The short answer is NO.
The slightly longer answer is HELL NO.
The proof is here ====> In my 5 year teaching career, I have worked with over 100 aspiring musicians, almost half of which were above the age of 30. About 10% were over 40. And one was 72. I would be more focused on time signatures, meter, and the cost of equipment…. In other words, age is the least important number in music. If you think it’s taken you a while to realize how badly you want to rock crazy drum solos, pondering self-inhibiting questions is not bringing the dream any closer. Life takes its course and for many people that means building a career, getting married, having kids, coaching little league, etc. Luckily, music stores sell drum sets to anyone with a payment plan and most teachers are not ageists.
The bigger concern should be the quality of education you are receiving. Adults have a lifetime of music listening under their belts. They tend to have a clearer vision of what they want to learn but are frequently impatient with the developmental steps necessary to fulfill the process. Successful music education is like a gourmet dish. The final product is only as good as the ingredients put into it. If you cook with 10% of the ingredients, your dish will not be nearly as tasty as the guy’s that followed the recipe. So take the time to seek out an instructor who knows the cook book; someone with a versatile background; someone who knows how to structure a lesson plan when you say “I want to play Rush songs.” You may not know it, but you don’t just want to play Rush songs. Neil Peart didn’t just write Tom Sawyer… A song is a melting pot of musical concepts. Until your technique, coordination, tempo, musicality, speed, theory, and stick control (amongst other things) are at a satisfactory level, your Tom Sawyer souffle will not make a single mouth water. OK, so maybe you never even thought about learning Tom Sawyer. The point is that when you learn something new, you’re not always asking the right questions; even if you’re certain of the answer you’re seeking. But if you’re putting in the time and forking out the money, don’t accept a music education from anyone whose not cooking with the whole spice rack. Hopefully this is where age actually works in your favor… You’re wise. You can spot the BS. If your teacher is a glorified hobbyist with a Rush obsession, you may walk away playing a few songs slightly above average, but you haven’t really grasped anything conceptual and I’m willing to bet it could sound a lot better.
How do you do this? First, take time to understand what you are actually looking to improve on. Why are you taking drum lessons? How can you help your teacher understand what it is you want to accomplish? Second, research your teacher. Anyone can post an ad on craigslist, put together a website, and make a few business cards. Although the internet has become slightly creepy, it has also become a very reliable means of validating someones credentials. Do they have good reviews? Can you find videos or audio clips of their playing? Third, talk to people you know and trust. Someone you know has taken drum lessons with someone in your area and can provide a recommendation. If not, talk to local schools. They have lists of teachers in the area and have most likely received enough feedback to make a recommendation.
So you’re not too old for drum lessons, you’re going to hire a competent teacher, you might be slightly hungry from all the cooking references, and you’re going to love being a drummer. Enjoy the journey and if you happen to live in Philadelphia…. let me help!