Janet Feld

Myth #9: "I'm too old to learn how to play the guitar."

One of my dad’s favorite things to say was, “if you don’t use it, you lose it!” and indeed he was sharp as a tack until he died at the age of 91.  When he was born in 1911 in Poland, his home was heated with a coal stove and lit by kerosene lamps.  In the ‘80s he bought his first PC (with the operating system on a 5 ¼ inch floppy disk) and by the time the technology was available, he was happily using the Internet.

These days the scientists call it “brain plasticity” and learning new things like how to play the guitar nurtures it.  When you engage in creative activities you use both sides of your brain.  There’s the right brain “wow that song makes me feel so great” part and the mathematical, left brain music theory part.  If that last phrase made your stomach clench, please see Myth #5: “I’d have to study at a music school for at least 500 years to understand it.”

The oldest person I've ever taught was an 89 year old named Gerda Silberstein.  She’d never played guitar before and we worked together for about a year and had so much fun while she learned.  Ever since that experience, whenever I have the thought, “Maybe I’m too old to learn how to…….” I think of her and invite you to do the same.

Also, you might be thinking, “I’ll be really old by the time I learn how to play!”  Which would you prefer: being really old and able to play guitar or really old and not able to play guitar?

Check out this video on how playing an instrument benefits your brain:

Leave a comment:

  •