I bet you’ve just imagined a grey-haired eighty-years old lady. Though in music, as in the art of ballet, “old” age becomes relevant early on – when you are eighteen! At that age our hands become tough and clenched; shoulders are desperately tensed as we carry every-day-problems on them. The older a person is, the harder it is to help them relax the body, at least its crucial parts needed to play piano – wrists, fingers, elbows, shoulders.
If you start learning piano in your thirties, you will probably never be able to perform Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” in its very original, non-simplified form, and in the right tempo. Much of the world of classical piano music will stay beyond your capabilities.
Besides our personal physical skills, the result depends on the motivation of the student. I’d say this is the main reason why working with adults might be more interesting for me sometimes than teaching kids.
Some of my students wanted to play the piano in their childhood but their parents couldn’t offer them the opportunity. Many people fall in love with classical music only after their forties. Some of them feel like playing their favourite pop or rock music covers. Many adults who played the piano as children regret having abandoned it. There are also parents who want to follow their children in learning the piano.
It’s probably the moment when the question “is it too late for me?” comes up. Learning the piano may look like learning a foreign language. This language though, needs a physical coordination and a prompt reactions.
By your 40-50s you usually pursue some professional activity or a job and you have a significant background. If you are not afraid to feel like a bumbling apprentice again then you’re really motivated and you are welcome to my classes! It is never too late for some interesting medium-difficult classics, pop-music and soundtracks.
For now let me put a relevant video here. Stephanie, 20, started her piano classes only three weeks ago from “zero” level. Piano pieces for total beginners, tiny and “plain”, may not seem good enough to motivate the student. This is why it would be so helpful of the teacher to accompany your first steps and to play along with you.
That is how the hands and fingers look like after three half-hour lessons (1 lesson per week).
In the next part I’ll show you some useful video-examples of my “old-aged” students that will help you to get a better view on the learning-piano-process.
To be continued.