I had a few keyboard lessons when I was around 12 years old. At that time I used to have a Yamaha psr 530 , a decent one for beginner . But back then, I loved to play video games rather than to learn keyboard, and also spent time to study math ^_^. The results, 15 years later, I am 27 , currently in a math PhD program, but completely forget how to play music. Is this to late now or I still have a chance to do it ?
I'm 24 and I started learning piano last year. It's a fantastic thing to start learning a new skill, whatever age.
Truth is though, unless you're in severe trouble your average life expectancy is about 80+ years now. Meaning you have at least half a century to learn to play. It takes about 5 years I'd say to get to a really good level, So I reckon you've got time ;)
Playing piano is good for your mental health, your IQ, your concentration and a whole host of other things. It's worth the time you put in!
On a personal note, It's improved my life in ways beyond the keyboard!
My dad has always played woodwind instruments by ear -- sax, clarinet, flute. He took a piccolo along when he went to war in Vietnam.
He started learning to play the keyboard and read music in his 60's! He loves it and plays for hours each day. Every time I talk to him he's telling me about what song he's working on and what new digital instruments he has or what new version of Pro Tools he has installed. He also wasn't much of a computer guy, but owns several Macs now and has taught himself a lot about using a computer so he can record his music.
You're only 27? That's way too young to even be considering the question of it being too late for you to start something new.
Go for it! What have you got to loose?
You've probably heard the phrase 'it's never too late'. It's true ! Grab the opportunity before arthritis gets a hold ! Decide how you want to go - either just mess about initially or get a teacher. You may decide you need to read music- you may not. There's a lot spouted out there about how important reading is - you have to decide - but I believe it would have held certain musicians back. (Others, though, rely totally on this skill).
Go for it. If, later, you realise it's not working, then stop, but till you try, you'll never know. After all, as stated, you have moved on from video games - I guess.Unfortunately, the older we get, the less time seems to be available to us. Make the effort.
Maths and music do happen to go well together, so you're in with a chance !
Of course you still have chances! I started piano at 30, with no musical education at all, and I don't regret it one second. If you are motivated, you will enjoy yourself no matter what.
Starting late (if you consider mid 20s late...) has some advantages : you can transfer the experience you had in life and in work. You know yourself better, you know what works for you in terms of goal setting, time management, learning styles...
Harmony and counterpoint have a lot in common with maths. However, if you start back from scratch, this will mean work. Maybe not the best way to take a break from the thesis.
I honestly think that starting out late limits you potential. I don't mean to discourage you, but I think the answers seem to too optimistic to me.
My case is pretty similar to yours: I had some lessons as a kid, after that I still played "with" my keyboard (not "on" because it was more like a toy to me), experiment with it, try to play by ear... but it didn't get me anywhere. Lessons where boring and made no sense to me, and learning alone felt impossible; so I soon got bored with it.
When I started college, I was listening to a lot of music, so I got excited and bought a guitar. I was really committed to learning music, and I started reading theory, watching video lessons, and my friend taught me some stuff... I learned a lot in a very short period of time, but two to three years later, I hit a wall. I was an ok player, but my progress kept slowing down. I'm only 23 but I feel like my brain is too old to learn any more music.
I think learning music is like learning a new language, and the younger you are the likelier you are to become proficient. Sure you can learn enough to understand it, but you won't be writing books and articles in it.