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Is it ever "too late" to learn music?

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

By Elena Haramalis

About 2 years ago I was grabbing coffee with my good friend, Mia, who was in the middle of a very successful career as an in-demand yoga instructor. She said to me, “I feel I'm drawn to music. Maybe it's my hidden abilities asserting themselves? If yes, what do I do with this? Isn’t it too late?” This wasn’t the first time I had to answer these or similar questions. When meeting with adult students, I also had to face their fears, and these were no less significant.

To begin this conversation let's first understand what is talent? When can it manifest itself? Why can it be delayed? And should one be afraid of this?

What is Talent?

Talent is when a person has natural aptitude or skills; it can also be the acquisition of a skill through experience. Experience can form a skill that is otherwise unachievable to most people without it, and this may allow a person to achieve great success in the field of its manifestation.

Signs of talent:

  • Fast and effective learning in the field of an activity that you like

  • Passionate desire to do this work

  • Satisfaction, which occurs during the occupation activities that we like

Talent can not only manifest itself in music, but in other areas such as literature, painting or science. Talented people can be programmers, sellers, managers, and many others. Each person has a talent, but using it all depends on whether it is developed or not. Talent is not necessarily manifested in childhood. This can happen in adolescence, in adulthood, or into retirement years. Afterall, talent is another name for abilities, which help to reveal skills and experience. Naturally, it is best to identify talent and begin to develop it in childhood. But if this did not happen, do not despair. Look for talent in yourself, do what you love, learn, develop, create, come up with original and unusual things. Pay attention to your emotions, which arise during work and are observed with the results you achieve. If you are satisfied, then you have found yourself, revealed your abilities, and will be able to realize your talent.

How does talent manifest itself in everyday life?

First of all, it is ability of an individual to express their desire to engage in a certain type of activity. That is, a child or an adult has a great desire to do something, in some way to manifest a quality or feeling they have within. If you are already an established person and consciously discovered a desire to start a new skill, do not be afraid to do so. Try to trust your inner feelings; they will tell you how best to proceed. Even adults often discover talents in themselves.

There are many cases when people, not having had a good academic foundation or other training in their youth, discovered in themselves uncommon abilities at a later age. It is possible that at first the abilities are not manifested in any way but over time there is a “cumulative effect" that draws them out. Even at 50 years old, some were able to discover very unusual talents.

The conditions for the emergence of late talents are difficult to identify but each one has his own unique story and a distinctive life path. Society often is mistaken when trying to calculate the optimal environment for them.

"Still... Isn't it too late?"

In the last century, our creative life increased by 30 years. The question is... late - for what? Is not the concept of the "late talent" itself outdated? The only thing is to help yourself make a decision. When the formation of the personality occurs, there is a pronounced need for self-actualization, in order to show its uniqueness. There is a need to find their own distinctive character traits and grow them up to large-scale sizes.

Anna Mary Robertson Moses (also known by her nickname Grandma Moses), was an American folk artist. At the age of 78 she began writing world-famous "daytime dreams" - sincere, intensely colorful, artlessly poetic compositions that resurrect the world of her childhood. And so she painted these until nearly the age of 100, without ever ceasing or reducing the creative bar that had taken hold of her.

While some boldly look at the age in the face, others still might have different attitudes or fears when doing so. Last week during an introductory lesson, one of my new students asked me with concern: “Am I the only adult student here? Will not this look like an eccentricity on my part?” If this has crossed your mind too, you may be happy or (disappointed) to learn that you are not the only one! A lot of music studios opened their curriculum to adult students, because there is such a big demand. Most of our adult students are people who are and have always been passionate about music. They consciously came to this and want music to be part of their lives. Are they talented? Oh yes they are!! And whatever their ultimate goals are, whether it is a choice of a new profession or a new hobby, they are here to pursue their dreams.

Mia has now has completed two years and counting of violin lessons. Four months ago she recorded her first album of meditation music she has implemented with the new yoga studio she opened. The disc was a stunning success and sold out in the first two weeks. Now she is working on the release of her second album. In addition, she shared with me that playing the violin brings her great satisfaction, helps to relieve excess stress, and just makes her a happier person. So I asked her question back to her, if one should strive to manifest one’s talent? She exclaimed, “You can, you need, you must!”

Read more about Elena Haramalis >

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