Music Theory

What Age Do People Start Learning An Instrument?

Written by Dan Farrant

I recently asked a question on my FaceBook page and to everyone subscribed to the Hello Music Theory newsletter what age they started learning their instrument.

It was really interesting to see all the responses, so I thought I’d write it up and share what the most common age to start is.

Just a few things to note before we get into the results:

  • I have a small sample size – Only 334 people have completed this survey so far. I will update the data as I get more results to make it more statistically significant.
  • These are self-reported ages – I can’t verify the responses.
  • Some people reported their school grades – I’ve used the average age for that grade in these cases.
  • Some people said from birth – I’m not sure you can start learning an instrument under the age of one, so I’ve listed these responses as two years old.
  • I’m not a statistician – I’m a musician and maths was never my strong point. There will probably be errors in my numbers – please correct me (kindly) if you see any!

Add Your Age To The Survey

I’d love it if you would add your age to this survey. Complete this simple form, and I’ll update it with your age shortly

COMPLETE THE SURVEY

Right, with that out of the way, here are the results so far as of May 2024. I will update the results as we get more responses.

The Results

So, the results were slightly surprising to me, although they were generally in line with what I expected.

The highest reported ages were:

  1. Five years old – 49 people (14.67%)
  2. Eight years old – 41 people (12.28%)
  3. Seven years old – 40 people (11.98%)
  4. Nine years old – 33 (9.88%)
  5. Four years old – 25 (7.49%)

Breaking it down by decade, we get the following:

  • 2-9 years old – 225 people (67.36%)
  • 10-19 years old – 68 people (20.35%)
  • 20-29 years old – 1 person (0.29%)
  • 30-39 years old – 3 people (0.89%)
  • 40-49 years old – 2 people (0.59%)
  • 50-59 years old – 7 people (2.09%)
  • 60-69 years old – 11 people (3.29%)
  • 70-79 years old – 13 people (3.89%)
  • 80-89 years old – 3 people (0.89%)
  • 90+ years old – 1 person (0.29%)

It’s really great to see 35 people (10.47%) of people starting to learn over 50 too. It seems that once the needs of raising a family and having a career start to dissipate that people have more time to devote to things they wish they had done as a child.

Another wonderful thing was the number of people STARTING to learn an instrument over the age of 80. There was even one person who started at 91! Incredible.

They are a testament to the fact that it’s never too late to start learning music!

Anyway, thanks for reading this far. I’ll update this post once I get to 500 responses, so please complete the survey above if you didn’t participate in my FaceBook post or email newsletter.

And below are all the results in a table.

Table of Responses

AgeResponses
24
39
425
549
624
740
841
933
1020
1113
1215
136
141
156
162
172
180
193
200
210
220
230
240
251
260
270
280
290
302
310
320
330
341
350
360
370
380
390
401
410
420
430
440
450
460
470
481
490
501
510
520
530
542
551
560
571
580
592
602
610
622
631
640
653
662
670
681
690
703
711
723
731
741
751
760
771
781
791
801
810
822
830
840
850
860
870
880
890
900
911
Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.