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Is 32 too old to learn guitar? – Some Guitar Basics

The average adult Guitarist has a better chance of developing a musical taste in his or her later years than their parents. It’s true, if you consider age at onset of experience of music education, but it’s less clear that these young adults have the opportunity to develop an appropriate level of musical taste. (In fact, the most recent study has found that when young kids make the transition to their first guitar, their musical tastes change over time.) A study of more than 200 adults published in the journal Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice compared the preferences of younger and older participants in a musical memory task. The study participants rated the importance of a specific musical piece of music on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning the least important and 5 meaning the most important piece. In young adults, there was no difference between the preferences of young and old participants. In this study, the researchers concluded that the preferences of the young were influenced by music education experiences, and not age itself. (Emphasis added.)

However, a few decades after the study was published, the researchers of this study did run a different study of students, based on this same music memory questionnaire, and this time the study results were nearly identical to the earlier findings. And not only were only older participants better at remembering music pieces than were younger ones, they also had better musical tastes:

“This study suggests that older adults are better able to remember music pieces that are not easily recalled. This is interesting because older adults do not differ as dramatically from younger adults on a general musical taste test. For example, older adults were approximately as likely to prefer pieces that were not easily recalled (i.e., which were not songs that were performed in front of large numbers of people), whereas we found evidence to suggest that in our older sample of older adults there are few differences in preferences between older and younger adults (at least those with similar levels of schooling).”

Although all three of these studies looked at young individuals, they may have found some of the same things. There could be some benefit to having older adults teach young children (or at least, older adults with a similar level of education to young children – which is not necessarily the norm). They could, for example, provide valuable perspective. One theory is that music, especially classical music – specifically, the most well-known works of Beethoven – provides a much richer and deeper experience for an older audience, and that music education can provide them with this insight. As one of my students once qu

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