.
  5. Remember why you’re doing it.
  6. Persevere.
  7. Don’t be afraid.

Frankly, the above suggestions (and you should read through the short article for extra thoughts on each piece of advice) are solid for learning anything new. OK, maybe “get your instrument serviced” won’t apply to something like creative writing, for example, but the gist of the article does an excellent job of getting started on creative projects.

Matt F

#6 is particularly important. I quit my trombone study for 6 months after barely becoming a beginner, but when I went back to lessons recently I still had most of the skills I had acquired and am able to progress further. If you ever compose a harp / trombone duet post a link it would be interesting!

Scott Morrise

Kudos to your wife for being brave to start a new instrument as an adult. Sometimes we are hesitant to start new things because we don’t enjoy the process and want results right away.

I watched your embouchure videos on Youtube and have a trumpet embouchure question which I’d like to get your thoughts on if you have a moment to email me.


Ben singer

It is never too late to start learning an instrument. Never once in my life have I heard anyone making the effort to do so and then saying “oh I wish I didn’t learned that.” Not once!! Why? Because it is just so rewarding. It takes time yes, but one can really see their own progress in just a few days/weeks of daily practice.

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