Learning a new skill as an adult can be hard.
Teaching my Dad to use his iPad was VERY frustrating.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Sound familiar?
Well, when it comes to using an iPad, or learning the guitar, this simply isn’t true.
The guitar is learnable, even for adults.
Yet, the question of whether one is too old is asked too often.
So before we check out the places where adults can learn guitar, let’s make sure we eliminate any lingering doubt about being too old to learn.
By the way:
My Dad uses his iPad to FaceTime me on a regular basis, and he’s addicted to watching train videos on YouTube 🙂
Free Bonus: Download The Insider's Guide to Online Guitar Lessons, which is a 71 page resource guide covering everything you need to know about learning the guitar online.
Am I Too Old To Learn Guitar?
If you are healthy and motivated, you are never too old to take guitar lessons.
Matter of fact, it is thoroughly rewarding for older people who take up any musical instrument:
According to studies, there is a lot of wisdom in enrolling for music lessons for people of all ages.
Taking music lessons has many benefits for those not so young, including:
- Improved cognitive function
- Improved memory retention
- Improved ability to discern sounds
All of the above tend to decline as we age, which leads to much social isolation. Learning to play a musical instrument thus has a profoundly positive effect on your quality of life.
An advantage for adult guitar learners is your priorities more ordered, and you have a matured taste in music, with clear preferences.
You also have more intrinsic motivations for learning than a child who may only take up music lessons to appease their nagging parents.
Where to Go For Guitar Lessons
Having argued the case for adult guitar training, we need to look at options adult guitar learners have when shopping for lessons.
Online Guitar Lessons
The phenomenal growth of the internet means there is an alternative e-learning option that most of today’s adults would not have known had they taken guitar lessons in their youth.
Despite the glut of free learning material available online, what you eventually choose depends on your personal situation and needs.
For example, you may want to learn guitar with the grand ambition of starting or joining a band. Another person may just want a way to fill their free time while learning a new skill and enjoying themselves.
You have the two options:
Free and paid online lessons.
First, let’s look at the most popular free option:
Possibly the most popular online guitar lessons’ channel, YouTube has a lot of teachers promoting all sorts of guitar lessons, with hours of video content uploaded every day.
YouTube’s free video content is an attraction and major reason for its popularity.
You can find some channels with excellent learning material on YouTube, like JustinGuitar, which has over 600,000 subscribers.
Justin’s videos can also be accessed from his website, where he has built probably the largest library of free learning material online – over 750 free guitar lessons.
Yet, for all its appeal, YouTube is not the best option for beginner guitar learners.
The lessons on YouTube are largely unstructured and do not provide learners with a clear learning path. For this reason, the lessons can leave gaping holes in your training.
The video sharing platform may be a better option for intermediate guitar learners looking for supplemental instruction while learning to play a particular song or technique.
The online courses’ market is a fledgling $100+ billion industry.
There are quite a few players in this market, but Udemy is probably the best platform for courses on the more random skills. Others, like Lynda and Codecademy, are more targeted.
But with almost zero regulation on this rapidly growing industry, Udemy has both good and bad courses. You will have to browse through all the guitar courses listed on the marketplace to weed out the bad ones.
I bought the two best selling courses recently. You can read my reviews here.
The courses on Udemy can cost anywhere from $10 to as much as $200. They are fairly inexpensive if you get them on sale.
While you get lifetime access once you purchase and can take them at your own pace, these courses are not comprehensive and are best used as learning aids. Find out more about Udemy guitar courses and some better alternatives here.
These are websites dedicated to ONLY teaching music, for which guitar lessons are probably the most popular.
Some of these sites have both free and paid resources. The free content will only get you so far, however it’s enough to see if the material is right for you. To access the premium content you will have to pay a monthly subscription.
The top three sites for online guitar lessons at the moment are:
GuitarTricks: Their free trial is perfect for those who may want to test the waters before committing to a subscription. >> GuitarTricks.com
JamPlay: They provide live scheduled workshops and a daily Q&A service available throughout the day. >> JamPlay.com
ArtistWorks: This site offers specialist teachers for various genres and has a more 1 on 1 feel to their lessons. >> ArtistWorks.com
While the best way to learn guitar is often a combination of methods, there is little debate that private lessons are still the most effective method.
Yes, they are more expensive than online lessons, but if you have the budget, private lessons have some advantages:
- Because they are face-to-face, private guitar lessons will allow direct interaction between you and your teacher. The teacher can observe and pick out your strengths and weaknesses, and provide immediate feedback.
- Technical matters are easier to explain and demonstrate when both student and teacher are in the same room. Mistakes and bad habits can be corrected before they set in.
- A private tutor also has better scope to design a learning program tailored to your special circumstances and preferences (If they’re a top notch teacher).
A common issue with private lessons is there may not be a good teacher where you live, especially if you are picky about your teacher’s qualifications and level of teaching experience.
You can use a teacher from out of town and access your lessons through video streaming services like Skype and Google Hangouts. But these will still lack the benefits face-to-face interaction, and they can be quite expensive. Check out the 4 main reasons why private lessons are so expensive here.
How to Find Good Private Guitar Teachers in Your Area
People in larger cities will have it easier than those in small towns where there may not be enough qualified music teachers.
A good place to start is your friends and acquaintances who may share an interest in guitar. If those can’t recommend a good teacher nearby, check with community centers and other public places where tutors might advertise their services.
You can widen your research to organizations like the Music Teachers National Association, a professional music teacher accreditation body in the USA. Research similar associations in your city or country.
This is a great option as you will have the assurance the teachers listed are qualified, as they have to be to be allowed membership.
Another good resource for finding a good private music teacher in your area is the Music Teachers Directory site. The directory lists music teachers from Canada, the USA, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK.
Keep Your Learning Options Open for a Richer Learning Experience
There is a lot to consider before you finally decide which option you will take for your guitar training.
Private lessons are a good option. But, depending on your budget and specific goals, you may be OK with:
- Researching some guitar books
- Checking out some guitar DVDs
- Buying a course on Udemy
- Browsing through the many guitar lesson videos on YouTube
- Signing up with GuitarTricks or another guitar subscription website
You might want to check out some other guitar blogs and forums, where you can interact with fellow learners, and get recommendations on good guitar teachers in your area.
How Did I Get Started You Ask?
When I was just starting to learn the guitar, I found that online lessons were the best option.
They fit with my budget, and were better suited to my schedule. In fact to this day I still have a membership with Guitar Tricks.
If you’re online now, which you obviously are, then I recommend you give their free trial a try. Click here to get your own free trial with Guitar Tricks.