"Am I Too Old To Learn Drums?"

Am I Too Old To Learn Drums?

Am I Too Old To Learn The Drums? And More About Success Later In Life.

Table of Contents

Introduction : Am I Too Old To Learn Drums?

I’ve often heard the lament “I’m too old,” as an excuse for not doing something. It could be used as an excuse to not do almost anything. Of course, in my line of work, I’ve heard it as a reason for not beginning to take up the drums. In fact, there was a time that I even asked the question of myself.

But, unless you are impaired in a significant way due to your age, it usually is simply not true. Age mostly doesn’t matter. Unless you decide it does. If you make it matter, then that’s on you. Because it’s such a pervasive belief, I thought it might be helpful–perhaps even inspiring–to look at some real life examples of people who have had success at an age that might be deemed “too old.”

Frank McCourt 

The first person who comes to mind is Frank McCourt.

I have a bit of a soft spot for him because he was an english teacher at my high school in NYC, Stuyvesant.  Although I was never in his class, many of my friends were. He was a beloved teacher.

Mr McCourt, although he often told his students that their life was the best source of material for their writing, didn’t get his first memoir published until he was in his 60s. Apparently, McCourt had several false starts with writing the book, and was encouraged by his wife to complete it. When he finally did, and Angela’s Ashes was published in 1996, McCourt was 66 years old. The book was a stunning success, winning the Pulitzer Prize and selling over 4 million copies.

And thus was launched a fairly prolific writing career, after the conclusion of a thirty year high school teaching career. He was in his 60s. Then he became a massively successful writer. I find that greatly inspiring.

Here’s another example..more about age and its lack of importance to one’s success.

Ray Kroc

Ray Kroc, the businessman who is most known for being the architect of the McDonald’s franchise system, was not particularly successful when he came across the McDonald’s hamburger stand in his early 50s. Kroc had been a paper cup salesman and a multi-mixer salesman. He had been divorced more than once. He had diabetes. He wasn’t particularly successful. In fact, he was struggling.

But it was in his fifties that he found the McDonald’s brothers and realized the efficient system they had developed for cranking out hamburgers and fries was revolutionary. And he invested in that idea with fantastic long-term results.

I’ve read about the controversial deal between the McDonald’s brothers and Kroc. The details of the agreement between them depend on what source you believe. The film The Founder paints a less than flattering picture of Kroc’s character. It honestly–from my research–isn’t clear that he actually stole from the McDonald’s brothers. So, I’m not convinced that Kroc was dishonest. Like I said, different sources tilt the story in different ways.

But Kroc’s character is not the point of this article.

The point is merely–regardless of what you believe about Kroc’s ethics–that he attained success in his fifties, after struggling for many years and failing many times.

Again, just like with Frank McCourt, I find that greatly inspiring.

But now, some of you might be thinking, “Sure, Mark, but what does this have to do with drumming?”

Good question. Stay with me here.

Bottom Line: Am I Too Old To Learn Drums?

Well, one of the most common questions I hear from drummers-to-be who want to learn but haven’t gotten started yet: “Am I Too Old to Learn to Play Drums?”

The answer is a resounding no!

Unless….you are seriously handicapped either mentally or physically (or both)… if that’s the case, perhaps you would have difficulty…

But, otherwise, age doesn’t matter at all.

I’ve got extensive experience teaching adults in their 60s, 70s and beyond. Their age didn’t prevent them from learning to play the drums in any way that I could see.

I do understand that this could be viewed as a self-serving message.

But look around and you’ll find that research supports me on this. 

I also made a video on this topic where not only do I address age, but also—the second most asked question—talent. 

Watch the video above. Then, let me know what you think. I promise you that age only matters if you decide that it does. So if you want to play drums, just play drums!  No one is stopping you except maybe you.

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