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Show ALL Forums  > Art/Music  > Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?      Home login  
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 DenaliDadd
Joined: 11/20/2007
Msg: 1
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?Page 1 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
I'm 58 and have loved music of all kinds for my whole life. My mother was a classically trained pianist and opera singer and I used to be a pretty fair drummer as a kid (good enough to have gotten a scholarship to a very well-known music school in Boston; I preferred small combo jazz) but I never really learned to read music well enough and my Mom never "made" me take music lessons, so I have no formal training in any instrument, including drums.

So is it too late to start at my age?
 Malley
Joined: 5/12/2007
Msg: 2
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/16/2008 9:47:31 PM
The important question here OP is do you think you're too old ???
I see no reason why anyone, of any age, would let the number of years they've been on this earth become a barrier between them and what they wish to accomplish.
Better late than never
Don't put a limit on yourself !!!
Go for it
 The inferno of ambition
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 3
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/16/2008 10:25:52 PM
it's never too late . . . why not learn?

my suggestion though is to make sure (provided you go this route) is to find an EXCELLENT teacher . . .not a "good" one, not an "alright" one . . . an EXCELLENT one. they have to have the right attitude and mesh with you on top of knowing what they should be teaching inside and out
 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 4
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Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/17/2008 2:33:46 AM
It's never too late to learn to play an instrument.
However, it may be too late to become very good at it.
Almost all concert artists started playing as young children.
 Boomstrike
Joined: 12/1/2007
Msg: 5
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/17/2008 2:53:36 AM
Your ability to learn anything at 58 is severely impaired compared to when you were 10. It's just going to take you a LOT longer. That may make it more rewarding when you do achieve some success.
 RSwindol
Joined: 8/25/2005
Msg: 6
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Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/17/2008 4:46:59 AM
I am a firm believer that one is never too old to learn. Some simply lose the desire to learn. But as long as you have the desire and determination, I think it's very possible.

Just out of curiosity, did you attend Berkley School of Music? I have always wanted to go there, but have never had the money to attend.
 DenaliDadd
Joined: 11/20/2007
Msg: 7
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/17/2008 5:31:58 AM

did you attend Berkley School of Music?

No, I only had a scholarship to the BERKLEE School of Music. That other "Berkley" is in California. And I wasn't allowed to attend because my father, a Harvard PhD, didn't want "any musicians in our family." Ouch. It took me decades to get over that--and there was no support from my mother, probably because they were of the generation where Father Knows Best...even if he didn't.

The reason I am considering all this--and I think all of you for reading and responding--is not to become a world-famous concert anything. I want to do it because I've wanted to for pretty much my whole life. However, I do know that as I age, my ability to grasp and remember diminishes, to say nothing of my coordination!

As for which instrument, well, I'm not sure. I have a cello prodigy son, a clarinet-playing daughter, and always thought having a piano over in the corner would be cool. So...who knows.

 Malley
Joined: 5/12/2007
Msg: 8
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/17/2008 9:26:44 AM
OP, you are 58 years old, hardly ready for the rocking chair just yet !!!

Grandma Moses aka Anna Mary Robertson was in her mid 70's and riddled with arthrits when she began to paint. She was close to 80 when she had her first exhibition, which btw brought her national recognition.

My point being, some of us are late bloomers. Even within the garden, they can be the most spectacular of all.

It has more to do with the want than anything else, and you have obviously been harbouring this desire since childhood.

Stop analyzing the should I's and can I's and just do it !!!

What is the worse possible thing that could happen ???

Whatever that may be, it will not be a bad as regret.
 guitarperson76
Joined: 2/24/2007
Msg: 9
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/17/2008 10:56:21 AM
Nope it is never too late to start playing music. Learning to play an instrument is very good for you...

If your family was musicians you shouldn't let it go, to have an ability to feel for music is a very nice gift. Use it before it's too late.

Not a lot of well known musicians have a vast knowledge of music. Some are self-taught and don't really know much about versus, chorus, nor any song structures yet they put out great music.
 RSwindol
Joined: 8/25/2005
Msg: 10
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Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/17/2008 11:55:00 AM

No, I only had a scholarship to the BERKLEE School of Music. That other "Berkley" is in California.

So true. My spell check keeps picking up "Berklee" as being misspelled. I guess I absentmindedly clicked the change button.

Well I auditioned there and was accepted, but didn't get any scholarship, so I was going to have to pay some $26,000 per year to attend. I guess it just wasn't in the cards.
 Dcool101
Joined: 9/12/2006
Msg: 11
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Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/17/2008 4:54:45 PM
If this is what you would like to do then all means go for it.You and your family could have a jambooree one day and you could look back at this as a starting point towards somthing special.
 GentleMuse
Joined: 5/6/2006
Msg: 12
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/17/2008 7:01:12 PM
Of course it is not too late. I teach beginning piano to older adults. I find that they actually progress quite well because they WANT to take the lessons and learn. Many children are forced into learning by their parents and don't progress very well at all. Also, you are much better equipped with the capacity to understand musical concepts and the mathematics of timing than youngsters are. I say, go for it! In ten years, you will be 10 years older. In those 10 years, you can choose to hanker after music and NOT do anything about, OR you can take lessons for those 10 years and end up playing for your own pleasure. I know which I'd choose if I were you!
 Malley
Joined: 5/12/2007
Msg: 13
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/18/2008 4:18:37 AM
^^^^ VERY good points, SO true and well stated. Listen to this woman OP, she knows what she is talking about !!!
 DenaliDadd
Joined: 11/20/2007
Msg: 14
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/18/2008 9:31:08 AM
I teach beginning piano to older adults. I find that they actually progress quite well because they WANT to take the lessons and learn.

I wonder how far Bloomington, Illinois is from Dutton.

I have to say I probably wouldn't want to get back into drums. My muscles aren't what they used to be and neither are my ears--or neighbors! However, having a good-quality piano in my living room would please me. I remember years ago, when I was flying for a living, I used to carry a public television bigwiggette (a female bigwig!) around on fundraising trips. Very frequently, I would be invited to eat at some large auditorium with all the locals while speeches were made and we all ate the required mass meal of broiled chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans.

One night, I was alone in the auditorium before anybody arrived and I just sat down at the piano that was over against the wall and started playing chords. I have no idea what they were, but somehow I managed to put enough together to make a "tune" out of it. And the experience was relaxing and pleasing....especially when I turned around to the applause of 3 people who had come in while I was "playing."

Thank you one and all for your feedback. You have been helpful.

In a Gadda Da Vida, anyone?
 Mary Poppinz
Joined: 1/31/2008
Msg: 15
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/18/2008 9:47:01 AM
No,it's never too late to try something new.

If you want to learn how to play an instrument,then I say go for it!

Good luck.
 discoafternoon
Joined: 4/15/2007
Msg: 16
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/18/2008 6:26:53 PM

So is it too late to start at my age?


Why not just try? It can't hurt.
 junglejeff88
Joined: 4/11/2007
Msg: 17
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Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/18/2008 6:37:29 PM
I say go for it ... it's never too late as long as you have a means too that end ... and a good story.

I had wanted to learn how to play an instrument my whole life as I am passionate about music ... through the years, I'd try my hand at playing this that and the other but could never make it click ... I took lessons ... I sat in at jam sessions ... I had the gift of music in my head but just couldn't seem to get it too flow through my hands and too the instrument ... I had friends who were extremely talented musicians and who had tried to teach me what they knew only too tell me that I was, indeed, truely a musician ... I just couldn't play ...

At 40, I was working a music festival and happened to find myself following a clown who was pulling a wagon full of noise makers for the kids who were present at the show ... of course, I just fell in line with a bunch of youngsters, picked out my favorite noise maker and proceeded to have a jam session right in the middle of the street ... the clown asked me later if I were a musician because I had a very natural rhythm ... I told him no and explained my story ... as we were both working the event, he found out where I was set up and told me that he would see me the next day and that he had a surprise in store ...

Sure enough, the next morning he showed up with an instrument case ... and in that case he had an alto saxophone ... now, when he pulled it out, I figured he was going to break it down and play it himself ... but NOOOOOO ... he put the sax around my neck, told me how to position my fingers, how to hold my mouth and how to breathe ... I figured, "what the hey" and humored him ... then he told me to blow (I did, and it sounded like I was torturing a large animal) ... now, as mentioned, I'd tried to play many different instruments with no real success ... I certainly couldn't see myself learning to play a wind instrument ... but this guy, the clown, told me " whatever you do, don't have anyone try and teach you how to play ... just practice for at least an hour every day and be open too the instrument ... and don't try and learn how to read music ... let it flow and go where it takes you" and before I could fully realize what was happening, the guy turned and high - tailed it out of my booth ... leaving me standing there with the saxophone slung around my neck ... wtf?

Before I could catch up with him too give him back his instrument and make him see that it would be crazy for him to believe that I could ever learn to play THIS THING, he was gone ... he had disappeared into the crowd, leaving me with an instrument that I certainly didn't think that I would ever have much use for ... but I decided to honor his gift and commit some time each day and practice ... I did ... and for the longest, I truely sucked, much to the consternation of those around me ... no matter how frustrated I felt or how much time I thought was being wasted on this learning curve, I remembered his kindness and my commitment to honor that ... I called the noise that I made "pure jazz" ... then, some four months after I received this gift and after spending some time each and every day making "pure jazz", that door opened and the technical part of playing finally made sense ... since that time, I've learned not only how to play the saxophone but am teaching myself keyboards, I've picked up the harmonica and I can drum my a** off ... I may never be so proficiant as too ever sit in and play music with others but I can now make that Universal connection and it sounds more like structured music than the noise I'd made before ... it's a great meditation and direct line connection and allows me too know why musicians are truely connected with a larger entity.

As for the clown who gifted me the saxophone ... several years after my chance encounter, I shared this story with someone who actually knows that person ... I learned that "the clown" was actually a professor of music at a major university in Massachusetts ... he teaches music theory and also collects instruments for kids in third world countries ... he had figured out in a few moments what I'd spent a lifetime trying to make happen. Who would'a thunk it?

jeffery
 Balsafer
Joined: 12/17/2007
Msg: 18
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/18/2008 7:26:21 PM
Nice story man ^^


I know I have a passion for drums because whatever song comes on the radio I try to keep the beat the best i can and I'm usually successful. I would so take drum lessons but at the moment I dont have a whole lot of time between work school and a social life, plus dont have the space for the drums right now lol
 2findU
Joined: 11/19/2005
Msg: 19
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Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/19/2008 9:02:24 AM
Well, on Mythbusters they proved you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, so I can't see why you can't learn to play an instrument too. And you already have the ability in your background anyway.
 Shakin389
Joined: 1/31/2008
Msg: 20
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Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/19/2008 9:57:07 AM
If you did it as a kid and still want it bad enough, you can do it.
I started playing the guitar at 18 years old. Some say that is starting to late.
19 years later, I'm still playing and amaze people. So once you set your mind
to it, don't stop for any reason. You'll only get better with time and practice.
 im_literit
Joined: 11/7/2006
Msg: 21
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/19/2008 8:31:37 PM
I agree its too late to get "good". I made grade 13 in flute and quit for 15 years - can't play anything complicated now and what I can play sounds pretty bad. Still, if you can afford it and your neighbors are cool, get the piano - or a synth and go nuts.
 J Free
Joined: 2/5/2008
Msg: 22
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Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/20/2008 9:15:06 AM
No such thing. A lot of people come back to music when they find more time on their hands. Its a great way to stimulate the brain and body as well as entertain yourself.
 DenaliDadd
Joined: 11/20/2007
Msg: 23
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/21/2008 3:32:53 PM
Your friend just became my hero, my example, nedly.
 crimson7
Joined: 8/10/2007
Msg: 24
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/21/2008 9:20:27 PM
its never to late,and some of the best musicians in the world dont read music or have any formal training,my advice is get some drums and have fun!
 chloebug
Joined: 1/8/2007
Msg: 25
Is it too late to learn to play an instrument?
Posted: 2/22/2008 2:31:37 PM
Of course it's not too late. You're never too old to learn. I have been teaching piano for about four years now. Most of my students have been older women...usually in their 60s and 70s. I've just recently started getting young students to teach. If you're wanting to learn something new, then go for it!! You've got nothing to lose!! Good luck!
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