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These Pro Musicians Started Later in Life: It’s Never Too Late To Learn



Musicians Started Later in Life It's Never Too Late To Learn

Photo by Yabee Eusebio from Pexels

Musical achievement is not limited to child prodigies, regardless of what you may have read or think. In fact, there are a number of professional musicians who didn’t pick up their instruments until their teen years or later. That’s not to say that early childhood music education isn’t worthwhile – it certainly is – but just because you wait until middle school, high school, or even adulthood doesn’t mean you can’t succeed.

Andrea Bocelli Was No Child Prodigy

Andrea Bocelli, one of the most renowned opera singers in the world, didn’t start serious musical training until his late teens. Born with poor eyesight, Bocelli completely lost his vision at the age of 12. He initially studied law at the University of Pisa, but his passion for music never waned. It wasn’t until he was 26 that he began pursuing music more rigorously, eventually catching the attention of Luciano Pavarotti and launching his remarkable career. Bocelli’s late start didn’t hinder his ability to achieve global acclaim and touch millions with his voice. You may argue that singers don’t necessarily need to learn as much technique or note reading as other musicians, but truthfully, singing at professional level is usually reserved for people with many more years of instruction.

Charles Bradley, Legendary Soul Musician

Charles Bradley’s rise to fame is a story of persistence against the odds. Bradley spent much of his early life performing as a James Brown impersonator in small clubs. It wasn’t until he was discovered by Daptone Records at the age of 62 that he recorded his first album, “No Time for Dreaming,” which was released in 2011. His raw, emotional style quickly garnered critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base. Bradley’s late start is a powerful reminder that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and achieve success.

Mary J. Blige Only Sang Casually in Her Youth

Mary J. Blige is another example of an artist who found her path a bit later. Although she grew up singing in church, she didn’t seriously pursue music until her late teens. Blige was discovered at a mall recording booth when she was 17, and her demo eventually led to a deal with Uptown Records. Her debut album, “What’s the 411?”, was released when she was 21, marking the beginning of her illustrious career. Blige’s story shows that raw talent combined with determination can lead to incredible achievements, regardless of when you start.

John Coltrane Started Playing in High School

John Coltrane, a pivotal figure in jazz history, began playing the saxophone in high school, around the age of 17. While many of his contemporaries started much younger, Coltrane’s late start didn’t prevent him from revolutionizing jazz with his innovative playing and compositions. His relentless work ethic and dedication to his craft allowed him to develop a unique style that continues to influence musicians today. Coltrane’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of hard work and passion. In fact, many instrumentalists start taking piano lessons later in life, become inspired, practice hard, and achieve remarkable results.

Sheryl Crow Started Releasing Solo Music At 31

Sheryl Crow’s path to stardom began later than many might expect. After graduating from college, Crow worked as a music teacher and a backup singer for artists like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. She didn’t release her debut album, “Tuesday Night Music Club,” until she was 31. The album’s success catapulted her into the limelight, earning her multiple Grammy Awards and a lasting place in the music industry. Crow’s story illustrates that a winding path can still lead to tremendous success.

Philip Glass: Mathematics and Philosophy Major

Philip Glass, a composer known for his pioneering work in minimalism, also began his musical journey later in life. Glass studied mathematics and philosophy before dedicating himself to music. He didn’t achieve significant recognition until his mid-thirties with his groundbreaking opera, “Einstein on the Beach.” Glass’s story demonstrates that exploring different fields and finding your true passion can happen at any stage of life, leading to profound artistic contributions.

Susan Boyle Got Her Start At Age 47

Susan Boyle became a global sensation after her audition on “Britain’s Got Talent” at the age of 47. Before her breakthrough, Boyle had spent years singing in her local church and community events, but she had never pursued a professional music career. Her stunning performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” captured the hearts of millions and led to a successful recording career. Boyle’s experience underscores that talent can be discovered and nurtured at any age, leading to unexpected and life-changing opportunities.


These musicians’ stories are powerful reminders that it’s never too late to start learning and excelling at an instrument. Whether you’re in high school, college, or well into adulthood, pursuing a passion for music can lead to incredible opportunities and fulfillment. From music lessons in Houston to online lessons with SimplyPiano or another app, the journey of learning music is not confined to a specific age; it’s about dedication, passion, and the willingness to keep improving. These artists prove that starting later in life can still lead to remarkable success and that the world of music is open to anyone willing to embrace it.

The lesson here is clear: If you’ve ever dreamed of picking up an instrument or pursuing a musical career, don’t let age deter you. The stories of Andrea Bocelli, Charles Bradley, Mary J. Blige, John Coltrane, Sheryl Crow, Philip Glass, and Susan Boyle are living proof that it’s never too late to learn and achieve greatness in music.

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