Robert Estrin - piano expert

Can an Adult Learn a Second Instrument?

Discover how easy (or difficult) it can be for an adult to learn a second instrument.

In this video, Robert gives you some interesting insights to consider if you're an adult thinking about learning a second instrument. Is that something difficult to accomplish?

Released on January 20, 2016

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, and welcome to and I'm Robert Estrin.

The question today is, "Can an adult learn a second instrument?" Well, you might think, "Well, why not? Is it as easy as all that?" Well, to a great extent, yes.

Here's the thing. If somebody has never been around music very much, never played anything, maybe never even listened to all that much music, starting an instrument can be an arduous task. After all, music is a language. And if you've never been exposed to the language, taking it up in later years in life, just like any language, would be very difficult to learn, much less master. Music is exactly the same way.

The good news is that if you have a foundation in music, particularly piano which encompasses visual and chords and intervals, it makes it much easier to transition to another instrument.

What about if you just did singing? Or maybe played a wind instrument and wanted to play piano or guitar? There again, yes. It definitely helps to have played another instrument. So, if your whole life you've played clarinet, you said, "I wish I played piano." Guess what? It's not too late. And that clarinet playing is going to aide you in progressing faster, much faster than you would if you were just starting the piano for the first time, or any other instrument.

So, go ahead and take another instrument, if you're so inclined. I think you'll be rewarded with the progress you'll make because of the background you have in music.

Thanks for joining me, Robert Estrin, here at and
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Paul Spence * VSM MEMBER * on September 2, 2021 @1:28 pm PST
I started playing the piano when I was fifteen and I took up the alto saxophone when I turned 39. I still play both instruments. Playing the piano was a big help in picking up the saxophone. I understood the chord structures and how they can be applied in jazz soloing on the saxophone.
Robert - host, on September 2, 2021 @2:48 pm PST
All musicians should study the piano and sing. Each brings a deeper understanding of music in their own ways.
renetta kroeker on September 1, 2021 @1:10 pm PST
You can, played french horn in Junior Hi,Hi,and college, then not until 80 with a borrowed instrument. What fun and so enjoyable. Takes time to get lip in shape, but can be done. rk
Robert Estrin - host, on September 1, 2021 @5:16 pm PST
Good going! I took lesson with Phillip Farkas in exchange for accompanying him when he was in his 80's. He was very excited at one lesson. He found a new embouchure!
seahawk41 * VSM MEMBER * on July 21, 2018 @11:34 am PST
I started taking cello lessons at age 71, although I *had* played it for a couple of years in jr high school. I have sung all my life, so have a decent background in general musical concepts. Five years in, I've made tons of progress, but I have a long way to go! But as you said, adults *can* learn a second instrument, or even a first!
Robert Estrin - host, on July 21, 2018 @2:53 pm PST
Good going! So, you took a bit of a break from cello. Glad to hear you are enjoying it again!
Shirley Fraser * VSM MEMBER * on July 20, 2018 @8:58 am PST
I’ve played flute since childhood. At age 68, I’ve started piano lessons. I love it! The challenge is learning to read bass clef, but I’m getting there.
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on July 20, 2018 @9:20 am PST
It's great to know that Shirley! Keep it up, I am sure you'll play piano perfectly soon Smiley Face
Susan Zacharias on July 18, 2018 @7:45 am PST
Can an adult learn a first instrument? Yes, I started the piano at 65 and the cello at 85. Great fun!
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on July 18, 2018 @11:11 am PST
Great to know that! Thank you Susan for sharing your experience Smiley Face
Robert Mroch on January 27, 2016 @9:59 am PST
Thank you Robert for your interesting tid bits of news and education. Your help is invaluable.
Joh Neoclis Pythagoras Raftopoulos * VSM MEMBER * on January 21, 2016 @2:42 am PST
Robert hi! here us a question on a different subject. my gf discovered in her late mother-in-law's house a very old piano date of construction 1914! it is in good condition but some of the keys who have an ivory cover are losing their ivory. question is "how long can a piano live? and what to do with a 100 years old piano? dump it? sell as an antique or use it as long as it works?" the brand is "Burn". Thank you!
Doug Baker on January 20, 2016 @4:52 pm PST
Thank you. Very encouraging !
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