I've heard this debate appear in a number of threads but it's never had it's own so I thought I'd make one for it. The big question:
Is it true that children learn better than adults? I split the poll to give an idea of the cross section of who thinks what (and because I like to make things complicated ).
Personally I believe that it isn't true. A lot of it I suppose depends on the ability of the individuals themselves, just as some children learn better than other children; some children will learn better than some adults and some adults will learn better than some children. Surely if someone has always been good at learning they won't suddenly become bad at it when they hit 18 (otherwise degree courses are certainly done at the wrong stage during life!). I can't see any reason why anyone beginning learning as an adult can't be as good as if not better than someone who started learning as a child. Maybe adults even learn better because they already have experience of many things and can learn by linking experiences; furthermore particularly young children may have problems because they can't read yet so reading music will be more difficult and they haven't developed generally the same knowledge and perhaps some don't have the same motivation as adults, made to do it by parents etc.
Obviously I'm not saying that people shouldn't learn instruments as children (indeed I believe quite the opposite) but that those who didn't shouldn't feel doomed to a slow rate of progress.
Don't be afraid to say if you think that adults will learn slower, it won't be a very interesting debate if it's one sided!