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Is It Too Late?

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#1 Chemical



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Posted 25 August 2014 - 05:20 AM

I've always been able to play the piano by ear using just one hand but I've actually never been to a music institute to improve my skills. I am in my mid 30's now and I was wondering if it's too late to learn the piano? What is the ideal age? And when is it too late?

#2 sanctus


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Posted 25 August 2014 - 06:55 AM

I guess it depends on two factors:

1) Your goal

2) Your talent


If your goal is just to learn to play to a moderate level, it is not too late independent of your talent. But if you think the make a career out of it, it is very dependent on your talent (meaning very unlikely unless you turn out to be a natural talent).

Note, that I do not speak out of experience...and I think: if fun is your goal just go for it!

#3 Eclogite



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Posted 26 August 2014 - 04:04 AM

Are you familiar with the 10,000 hour rule? The concept is that around 10,000 hours are required to become expert in anything. I suspect one could become reasonably competent in much less.






(I must be getting close to being an expert on contributing to internet forums. :))


I have given up trying to play and have switched to composing. Only another 9,969 hours to go.

#4 Boerseun


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Posted 30 August 2014 - 04:40 AM

Interesting you mentioning the 10,000-hour rule, Eclogite. I read the book where the rule was explained the other day, but I couldn't figure out if the 10,000 hours applies to everybody. 


For instance, would somebody in his teens, with a more supple brain and body, be able to get to the same level in 8,000 hours, whereas someone in his thirties might require 12,000?


And once in your fifites, I suppose you'd be closer to 20,000 hours for the same results as a teen - if only because your synapses are slower in forming new connections? I don't know - I just don't think the 10,000 hour rule can apply to all age groups equally.

#5 Eclogite



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Posted 30 August 2014 - 05:36 AM

I would think that would depend upon the nature of the skill one was trying to acquire. Clearly the suppleness required in gymnastics would favour th young. On the other hand more intellectual skills might well benefit from a wider range of 'life experience'.


I have not read the original material, but would have imagined that the 10,000 is intended as a ball-park number and carries more weight as a metaphor than a quantitative, routinely replicable absolute.


Nor, as far as I am aware, does the rule exclude differences due to inherent talent. I take it to mean that extensive practive will produce a very solid competence at the expert level. You get to be Scarlatti, but not Johann Sebastian.