learning an instrument
This post originally appeared in Patreon on 9 April 2017 as to honor the patrons that support the work I do. If you would to learn more or become a supporter you can find my Patreon page by following this link https://www.patreon.com/pammortensen Many thanks!
A lot of people tell me how they feel they are too this or that to be able to learn to play music. It’s mostly “I’m too old.” The thing is, you’re never too anything to learn to play an instrument or sing. Allow me to tell a couple of stories.
The first story: One of my classmates at Cornish College for the Arts was this guy named Len. Len was an inspiration to the rest of us. He was learning how to play the viola which is NOT an easy instrument to learn (or maybe it is depending on your approach). It’s got the weirdest clef ever (for you non-musicians, the symbol that establishes where notes go on the staff) and it’s a bit larger than the violin making the reach a bit more challenging. But that didn’t deter Len. He loved playing this instrument and learned everything he could about it and music while he was at Cornish. We even played a couple of duets together at his request and he had me write a piece for his senior recital which we also played together. I love telling Len’s story because at the time he started learning viola he was 72. By the time he graduated he was 76. I remember asking him what he was going to do after graduation and he told me he had the goal of playing in community orchestras as well as for his own enjoyment.
A second story is of a student I had a few years back who had developmental disabilities. She was learning to play the piano. In the beginning, it was extremely hard for her to hit the right key because of her motor skills but with some time, patience and persistence, she was able to play songs like Yankee Doodle (her favorite) and Wheels on the Bus without guiding her hands. To watch the joy she had in playing by herself was so beautiful. The learning went two ways on this one because what I learned from her is that it doesn't matter where you come from or what your circumstance is, you can do it.
No one is ever too anything to learn music. The key is loving it enough to want to do it. When you love it enough, you WILL make time for it because you just want to or in some cases, need to. I’ve known people with family responsibilities, more than full time work and ageing parent responsibilities who still found time to learn and make music. For me, it’s been a necessity first to keep me out of trouble (yes, I can cause trouble) and second to express what needs to be expressed. Writing and playing music have been invaluable assets for me and I can’t think of anything better to do with my life than to make music and share it with people to hopefully encourage them to find their passions and loves.
So what would you love to do? Learn to play an instrument? Bellydancing? Painting? Digital synthesis? All I can say is just do it. There are really rich rewards to learning an art - learning to express yourself in ways that you couldn’t otherwise, building self confidence through building skills and even things like having positive effects the brain that can help us develop to our full potential. For more on this follow this link. Or you can also read This is Your Brain on Music .
For those of you who are really wanting to dip your big toe in, I hope you find this to be encouraging and that you just go for it! If you do, let me know how it goes. I would love to hear from you.
Many thanks for reading and play on!