When is it too late to be a musician?

14drz

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I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I’m 24 and in the last couple of years I realised that music is what I really like and what I would have loved to study academically. I’m a self taught guitarist (not a good one though) and I always wonder if it’s too late for me or I can still think of giving myself a chance to try to do this. What do you think?
Is there a moment when it’s too late to think that you can become a good musician?
 

Albake21

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I guess when you can't physically play anymore?

You're never too old for making art. Just try not to take it too seriously or expect anything to come from it other than your own personal benefits. Too many musicians get into thinking they will get money, fans, or notoriety out of it.

Just have fun with it.
 

Perge

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When you can't physically do it anymore, or you've put yourself in a position where people rely on you and being a musician doesn't cut it. One has to do with age and luck, the other is your priorities and luck.
 

14drz

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I guess you’re both right. Sometimes we tend to think that we can’t do something anymore just cause we didn’t start it at 14 and we end up not even trying
 

yan12

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You are never too old to become a musician. At what level is entirely up to you and your work ethic.

I am a huge music (guitar) fan of all types. I swore to myself when I turned 50 I would start in on Jazz and Classical guitar. I bought a very nice classical guitar when I turned 50. I started playing guitar when I was approx. 20 yrs old. I've been in some cool bands, opened for some big acts, but all in the rock-metal genre.

I turned 52 last week. I have made some progress in both areas, but I am learning to read music and it is a bitch for me. I can shred around all day over chords and my ear is very developed. So on one hand it is easy to hear melodies and intervals and cheat my way through, but reading it while I play....I sound like a brand new guitar player with about an hour of practice under my belt.

The point is, with a family and sports and dogs...I just don't have the time. But I do what I can when I can, and I enjoy the hell out of the challenge. I want to be able to play a few pieces correctly before I die, so that is my goal. I call myself a musician, so you can too.
 

Emperor Guillotine

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You're not going to be a "professional musician" who will be solely subsisting off music (recording and performing) if that's what you're asking.

And it has nothing to do with your age.

It has everything to do with how the industry is heading, and the immense nosedive that the industry has been taking over the recent years due to numerous factors such as: corporate greed, venue greed, label green, management greed, general incompetence, the impact of the COVID pandemic in 2020, the development of technology eliminating certain sects of the industry, the commodification of music (making it deemed worthless), and a bunch of other stuff that Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails predicted way back in like 2005.
 

CTID

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you are never too old to make music. just fucking do it.
 

Demiurge

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Technically, it's never too late. OP is young and will certainly see ups and downs (and downs and downs) when it comes to time or resources to put into play, but it's always rewarding to keep at it.

Now, career-wise... I'll put it this way: I'm in my 40s and if I told my wife that I quit my job to "go for it" and that I would renting a van & hitting the road to melt faces, a complicated discussion may follow.
 

CTID

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Now, career-wise... I'll put it this way: I'm in my 40s and if I told my wife that I quit my job to "go for it" and that I would renting a van & hitting the road to melt faces, a complicated discussion may follow.
with good reason. that dream is dead nowadays. @Emperor Guillotine is 100% correct. the current music scene will not support someone just in music and live shows anymore. every successful musician that we're aware of on this forum has side hustles whether they be signature gear, their own companies, production work, session work, content creation, sponsors on that content, etc.

it makes WAY more sense for an artist to amass a following BEFORE touring, hell it's becoming more common for bands to get followings before playing a single show
 

TedEH

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You're not even close to old yet. You're not too old for anything. You can take online courses, you can go to a school, you can get a tutor/mentor, you can just keep practising in your own time as you see fit. You can join a band a learn from your bandmates.

You've got all the time in the world to learn music, learn other skills, make major career and lifestyle choices, go live in new places, go meet people, go make stupid mistakes etc-
The only things you have a limited amount of time for is waiting. If you wait, then you'll accomplish nothing, and still be left with the same questions, with less time to find your answers.
Don't ask - just do. You don't need anyone's approval - just go do it.
 

ShredmasterD

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if you wanted to be a classical violinist the answer is yes, it is too late. otherwise if you are a hardworking and creative person you can pretty much do anything if you put your mind to it.
 

Mboogie7

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24 is incredibly young and with the internet, you’ve got more resources than you’ll ever need to learn what you want.

Good, is also entirely subjective and is in the eye of the beholder.

If your question was more so directed to sustaining yourself on music and making a career out of it, I’d say best of luck with the caveat that there’s a VERY VERY VERY slim chance of that happening and would encourage you to get a job/stick with your career path and focus on music on the side.
 

PuckishGuitar

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if you have neighbors, probably 7 or 8pm


Also it’s never too late to chase your dreams, but have realistic expectations. Sometimes you’ll succeed wildly and other times you’ll fail hard. I have a great coworker that went through multiple careers and marriages through his life, he’s now working in a senior engineering role despite no degree in it, in an industry entirely unrelated to where he started, serving on several primary technical boards, and married to the love of his life now. He had a lot of stumbles to get to where he is now, but he’s loving life and what he’s doing, and it’s always a hoot to listen to him talk about how he got here.

If you decide to go down the route of music hopefully you are able to stay positive and clear eyed on what your goals are and how to meet them, it will require work besides just playing your music live. You will need to be very entrepreneurial as the opportunities will likely not be dropped in your lap and you’ll need to figure out how to apply your skills in different ways. The comment above about diversifying yourself into teaching, products, influencing, and contract gigs is critical now in the arts, whether music, art, dance, or writing. I have a number of professional writers and artists in my circle, and they certainly hustle.
 


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