Starting a Music Career in 40s: Strategies for Success

They say life begins at 40, but what about a music career? You’re about to find out it’s not a far-fetched dream to hit the right note at any stage of life.

This post is your backstage pass to the wisdom and strategies that turn ‘too late’ into your perfect launch time.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Leverage your rich life experience and maturity to create authentic music that resonates with audiences of any age.
  • Utilize modern learning tools and strategic practice to efficiently hone your musical skills, regardless of starting later in life.
  • Build a personal brand that celebrates your unique journey, using age as an asset in connecting deeply with your audience.

Is Age Really Just a Number in the Music Industry?

You may have heard the old adage, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but when it comes to music, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Age perceptions in the music industry often favor the young, fresh faces, but the reality is there’s room for every voice, regardless of the birthdate on your ID. Let’s not forget that some of the most iconic tunes have come from artists who didn’t strike it big until later in life.

Take Leonard Cohen, who released his first album at 33 and continued to enchant audiences well into his 80s, or Bill Withers, who was a full 32 when “Ain’t No Sunshine” saw the light of day. And then there’s Charles Bradley, who worked odd jobs for decades before his debut album at age 62. These stories are testaments to the fact that talent ages well and can often peak later in life.

Common misconceptions would have you believe that if you haven’t made it by your 30th birthday, you’re out of luck. But the truth is, music—unlike some other professions—really doesn’t have a strict age limit. Like fine wine, some voices and stories get richer with time.

What Unique Advantages Do I Have Starting Now?

Embarking on a music career in your 40s might seem daunting, but it’s worth considering the unique advantages you bring to the table. With time comes life experience—a gold mine for songwriting and connecting with audiences on a deeper level. You’ve lived through highs and lows that can resonate powerfully in your music.

Financial stability is another potential plus. Perhaps you’ve built a nest egg, which can offer a buffer against the uncertainties of an artistic pursuit. You can fund your own projects or absorb the hit if things don’t immediately take off. It’s a luxury many young musicians simply don’t have.

Your personal taste is also finely-tuned. You know what you like, what sounds good, and more importantly, what feels authentic to you. This kind of self-awareness can be a superpower in a sea of trends and fleeting fancies—it’s the backbone of a lasting career that’s true to oneself.

Maturity can positively influence your artistic development, helping you make strategic career decisions with patience and foresight. It’s not just about running the race; it’s about knowing the terrain and pacing yourself for the marathon that is a music career.

How Should I Navigate Learning New Skills?

Learning new skills as an adult can be an exhilarating challenge. If you’re starting music in your 40s, approach learning new skills with a blend of eagerness and strategy. Look for resources tailored to adults, such as evening classes at local colleges or personalized online courses. Websites like Coursera or Skillshare offer workshops in music theory, production, and instrumental lessons that you can attend at your own pace.

Moreover, consider the power of technology. Apps like Yousician or Simply Piano gamify the learning process, making it engaging and suitable for all ages. If production is your jam, many Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) such as Ableton Live or FL Studio have extensive tutorials online, including on their official channels, allowing you to craft tunes right from your home studio.

Remember, it’s about focused practice, not just clocking in hours. As adults, we often have less time to spare, so make every moment count. For a special tip, record yourself during practice sessions. Playback can reveal a lot about your progress and areas that need fine-tuning—a technique surprisingly few utilize to its full potential.

Starting a music career in your 40s is not just wishful thinking; it’s a viable path paved with rich experiences and wisdom. It’s about harnessing your unique strengths, staying curious, and remembering—creativity knows no age limit. After all, in the grand concert hall of life, your 40s might just be the opening act of an amazing second half.

What Are the Best Ways to Build My Network?

Building your network in the music industry is a game-changer, no matter your age. It’s all about who knows you, who respects you, and who’s willing to put a word in for you. Let’s dive into some actionable routes to expand your network:

  • Hit the Local Scene: Your hometown is a great starting point. Whether you’re at open mic nights, local showcases, or music festivals, being present makes a difference. Introduce yourself, share your story, and offer to support others. You never know who’s listening!

  • Engage Online: Leap into online music communities, like Soundcloud, Bandcamp, or specific music forums on Reddit. Here’s a pro tip: leave genuine comments on other artists’ work. This can kickstart a conversation and grow into a full-blown collaboration.

  • Collaboration is Key: Seek out artists whose music vibes with yours. Proposing a collaboration can plant the seeds for mutual growth and introduce you to their audience.

  • Utilize Previous Connections: Got a pal who knows someone in the biz? Is your cousin’s friend a music journalist? Leverage those contacts. Don’t be shy – a brief, respectful ask can open doors you never expected.

  • Educational Events: Workshops and music seminars are hotspots for meeting industry pros. These are the places where business cards aren’t just exchanged; real, meaningful connections are formed.

  • Social Media Savvy: Build an authentic presence on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter. Follow and interact with local venues, radio stations, and industry figures. Just remember, it’s not just about numbers; it’s the quality of relationships that really counts.

Remember, networking is not so much about collecting contacts as it is about cultivating relationships. Be yourself, stay persistent, and the connections will follow.

Can I Turn My Age Into My Brand?

Absolutely! Your age isn’t a roadblock; it’s part of what makes your music and story unique. Embracing your journey can truly set you apart in this youth-centric industry. Here’s how to capitalize on your life’s symphony:

  • Embrace Your Journey: Whatever your background – a former lawyer turned songwriter, a stay-at-home parent finding their voice, or someone who’s travelled the world – these experiences can provide a rich tapestry for your brand. Be candid about your age and how it influences your music. Your authenticity will attract listeners craving something real.

  • Tell Your Story: Craft your narrative with the wisdom only years can bring. Maybe you’ve learned to appreciate the small moments, or you’ve undergone transformative experiences that now fuel your lyrics. Share these insights through your social media, interviews, and in your music.

  • Connect on a Deeper Level: “I’ve lived a life full of stories and songs.” How’s that for an album tagline? Show your audience that age enhances your connection to the emotions and stories within your music. People of all ages can relate to the idea of growth and rediscovery.

  • Design with Distinction: Your album art, merchandise, and promotional materials can reflect the maturity and depth of your brand. Think timeless design over fleeting trends – something that resonates with a more discerning audience.

  • Unique Perspective: Bring mentorship into the mix. Few talk about the power of offering guidance to younger musicians, but your years can make you an incredible resource. By positioning yourself as someone who’s not just creating but also giving back, you’ll build a brand that’s as much about community as it is about music.

In the end, your age is part of your uniqueness, it’s your secret sauce. Flaunt it, celebrate it, and let it shine through your music. The world doesn’t need another cookie-cutter artist – it’s waiting for you and your one-of-a-kind melody that’s been years in the making.

  • Alex Mitch

    Hi, I'm the founder of! Having been in finance and tech for 10+ years, I was surprised at how hard it can be to find answers to common questions in finance, tech and business in general. Because of this, I decided to create this website to help others!