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Am I too old to learn?

GUEST,Maggie 04 Nov 06 - 10:15 PM
Shiamsa 04 Nov 06 - 10:27 PM
cptsnapper 04 Nov 06 - 10:31 PM
GUEST,Richie 04 Nov 06 - 10:31 PM
katlaughing 04 Nov 06 - 10:31 PM
Beer 04 Nov 06 - 10:33 PM
Beer 04 Nov 06 - 10:58 PM
The Fooles Troupe 04 Nov 06 - 11:33 PM
GUEST,KT 05 Nov 06 - 02:49 AM
suzi 05 Nov 06 - 02:54 AM
Les in Chorlton 05 Nov 06 - 03:12 AM
breezy 05 Nov 06 - 03:58 AM
Dave Hanson 05 Nov 06 - 04:01 AM
GUEST 05 Nov 06 - 04:33 AM
terrier 05 Nov 06 - 05:25 AM
Mo the caller 05 Nov 06 - 05:45 AM
GUEST,Maggie 05 Nov 06 - 06:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 05 Nov 06 - 06:19 AM
kendall 05 Nov 06 - 06:34 AM
Leadfingers 05 Nov 06 - 06:42 AM
mandotim 05 Nov 06 - 07:15 AM
bobad 05 Nov 06 - 07:37 AM
Bee 05 Nov 06 - 08:49 AM
Cathie 05 Nov 06 - 09:14 AM
GUEST 05 Nov 06 - 09:23 AM
GUEST,obie 05 Nov 06 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,obie 05 Nov 06 - 10:01 AM
Les in Chorlton 05 Nov 06 - 10:17 AM
GUEST 05 Nov 06 - 10:31 AM
Alice 05 Nov 06 - 10:53 AM
Don Firth 05 Nov 06 - 01:21 PM
the lemonade lady 05 Nov 06 - 03:24 PM
KT 05 Nov 06 - 04:47 PM
GUEST,bobcat 05 Nov 06 - 05:02 PM
Leadfingers 05 Nov 06 - 07:21 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 05 Nov 06 - 07:31 PM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Nov 06 - 08:23 PM
Shiamsa 05 Nov 06 - 09:21 PM
Don Firth 05 Nov 06 - 09:54 PM
Rowan 06 Nov 06 - 01:36 AM
Scrump 06 Nov 06 - 04:32 AM
Nick 06 Nov 06 - 05:34 AM
selby 06 Nov 06 - 05:47 AM
Paul Burke 06 Nov 06 - 05:49 AM
GUEST, Topsie 06 Nov 06 - 06:10 AM
Les in Chorlton 06 Nov 06 - 06:37 AM
Little Robyn 06 Nov 06 - 06:49 AM
Betsy 06 Nov 06 - 07:02 AM
GUEST 06 Nov 06 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,joseacsilva 06 Nov 06 - 07:51 AM
jojofolkagogo 06 Nov 06 - 10:51 AM
Alice 06 Nov 06 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,PattyClink 06 Nov 06 - 11:20 AM
Wilfried Schaum 06 Nov 06 - 11:27 AM
GUEST,sorefingers 06 Nov 06 - 01:12 PM
Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland 06 Nov 06 - 04:16 PM
Rowan 06 Nov 06 - 04:26 PM
Scoville 06 Nov 06 - 05:06 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 06 Nov 06 - 05:50 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 06 Nov 06 - 06:15 PM
Rumncoke 06 Nov 06 - 06:42 PM
GUEST,Texas Guest 06 Nov 06 - 06:50 PM
GUEST,pleasant plucker 06 Nov 06 - 07:29 PM
Shiamsa 07 Nov 06 - 12:19 AM
GUEST,Disgusted 07 Nov 06 - 12:41 AM
GUEST,Disgusted 07 Nov 06 - 12:45 AM
Shiamsa 07 Nov 06 - 12:55 AM
Rowan 07 Nov 06 - 12:58 AM
Little Robyn 07 Nov 06 - 01:46 AM
GUEST 07 Nov 06 - 03:10 AM
Paul Burke 07 Nov 06 - 03:18 AM
GUEST,Dazbo 07 Nov 06 - 10:33 AM
Maryrrf 07 Nov 06 - 10:54 AM
Don Firth 07 Nov 06 - 12:33 PM
Bernard 07 Nov 06 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,Bill the sound 07 Nov 06 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,ibo 07 Nov 06 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,Maggie 07 Nov 06 - 03:08 PM
Shiamsa 07 Nov 06 - 03:08 PM
Scoville 07 Nov 06 - 03:13 PM
MMario 07 Nov 06 - 03:14 PM
Scoville 07 Nov 06 - 03:14 PM
Scoville 07 Nov 06 - 03:17 PM
Bee 07 Nov 06 - 04:04 PM
Bill D 07 Nov 06 - 04:13 PM
Rowan 07 Nov 06 - 04:14 PM
Shields Folk 07 Nov 06 - 04:28 PM
Big Mick 07 Nov 06 - 04:30 PM
jeffp 07 Nov 06 - 04:39 PM
GUEST 07 Nov 06 - 07:21 PM
Richard Atkins 07 Nov 06 - 08:35 PM
GUEST,Disgusted 07 Nov 06 - 08:38 PM
GUEST,Boab 08 Nov 06 - 02:00 AM
SylviaN 08 Nov 06 - 02:48 AM
Scrump 08 Nov 06 - 05:04 AM
Eye Lander 08 Nov 06 - 12:39 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 08 Nov 06 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,bobcat 08 Nov 06 - 04:33 PM
Rowan 08 Nov 06 - 04:38 PM
GUEST, Topsie 08 Nov 06 - 04:53 PM
terrier 08 Nov 06 - 05:28 PM
Tootler 08 Nov 06 - 07:12 PM
Richard Atkins 08 Nov 06 - 07:54 PM
Bob Bolton 08 Nov 06 - 09:43 PM
GUEST,Paul 09 Nov 06 - 07:32 AM
Shiamsa 09 Nov 06 - 01:54 PM
GUEST, Topsie 09 Nov 06 - 03:15 PM
Tootler 09 Nov 06 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,... 09 Nov 06 - 06:54 PM
GUEST,Nick 09 Nov 06 - 08:11 PM
Shiamsa 09 Nov 06 - 08:48 PM
Muttley 09 Nov 06 - 10:01 PM
Nick 10 Nov 06 - 06:47 AM
StuartEstell 10 Nov 06 - 07:12 AM
Paul Burke 10 Nov 06 - 07:31 AM
StuartEstell 10 Nov 06 - 07:39 AM
mike_in_st_c 10 Nov 06 - 08:08 AM
Nick 10 Nov 06 - 08:15 AM
Scrump 10 Nov 06 - 08:17 AM
Shiamsa 10 Nov 06 - 11:16 AM
Scoville 10 Nov 06 - 11:33 AM
Paul Burke 10 Nov 06 - 11:41 AM
Gulliver 10 Nov 06 - 12:00 PM
GUEST, Topsie 10 Nov 06 - 12:31 PM
Nick 10 Nov 06 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,... 11 Nov 06 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,Bill the sound 11 Nov 06 - 06:44 PM
OtherDave 11 Nov 06 - 10:00 PM
terrier 12 Nov 06 - 02:40 PM
Don Firth 13 Nov 06 - 02:09 PM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Nov 06 - 07:22 PM
wilco 13 Nov 06 - 07:32 PM
GUEST,sarah 04 Jul 09 - 11:08 AM
olddude 04 Jul 09 - 11:24 AM
wysiwyg 04 Jul 09 - 11:44 AM
Tootler 04 Jul 09 - 06:52 PM
Flyer 04 Jul 09 - 07:00 PM
GUEST,Bill the sound 04 Jul 09 - 07:06 PM
Rog Peek 04 Jul 09 - 07:12 PM
GUEST,lox 04 Jul 09 - 07:13 PM
GUEST,sarah 05 Jul 09 - 03:32 PM
Charley Noble 05 Jul 09 - 04:26 PM
Dorothy Parshall 05 Jul 09 - 06:55 PM
Leadfingers 05 Jul 09 - 09:59 PM
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Subject: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Maggie
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 10:15 PM

Hi
I sing already - mostly traditional stuff - but have always wanted to learn to play something. At the moment I play the whistle a little but it hasn't filled me with the need to play well! I'm 48 - am I too old to learn the melodeon or the fiddle? I really enjoy listening to both but err on the side of the melodeon.
What do you think?


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Shiamsa
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 10:27 PM

Yes. Stick with the singing.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: cptsnapper
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 10:31 PM

Of course you're not: it may take you a little while but it'll still be worth trying. What have you got to lose?


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 10:31 PM

No,

In 5 years you'll be five years older. Maybe by then you'll be able to play.

Good luck. Don't let the naysayers get you down.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 10:31 PM

Good lord, no! No one is too old to learn more. Fiddle may take a bit more time, but if you have a good ear and teacher, you can do it. Have you thought of lap dulcimer? Almost anyone can play one, from small children to the elderly in care homes. They are also less expensive than the melodeon and fiddle, esp. if you get a nice starter one. Prices have gone up a little since I bought my Black Mountain one, but they are still under $200 for a decent sounding dulci: Click Here.

Good luck and please come back and let us know what you decide. There are a ton of folks here who are supportive and helpful.

kat


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Beer
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 10:33 PM

Maggie.
Wake up for christ sake. Your just at the age that you would be serious. I'm just picking up the fiddle and I'm 59. I don't think I'm to old. Are you comparing yourself with some artist that has been in the spotlight for "x" number of years? Well don't do that to yourself. Pick it up, learn to play, and surprise a few of your friends.
Best of luck.
Beer


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Beer
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 10:58 PM

Further to what I just said is this.
Do it now, because if you don't you will always be asking yourself. I really don't have to complete this thought?, Right?


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 11:33 PM

You are never too old to learn...

... but just what you do learm may be different from what you expect to...

:-)


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,KT
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 02:49 AM

Not at all, Maggie! Pick up that fiddle and have fun with it! Keep at it and a year from now you will be playing. A year after that you'll be playing better....etc.

I have a friend, five years older than you, who just took up the fiddle 3 months ago. She's not taking herself too seriously and is having a great time learning! You'll likely never be a star, but how many of us are? You will enjoy making music, and that's what counts! AND-not only that, it's really good for your brain to take up something new at this point. Have at it!
KT


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: suzi
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 02:54 AM

Hi Maggie...

Your never too old to learn.... Im 50 and having guitar lessons along with my 30 year old daughter , my son who is 11 and grandaughter who is 8 are having them too..... I say go girl..you do whatever makes you happy. We have been going now for 8 weeks and are coming along fine (although daughter picks it up quicker than me), but its fun... good luck, long may you sing and play.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 03:12 AM

Maggie, much joy awaits you. At around 56 I taught myself to play the Mandola from music in around a year. I think the key, sorry, is finding an instrument that you really enjoy playing. I love the sound the Mandola makes and the way it sits comfortably in my hands. I can't walk passsed it without playing a tune. I play most days and sometimes for hours.

I went, and still go, to Hobgoblin where they will let me play anything in the shop. See if you can find a local instrument shop and try some things out. See if you can borrow from a friend. Buy the best quality you can afford or a bit better.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: breezy
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 03:58 AM

Follow your heart's desire

I wish I had taken up something at 48 !!

I have no regrets though

Tonight someone at my club will sing in front of an audience and sing to her own guitar accompaniment for the first time of a cmparable age, all credit to her.

just do it


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 04:01 AM

Go for it Maggie, you are never too old,   and it's great.

eric


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 04:33 AM

Of course you're nor - but please take up the fiddle; there are far to many melodeon players as it is - we're thinking of having a cull over here.
Jim Carroll
One of our local singers has taken up the fiddle - at 82


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: terrier
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 05:25 AM

All the positive things that have been said here I agree with, but why stick to one instrument,usually, practice fiddles can be bought very cheaply although boxes tend to be on the more expensive side and a melodion is heavier to carry about. DON'T forget the whistle, the simplest of instruments, you can already play one;a whistle played well is always impressive to a listener. Why not graduate to a concert flute? At 58 years old,I'm still looking for new musical challenges


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 05:45 AM

A fiddle played badly is a pain. A melodeon can't be played out of tune (though it can't play all the notes).
Since Jim retired we have been going to music sessions as well as dances, I will always be a beginner but he practises (cheating) and is improving.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Maggie
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 06:03 AM

Thank you for your encouragement. I think it's the idea of making a fool of myself that stops me. Things seem ok in the privacy of your own home and as soon as you go out - fingers like jelly and head full of sheep..
I am determined to try though and will let you know how it's going! (Hopefully you wont hear how it's going for some time!)


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 06:19 AM

I think the best plan is to talk to people who've done it, and ask advice as to how they've got to the point that you want to get to.

Lots of advice, a decent instrument(don't mess about trying to make something sound good that's rubbish anyway).

and remember the best players are not always the best teachers - get someone wise, considerate, and practical.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: kendall
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 06:34 AM

Maggie, believe me, at 48 you are not too old for anything!
Is there a special instrument that you like the sound of above all others? Grab one and do it.

KT, you are a star to me!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 06:42 AM

Maggie - Most definately , have a go at what ever instrument you fancy - Check your local shops and see if you can lease a GOOD instrument to have a go at , rather than buy something cheap , which will NEVER sound good . Most shops that do a lease , if you want to then buy , they knock most of the lease money you've paid off the price ! Best of luck , and keep with the whistle - They are portable and can be as versatile as you want , but only if you work at it .
   And remember the story of the elderly lady who got off a train at Grand Central Station and asked the porter how she could get to Carnegie Hall - He said "Practice , lady , Practice!"


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: mandotim
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 07:15 AM

I hope this will inspire:
One of my earliest musical influences was listening to my Dad whistle. He would whistle classical, jazz, old folk airs and everything in between, always in tune and with lots of expression. He is a rugged, 'non-arty' sort of man, with a background in the Royal Navy and the building trade. He was also a professional Rugby League player, and the last person you could imagine as a serious musician.
As he got older, illness meant he was less able to do the physical things he enjoyed, and we could see he was beginning the long slide into an unhappy old age. A moment of madness meant that his four children clubbed together and bought him a cello; for his 70th birthday. He had never played an instrument, nor could he read a note of music. We found him a teacher, and he began to learn.
He now has a Grade Seven qualification in both playing and music theory, plays in a small chamber orchestra and in a music group at church. His teacher bemoans the fact that she got him at 70, rather than 7!
Perhaps the best part was recently at his 80th birthday party. He played in a string quartet spanning three generations; twin granddaughters on first violin and viola, his daughter (my sister) on second violin and my dad on cello. He is totally devoted to his music, and spends hours practicing, playing and arranging music for the various ensembles. As he puts it; 'I am an old dog, and this IS a new trick!'
He inspires me,and I hope his story will do the same for others.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: bobad
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 07:37 AM

That's a wonderfully inspiring story, Tim.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Bee
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 08:49 AM

I'm older than you are and started playing guitar last year. I've gotten great joy from it, and I've come a long way just teaching myself. I now play in front of friends, and they seem to enjoy it. I was inspired by a friend who took it up at 72, and now plays on stage at community events and in variety shows, at 80. Learn to play whatever suits your fancy! It's good for the brain and the fingers, as well as tremendously satisfying.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Cathie
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 09:14 AM

Maggie

I am older than you.

I have been learning the guitar and to sing and play in folk clubs since last Christmas. I have no folk tradition background, just an interest and belief in 'lifelong learning'.

The fact that you sing is such a bonus. When I have messed up the chords, I just sing on and usually find my place somewhere.

All folkies I have met are extremely encouraging (NB Breezy above) and offer advice and support.

I have learnt that practice is fun, that even the best musicians fluff up sometimes. I learn the songs that I love and leave out chords I can't play. I think I appreciate the contributions of others more.

Go to a club with a nurturing ethos and play in public as early as possible - don't wait for the 'day you're ready'.

Enjoy.

When they throw rotten eggs and tomatoes - just throw them back. LOL


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 09:23 AM

All my life I have loved the sound of the cello and have always wanted to learn to play. When I retired I (at age 62) I bought a second hand cello, took lessons, got tips and help from friends, listened to a LOT of cellists and am now able to play a number of tuines. Am I good cellist ? No, but I get better every day and I love the fact that I am making a simple dream come true...go for it, you are never too old.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,obie
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 09:42 AM


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,obie
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 10:01 AM

Sorry for shooting blanks!
Maggie, I started playing "with" the guitar in my early 30's and was never really very good at it, but it was something that I loved to do. I never practiced as such, but used it as a soother after a hard days work so my learning was purely for relaxation. Today I am semi-retired and I can not yet play like Chet Atkins or JP Cormier (grin) but I am having a ball with it. If you enjoy singing I strongly suggest that you consider an insturment that you can use to sing along with. I find that the guitar is great for this because you can quickly learn simple chord progressions in one or two keys. With a capo to change keys you can now accompany your voice on most any song, so you can show results very quickly.
                     Obie


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 10:17 AM

The other thing to think about is where to play. Most of us play better without an audience, so 2 or 3 round the kitchen table can be a lot of fun and then maybe .............. who knows


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 10:31 AM

Make up your own tunes on your new instrument, then if you get them wrong nobody knows the difference! Good luck. Hope you have a lot of fun learning. And if you decide to pick up the fiddle, I'm taking on pupils...


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Alice
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 10:53 AM

Maggie, I started serious voice lessons at 44, and that is the instrument that most relys on health, muscles, breath, etc. Any singer can improve from training with a good teacher, and with those skills you can keep your voice into old age. Pick up a fiddle and go for it.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 01:21 PM

Years ago, when I was teaching guitar, both classic and folk, most of my students were high school kids who wanted to form a Peter Paul and Mary or Kingston Trio sound-alike group. But my most enthusiastic student was a 75 year old man, a former Boeing engineer. He'd never played a musical instrument before?never had the time?but now that he was retired, he wanted to learn to play the guitar. And to read music. He never made it to Carnegie Hall, but he was thoroughly enjoying himself (practiced several hours a day) and reached the point where he could play quite a few easy to intermediate classic pieces. He played a lot for his family and friends and enjoyed their amazement.

Currently, I have a student, a fifty-five year-old woman who plays a bit of piano, but since she doesn't have one in her small apartment, decided she wanted to learn to play the guitar. She's been taking lessons now for a little over a year, can play a fair number of studies and pieces by Sor, Carulli, Aguado, and Tŕrrega, and I've just started her on her first Bach piece.

Age is only a number. If you didn't know how old you are, how old would you be?

Go for it!!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 03:24 PM

i seem to be getting much better, with lots of practice with the shakey egg!
sal


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: KT
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 04:47 PM

Maggie, don't worry about making a fool of yourself. Find yourself a group of supportive musician friends who like to play together and join in as soon as you're able to hit every 10th or 20th note. (The sooner you join in, the sooner you get over those jitters) It's good to remember that every musician you hear was in your place at one time. I don't know where you live, but I've met a LOT of mudcatters in person and every one is VERY supportive and encouraging to other musicians. And that GETAWAY crowd is WONDERFUL!

Kendall, you are ever so kind......

KT


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,bobcat
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 05:02 PM

Good for you!! Of course you are not too old. Should always take on a challenge.I am learning to play the mandolin and am seven years older than you...I can read music which helps and am enjoying myself!! it will take me years to get anywhere but what the heck!! I would love to find a slow session to join in...or a group to practise with learning in isolation is very frustrating and though top mandolin players locally are very kind they are way out of my reach!!!!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 07:21 PM

Maggie - I would also suggest becoming a member of this asylum ! If nothing else , as a member you can send private messages (AND receive them) rather than doing everything on the open forum !


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 07:31 PM

I am just learning to play the Boehm Flute with I have no formal training in music, and I am way older than you Maggie. My other half is my teacher as she learned it at school.

I am going great guns with articulation and making all the notes.

Any age is young enough to learn!

Love this thread.

:0)


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 08:23 PM

"even the best musicians fluff up sometimes"

My father taught me that the most important thing is not just to play the right notes - you can play occassional wrong notes, and if you keep the tempo going without falter, you will get away with it much easier than stopping, apologising for the wrong note and starting again! Liteners will forgive a few wrong notes, but if you drop the tempo, they are not anywhere near as generous! :-)

So the trick is to learn to 'fake it' or 'vamp' along till you get to where you can pick it up again - this is especially important in ensemble (group) playing - as if all keep the tempo (rhythm) constant, a few dropped notes are not noticed anywhere as much.

Now as to confidence, start in small ways, don't ever rely on props such as drugs (alcohol, etc), just work on buiding your confidence. You could always try a 'public speaking' club, or even some theatre workshops - they will help too.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Shiamsa
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 09:21 PM

You need to catch yourself on--as you approach the half century your main purpose in life should be to lavish love and presents upon your grandchildren, or if you don't have these, upon yourself. If you haven't done it by now, there's no point in wasting your decreasing time learning an instrument. You won't alienate your loved ones' affections by singing, even if you don't have a great voice, but your efforts on an instrument could prove fatal (to their affections and even yourself, if you try too hard). Consider how much more rewarding a well-knitted pair of socks would be, as a gift for loved ones or for yourself, the kitchen is nearby, and don't neglect the consolations of religion.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 09:54 PM

Foolestroupe speaks wisdom.

I have seen Pete Seeger in live concerts a number of times, and on a couple of occasions I've seen him blank out on the words of a song, skip the verse, and move on to the next. On one occasion, he actually made up a verse on the spot to fit. It was not just a "different version," he was definitely improvising. It wasn't great poetry, but if you didn't already know the song, you wouldn't have even noticed. I have also seen Andrés Segovia fluff things on the guitar and pick it up and keep right on going. I notice the fluffs because I knew the pieces he was playing (not that I could play them very well myself, though). Other well-known performers in live appearances also.

Unless you really crash and burn, if you keep right on going, only a very small percentage of the audience is going to even notice. And they will undoubtedly be musicians themselves, they've done it themselves, and will understand. No sweat.

But if you do really blow it, it's still not the end of the world. I recall introducing a song with an elaborate explanation of where the song came from and gave all sorts of historical poop on it ("I knew he had to be a folk singer. He spent ten minutes introducing a three-minute song!"), and when I got done running my mouth, I blanked out on the first verse. I sat there with my mouth open, then confessed to the audience, "You know, after all that, I can't remember the first verse!" I thought for a few seconds that I was dead meat, but the audience, bless them (!), burst out laughing. They thought it was pretty funny. I went into the second song I had planned, then said, "Okay, I just remembered the one I was going to sing first," and proceeded to sing it. Good appreciative audience, and I even got paid.

Audiences aren't lynch mobs.

At least not usually. It is a good idea to be well prepared.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Rowan
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 01:36 AM

I'm not as old as some of the examples mentioned but I started late (still can't read music) and I reckon you can't ever be too old to have a go. So long as you're playing for your own enjoyment you'll be the only critic of any performance; just try to be encouraging to the performer. With nobody to hear you can fluff all you like and you'll only get better.

Sooner or later you'll be overheard by someone close and they'll probably be impressed with your progress.

I've never played fiddle but it's a bit of a trick to sing while playing. Melodeons tend to want to breathe differently from people so singing with them can also be a trick. Tricks can be mastered after a bit of practising.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Scrump
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 04:32 AM

The day you're too old to learn is the day you die (that applies to everything, not just learning to play a musical instrument).

I've been playing guitar for over 40 years but I'm still learning how to play it. If I ever get to the point where I think I know it all, I'll stop. So I hope I never get to that point. (Not that there's much danger of that though ;-))

Don't worry about making a fool of yourself - just take the plunge. You'll find it gets easier each time. I've had some bad nights where everything seemed to go wrong - forgetting the words, playing in the wrong key, etc., but that's how you learn and improve.

Now... get on with it!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Nick
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 05:34 AM

A friend of ours of a similar age took up the guitar less than a year ago and recently played at a festival in Scarborough and won a prize in a comic song contest recently. He does practice a LOT his partner told me at the weekend!

A much younger friend who is very musical has taken up the fiddle and the melodeon. The fiddle he plays reasonably after a year+ but reckons his progress on it is much slower than on the melodeon. The melodeon he bought and took up in July of this year and he is already proficient on it and can knock out tunes and accompany himself. He is however an excellent guitarist though and picks things up very quickly but it does show what can be done.

On the other hand a third friend has been trying to learn to play the guitar and is getting practically nowhere with it.

A lot depends on your aptitude / attitude / time you are prepared to set aside to practice / whether you have a teacher / whether you have people who will help and encourage when you plateau/get stuck etc


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: selby
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 05:47 AM

I am over 50 and awaiting delivery of Northumbrian Pipes and I have not got a clue what to do. Streeeeeeeeeeetch the brain


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 05:49 AM

as you approach the half century your main purpose in life should be to lavish love and presents upon your grandchildren,

Grandchildren at 50? Not on your Nelly. And lavish presents on the spoilt little buggers? Better blow the lot on a decent fiddle and spend the rest of your life doing something worthwhile.

Shiamsa, time to have a good close look at that bleak, repressed, destructive view of life.

My epitaph is to be: "He didn't realise that it's never too late- until it was too late."


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 06:10 AM

Well, it's quite possible to be (legally, no under-age sex) a grandparent at under 33. I acquired a grandson when I was 43, before I'd even worked out what I was going to do when I grew up [and I haven't knitted a pair of socks since I was 23].
But I suspect that Shiamsa was being facetious.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 06:37 AM

Perhaps a general theme appears that no matter how good natured the original post may be and how appropraite responses are by around post 20 people join in with facetiousness, irrelevance or just old fashioned aggression?


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 06:49 AM

selby, when your pipes arrive, strap them on, close off the drones, put your fingers over all the holes, start working the bellows (gently)and when you feel the bag getting full just hold it there. See how long you can hold it like that.
When you've got the feel of that, either open one drone or lift off one finger on the chanter. Again, fill the bag and then stop the bellows while you see how long you can keep that note going, just by pressure on the bag with your left arm.
The first problem to master is co-ordination and some teachers tell you to only play one note (or a couple of drones) for the first month, until you have that under control. (I did it for the first half hour, then found that boring.)
Once you are getting a steady flow of air, then you can think about trying the scale and then tunes.
But the best way to learn is to find another piper and there are several in your general area, one in Selby even, according to the NPS address list.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Betsy
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 07:02 AM

Maggie , whatever it is in life , PLEASE don't get 5 years older and say I WISH , I had given it a go.
Get on with it.
All I would say is before you commit - make sure you have someone to support you who plays the instrument you wish to learn. Getting over the first couple of hurdles can be lonely without someone to give advice.
Best Wishes for your success.

Cheers,
Betsy


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 07:39 AM

Was listening last night to a chap at our folk club. He took up playing guitar at a very ripe age, and we have seen him progress from a very hesitant first outing to a very accomplished player who clearly puts a bit of heart into the music. Good thing he didnt think he was too old...


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,joseacsilva
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 07:51 AM

Like George Jones said: "I´ll take a little long but I get there,I don´t this rocking chair". Just kidding, after all I´ve got your age, and as a doctor and musician, I frequently recomend learnig a new instrument as a form of improving life quality and reducing stress.
   Just do it!
Joe


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: jojofolkagogo
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 10:51 AM

Am I too old to learn, and you're only 48 !!!!!

Good grief !! you could live for another 40 years yet !

so get cracking with whatever you wanna do NOW

-no one knows how long they have got, but you just MAY live it all

go to it -jo-jo


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Alice
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 10:58 AM

Shiamsa, I'm trying to understand your point of view. How old are you?


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,PattyClink
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 11:20 AM

Traditionally, the best fiddlers are middle-age to geezer-age. It was like the golf of the agricultural age. As time passed, you had more time to putter on your fiddle and more time to visit friends and swap tunes. The point being, it is in the tradition to spend time with an instrument later in life, so don't feel like you're 'behind'.

That said, fiddle is one of the hardest instruments around because you're doing 3 things at once (fingering without the help of frets, bowing notes, and bowing them in such a way that the sound is pleasant). So if you love the sound of the melodeon more, go with that!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 11:27 AM

You are never too old to start a new musical enterprise. When I lost my voice and a part of my lungs I ended my career as a choir singer and brass bass player. I sulked for some years, and then I joined our firemen's band, triangle first, then the big drum, and at 50 years of age I started to learn the snare drum. I worked hard, got some training courses, and shortly before my 63th birthdayI qualified for drum instructor. So I am teaching a drum band earning a little money besides for my beer.
What is wrong with the whistle? Try and practise - it is wonderful to play and not so heavy to carry. When you notice that your fingers are agile enough then you can also start learning to fiddle. (I for my part won't do it, for me the fret about the fiddle are the missing frets). Also keep in mind that the first purpose is the joy you are feeling when you play, maybe with some good friends. But don't forget the three prerequisites you need with everything you want to do well:
1. practice, 2. practice, 3. practice (so I was told by my old seargent).


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 01:12 PM

Wilifried, you surely have the right recipe!

There are a couple of hitches to the adult student of complete music-craft. Nothing could be more un-intuitive than bowing a Violin, and nothing can equal the complications of playing two handed on Piano or similar. Wind family instruments require lots of planning but practice and time take care of most problems. ( I have mastered, even if badly, both home made Diatonic flutes and the pennywhistle. I must add, there is absolutely nothing that gives so much reward as playing a musical instrument you make! )

It is always a good rule of thumb to begin with some lessons. Later you can go off on your own, but to start nothing so well corrects time wasting mistakes in method as a teacher.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 04:16 PM

NO YOU'RE NOT AND NEITHER IS ANYONE ELSE


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Rowan
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 04:26 PM

Sorefingers is right about the value of a good teacher. Trouble is finding one if you're out bush somewhere or attempting an instrument that is uncommon. As the Anglo concer was when I started. Which brings me to a recollection about Northumbrian Small Pipes.

Selby, when Geoff Wooff arrived in Melbourne he played English concertina and NSPs; he didn't pick up Uillean pipes until much later (and there's another story, connected with his desire to make his own set of NSPs). I think his NSPs were made by Colin Ross but it was a long time ago; 30 years or so. Geoff told me that he'd ordered a set and had to wait quite some time for them to be made. At that time Geoff was working as a draughtsman, which involved quite a lot of sitting at a draughting table which partly concealed him. He learned the fingering patterns on the holes of the chanter from some diagrams he got from Colin and sat at his table (apparently "working") and just practised the fingering patterns of the various scales and tunes he wanted to play.

So, before he even laid hands on a set of pipes, he'd progressed considerably with the fingering; all he then had to learn (so to speak) was to cope with tuning everything and coordinating all the various parts of the body involved with playing it; no small feat in itself.

You could try this yourself. I hope it helps.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Scoville
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 05:06 PM

My father is already planning to take up banjo when he retires (no time until then). He's considerably older than 48 already and is several years away from retirement, so . . . no. Go for it.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 05:50 PM

If your aim in learning fiddle is to make Darol Anger stand in awe of your abilities, you're probably starting about forty years too late. However, if your goal isn't quite so lofty, any age at which you are still breathing is fine.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 06:15 PM

Be-dubya-ell, what a nickname, .... but seriously you have to be joking!

Two players that I love to listen to began later in life, Jim Mc Killop and Paddy Canny. Then what about Johny Keenan who grew up playing the pipes but sounded far far better on the banjo!

So it ain't about age, it never was. It is about 'ability', something totaly unrelated to age.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 06:42 PM

This year I was 55 - learning to sing from shaped notes and to play the three hole whistle.

Go for it - do it even if you do it badly, do it even if it seems you are not making progress, keep trying even if it seems impossible - because the alternative is not doing, and that can lead to not doing anything and that is going to lead nowhere.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Texas Guest
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 06:50 PM

Maggie, here is a story I always have fun telling. This time I'll write it out and we'll see how it goes: two men are sitting on a park bench taking in the day and the sunshine. One of the gentlemen
finishes his newspaper, folds and tucks it away and starts a conversation with the man sitting next to him. After a few minutes of
chit-chat he asks the man what he does for a living. "Well, that's my problem," the man replied, "I've been retired now for six months and I just don't know what to do with myself anymore." "Hmmm..." said the
gentleman, "...that shouldn't be a problem - you can do anything you want to do; your time is all yours, now."

The other man replied, "Yeah, well, I'm too old to do anything now.
Surely you're retired; what do you do with all of your time?" "Me?"
responded the gentleman. "Yes, I'm retired - have been for some time
now, and I'm enjoying the hell out of it." The man then asked,"Well, no offense, but I am 65 years old and I do believe you're a few years older than I am - what DO you DO?" The gentleman laughed and looked at the man and said, "Yes, you're right, I am older than you; in fact, I'm 84 years old; and, as for what I do, well I do a variety of things but I do play a lot of tennis, and..." "Tennis? At your age?"
said the man. "Yep. In fact, I'm very proud to say that I won the United States Senior Tennis Championship this year."

"84 and you won a tennis championship? Geez, I've always wanted to learn to play tennis, but at my age it's just too late," the man stated glumly. "Too late?" said the gentleman, "Why you'd have to be playing for fifteen years before you even qualify to play in my age bracket - go get yourself a racket young man."

Maggie, you got it, right? Also since you sing, consider taking up an instrument you can accompany yourself with; but hey - get out there and do it. Cheers,................TG


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,pleasant plucker
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 07:29 PM

Might I advise you take up the harp? Wonderful to sing to, and very easy to get a beautiful sound from. Take up anything you like, but do it now & do it for yourself. Confidence is just something we all use to cover up the fact that we haven't got any, and musicianship is all about how well we make the inevitable mistakes. The vast majority of any audience is very much on your side and wants you to do well, and a 'folk' audience will generally respect you just for having a go - after all, you're the one that got up and did it, and they aren't.. Do it, and you'll inevitably get better at it.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Shiamsa
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 12:19 AM

Since some contributors (Alice, Paul, etc.) have failed to understand my point of view, I'll try to explain:

Assuming that the woman is married with a family, most of us are aware that an older woman's duty in life is firstly to her home and family (Titus 2:3 & 4). And if the woman has lead a virtuous life up to now, what consequences would the introduction of a musical instrument bring, particularly the difficult-to-master violin? Mastery of this instrument entails considerable practice on scales and bowing technique, which unless practiced outside the home (a moral danger in itself!) could rock the most solid marriage and/or drive husband and children out of the house.

Secondly, the time needed to practice could intrude on the older woman's obligation to "teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children", etc. They need lots of time to show them how to keep house and have the right spiritual and mental attitudes.

Even if the woman managed to get around the above and lead a sober life after learning the instrument, the next thing she would want, would be to risk playing with other musicians. There is a great danger to temperament, character, and mode of thought, to which such a lifestyle particularly exposes its followers, possibly leading to loose living, late nights, unserious behaviour and a general decay in morals. We all know how these folk-musicians behave!

No, stick to the straight and narrow path, forget the temptations of music, and content yourself with the purring of your kettle on the hob and the lilt of your sewing-machine in the corner.

Shiamsa


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Disgusted
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 12:41 AM

Shiamsa, you make me ashamed to be a member of this species.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Disgusted
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 12:45 AM

Unless you were joking, in which case I take my hat orf.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Shiamsa
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 12:55 AM

Well, as long as you don't accuse me of being facet...(it's a long word, I don't know what it means) like some of the others on this thread!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Rowan
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 12:58 AM

Selby,
In my haste I forgot to mention that Geoff sat at his draughting table with a ruler held in his hands the way a piper holds a chanter; this way he could 'finger' the correct 'notes' of a tune (which was audible only in his head) and still appear to casual observers to be working away at a drawing.

Disgusted Guest,
Of course Shiamsa was joking. Nobody who really believes that stuff would subscribe to Mudcat.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 01:46 AM

Yes selby, the other thing you need to work on is getting your ring fingers to co-operate - to move by themselves. This is easier said than done. It's surprising how stubborn they can be at first.
Sit at a table with all fingers down in front of you, fingertips touching the table. (Your thumbs can rest on the edge of the table and pretend to be hitting keys.) Now practice lifting the ring fingers without any other fingers coming up. Alternate left and right. Then keep practicing by moving the other fingers - lifting them one at a time and putting them down again before moving the next one. This is the basic closed fingering Northumbrian Smallpipe chanter technique! And you can sit and do it at work or at school, on a bus, on your knees, wherever you are. You don't even need a chanter to practice on.
Then when your pipes arrive, work on the co-ordination first - bellows/bag/elbows, and don't try the chanter fingering until that's sorted.
Good luck,
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 03:10 AM

I hope Shiamsa is joking - but there are people who have taken seriously her line on music in the past, particularly here in Ireland.
In the first half of the 20th century many of the clergy went around breaking up crossroads and house dances, often forcibly.
One of our local singers, now in her 80s, had her ear-drum burst by a priest beating her round the head for taking part in a house dance.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 03:18 AM

"To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure."- Titus 2:15.

That means, if you're "pure", whatever that might be, fiddling's OK. If you're not, it will make no difference.

Go and get that fiddle, and get cracking.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Dazbo
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 10:33 AM

YOu're never too old to learn the melodeon! I did a survey on Melodeon.Net and a fair percentage (25%?) were over 50 when they started. If they can do it so can you:-)


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 10:54 AM

Friend of mine took up the fiddle at age 50. That was two years ago and while he's not a virtuoso, he's able now to play along at the slower sessions and is improving. He enjoys himself immensely, and that's what's important. You're definitely not too old to learn!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 12:33 PM

I figure that Shiamsa is either wearing cap-and-bells or a straightjacket.

48 years old? "Older woman!???" Heck, Maggie, you're just a kid yet. Go forth and make music!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Bernard
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 12:49 PM

My answer to any prospective pupil of any age has always been this...

If you'd like to learn to play, you probably won't. If you've a burning need to play, nothing will stop you.

Simple, really.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Bill the sound
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 01:03 PM

It's nothing to do with age. If you are determined to learn an instrument you will. I had a guitar for my sixtieth birthday and never thought I would play it -but now I do.GO FOR IT.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,ibo
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 01:13 PM

theres a bloke down our street learning guitar at the age of 64


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Maggie
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 03:08 PM

Well, borrowed a friends melodeon today, bought a tutor and a tutor cd and started to practice. I'd advise not booking me for a good few years but I enjoyed it and maybe that's the main thing. I've decided to give the melodeon a good go and if I really hate it, I can try something else!
Thank you for all your help and advice.
Maggie


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Shiamsa
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 03:08 PM

Well, if this person IS going to risk straying off the straight and narrow and take up an instrument I could hardly recommend the fiddle--isn't this the instrument associated with the Devil? You never hear of the Devil playing the piano or mouth-organ, do you? This association is common in European folklore and in Georgia (USA).

I don't mind not being taken seriously, but do resent being called facistious (Sp?). I have never had any time for Hitler, Mussollini, National Front, BNP, etc.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Scoville
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 03:13 PM

According to the salesman in Jessamyn West's Friendly Persuasion, the Devil played the banjo. According to Charlie Daniels, he plays the fiddle. Of course, I don't think I've ever met an old-time musician who only played one instrument so it's a fair guess that the Devil plays 3, 4, or 5 instruments just like everyone else I know.

*****

And it's "facetious", for future reference.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: MMario
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 03:14 PM

As a matter of fact I have read stories with the Devil playing the guitar, the piano, the harmonica, the jew's harp, the trumpet, the trombone, the clarinet, the drums and the tuba (though the illustration in that one was of a Sousaphone)


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Scoville
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 03:14 PM

. . . but now I have this image of Satan with a Hohner and I may never stop laughing.




Personally, I think a case could be made for the Devil with an accordion but I've never seen it documented.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Scoville
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 03:17 PM

Oh, wait--there he is. Funny, I thought he would look more like Myron Florens.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Bee
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 04:04 PM

In Cape Breton the Devil seems to stick to dancing with the young ladies, coyly revealing a cloven hoof (no doubt while executing a difficult step) near the end of the dance. Presumably himself doesn't care to be shown up by all the excellent fiddlers thereabouts. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 04:13 PM

I started an entirely new skill at 52! (woodturning)....it just depends on how much you care and want to do it!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Rowan
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 04:14 PM

I'm sure Shiamsa should not be accused of facistiousness, nor even fascistiousness, and I hope fasciitis never strikes Shiamsa's Plantar. Facetiousness, now? Oh Lord. keep us from satire and all such prods to the imagination, lest we learn to march to the beat of diff'rent drums. Or even sing and play.

What was that about the Devil being in the detail?

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Shields Folk
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 04:28 PM

I started playing the Northumberland pipes 8 months ago.
Mind you I'm still a spring chicken at 44!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Big Mick
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 04:30 PM

Only you can answer the question. If you think you are too old, you are.

My entire life I had wanted to play the Uilleann pipes. All kinds of things like military service, lack of availability, no instructors in those days, kids, bills, etc got in the way. Low and behold, at the age of 49 I got my hands on a good chanter, talked the highly esteemed reed maker, Benedict Koehler into reeding it, and off I went. Had I listened to the folks around me, I would never have played them. I heard all the crap like "you are too old", it takes years, etc. I had played whistles for a while, and had been an afondicio of pipers my entire life. I just plunged in, and it has become a passion for me. A big part of doing this was to accept a few things. I committed to becoming the very best UP'er that I could be, but understood that I will not hit the level of someone who started much earlier. Al Purcell, a great piper and teacher, advised me to start with Airs, and find the beauty in them.

I am so happy that I didn't listen to what I couldn't do, and instead plunged in. It is a meditative experience for me, and it brings me great satisfaction.

There is only one person who can say that you are too old. It is you. If you find yourself telling yourself that you are too old, I recommend that you tell yourself to go screw yourself, and plunge ahead anyway.

Good luck,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: jeffp
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 04:39 PM

My great-great-grandfather who left Ireland in 1847 once refused to go into a church because he saw somebody going in with a fiddle. He said the fiddle was the devil's instrument. (Reported by my grandmother in a letter to my sister.)


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 07:21 PM

Nice one Shiamsa, you had us all going there for a moment!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Richard Atkins
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 08:35 PM

Maggie perhaps Leadfingers point was correct .Good luck and go for it!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Disgusted
Date: 07 Nov 06 - 08:38 PM

Anyone want to buy a hat?


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 02:00 AM

Maggie---I left Northumberland when I was 48, never having played accordion or bodhran in public iin my life; now I do both, in public and every week. Go get it!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: SylviaN
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 02:48 AM

As far as I'm concerned, music keeps you young, singing certainly has done that for me (which all my friends can attest to). I only added the Duet McCann concertina when I was past 45 and am performing with it now. What I'm working on now is to try and harness the "young" effect so that I go in reverse. I'll let you all know when I am successful.

I think that learning to play a new instrument is just as good at stimulating the brain as the little box they've been advertising on television, and it's more fun and you can share the enjoyment with friends and make new friends.

Never say never too old - I know the body has it's limits, but the mind certainly doesn't and, anyway, who says fun is only for the young! (If you know that person, let me know who it is and I'll put them straight).

Cheers

Sylvia


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Scrump
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 05:04 AM

Of course the devil plays a lot of instruments - and all of them very loudly and very badly :-)


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Eye Lander
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 12:39 PM

Andy (Miskin Man) and I took up the English Concertina a couple of years ago both in our middle 50's, we're not very good but enjoy the practice. It helps if you've been a folkie for a while and already heave the tunes in your head. I am new to it all so I am learning tunes as well as the instrument.

Jillie


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 03:36 PM

In Cape Breton there would seem to be a contradiction about the deil playin the fiddle. I have heard it said that it is the devil's insturment. I have also heard it said that it is the only insturment that he can't play because it forms a cross.
Most however are unanlmous in the claim that "Buddy MacMaster can play like the devil!" :-}
               Sandy


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,bobcat
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 04:33 PM

Stuff the knitted socks and go for it.Life may begin at 40 but it takes off at 50..for us girls that is..kids growing up and freedom to pursue what ever challenge you fancy. I have been hutting in the Austrian Alps (famous five adventures for grown-ups) and taken up the challenge of learning a musical instrument in the hope that I can strum along...I'm not very musical but am enjoying myself or at least the challenge. This is the 21st century for crying out loud. The next generation are busy doing their thing and so should we...it's challenges that keep the little grey cells ticking over...so go for it!!! And good luck


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 04:38 PM

Jillie (Eye Lander) wrote "It helps if you've been a folkie for a while and already heave the tunes in your head."

What a wonderful image.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 04:53 PM

In the circumstances, facetiousness would have made the remarks 'acceptable'. I was giving Shiamsa the benefit of the doubt.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: terrier
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 05:28 PM

I heard the Devil went down to Georgia anyway?


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Tootler
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 07:12 PM

No one is ever too old to learn. Learning something new is an excellent way of keeping the brain active.

I have taken up the anglo concertina at the age of 61 and it is giving me a great deal of pleasure. I have a long way to go to become proficient, but I know that it will take time. In the meantime, I have an instrument that I can already play some tunes on and enjoy playing.

One advantage that age gives is experience. You are aware that you are likely to have a struggle ahead and mentally prepare yourself. Also when you are older you tend to have more patience and will plug away when a youngster might give up. Alright you may not ever be able to play as quickly as many of the youngsters around nor will you pick things up as quickly, but given a willingness to learn you can make steady progress and you can learn to play musically - which is no way the same as playing fast. In fact, they say that the real test of a musician is how well they play a slow piece. Most of all if learning a new instrument gives you pleasure then that is what you should do. You will be starting on a journey which will give you pleasure for many years to come.

As to Shamsia, her posts read like a 17th century Puritan's guide to godly living for the housewife. I wonder were we to see a photo if there would be a little bulge in her cheek where her tongue has been firmly planted?


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Richard Atkins
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 07:54 PM

Shamsia .You had me in protection thoughts for Maggies Thread last night. Brill posts on reflection today though ! Will send my partner out with Lawnmower and Leaf Rake at sun rise then!! :>}


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 09:43 PM

G'day Maggie,

I missed most of this thread (local telcon ... err... telco ...) has a dud ADSL card in my exchange ... and still can't find where they hid the spare - so no home connection ... after 11 days!

Anyway, I run a weekly Music Workshop Session, here in Sydney, Australia, for the Bush Music Club. I'm getting 15 - 20 players along for session currently - and that includes up to half a dozen learning fiddle. The youngest may be as young as you! They are all having fun - bouncing off each other's strengths and weaknesses - and getting better every week.

(I don't have any aspiring button accordion players - although one of the Monday Mob played button accordion in a "Bush Band" - where I played mouthorgan - back in the '70s. Nowadays he plays mandolin - and fiddle - as well as guitar ... and occasionally pulls a melodeon [simplest form of button accordion] out of his bag, when appropriate. However, the rest may think that one button accordionist is quite enough! I stick to the box, because I have to lead 15 - 20 musicians, sometimes acoustically, and the box is ... especially if I'n playing it. When I can relax and let someone else lead, I drop back to mouthorgan, whistle or bones.)

On the subjects of "starting late" and or "accompanying your singing" I keep in mind a local singer. Her lifetime partner died a few years back ... and we had always seen and heard her as a singer only (and damned good at it!). Over the past few years, I have seen her play and sing at local folk clubs ... excellently (tastefully ... harmoniously ... beautifully ...) accompanying her singing, first on fiddle - then on English concertina! As far as I know, she only started those instruments well after your tender age.

What's needed is appreciation of the music (that's why you came to look at the Mudcat Café ...?) ... enough dedication to learn and practise ... a few good musical friends ... and you'll be looking for a good audience. (Oh yes ... and sign up for the 'Cat ... and stay in touch ... we like to watch good youngsters flourish!)

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Paul
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 07:32 AM

Im 51 and just started to learn guitar. It's been a lifetime wish to do it. I just woke up one morning and decided give it a go. Have enrolled in a community course at the local high school. Would thoroughly recommend it.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Shiamsa
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 01:54 PM

Blow blow thou winter winds... I realize that I am ploughing a lonely and narrow furrow here, in suggesting that one should aim for higher things, to grow old gracefully, to be, as every woman ought to be, the woman first, the artiste afterwards. Excused, of course, may be those poor woman in want, who tread the boards for the sake of old parents, or the improvident husband and the sickly babies at home.

Tootler writes: As to Shiamsa, her posts read like a 17th century Puritan's guide to godly living for the housewife.

I can only say, what's wrong with 17th century Puritans? When Cromwell came here (Dublin) he closed all the theatres and outlawed the musicians, because they were "emptying the churches, perpetuating pagan custom, distorting truth, showing forth profane, seditious, and bawdy stories, teaching knavery and lechery, causing God to visit the plague on London, leading youth into idleness and extravagance, affording meeting places for harlots and customers, aiding the Pope, and corrupting maidens and chaste wives." Seems like a good enough reason for me.

Back to my knitting...


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 03:15 PM

I have my doubts as to whether it was the the theatres and musicians in Dublin who were causing God to visit the plague on London. And the Bible is not without its share of seditious and bawdy stories.
But there's nothing wrong with knitting - it's even quite trendy at the moment I'm told. However, my puritan grandfather didn't allow knitting on Sundays - whether it was on the grounds that it was work, or pleasure, I'm not sure.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 06:40 PM

When Cromwell came here (Dublin) he closed all the theatres and outlawed the musicians - and not just in Dublin.

Given that perception that people have, it always seems odd that one of the most successful music publishers of the 17th century, John Playford published much of his work during the Commonwealth (The first edition of the Dancing Master was published in 1651, two years after the execution of Charles I). That being the case, somehow I don't think music and dancing were actually outlawed. What Cromwell did do, I believe, was to stop the use of music in church services and to disband the cathederal choirs as this was considered ungodly and smacked of Popery. In fact I vaguely remember reading somewhere that Cromwell enjoyed social dancing. OTOH, the theatres definitely were closed and only reopened with the restoration of the Monarchy.

I think that Cromwell is often labelled with some of the excesses of his more extreme followers.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,...
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 06:54 PM

I would have thought a woman would be helped in growing old gracefully by learning to play a musical instrument, and that music would be something extra that she could offer her family in addition to food and clothes. (Perhaps she could get round Shiamsa by learning to play a few hymn tunes - or are they banned, as being church music?)


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 08:11 PM

Too old to learn, I would think not,just the right age to annoy?... more like it.... PRACTICE!
just apolgise before hand to wife & neighbors and warn them bagpipes could be next.
Whack
Fall The Day
Nick


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Shiamsa
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 08:48 PM

Topsie, I consider knitting as "work", and do not carry it out on the Sabbath. My rule for Sabbath activities is: if in doubt, leave it out! Note also that tuning an instrument is prohibited on the Sabbath by Jews.

Tootler, Cromwell outlawed only the Irish musicians. This lasted for some time, into the Penal times after 1690, so that many musicians got fed up, packed up their instruments and headed for the colonies. That's how, eventually, Bluegrass and Country and Western came into being.

Guest, it's not the playing of the instrument per se that's the problem, it's the time and energy that this takes up (see my posts above), and the temptation for the woman to leave her domestic sphere and venture outside into perhaps doubtful company. Music for worship is fine (psalms, hymns), but scholars differ as to whether this can be accompanied by instruments or not. John Calvin had strong views on this.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Muttley
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 10:01 PM

Maggie

I too support your willingness to learn an instrument: GO FOR IT.

As TG from Texas wrote in his story - it's a matter of perspective. I shall offer an Australian tale which offers a similar 'moral'

Three men stood on a mountaintop, they gazed in silent awe
At the scenic grandeur spread beneath the skies
Sun upon the tree-tops, mist on silver streams
And each man saw that scene through different eyes

One man was a preacher and he fell upon his knees
He thanked Almighty God for Nature's 'beauty grand'
He confessed his own humility, the puny lot od man
And he gloried in the sight his eyes had scanned

The second was an artist; a painter of renown
And he saw the scene surrounded by a frame.
He knew if he could find the skill to capyure what he saw
He was certain in assurance of wealth and fame

But the third man was an Aussie farmer
He stood and let his gaze range as far as vision would allow
Over rugged hills and valleys and he muttered to himself
"Strewth! What a lousy, bloody place to lose a cow!"


Your view is your own - take the vision and run with it.
If you need further inspiration (examples of "I dunnit") I shall give you my tale.

I began learning guitar as a ten-year-old and got quickly bored - I could always sing & even got an invite to try out for the Australian Boys Choir.

As a teenager I tried again and lost interest even more quickly - the teachers were bored and boring - no enthusiasm; it's hard to catch fire when the wood is wet!

At teachers college I learned recorder but just couldn't catch the skill of reading notation and so 'played by ear'. In my mid twenties I picked up my guitar again at the behest of a fellow teacher in our little town in Country Victoria and began to play more fluently.

Then over about 8 years tragedy hit: in1989 I was fighting a bushfire and got overrun by the firefront and inhaled flame: burning and scarring my vocal chords and trachea (windpipe)and putting me in Intensive Care for four days. I lost most of my range and a lot of power in my voice.

In March '97 I was involved in a motorcycle accident and received head injuries resulting in Acquired Brain Injury - part of this manifests in severe short-term memory loss while another was that I totally forgot how to play the guitar. I also lost a fair bit of fine-motor control in my fingers.

After 3 years of 'rehab' I picked up my guitar and strummed the only 3 chords I could remember - G, D and Em. From there I decided I'd learn to play again. I still cannot recall 'chord progressions' mor can I chord a song from being told "that song is played in the key of ....."; in fact I can't even play a song without thje words and chords in front of me and to that end, I have books with songs printed out with the chords visible at the points where I need to make the changes and I have learned to read two lines of script at once so I can sing the lyrics and play the song. I can no longer finger-pick nor can I barre chords - I just strum. I can now play about a dozen or so chords from memory and others I have simple diagrams on the page with the song and I refamiliarise myself before playing,

In doing this I now busk regularly and even make a fair bit of spare change. A couple of owners of local bars where they play ad hoc music live among themselves have heard me and invited me along to their 'jam nights' (still a little too uncertain of myself to try that yet).

In the interim; four years ago I went to Alice Springs and my son and I went to a "Didjeridu University" ( a shop in the centre of the city) and we learned th basics of didjeridu playing. I can now still make all the right noises and I have just recently learned to 'circular breathe' - I now need to adapt THAT to the didje!

I have also recently bought (on a trip to the UK last year) a Low Whistle in D from Hobgoblin Music in (I think it was) Bristol and now I'm waiting for a teaching book to learn that.

I also still play a few tunes on my old recorders!

So have a good look at the list of affirmatives you have received. This is the 112th posting on this topic - three of which are yours.

Of the other 109, only five are negatives and they are all from one person who may or may not be serious. I certainly hope they're not. Not all Christians are THAT fundamental, Shiamsa sounds so fundamental she probably frowns upon the use of fire!

Get out there and learn your bum off Maggie - and learn BOTH instruments and most of all - HAVE FUN LEARNING THEM AND ENJOYING YOURE MUSIC.

As for Shiamsa: The scriptures also compel us to "Make a joyous music unto the Lord" amd as for Cromwell, HE also stabled his horses and broke out the stained glass windows of churches all over Britain and Ireland as well as looting them - he was a savage and a bigot.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Nick
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 06:47 AM

If you are still concerned that you may be too old, you could try the following as a last resort.

I was reading our Disciplinary Procedure at work yesterday and under the section titled "The Procedure" there is the following bit (my emphasis) -

Stage 3 - Dismissal Or Sanction short of dismissal
If the conduct or performance has failed to improve the worker may suffer demotion, disciplinary transfer, loss of seniority or dismissal.

Now to get to this position you have various options - theft, damage to property, incapacity due to drink or drugs, physical assault, gross insubordination.

Personally I'd probably go for the drink incapacity and then choose the reversal of the ageing process but you might be a kleptomaniac or like hitting people - they presumably put these various options in to cater for various personality types as they are a caring company. It doesn't say that you can choose but I presume that you can pick the options that you want from the list. (As an aside, I did wonder if I got drunk, stole the MDs car, mooned at the clients and hit the person here who really irritates me whether I would get younger that much quicker - I'll let you know if it works)

We are actually looking for a couple of support staff at the moment so if you are interested in a position do get in touch - and as a bonus we have a local folk club that we run where you would get lots of support.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: StuartEstell
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 07:12 AM

Muttley said "Your view is your own - take the vision and run with it."

That's a wonderful summary, and it raises something else that I think is really important: that there's no "wrong" way to make music. As far as I'm concerned the only "wrong" thing you can do is develop poor technique on an instrument that results in injury.

If you, and others, enjoy yourselves Maggie, then you'll be doing it right. Good luck!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 07:31 AM

The only permitted musical instruments are those mentioned in the Bible: trumpet, drum, and Jew's harp. The band tends to be a bit unbalanced, unless you've got a lot of Jew's harp players, but otherwise the sound is interesting. Not for bluegrass.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: StuartEstell
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 07:39 AM

Unless somebody somewhere has invented a bass Jew's harp. Although that would probably be extremely bad for your teeth...


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: mike_in_st_c
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 08:08 AM

I love this thread too! I started taking lessons at 49, two years ago, after trying to teach myself for many many years. I seem to lack direction and or stick to itiveness on my own. My teacher had told me to keep the three p's in mind; patience, practice, and persistance. Last Christmas, after taking lessons for a year, I thought I'd try playing Christmas songs for my wife's family. The idea took root and flourished. I went into a recording studio and recorded a cd that I gave to family members as a Christmas present. My older brother, who has been a professional jazz musician in San Francisco for 30 years said it was ten minutes of heaven. I've decided to record a cd every year just as a milemark for myself to see if I can detect any progress. Tonight though is a real benchmark for me. I'm going to be playing at a coffeehouse in Fonthill, a little town about twenty minutes from here. I get ten minutes on stage (eegad!) and have been diligently practicing two songs all week. I'm lucky, I work in a group home and can take my guitar to work. It is such an absolute pleasure and joy that if I had one wish, it would be that I could have swallowed pride and stupidity 30-40 years ago and taken lessons. Ah, "but I was so much older then,I'm younger than that now." Mike


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Nick
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 08:15 AM

I don't think it would take a Sherlock Holmes to get to the bottom of Shiamsa's posts... ;)

Views like that AND liking Steely Dan - there's an inconsistency there.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Scrump
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 08:17 AM

Well Maggie, you must have learnt to play the melodeon by now - what's next?

:-) Just kidding - hope it's going well. Let us know how it goes.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Shiamsa
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 11:16 AM

Good work, Nick--did you find my Sherlock Holmes stories, or what?

Dunno why people keep calling me a woman...


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Scoville
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 11:33 AM

BASS JAW HARP!! That's the Devil's instrument if ever anything was!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 11:41 AM

Bass jaws?


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Gulliver
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 12:00 PM

Well, now that I've been rumbled I may as well explain that I found the original question on this thread a bit (for want of a better word) silly, I suppose, so I tried to take the diametrically opposite point of view.   Of course one is never too old to learn.

I've changed my Mudcat name because 1) people keep thinking I'm female, 2) possible confusion with Shiamsa's on other music sites.

It was fun while it lasted...

Gulliver (formerly Shiamsa)


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 12:31 PM

Shiamsa/Gulliver
We were probably misled by the knitting.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Nick
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 12:44 PM

I'll stop taking the thread off topic after this - knitting is not just a girl thing

And if you have never been to the Shed in your life make an effort if you are ever in North Yorkshire because it is a gem of a venue.

And in a desperate effort to get myself back on topic I hope that you have started playing by now, now that you realise that EVERYONE is telling you too!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,...
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 09:01 AM

Gulliver,
So you've changed your name from Shiamsa (which sounds like 'sham' with a feminine ending) to a masculine sounding Gulliver, but you didn't in fact say that you're not female ...
'to gull' means 'to deceive' (as in 'gullible'), therefore Gulliver may mean 'bringer of deception'. Could this be a deliberate choice?


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Bill the sound
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 06:44 PM

I you still think you are too old, start to learn the harp, it might be useful in the next life. But don't believe all you're told.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: OtherDave
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 10:00 PM

I agree with nearly all the advice -- especially the bit that said if it's the instrument you want to learn, you'll do better.

One thing, though, from my professional experience designing training. The adage "practice makes perfect" isn't true. Practice, by itself, makes permanent. For perfect, or even pretty good, you want some honest, constructive feedback from a person who knows what she's talking about.

That's the real value of a teacher, either one you hire or one who volunteers. The teacher can offer encouragement, can remind you how far you've come, and can help guide you around errors or bad technique that can become permanent without that feedback.

Best of luck, and remember that the root of "amateur" is amator, Latin for "lover." There's no higher motivation.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: terrier
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 02:40 PM

Maggie, I'm dying to know, have you started to learn your chosen instrument/s yet? If you're waiting for this thread to end, then you WILL probably be too old.:)


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 02:09 PM

Good point about practice. "Practice makes permanent" This is why it's a good idea, at the very least, to get a few lessons from a good teacher to begin with. You can really paint yourself into a corner by diligently practicing mistakes or bad technique.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 07:22 PM

"When you grow too old to learn,
Then you won't remember!"

My apologies to Sigmund Romberg...


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: wilco
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 07:32 PM

About three years ago, we started open jams here in South East Tennessee, for traditional acoustic music. I estimate that about 1500 different musicians (of all levels) have come through the jams, which have split again and again.
    I also have small acoustic music store, with several instructors.
My suggestion would be the following instruments: auto-harp, resonator square-neck guitar, and lap dulcimer.
    Find a welcoming group of people to play with, and have a great time.
    In my store, I've seen everything!!!! There's one elderly gentlemen who even took-up banjo at age 81! I've seen lots and lots of fiddlers from age 3 to 85.
    I don't do internet sales, but I would be happy to make some suggestions and give price guidance.

Wilco


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,sarah
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 11:08 AM

saw this thread whilst looking around and wondered if you still play the melodeon Maggie? and have you started any instruments..would be good to hear!

You are never to old to learn an instrument...I felt like I was old starting flute and singing at 24, I started a folk music degree 2/3 yrs later and have played in a good few band since.
I have taught myself to play mandolin, ukulele and a bit of guitar...am going for it with the fiddle at the moment..definitely the hardest instrument I have tried but love practising it..its the instrument I always wanted to play but never had the opportunity before.

A friend started fiddle in his forties, gave up his job and succesfully graduated from a music degree some years later...

no end to the possibilities!

Worst thing about starting a new instrument is being at that 'beginner' stage again, you know what it should sound like but it's not happening yet..cant wait for the fiddle to start sounding decent when I play it!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: olddude
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 11:24 AM

My friend Garry is 64, he always wanted to learn to play guitar. 6 months ago I gave him a guitar, a book and started showing him some basic things. I cannot believe how well he is playing and singing. NO it is never too late. I am 55 I took up 5 string banjo a few months ago. People tell me I play pretty well. No matter if I didn't I had fun. You most certainly can learn to play and learn to play the music you like with some dedication and practice. In a few months you will do what my buddie Garry is doing ... and he is having a ball with it

good luck, get cracking on it, you won't regret it at all

Dan


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 11:44 AM

Think of it this way-- there is an instrument that is the instrument yuou were wired to play. When you find it, you will be one step cloer to knowing which to buy in a good starter-quality-- because somewhere ouit there, there is a specific instrument that was meant for you to hold and play, and a voice only you can awaken.

It takes longer if you don't start.

Hardi started self-taught fiddle at about your age on an insurance-write-off fiddle with a stove-in back. When he was ready he found a teacher or two to give him a few hints on improvements, and found "his" fiddle.


As far as making oneself a fool-- that one is easy. When you are ready to add the motivation that can only come from playing for others, pick a nursing home. The residents there are so starved for activities that they will forgive you any bad notes-- that is, if they can hear them-- and for many, a high-pitched instrument played up close will be the only live music they have been able to HEAR in decades.

After they break you in, you should be ready to risk a session with other players you think are not very good. Sit at the far edge of the session and play quietly until someone tells you to move closer and/or play louder.

By then you will be showing others how to play up to the level you have achieved-- you'll be a veteran who still loves learning and improving.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Tootler
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 06:52 PM

It's never too late to start.

Since retiring, I have started on wooden flute and anglo concertina and enjoy playing both.

If you play regularly it is surprising how much progress you make.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Flyer
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 07:00 PM

I hope not, 'cause if you are then I am! I am 48 with no musical background at all, and you don't want to hear me sing! I do stories and ballads to a rhythm. I struggled with the Banjo for years. With some encouragement from members here and others I picked up the Mountain Dulcimer, learned to play it right off well enough to keep me interested. Now I gots me a Banjo to get rid of! :-)


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,Bill the sound
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 07:06 PM

I had a guitar for my birthday(60) and didn't have clue what to do with it. I now play along as I sing. GO FOR IT GIRL IT'S NEVER TOO LATE.
You will never be as good as the people that have 20 or 30 years playing already-but I've never met one that won't help you.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Rog Peek
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 07:12 PM

I took up guitar when I was just past 50, no great shakes, but I'm able to accompany myself singing a few songs. Now 62, took up tenor banjo in Jan this year, ambition is to join in at sessions.

Of course you're not too old.

Remember, "None are so old as those who have outlived enthusism" - Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862).

Rog


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 07:13 PM

No you aren't.

But get a decent teacher so you learn quicker. You've got less time to do it in.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: GUEST,sarah
Date: 05 Jul 09 - 03:32 PM

agree with post above re myself...at at uni most other people had played since they were 5/6 and I started 3 years before uni at 24! Catch up....
I can play a few instruments already but the latest, fiddle, (am teaching myself) needs help...been playing this one a few months and only just playing cock o the north and tunes like that...easy on flute + mandolin but fiddle - ha. Am 32, better hurry up!


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Jul 09 - 04:26 PM

I took up the Anglo concertina some ten years ago when I was in my late 50s. I'm just beginning to feel really comfortable singing and playing at the same time. So it has taken me a lot of time.

I'm played 5-string banjo and sung for years. So I was a little surprised that it would take me that long to get used to a new instrument. And maybe if I had worked harder at it, I would have come up to speed sooner.

Of course, some are too young to learn. They know everything already!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 05 Jul 09 - 06:55 PM

YOU CAN TEACH AN OLD DOG ANYTHING IT IS WILLING TO LEARN.

Surprise! Learning an instrument is an excellent way to improve temporal lobe functioning and stave off alzheimers/dementia.


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Subject: RE: Am I too old to learn?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 05 Jul 09 - 09:59 PM

The MAIN thing is to find YOUR instrument ! Try things in shops , get
friends to let you try THEIR instruments - One day , one will SCREAM at you "ITS ME" .
I played Clarinet and saxophone before discovering Folk , so Whistle was my first 'Folk' instrument , but you cant sing and play whistle , s0 I started on Guitar , then added Banjo , then Mandolin .
I still maintain that Whistle is 'MY' instrument , as I can play stuff on Whistle that I couldnt play on Clarinet or sax !
AND I get well paid for playing and singing , mostly mandolin and whistle as I usually work with Guitarists !
And I started on Guitar in my late twenties !


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