17 Is the Golden Age to Become a Musician

At around the age of 17 years old, one starts to think about what one would want your future to look like, and which hobbies are the most attractive and glamorous to follow and invest your time in. But is 17 not a bit too late to start learning an instrument and become a professional musician?

Seventeen is the perfect age to still become a musician. You will be more dedicated and committed than during your younger years. You can choose your own instrument, find a teacher that suits your style, have your own musical influences and most importantly, you will follow your own dreams.

The advantages are plentiful, but are there some disadvantages to pay attention to? Let’s look at the pros and cons of becoming a musician at the age of 17.

By the way, if you are a parent that would like to have ideas about How to Inspire your Child to Learn a Musical Instrument, don’t miss the very helpful guide I published about it here.

The Pros of Becoming a Musician at Start 17

Let’s start with all the positives. In my opinion, 17 is a great age to learn an instrument and make a career out of performing live music for a living.

You Can Make Decisions by Yourself

This is a huge advantage that younger ages normally struggle with.

  • You can decide which instrument you would like to learn without anyone making your choices for you.
  • You can choose your own style and genre of music that you would like to perform and grow into.
  • You can choose your own teachers and lessons.
  • You can choose your own band members since most teenage musicians are still solo at this stage.

Kids starting at a young age also start getting bored or frustrated with an instrument that they don’t feel connected to. That’s why you have such a wonderful head start now.

In fact, I wrote a blog post where I explain the core reasons why kids quit their instruments. It’s really good to be aware of them, so go ahead and scan through the article “Why Students Quit Music – Don’t Fall for the Trap!”

The Youth is on Your Side

You must think that at 17 you have already missed your chance of becoming brilliant at something. Wrong!

You have your whole life ahead of you and plenty of time to become a pro at your instrument.

The key here is knowing what you want. Rather than being certain about what you want and giving it your all, then starting at a younger age and being unsure what your goals are and ending up doing it half-heartedly.

As long as you know what you want and you work towards that dream every day, you will definitely overtake the ones that started earlier.

You Have Plenty of Practice Time

Playing an instrument is an excellent hobby to balance out your lifestyle. Whether you are in school, college, or university, or just started working, you still have the time to practice a healthy part of the day.

Take advantage of pockets of free time to improve your skill and work towards your dream. Every small step is still progress towards your goal.

Especially being a student, one has plenty of pockets of time to use to practice and train: Between studies, before or after class, during holidays, etc.

Free Lessons Widely Available

In the modern day, there are plenty of courses to follow for free. Whether it’s on YouTube, Udemy, Skillshare, GuitarPro, or Ultimate Guitar. There is just so much to pick and choose from, also depending on the instrument of your choice.

If you are still considering which instrument to play, don’t miss the comparison I drew up to help you with making that choice.

At the age of 17, most people try to play by listening to their own favourite music or learning from some of their friends.

I would definitely recommend that you make friends with other 17-year-old musicians. Even if they are further on their journey than you are. It’s about progressing and learning as much as you can in a short period of time.

A beginner guitarist following an online lesson. (Photo Credit: Canva)

You Still Have a Big Support Base

With all the friends and family that you have collected and acquainted yourself with over the years, you already shaped your first following.

Keep showcasing new skills and songs to a small circle of trusted friends and family, and get some feedback to take on board to keep improving. The public ear is worth gold to beginner musicians and they will provide you with some insightful and constructive feedback.

Try to be objective with the feedback and open to adjustments to your songs and style. Don’t take any feedback to heart, but rather see it in a positive and helpful light.

Golden tip: Start with a social media account that only focuses on music, where you can build your audience and fan base from the start. In the beginning, it will only be friends and family, but as you start with small concerts, you can advertise yourself and ask people to follow you for more gigs.

Opportunities Everywhere

Especially schools, colleges and universities offer plenty of chances for students to perform live. Whether it’s for a theatre, a play, or a karaoke setup.

Take on every chance that you can. Even if it’s only for one song.

My first performance was when I just turned 18 years old in front of a crowd of 3 000 people at a first-year university dancing concert. I was scared and afraid, but so incredibly proud of myself afterwards.

I definitely messed up plenty of notes, but the ice was broken and no other show would ever be as scary as exposing yourself for the first time to such a massive audience.

The Cons of Becoming a Musician at Start 17

Of course, there will also be some downsides to only starting at 17.

Don’t see these stumbling stones as demotivation at all. It is purely good to know what to be aware of so that one can start thinking about possible solutions from the start.

Catching Up to the Rest

Most kids start playing at around ages 8-10, but they are being sent by their parents, and they end up quitting when they feel fed up, bored and keen for a new challenge.

You are only starting now, so your skill level will have some catching up to do.

But to your advantage, you have the commitment and the willingness to make a career out of it.

Dear parents, as a pedagogical expert, I am no fan of forcing kids to play an instrument. One way more fun is to learn something when it comes from oneself.

We can however motivate our kids correctly. Read my article about How To Motivate your Kids to Practice their Instruments.

This post was written and posted by De Wet from startingmyband.com on 16.04.2023. The content was stolen from me if this blog post is seen anywhere else.

A teenage band gaining valuable experience during a school concert. (Photo Credit: Canva)

Financial Challenges

Most 17-year-olds don’t have an income yet. This makes it difficult to get the equipment that you desire and you would need to start with what you can place your hands on.

Equipment does make a difference, and the better your skills become, the better you would want to sound.

My suggestion would be to start with any instrument that is easily accessible to you, and then buy something decent when you can afford it. Place your skill development as the priority at this stage.

A tip for buying your first instrument as a beginner: As a first instrument, try to save enough money for an intermediate- or advanced-level instrument that can last you a few years into your career. See it as an investment in your future.

If money is not a problem for you, then this is not an issue for you.

I got my first bass guitar for 100€ which my dad bought for me. I still have this bass guitar and will probably always keep it. I’m way too sentimental to let it go.

I played 90% of my career with this wooden Cort Bass Guitar!

In a band set-up, your own instrument is not the only challenge you will have. If you are participating in a band, you will probably need to practice with a PA system, microphones, stands, cables, etc. to support the vocals.

Try to collect the equipment items on the go. Each practice you have with another piece of equipment will motivate the members even more for the next practice.

What I did, was borrow what I needed. Try to practice at school where a sound system might already be in place. Or borrow microphones and stands.

I remember practicing regularly with my band at our university Auditorium on Saturdays. We always had to go ask permission from a lady called “Lucille”. Luckily she was very kind and supportive.

Perhaps she generally enjoyed a visit from us 4 guys where she could brag about her valuable sports memorabilia pieces in her office.

It was rather impressive, to be honest. It’s one thing to take a picture with a celebrity. But it’s next level to have it signed as well. That means she saw the person twice!

Shout out to Lucille! Thanks for being part of making our dreams a reality.

Limited Concert Venues

It might be that you are still too young to get into pubs and bars for you or your band to perform.

Don’t let this be a stumbling stone.

Search for 3-5 venues that would allow you to perform or participate and focus only on those venues.

There are valid and important reasons why there are age restrictions in place, and the best that we could do is simply respect them and try to work with what we’ve got.

The advantage is that as soon as you are old enough and more experienced, you will have a whole new audience to expose your music to.

Logistic Challenges

In most cases, 17-year-olds will not have a car yet. That means that you will be dependent on others driving you around or you’ll have to take public transport to get to concert venues.

By now you are probably already used to getting around by yourself.

When I was 17, My bandmate got a car when he turned 18 early in the year. We had the arrangement to drive together which helped my situation.

Not Being Taken Seriously

The most irritating feeling in the world for a teenager is not feeling taken seriously.

Most parents want their kids to grow up, exercising an occupation that pays well, and they mainly see musicianship as a hobby.

I know. I was there.

The best you can do is to make sure that you have a backup plan and prove that you have a plan B in place.

Use every spare moment to practice your instrument, but make sure you have an alternative career in place.

All musicians have a separate qualification to fall back onto because our jobs are never guaranteed.

Keep an open eye for a blog I am working on about The Best Side Jobs for a Musician!!

If you wanted to know more about the different advantages and disadvantages of learning an instrument for all different age groups, don’t miss the post I published right here.

I hope this blog post has motivated you to pursue your dreams and do what you have a passion for. The later one learns, the more we appreciate the chances that we get to perform and showcase a newly discovered talent or skill.

If you have any other points that you would like to mention, don’t hesitate to drop them in the comment section.

I have one last gift for you. Since you are starting your career now, don’t miss the guide I’ve written for startup bands to get their careers on track; The Steps to Reach your First Paid Gig – From Zero to Hero!

Keep Rock ‘n Rollin’!

De Wet

The dream started during a school tour at the age of 15 years old. One that might take a long time to reach. De Wet was 16 years old when he got his first bass guitar as a gift from his dad. The guitar was found, hidden under boxes. As if it was waiting for its owner to come by and pick him up. He practiced every day to improve and to teach his fingers to dance to the music. After finishing high school, he played in various bands where he collected valuable experience, before being signed by a record label as an upcoming band. He reached success at age 22 when he released two albums with his band, which also included televised music videos for publicity. By age 24, he co-started management, artist promotion, and booking agency for successful and upcoming musical acts.

2 thoughts on “17 Is the Golden Age to Become a Musician

  1. You can also access Scholic.com’s user-friendly dashboard to track and analyze the performance of your courses.

    1. Thanks for mentioning scholic.com Rosa.It sure looks like a very promising platform. I’ll give it some time to grow and develop and return again soon. Perhaps I’ll even try out a course myself 😉

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