Learning Guitar After Age 30, 40, 50+


man playing guitar while singing

Many people may refrain from learning guitar in their 30s and beyond for many reasons. The trepidation in studying at an older age may have you second guessing the plausibility of such an undertaking.

You may doubt this is a good idea. You may think you don’t have any music ability or rhythm to save your life. You might believe it’ll be too painful, is somehow embarrassing or you’re plain too old.

You’re wrong. Leave your age out of the equation. If you really feel compelled to learn the guitar, you should! Not only can you learn guitar at any age, but by doing so at age 30 and up, you’ll actually reap some unique benefits. Let’s look at just 5 of them below.

The Advantages to Learning Guitar Later in Life (Age 30+)

1.  At Age 30+ You Have Greater Wisdom & Self-Discipline

People age 30+ have invaluable past experience. As an older person, you have the capacity to be patient, logical and realistic with yourself.  You can design a practice schedule and come up with a backup plan that allow for changes like they often do with children and work schedules.

Children could prove to be difficult when finding time to practice. But don’t let this be a halting factor. Just know this is going to be a slow process. If you have other demanding responsibilities, allow guitar to be a hobby for you.

Most people under 30 haven’t had the boot of life kick them in the rear yet. Time management, discipline and self-determination are not qualities many younger folks have skill for yet. This is something only hardship and experience can teach with age.

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In contrast, younger aficionados tend to have delusions of grandeur when first learning guitar. As an older player, you’re likely to have a more grounded and realistic approach.

2.  At Age 30+, You Have Better Financial Resources

It’s also likely you’ve learned the meaning of saving and budgeting.

You can plan out what kind of guitar you want and what equipment you’ll need (strings, picks, cords and an amp, if you’re going electric). You’ll also be able to determine whether you can teach yourself or if you should hire a guitar tutor.

Those under 30 do not have the dough or foresight to do this on their own. Younger people tend to be more frivolous or don’t have a good-paying job. If parents are forking out the cash, the budgeted limits may not suit the kind of guitar and equipment the kid wants.

3.  At Age 30+, You Know the Music You Like

A compulsion to learn guitar over 40 means it’s likely you’ve been a music-lover all your life. You’ve enhanced and refined your musical tastes over the years. You know what moves and grooves you, so you’ll know exactly what to play.

Stop letting age be a factor and don’t hesitate to pick up that guitar. You can do anything if you put your mind to it.

Health Benefits of Guitar for Older Players (Age 30+)

So not only are you better positioned as an older player in many ways, but the guitar may even offer you some specific health benefits through the years. Let’s look at two HUGE potential health benefits of guitar that may support healthy lifestyle, aging, and cognition.

1.  Guitar May Reduce Pain, Stress & Tension

As life marches on, so do frustrations and responsibilities. Learning guitar can be a temporary escape from the strains life throws at you from day-to-day.

One downside to learning guitar when older is that your body may not be as flexible or quick-healing as it once was. But there are many studies proving that music alleviates chronic pain, like arthritis.

Anyone can attest that listening to music helps ease the soul. There’s actually even a cool study showing how people listening to metal genres are better off for it because they are better able to deal with their anger. If listening to metal can do this, imagine what playing a guitar could do for your spirit.

2.  Guitar May Stave Off Age-Related Disease

In 2007, Florida researchers found that elderly adults who never played a musical instrument before showed vast improvements in memory and brain function. There was a noticeable positive influence on quality of life and cognitive abilities.

Albeit, more studies have to yet to prove this conclusive. But it is a promising prospect. Besides, learning a new instrument, like guitar, can’t hurt you in the slightest.

Ready to Get Better at Guitar, Faster?

Whenever you’re ready to take your guitar playing to the next level, check out my favorite resources below:

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Chords, Tabs & Lessons for 100 Songs

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Fingerpicking vs Flatpicking Guitar

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Sources cited for this Article

Bugos, Jennifer & Perlstein, William & Mccrae, Christina & Brophy, Timothy & Bedenbaugh, Purvis. (2007). Individualized Piano Instruction enhances executive functioning and working memory in older adults. Aging & mental health. 11. 464-71. 10.1080/13607860601086504.

Garza-Villarreal EA, Wilson AD, Vase L, Brattico E, Barrios FA, Jensen TS, Romero-Romo JI and Vuust P (2014) Music reduces pain and increases functional mobility in fibromyalgia. Front. Psychol. 5:90. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00090

Metalheads: The influence of personality and individual differences on preference for heavy metal. By Swami, Viren,Malpass, Fiona,Havard, David,Benford, Karis,Costescu, Ana,Sofitiki, Angeliki,Taylor, Donna Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, Vol 7(4), Nov 2013, 377-383

Corbin Buff

Corbin has played guitar for over a decade, and started writing about it on Acoustic World in an effort to help others. He lives and writes in western Montana.

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