One thing is clear at the outset: you are never too old to learn to play the piano. However, as an older beginner, you can expect to encounter a few extra challenges, like fingers that might not move as quickly as you would like, or that don’t quite reach the right keys because they need to be stretched through regular practice. The biggest challenge of all may be sharpening your hand-to-eye coordination. These abilities typically come more easily to younger students. But with practice, they will come nonetheless and you’ll find they have benefits beyond piano playing.
Depending on your personality and budget, you have a few options:
1. You can find a teacher willing to teach older students. (Church pianists often are.)
2. You can access online tutorials at YouTube.com. (Some are free. Some you must pay for.)
3. You can buy books and teach yourself. (This is the most challenging way, in my opinion.)
How To Begin:
If you use a teacher, you will likely have weekly lessons. You will start with beginner books showing basics like how to sit at the keyboard correctly and the proper placement for your hands. When playing a song you will be shown which finger will play each note (finger placement is very important and can change with each song.)
You will need to practice at least 20 minutes every day. As you do, remember that you are older and your hands are older too. Because of this, you will likely find it takes a while to get your fingers to always cooperate.
The Bottom Line
If you’re in your 50's or older, you are not trying to become a concert pianist. You’re learning because you love listening to piano music and you have always wanted to learn to play the piano for personal enjoyment. Perhaps you want to play Christmas songs and ”Auld Lang Syne” during the holidays, or “Happy Birthday” at birthday parties. Every goal and dream you ever had as an aspiring piano player is worth the time and effort that are required to learn to play the most amazing instrument on the planet!
Whether you work with a teacher, use YouTube tutorials, or teach yourself with books, you have a lot of work ahead of you. So give it all you’ve got and you can be sure you will get out of it whatever you put into it. Be true to yourself and become the pianist you want to be for yourself and nobody else.
Having the heart and determination to learn to play the piano in your later years, you can take pride in still being able to set – and achieve – positive goals that will change your life for the better. And who knows? You just might end up being a positive example and an inspiration to others who are thinking about making positive changes in their own lives, whatever their age!
Most of all, remember to stay focused and positive. YOU CAN DO IT!
Lynn Rae knows from personal experience that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. She was in her late 30's when she decided to learn to play the piano.