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“Can Grown-Ups Learn Guitar??”

Or, more specifically, “can an adult over the age of 30 every have a chance of truly mastering the guitar and becoming proficient with this instrument?”

This is the question that has been burning inside me for a few years now and I’m finally determined to find the answer.  I sincerely want to play guitar with expert ability, and am committed to this endeavor.  And I believe the answer will come, eventually from this site, and this blog, and through personal experimentation.

As I celebrated my 35th birthday I set out with this personal mission: to become an expert guitarist.  I do not know where the journey will lead, or how long it will take, but I invite you to come along for the ride.

For full disclosure, I’ve dabbled a little bit with guitar here and there in my life before.  I took lessons for about nine months when I was 17 (then had to stop when I went off to college to get a “real” education.)  Then I tried to learn from books and friends during parts of my 20s.   And, most recently, I began taking personal lessons with a fantastic instructor.  But, although I can put together a few chords and am not starting completely from ground zero, I’m a far cry from where I want to be.  Thus, it’s time to make a full commitment and let the journey begin.

Inspired by the book, Guitar Zero by Gary Marcus, I’ve come to appreciate the scientific fact that the ability to play an instrument can be learned at any age!  There is no scientific evidence that people are born knowing how to play an instrument.  It is all a learned activity.  Now, for sure, as grown ups we have more responsibilities to attend to and perhaps less time to attend to learning how to play guitar.  BUT, it is possible and it is achievable.  That’s all I need to know for convincing.

So, here I go.  It is time to stop dreaming and time to start doing.  Are you ready to do the same?  Let’s work together to prove Grown-Ups can learn guitar!

2 comments

  1. I’m with you!

    But two decades further down the line.

    Although I have a few nagging regrets, its OK, I was doing other stuff.

    My Strat is over 20 years old, and I can’t play a single friggin song. Yep, it is that bad. I can make a helluva noise, play a few power chords and usually hit a few correct notes out of the pentatonic scale over every chord.

    Bullshit eh?

    Well, here I am 56 years old, and want to get better.

    I joined the guitar course on coursera.org with Thaddeus. This is already a challenge, I can hit the scales but no timing. Afterwards in two weeks I will be on Fretjam, where I saw your link.

    I hope with can both find the time and continue the dedication.

    If I can just play one damn song, just the one, all the way through…..

    • Rock on, Bob! The idea of people using age as a barrier to learning has got to stop. You’re determined to follow your passion and I say good for you!
      If you can already form a power chord, you’re well on your way to playing some tunes. Hell, if you can get three open chords together… D A G, for example… there’s literally hundreds of songs you can play with that knowledge alone. Just keep at it and you’ll be fine. When I look back at some of my first attempts to play a new song I cringe (here’s an example), but it call comes together in due time.

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