Old dude learning


Senior Member
Yup, lots of old farts here. I'm pushing 50 and though I've hacked all my life almost, I didn't get serious until 1.5 years go or so. Being older, I see I have way more patience than my kids, so you have that on your side. Just understand that nothing comes quick. My hands are finally coming around a little after 1.5 years of playing about an hour or more daily, at least 15-20 minutes of that on a pad.

Regarding teachers, I find it hard to be comfortable. You might be 20 years older than the person teaching you and you have to find someone who can wrap their mind around why someone our age would even bother when you've got one foot in the grave anyway ;). I tried a lesson with my son's teacher and it was weird. The teacher sees my son with a future in marching band for high school and maybe college, plus potential for all kinds of things. I know the teachers are out there, but the ones who work well with kids may not be the best for old timers.

There are lots of online resources out there. I've been pretty happy with Drumeo, though not recommended for super beginner since you need to at least have a sense of knowing what you don't know.

Good luck.

Mr Farkle

Well-known member
You might be 20 years older than the person teaching you and you have to find someone who can wrap their mind around why someone our age would even bother when you've got one foot in the grave anyway ;)
Sometimes I ask myself why I'm still trying to learn (at 56) so maybe it's me projecting, but I feel the same way about younger instructors. Thankfully I found an instructor who's in his 70's and has been teaching for a lifetime. So they're out there, but yes harder to find.

Also at this age (or maybe it's the internet era?) I find that it's tough to work hard at it while avoiding working anxiously at it. I'll never be AMAZING!!! but I can enjoy playing and learning. Avoid comparisons to internet kids who play like they were born with sticks in their hands.

Speaking of... one benefit to age is that you've probably internalized more music than younger people have yet to hear. Huge plus when playing with others.

Rock Salad

Junior Member
There are some very good video lessons on hand technique that begin at the beginning. I am also looking for an in person teacher.
Check out Gordy Knutson's video, and also Ed Soph too and SOME of the others that youtube will link you to.
I am also a one year beginner at 51.
But you know what? All the people who go out to see a band are our age!


Junior Member
In 1999 I started working with a gentleman named Dennis. He had always wanted to play drums, never got the chance. He came to see my band play and the bug bit hard. At the time I was forty and he was forty-one years old. I had been playing in working bands since I was sixteen.

He bought a brand new set of Yamaha Stage Customs and a set of Paiste cymbals. I gave him lessons for a bit, but I got transferred out of town. He got a new teacher and carried on. I retired from my day job ten years later and moved back to Pittsburgh. We had kept in touch. He became a pretty good drummer, to the extent that I've used him as a sub a couple of times over the past nine years.

He became a bit of a gear hound like me and plays a set of Ludwig Classic Maples these days. You can do this. Here is a photo of Dennis behind his new Ludwigs in 2010.

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I started playing at 29. I’m not sure if it’s been easier or harder for me than it would have been for a teen or child. It doesn’t really matter. The more I practice, the better I get, and that’s what matters. About a year after I started learning, I joined a band, and six months after that we were playing shows. Learning to play drums is the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s changed my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

I don’t think starting late holds you back in any meaningful way. Most of the drummers who’ve seen me play have told me they would think I’d been playing much longer than I actually have, and also that I’m a lot better than they were when they’d been playing the same amount of time as teenagers. Also I’ve started teaching my boyfriend to play and he’s picking it up super quick despite being 29, but he also has the advantage of having played guitar for like 15 years so I’m sure that helps.

Anyway. You’ll get out of it what you put in. I think everyone has different learning styles so find one that works for you. For me personally, when I was just starting, I found it much more accessible to learn using sheet music rather than trying to listen and play what I heard. I think for some people it’s the opposite. I eventually learned to do both.

Alex Sanguinetti

Silver Member
It´s a myth that kids learn faster, adults learn faster, way faster...the only difference is that say, If you start learning at 40, at 41 you been learning 1 year, and say a kid that started at six: 35 years... and many of those years as adult. But what you can learn as an adult in one year would take a kid many years to learn..., as the kid starts being about 13 he starts mentally being then more like a grown up.

The other thing is adults have less time to study, because work and other responsabilities, but still, you can learn a ton.

The decisive point is the teacher because you can spend the time doing nonsense work or really learning.

This is my experience from having teaching at University Level and at Conservatory for kids (starting at 6 to 17), besides doing that privately, for over 40 years.


Senior Member
...adults learn faster, way faster...
As a general rule, kids are better at learning by "modelling" or imitating what someone else is doing. (Monkey see, monkey do.) Adults are better at understanding what they're learning, and why. I've taken a lot of adult education courses (not related to music) and the oldest students tend to be the best in the class - or they flunk out. There's not a lot in between. Older people generally "get it", or they don't. They're not so good at just going through the motions.


Platinum Member
Try it - what's the worst that can happen? I think someone can learn at almost any age.
The biggest factors are motivation, dedication, time, and a bit of natural ability doesn't hurt either.

I don't know what it's like to try and learn drums as an adult.
I started pretty young. But what I learned all those years ago has been pretty well burned in to
the neural pathways, and has never completely left me, even when I've taken long breaks from it.
Sort of like riding a bicycle.

I have taken up instruments at an older age than you are, and have done pretty well with them,
so I say give it a shot.


Well-known member
I wish they had the Internet when I was young. I think most everything you need is on the Net.

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I wish they had the Internet when I was young. I think most everything you need is on the Net.
I agree, it’s way easier to get pro-level technique with minimal lessons, or Skype lessons, plus lots of videoing yourself and watching YouTube drum videos. Back in the day, you had to luck upon a great teacher, and/or live in a major music town.

Of course, the skills that only come from playing with others have to be learned the same way we did, and it’s harder to find those kinds of opportunities these days, I think.